One of INCOPA’s roles is to quantify the environmental impact of coagulants. In 2014, INCOPA completed a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) of coagulant production. The scope of the LCA study starts from the production of raw materials used to create coagulants and runs to the point they leave the factory gate. This is known as a cradle-to-gate LCA study.

Conducted by the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) on behalf of INCOPA, the LCA study found that the cradle-to-gate emissions of all coagulants studied averaged 0.106 kg CO2-eq/mole Fe3+ or Al3+. The value is extremely low.

The considerable difference between the minimum and maximum carbon footprint values (range = 0.013 to 0.436 kg CO2-eq/mole Fe3+ or Al3+) is a consequence of the different raw materials which are used to produce each type of coagulant. Some raw materials have relatively high CO2-eq emissions during their production or their transport to the coagulant production site.

As expected, the use of recycled materials or by-products from other production processes decreases the environmental impact of coagulant production. This highlights the effect of transport-related emissions on coagulant production as recycled materials and by-products are often onsite or come from nearby production facilities.