The Life Cycle Assessment method shows us how to make a sustainable coffee machine.

Products able to consume less energy and completely recyclable. It has been seven years that Simonelli Group, along with the Polytechnical University of Le Marche and the Cluster Marche Manufacturing, launched a series of researches and tests aiming to reduce the environmental
impact of espresso coffee machines. Using the method “Life Cycle Assessment“, the Company mapped all the coffee machine components, to be able to calculate the singular impact each part has on the environment. Thus, method allows the discovery of new designs and determines which materials are capable of reducing the total CO2 emission on the entire product’s life cycle.

“Based on a study of the World Coffee Research – reminds Mauro Parrini, Chief Operations Officer of Simonelli Group – it results that by 2050 there will be a contraction of at least 50% on all the fertile terrains adaptable for Arabic coffee farms because of the climate change effect. If this were to happen, there would be strong repercussions on the whole coffee chain, especially on the 25 million coffee farmers that endure thanks to coffee cultivation. Climate change is the effective outcome of the irresponsible behavior people have regarding our ecosystem. The coffee world is none the less partly responsible; all the phases of the coffee industry have an impact on the environment, so even in our sector, we are called to review those practices that are not yet ecosustainable”.

On this front, Simonelli Group has been active for different years, developing and launching technologies that improve machine performance while reducing their environmental impact. One of the main drivers is the collaboration with the department of Design Tools & Methods Group of the Polytechnical University of Le Marche and the Cluster Marche Manufacturing, a public and private partnership composed of Universities, Research Institutions, and Companies. The Cluster Marche Manufacturing studies the needs and requirements of manufacturers, with the primary goal to promote efficient, automated processing that decreases environmental impact, keeping it human-oriented. Fundamental objectives of the National Cluster Manufacturing Intelligence.

How is the environmental impact of an espresso coffee machine measured?

 The most used tool is the Carbon Footprint that expresses in equivalent CO2 (CO2eq) the total greenhouse effect directly or indirectly on a product. “To know the environmental impact of the coffee machines – continues Parrini – the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA, a standard method (IS= 14040 and 14044) is applied. It verifies the influence a product has on the environment throughout its life cycle, starting with the production (considering all the steps and making of the components) up until machine disposal.” The LCA calculation, even if particularly complex, is quite helpful as it accurately and immediately measures the footprint each product leaves in our ecosystem. Each machine, based on this calculation, may have a medium to a high level of environmental impact, considering the materials used, the production phases, and the exportation.

The results of the research: 23% less CO2 emission and increased energy saving.

“This type of analysis allowed us to change perspective about new projects: we started rethinking the design process and what materials needed to be improved, enhancing the technological point of view as well – says Parrini. “We were able to reduce between 20% and 23% the CO2 emission of our coffee machine confronting other devices of the same category. This high percentage is also thanks to patented innovative technologies that reduce energy consumption. These studies brought to the development of new technological solutions able to drastically cut the CO2 emissions during the production phase and while in use. The T3 technology is an example that not only guarantees temperature stability and consistency, but
remarkably reduces energy consumption by 30-40% compared to a machine with different technology. Even the new patented technology T.E.R.S. (Temperature Energy Recovery System) reduces energy consumption: it uses the energy from the discharged water to pre-heat the entering water. The result is a total of 8% reduction in the consumption of the machine.

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