Cradle to gate environmental impact assessment of acrylic fiber manufacturing

  • Dalia M. M. YacoutEmail author
  • M. A. Abd El-Kawi
  • M. S. Hassouna



The aim of the current study was to analyze the impacts of acrylic fiber manufacturing on the environment and to obtain information for assisting decision makers in improving relevant environmental protection measures for green field investments in developing countries especially in Africa and Middle East and North Africa (MENA) regions. The key research questions were as follows: what are the different impacts of acrylic fiber manufacturing on the environment and which base material has the highest impact?


The life cycle assessment (LCA) started from obtaining the raw material until the end of the production process (cradle to gate analysis). Focus was given on water consumption, energy utilization in acrylic fiber production, and generated waste from the industry. The input and output data for life cycle inventory was collected from an acrylic fiber manufacturing plant in Egypt. SimaPro software was used to calculate the inventory of twelve impact categories that were taken into consideration, including global warming potential (GWP), acidification potential (AP), eutrophication potential (EP), carcinogen potential (CP), ecotoxicity potential (ETP), respiratory inorganic formation potential (RIFP), respiratory organic formation potential (ROFP), radiation potential (RP), ozone layer depletion (OLD), mineral depletion (MD), land use (LU), and fossil fuel depletion (FFD).

Results and discussion

LCA results of acrylic fiber manufacturing on the environment show that 82.0 % of the impact is on fossil fuel depletion due to the high-energy requirement for acrylonitrile production, 15.9 % of the impact is on human health, and 2.1 % on ecosystem quality. No impacts were detected on radiation potential, ozone layer depletion, land use, mineral depletion, or human respiratory system due to organic substances.


Based on these study results, it is concluded that acrylic fiber manufacturing is a high-energy consumption industry with the highest impact to be found on fossil fuel depletion and human health. This study is based on modeling the environmental effects of the production of 1-kg acrylic fiber and can serve to estimate impacts of similar manufacturing facilities and accordingly use these results as an indicator for better decision-making.


Acrylic fiber Ecosystem quality Environmental impact assessment Human health Life cycle assessment Resources Textile 



Special thanks to both Dr. Abdelfattah Yacout and Dr. Abdellatif M. Yacout for their cooperation and support during manuscript preparation.


