Environmental Impact Assessment

At the core of my research is also the study of georesources, their life cycle in the eco- and technosphere at various scales and geoenvironmental impacts which are unexplored in currently existing holistic environmental assessment. Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is the standardized method for assessing the environmental impacts of any product or service. After quantifying all associated emissions and the consumption of resources, this impact is expressed with respect to a few common impact categories. These are supposed to reflect major societal and environmental priorities. The paradigm for my research is merely adopting the perspective of natural and in particular geosciences: What is it missing in current LCA methods? How reliably can georesources usage and threads be generalized (on a global, national, regional, local level)? How can the spatiotemporal dependency be reflected in a parsimonious way?I develop concepts for improved assessment of overall environmental effects, such as by impact-based water footprinting. Note that, with a global annual withdrawal rate of about 700 km³, the world’s most extracted raw material is groundwater. I do not only focus on the central role of water as a “raw material”, but also as a receptor. Furthermore, I work on more realistic integration of transport processes in the ground, which is very challenging in view of the site- and time-dependency of the environmental impacts. I favor geotechnologies as application cases, such as geothermal systems and groundwater remediation technologies.