Shaobin Li, a civil engineering Ph.D. student focused on environmental engineering, earned the inaugural Student Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) Leadership Award from the American Center for Life Cycle Assessment (ACLCA). The award was presented to Li at the 18th annual ACLCA conference in Fort Collins, Colorado, and recognizes Li’s leadership and research efforts in pioneering the development of sustainability assessment techniques to apply in the meat packing industry by developing an innovative framework of sustainability assessment. This includes integrating LCA with food safety to evaluate antimicrobial systems of the beef packing industry and incorporating LCA to evaluate human health from environmental risks with occupational and foodborne risks. Li is co-advised by Dr. Bruce Dvorak of the Department of Civil Engineering and Dr. Jeyam Subbiah of the Biological Systems Engineering Department.
This summer, Li had a paper published in the Journal of Cleaner Production related to an LCA comparison of three common antimicrobial systems used in the beef packing industry. His goal is to help identify more efficient and cost-effective ways to process beef.
“There’s no perfect system,” said Li. “We proposed and evaluated 40 antimicrobial systems from three perspectives: effectiveness, environmental and economic impacts to address the potential tradeoffs among the three perspectives and provide suggestions to the beef packing industry on where they can enhance their environmental sustainability without compromising beef safety. .”
For the past two years, Li has been a volunteer at ACLCA’s conferences. Li is providing training and guidance to new graduate students on LCA research in Dr. Dvorak’s research group, He believes these experiences helped him to earn the award.
Li is driven to expand his knowledge and skillsets. During the upcoming year, Li plans to contribute for several projects examining the sustainability assessment of small wastewater treatment systems, and comparing those to small systems that use the effluent treated water to irrigate maize. In addition, Li is engaged in a NSF-funded project with Dr. Subbiah to integrate water models into corn-water-ethanol-beef integrated model to enhance understandings of complex system for more sustainable food and energy production.
The ACLCA is a nonprofit membership organization providing education, awareness, advocacy and communications to build capacity and knowledge of environmental life cycle assessment. ACLCA membership consists of industry, academia, government, consulting, and NGOs. For more information, visit https://aclca.org.
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