LCA combines analytical studies (e.g., assessment of the mass flows and emissions in specific processes and countries) and experimental research to define the environmental profile of a process or a product. Examples of technical studies undertaken by CLCA include emissions characterization in the production of Zn, Cu, Al and by-products (e.g, Cd, Ge, In, Se, Te, Ga), LCAs of specific photovoltaic systems, and LCA-based comparisons of the greenhouse gas emissions in the solar electric and nuclear power generation. Examples or experimental research include metallurgical separations and recycling of valuable or hazardous elements, lab-scale characterization of emissions during fires, and leaching of metals in landfills.
CLCA links with other units of the Department of Earth and Environmental Engineering and the Earth Engineering Center whose activities could benefit from LCA studies. These include the Center for Carbon Management, the Columbia Water Center, the Waste-to-Energy Research and Technology Council , the Center for Hazards and Risk Research, and other research groups of the Earth Institute of Columbia University.
The Center closely collaborates with well-recognized LCA professionals in Europe and the U.S. and actively seeks scientific peer-reviews from concerned parties.