Academic year
2020/2021 Syllabus of previous years
Official course title
Course code
CM0551 (AF:335787 AR:176238)
On campus classes
ECTS credits
Degree level
Master's Degree Programme (DM270)
Educational sector code
2nd Semester
Course year
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According to the general training objectives of the Master Degree in Biotechnologies for sustainable development and the environment, the course contributes to shape graduates able to operate in the field of industrial biotechnologies related to the valorization of renewable resources and energy, through the assessment and management of risks for human health and the environment which could be caused by conversion and production processes.
The objective is to provide students with the necessary skills for developing and using innovative biotechnological techniques and processes to support circular economy and in particular with the theoretical and practical knowledge for life cycle and sustainability assessment of investigated products and processes.
Knowledge and understanding
The student will acquire relevant knowledge to evaluate the degree of implementation of circular economy and sustainability concepts through the assessment of environmental impacts along the life cycle of products and processes.

Ability to apply knowledge and understanding
The student will acquire specific skills concerning quantification and assessment of environmental impacts for the different phases of the life cycle of products and processes through the application of Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) procedures, with the final aim to support the improvement of environmental performances in view of circular economy and sustainability.

Autonomy of judgment
The student will be able to deal with complex data and information collected from different sources and to analyze and elaborate them for producing clear and accurate summaries, deriving relevant conclusions to suggest any possible actions. In particular, he/she will be able to independently evaluate the environmental impacts (for human health and the environment) of a production process and to suggest any improvements.

Communication skills
The student will acquire adequate skills and tools for oral and written communication, modern skills to critical assess, propose and discuss the results of his/her analysis with experts and non-experts, also during events for the presentation and discussion of such results and for the discussion of topical issues related to the development of biotechnologies for sustainable development and the environment.

Learning ability
The student will acquire the ability of learning and deepening aspects of innovative research and resolution of topical issues in the field of application of industrial biotechnologies in a sustainability and circular economy context, in view of minimization of any environmental impacts e towards new frontiers in decarbonization of energy demand.
Basics of ecology, biology, chemistry and ecotoxicology to understand different types of environmental impacts estimated through LCA and their link with the input and output of material and energy of the investigated products and processes.
The course will provide theoretical knowledge and practical skills to perform a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA).
First of all, the concept of life cycle of products and processes in a circular economy context (in juxtaposition to the linear economy model) will be presented, followed by the description of how the environmental impacts caused by such products and processes along their life cycle can be quantified according to ISO 14040-44.
A practical section will follow, where the students will put into practice the previously acquired concepts and procedures by using the OpenLCA software applied to a case study.
Then, two types of LCA will be introduced, namely Carbon Footprint and Water Footprint, also by discussing in class recent scientific papers presenting their application to case studies.
Finally, how the LCA tool could support the assessment of environmental sustainability of products and processes and how it could be complemented by other tools such as Life Cycle Costing (LCC) and Social LCA (S-LCA), toward sustainable development, will be discussed.
Slides presented by the teacher, material for practical exercises and scientific publications made available by the teacher in the Moodle platform.
Written exam consisting of 3 open questions to be answered in 2 hours (max 7 points each) to assess the theoretical knowledge acquired by the student on the addressed topics.
Report on practical exercise with OpenLCA (max 7 points) to assess the practical skills acquired by the student on the addressed topics.
Evaluation of ppt presentations on specific topics prepared and presented by students during the course (max 4 points) to assess the ability acquired by the student to understand and discuss the results of LCA applications to real cases.
Practical exercise.
Students’ working groups and presentations on specific topics.

This subject deals with topics related to the macro-area "Natural capital and environmental quality" and contributes to the achievement of one or more goals of U. N. Agenda for Sustainable Development

Definitive programme.
Last update of the programme: 29/04/2020