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Life Cycle Assessment in the last frontier

In 2012, the Australian Antarctica Science (AAS) Program awarded funding to RMIT University to develop an environmental impact reduction strategy for the Australian Antarctic Division’s (AAD) Casey station (Casey), based on life cycle assessment (LCA) investigations. Commencing in April 2013, the five year project aims to collect and model life cycle impacts from the operations necessary to support human operations on Casey (e.g., planning, procurement, logistics and on-station operations).

The 2015 field visit to Casey station in Antarctica (66° 16’ 55” S, located in the Windmill Islands, just outside the Antarctic Circle) provided first hand experience and insight into the station layout and operations consolidating the past two years data collection in conjunction with the Australian Antarctic Division to map and model the life cycle impacts of the supply chain and human operations on station.

Time was spent talking with key expeditioners including Station Leaders, Plumbers, Electricians, Diesel Mechanics, Carpenters, Chefs, Operations, Doctors, Field Training Officers, Aviation, Communications and Bureau of Meteorology to better understand daily operations and data recording.

The insights and data collection from the station visit have been used to further understand the dynamics and flow of energy, resources, water, food and waste on station in conjunction with the logistics and supply chain between Hobart and Antarctica, building design and operations on station and behaviours and practices of expeditioners on station. The project is informing current decision making within the Australian Antarctic Division and is linked to Stream 2.3 Human impacts prevention, mitigation and remediation of the the Australian Antarctic Strategic Plan 2011-12 to 2020-21.

Research Team
Karli Verghese, Enda Crossin and Simon Lockrey
Grants and funding
Australian Antarctica Science Grant through the Australian Antarctic Division, Commonwealth of Australia
Date: 2013-2018
Status: Active