  1. World Acrylic Fibre (2013) World Acrylic Fibre—industry report: trend in demand and supply. Centerac Technologies Limited, India, p14–21Google Scholar
  2. Ali AAM, Negm AM, Bady AF, Ibrahim AG (2014) Moving towards an Egyptian national life cycle inventory database. Int J Life Cycle Assess 19:1551–1558CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Alonso JA, Camargo A (2006) Ecological and toxicological effects of inorganic nitrogen pollution in aquatic ecosystems: a global assessment. Environ Int 32:831–849CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Babu Murugesh K, Selvadass M (2013) Life cycle assessment for the dyeing and finishing process of organic cotton knitted fabrics. JTATM 8(2):1–16Google Scholar
  5. Baker JW, Lepech M (2009) Treatment of uncertainties in life cycle assessment. Proceedings of the 10th international conference on structural safety and reliability, Osaka, Japan. September 13–17Google Scholar
  6. Barber A, Pellow G (2006) LCA: New Zealand merino wool total energy use. 5th Australian Life Cycle Assessment Society (ALCAS) Conference, Melbourne, November 22–24Google Scholar
  7. Barclay S, Buckley C (2000) Waste minimisation guide for the textile industry, a step towards cleaner production (volume 1), by the pollution research group, University of KwaZulu, Natal Durban - South Africa, January, 92 ppGoogle Scholar
  8. Bengtsson J, Howard N (2010) A life cycle impact assessment. Part 1: classification and characterization. Building Products Innovation Council, Sydney NSWGoogle Scholar
  9. Beton A, Debora D, Laura F, Thomas G, Yannick L, Marie D, Anne P, Ines B, Oliver W, Jiannis K, Mauro C, Nicholas D (2014) JRC scientific and technical reports: Environmental improvement potential of textiles (IMPRO Textiles). European Commission Joint Research Center Institute for Prospective Technological Studies (IPTS), Seville - Spain. EUR Number: 26316 ENGoogle Scholar
  10. BSR, Business for Social Responsability (2009) Apparel industry life cycle carbon mapping. Business for Social Responsability Network, USAGoogle Scholar
  11. CAPMAS (2015) Egypt in figures report 2015. Central agency for public mobilization and statistics, (March 2015). Published by central agency for public mobilization and statistics, Cairo - Egypt. Pp. 58Google Scholar
  12. Collins M, Aumônier S (2002) Streamlined life cycle assessment of two Marks & Spencer plc apparel products. Environmental Resources Management, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  13. Dahllöf L (2004) Methodological issues in the LCA procedure for the textile sector: a case study concerning fabric for a sofa. Environmental Systems Analysis, Chalmers University of Technology, GöteborgGoogle Scholar
  14. El Raey M, Elsayed S, El-Hattab M, El Hadidi A (2007) Environmental impact assessment for acrylic fibers plant extension: ENVIRO-INFO consultants. Alexandria, EgyptGoogle Scholar
  15. Engelhardt AW (2013) World survey on textiles and nonwovens. Published by The Fiber Year GmbH Consulting, Speicher - Switzerland. Issue 13 Pp. 8Google Scholar
  16. European Environment Agency (1997) Life-cycle assessment (LCA)—a guide to approaches, experiences and information sources. Copenhagen, DenmarkGoogle Scholar
  17. Goedkoop M, Spriensma R (2000) Eco-indicator 99 methodology report. PRÃ Consultants, The NetherlandsGoogle Scholar
  18. Goedkoop M, Schryver AD, Oele M (2008) Introduction to LCA with SimaPro 7. PRÃ Consultants, The NetherlandsGoogle Scholar
  19. Gomes LS, Silva FA, Barbosasa S, Kummrow F (2012) Ecotoxicity of sludges generated by textile industries: a review. J Braz Soc Ecotoxicol 7:89–96CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. ISO14040 (2006) International Organization for Standardizations: Environmental management—life cycle assessment—principles and frameworks. Geneva, SwitzerlandGoogle Scholar
  21. ISO14044 (2006) International Organization for Standardizations: Environmental management—life cycle assessment—requirements and guidelines. section Published by International Organization for Standards, Geneva, SwitzerlandGoogle Scholar
  22. Kalliala E, Nousiainen P (1999) Life cycle assessment—environmental profile of cotton and polyester-cotton fabrics. AUTEX Res J 1(1):8–20Google Scholar
  23. Kalliala E, Talvenmaa P (1999) Environmental profile of textile wet processing in Finland. J Clean Prod 8:143–154CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Knackmuss HJ (1996) Basic knowledge and perspectives of bioelimination of xenobiotics compounds. J Biotechnol 51(3):287–295CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Kolekar YM (2010) Isolation characterization and evaluation of dye degradation potential of the novel bacterial species Alishewanella soli. University of Pune, India.
