Rapid access to or generation of life cycle information is a potentially valuable tool for the design of products to meet the needs of sustainability improvement. A new approach is developed to use the manufacturing unit process, commonly outlined in manufacturing process taxonomy systems, as the basis for life cycle inventory. This will initially involve 50–70 unit processes from the taxonomy and will generate energy and mass profiles for each unit process life cycle (uplci). These uplci can be adjusted for each case to include the major variables affecting such operations as related to any specific product. The sum of the performance of a sequence of uplci thus provides the life cycle of the specific product from a defined set of plant process inputs.

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