NFOK24003U Sustainable Processing and Production Systems

Volume 2024/2025

MSc Programme in Biosolutions


This is a theoretical course that will give the students' knowledge about sustainability assessments of production systems.

Students will learn life cycle assessment methodology and principles of sustainability assessment and how to use it to understand and address major societal challenges in relation to processing and production systems and use the knowledge to reflect on how to redesign our production systems to respect the planetary boundaries. 

The students will learn to analyze, design, and address possible solutions for more sustainable management, processing and exchange of resources with natural systems.
The course also addresses topics such as:

  • Assessment of sustainability in relation to size and scale of production
  • Local vs global resources
  • Upcycling and downcycling 
  • Circular (zero waste) systems 
  • Environmental perspectives and assessments
  • Applications of sidestreams
  • Legislation of relevance to real-life cases 
  • Consumer acceptance and preferences


The students will work in groups on real-life industry cases and examples throughout the course.  

Learning Outcome

The course aims at introducing students to assess and improve sustainability of production systems. 

The student will obtain knowledge of:

  • Identify major environmental impacts of biological production systems
  • Show overview of the theory of life cycle assessment (LCA)
  • Outline the definition of scope, goal, inventory analysis and impact assessment
  • Describe how LCA can be used for improving production systems
  • Basic insight into regulation, ethics, and consumer preferences

The student will be able to:

  • Use LCA methodology and software to model real-life production systems
  • Be able to perform a prospective LCA and economic viability assessment
  • Analyse factors that influence the environmental and economic performance
  • Assess and relate critically to exiting LCA studies
  • Critically reflect upon the contribution of different technologies to a sustainable future

The student will be able to:

  • Discuss potential environmental challenges associated with different resource management and technology systems
  • Suggest changes to existing production systems that improve sustainability performance

See Absalon for a list of course literature

Academic qualifications equivalent to a BSc degree is recommended.
The course is divided into three major parts:

1. Introduction to system design for reuse and recycling of resources that contributes to environmental restoration and climate change mitigation

2. Introduction to the theory, principles and application of LCA at class level

3. Use of the acquired LCA competences in case-studies in groups.

Lectures and exercises followed by class discussions and exercises with case material in groups. Guest lecturers with practical experience from real-world cases.
The students will work with cases during the course and hand in a group report.
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 39
  • Preparation
  • 44
  • Exercises
  • 30
  • Project work
  • 93
  • Total
  • 206
Continuous feedback during the course of the semester
Peer feedback (Students give each other feedback)
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written assignment, during course
Oral examination, 20 minutes
Type of assessment details
Assessment of individual written discussion assignment, which is a reflection and discussion of the case and group report the student has participated in during the course. (40% of the grade)

Oral exam in curriculum, 20 min without preparation (60% of the grade)

Both parts must be passed in order for the student to pass the course
Exam registration requirements

The group report must be handed in and approved

Without aids
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
Several internal examiners

Same as the ordinary exam.

The group report and individual written report need to be submitted or re-submitted at least three weeks before the date of the re-examination

Criteria for exam assesment

See Learning Outcome