  26. Lai-Li W, Xue-mei D, Xiong-ying W (2009) The application of life cycle assessment in textile industry. Journal of Xi’an University Engineering Science and Technology 2:617–620Google Scholar
  27. Laing GI (1991) The impact of effluent regulations on the dyeing industry. Colouration 12:56–70Google Scholar
  28. Larsen SE, Hansen J, Knudsen HH, Wenzel H, Larsen HF, Møller KF (1997) Environmental assessment of textiles. Environmental Project No. 369, Danish Environmental Protection Agency, København -DenmarkGoogle Scholar
  29. Muthu SS, Li Y, Hu JY, Mok PY (2012) Quantification of environmental impact and ecological sustainability for textile fibres. Ecol Indic 13:66–74CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Nieminen E (2003) Environmental indicators of textile products for ISO (Type III) environmental product declaration. AUTEX Res J 3:207–218Google Scholar
  31. Nieminen E, Linke M, Tobler M, Beke BV (2007) EU COST Action 628: life cycle assessment (LCA) of textile products, eco-efficiency and definition of best available technology (BAT) of textile processing. J Clean Prod 15(13–14):1259–1270CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Ning X et al (2014) Levels, composition profiles and risk assessment of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in sludge from ten textile dyeing plants. Environ Res 132:112–118CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Pesnel S, Perwuelz A (2013) LCA: a decision-making tool for recycling processes in textile industry. The 6th international conference on life cycle management in Gothenburg. August 25–28Google Scholar
  34. Pruden J (2012) Life cycle assessment of cotton fiber and fabric, executive summary. America’s Cotton Producers and Importers, USAGoogle Scholar
  35. Research and Markets (2011) Textiles: global industry guide.
  36. Sandin G, Petersb GM, Svanströmb M (2013) Moving down the cause-effect chain of water and land use impacts: an LCA case study of textile fibres. Resour Conserv Recycl 73:104–113CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Shen L (2011) Bio-based and recycled polymers for cleaner production an assessment of plastics and fibres. Ph.D. thesis, Department of Science, Technology and Society (STS)/Copernicus Institute, Utrecht UniversityGoogle Scholar
  38. Shenai VV (2001) Non-ecofriendly textile chemicals and their probable substitutes—an overview. J Fiber Text Res 26:50–54Google Scholar
  39. Slokar YM, Marechal MAL (1998) Methods of decoloration of textile wastewaters. Dyes Pigments 37:335–356CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Sule A (2012) Life cycle assessment of clothing process. Res J Chem Sci 2(2):87–89Google Scholar
  41. TEC (2010) Industry report. Acrylic in focus conference, 8–10 March 2010. Textile Export Council, AlexandriaGoogle Scholar
  42. Tobler M (2000) Life cycle assessment of cotton fabrics in textile finishing. Paper presented at the Fiber Society Spring Conference 17–9 May, Sustainability and Recycling of Textile Materials, Guimaraes, Portugal, p 65Google Scholar
  43. Tobler-Rohr MI (2011) Handbook of sustainable textile production, Woodhead Publishing Series in Textiles. Woodhead Publishing Limited, CambridgeCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. UNCTAD (2015) World investment report 2015: reforming international investment governance. United Nations Publication, United Nations, GenevaGoogle Scholar
  45. US.EPA, Environmental Protection Agency (1993) Air quality criteria for oxides of nitrogen. Volume I. National Service Center for Environmental Publications, Washington DC, USA, p 10–180Google Scholar
  46. US.EPA, Environmental Protection Agency (2013) Toxicological review benzo[a]pyrene. National Service Center for Environmental Publications, Washington DC, USA, p 1–1Google Scholar
  47. US.EPA, Environmental Protection Agency, Network TT (2011) Emissions factors & AP-42, CH 6: organic chemical process industry: 6.9 synthetic fibers, Washington, DC - USA. Pp:6.9-2-22Google Scholar
  48. Van der Velden NM, Patel MK, Vogtländer JG (2014) LCA benchmarking study on textiles made of cotton, polyester, nylon, acrylic, or elastane. Int J Life Cycle Assess 19:331–356CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Walser T, Demou E, Lang DJ, Hellweg S (2011) Prospective environmental life cycle assessment of nanosilver T-shirts. Environ Sci Technol 45(10):4570–4578CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Yacout DMM, Abd El-Kawi MA, Hassouna MS (2014) Energy management applications in textile industry, case study: an Egyptian textile plant. Int Energy J 14(2):87–94Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dalia M. M. Yacout
    • 1
    Email author
  • M. A. Abd El-Kawi
    • 1
  • M. S. Hassouna
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Graduate Studies and ResearchAlexandria UniversityAlexandriaEgypt

Personalised recommendations