Charlene Vance

Dynamic Life Cycle Assessment

Bioeconomy design strategies must be developed to minimise environmental trade-offs during the transition to sustainability. Increasingly life cycle assessment based on lab scale data is required to prove the sustainability aspects of developing clean technologies. This frequently results in a much higher impact as few LCA studies focus on scale-up of LCA data. A scalable LCA framework is needed to support AgRefine’s early stage product development and to provide it with the basis from which a pilot scale process design can be created. Based in UCD under the supervision of Dr. F Murphy, the candidate will develop a dynamic biosensor-linked life cycle assessment framework which will evaluate both environmental and social aspects of sustainability. The LCA framework will be scalable to produce accurate results for technologies at different stages of development i.e. across TRL levels. The candidate will develop the framework using experimental data (liaising with ESRs working on AgRefine Technology) and will develop a scaling mechanism using data from the other AgRefine ESRs working on Systems-Level Design. The LCA framework will be validated on industrial scale processes.

Charlene Vance was born and raised in the state of New Jersey, USA, where she also obtained her BSc. in Mechanical Engineering in 2016 from Rutgers University – New Brunswick. Upon graduating magna cum laude with a concentration in energy systems, Charlene embarked on a journey to study her main interests in sustainability, energy systems and technology while travelling the world through a Joint Nordic Master’s program in Innovative Sustainable Energy Engineering. Through this program, she obtained two MSc. degrees in 2018 from the University of Iceland in Reykjavik, Iceland and Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg, Sweden.

Since completing her master’s program, Charlene has spent the past two years working as an engineer in Gothenburg. In November 2018 she began work as a process engineer at Boson Energy, a small company specializing in waste-to-energy gasification technologies. In March 2020 she transitioned to a role as a project engineer within the cooling and thermal energy management team at CEVT, an automotive engineering company.

Now, her passion for research has drawn her back to academia to pursue a PhD within the AgRefine project in dynamic life cycle assessment, starting in September 2020 at UCD. Charlene hopes that her research will result in a LCA framework which is not only valuable for the AgRefine project but demonstrates the broader value of dynamic LCAs within the developing agro-bioeconomy industry.

Fun fact: Charlene has travelled to 40 countries – Ireland will be her 41st.

Hobbies: Travel, history, hiking, food, music and movies.