An environmental life cycle assessment of forklift operation: a well-to-wheel analysis

Paweł Fuc , Przemysław Kurczewski , Anna Lewandowska , Ewa Nowak , Jarosław Selech , Andrzej Ziółkowski


Purpose Among the many publications on the environmental life cycle assessment (LCA) of transport, there are only a few examples of works dedicated to means of internal transport. For this reason, it was decided to gather energy-oriented inventory data and to assess the environmental impact related to the operation of selected forklift trucks, as the most commonly used means of internal transport. This paper presents the main assumptions and the results in relation to the four phases of LCA: the goal and scope definition, the life cycle inventory, the life cycle impact assessment results, and the interpretation. Methods Ten forklifts with different engines were selected in order to carry out the life cycle assessment study. The research was based on the results of measuring the operating fuel consumption and exhaust gas emissions, conducted using the SEMTECH-DS mobile device from the PEMS group of devices. In order to make the measurements under a circumstance close to the real conditions of forklift exploitation, it was decided to slightly modify the operating cycle proposed in VDI 2198. The environmental impact of the fuel/electricity usage and exhaust gas emissions was assessed using the ISO 14040x guidelines and the IMPACT 2002+ method. Results and discussion The study showed that using an electric forklift to transport 1 t of payload over a distance of 1 km has a significantly smaller environmental impact than using one of the selected forklifts powered by an internal combustion engine. Using forklifts powered by liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) engines leads to a significantly higher environmental impact whilst the use of vehicles with diesel engines has an impact at a level several times lower. In a case of drives without load, where functional unit was defined as covering 1-km distance with no vehicle load, a lower impact for the electric vehicles was also obtained. The analysis includes the influences of the upstream processes of fuel and electrical energy production. Conclusions Even when Poland’s production scenario (based almost entirely on fossil fuels) is taken into consideration, the electric forklifts still show a clear advantage. It should be expected that, if the technological mix of electrical energy production for countries with a higher share of renewable or nuclear energy were to be taken into account, the environmental indicators for electric vehicles would be even lower. It is worth noting that only the energy aspects of forklift operation were analysed. Further studies aiming to collect inventory data relating to other exploitation aspects, as well as the production and utilization of the same vehicles, are planned as a continuation of this research.
Author Paweł Fuc - Uniwersytet Przyrodniczy w Poznaniu
Paweł Fuc,,
, Przemysław Kurczewski - Politechnika Poznańska
Przemysław Kurczewski,,
, Anna Lewandowska (WT / KTiEPP)
Anna Lewandowska,,
- Department of Industrial Products and Ecology
, Ewa Nowak - Uniwersytet Przyrodniczy w Poznaniu
Ewa Nowak,,
, Jarosław Selech - Politechnika Poznańska (PP), MNiSW [80]
Jarosław Selech,,
, Andrzej Ziółkowski - Uniwersytet Przyrodniczy w Poznaniu
Andrzej Ziółkowski,,
Journal seriesInternational Journal of Life Cycle Assessment, ISSN 0948-3349, (A 40 pkt)
Issue year2016
Publication size in sheets0.65
Keywords in Englishinternal transport; environmental impact; life cycle assessment
ASJC Classification2300 General Environmental Science
Languageen angielski
Score (nominal)40
Score sourcejournalList
ScoreMinisterial score = 35.0, 05-02-2020, ArticleFromJournal
Ministerial score (2013-2016) = 40.0, 05-02-2020, ArticleFromJournal
Publication indicators WoS Citations = 6; Scopus SNIP (Source Normalised Impact per Paper): 2016 = 1.505; WoS Impact Factor: 2016 = 3.173 (2) - 2016=3.982 (5)
Citation count*28 (2020-09-15)
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* presented citation count is obtained through Internet information analysis and it is close to the number calculated by the Publish or Perish system.
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