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PRELIMINARY OUTLINE

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PRELIMINARY OUTLINE

    February 2004 • NREL/SR-33806

    FINAL

    DRAFT

    U.S. LCI Database Project

    Development Guidelines

    Athena? Sustainable Materials Institute Merrickville, Ontario, Canada

    National Renewable Energy Laboratory

    1617 Cole Boulevard

    Golden, Colorado 80401-3393

    NREL is a U.S. Department of Energy Laboratory i Operated by Midwest Research Institute Battelle Bechtel

    Contract No. DE-AC36-99-GO10337

    February 2004 • NREL/SR-33806 U.S. LCI Database Project

    Development Guidelines

    Athena? Sustainable Materials Institute Merrickville, Ontario, Canada

    NREL Technical Monitor: P. Torcellini and M. Deru

Prepared under Subcontract No. AAX-1-31445-01

    National Renewable Energy Laboratory

    1617 Cole Boulevard

    Golden, Colorado 80401-3393

    NREL is a U.S. Department of Energy Laboratory ii Operated by Midwest Research Institute Battelle Bechtel

    Contract No. DE-AC36-99-GO10337

    NOTICE

This report was prepared as an account of work sponsored by an agency of the United States

    government. Neither the United States government nor any agency thereof, nor any of their

    employees, makes any warranty, express or implied, or assumes any legal liability or

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    trademark, manufacturer, or otherwise does not necessarily constitute or imply its endorsement,

    recommendation, or favoring by the United States government or any agency thereof. The views

    and opinions of authors expressed herein do not necessarily state or reflect those of the United

    States government or any agency thereof.

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    Acknowledgments

We would like to acknowledge the funding provided by the U.S. Department of Energy,

    the General Services Administration, and the Naval Facilities Engineering Command,

    which made this project possible. We would like to thank Franklin Associates, Ltd. and

    Sylvatica Corporation for their significant contributions to this report. We also want to

    acknowledge the valuable contributions of the many volunteers who worked with us as

    part of the project advisory group, all of whom are listed on the project Web site and in

    the U.S. LCI Database Project Phase I Final Report. We also want to thank Paul

    Torcellini and Michael Deru of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, for their

    advice, forbearance, and support throughout the project. Finally, we thank Dr. Patrick

    Hofstetter, who chaired the critical review team comprising of Gregory Keoleian at the

    University of Michigan, John Sullivan at Ford Motor Company, and Keith Weitz at

    Research Triangle Institute. All gave freely of their time and provided a detailed and

    highly constructive review report with specific recommendations that have vastly

    improved these guidelines.

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    Table of Contents

    U.S. LCI DATABASE PROJECT DEVELOPMENT GUIDELINES ..................................................... 1 PHASE I FINAL VERSION ..................................................................................... 错误!未定义书签。1 1 INTRODUCTION............................................................................................................................... 1 2 GOAL AND SCOPE DEFINITION .................................................................................................. 2 2.1 PROJECT GOAL ............................................................................................................................. 2 2.2 COMPLIANCE WITH ISO 14041 ..................................................................................................... 3 3 BOUNDARIES .................................................................................................................................... 4 3.1 GENERAL DESCRIPTION ............................................................................................................... 4 3.2 SPECIFIC BOUNDARIES ................................................................................................................. 4 3.3 NON-DOMESTIC PRODUCTION ..................................................................................................... 5 4 UNIT-PROCESS DATA DEVELOPMENT .................................................................................... 5 5 DATA TYPES ..................................................................................................................................... 6 5.1 PRIMARY VS. SECONDARY ........................................................................................................... 6 5.2 UNITS ........................................................................................................................................... 6 5.3 TECHNOLOGY ............................................................................................................................... 6 6 ELEMENTARY FLOWS................................................................................................................... 6 7 EXCLUSION OF SMALL AMOUNTS ............................................................................................ 7 8 CARBON CYCLE .............................................................................................................................. 7 9 ENERGY RESOURCES USED AS MATERIAL INPUTS ............................................................ 8 10 COMMON ENERGY AND TRANSPORTATION MODULES .................................................... 9 11 DATA FORMAT AND COMMUNICATION ................................................................................10 12 TRANSPARENCY ............................................................................................................................11 13 DATA QUALITY AND UNCERTAINTY ......................................................................................13 14 CO-PRODUCT ALLOCATION ......................................................................................................15 14.1 ALLOCATION INVOLVING INDUSTRIAL SCRAP OR WASTES ................................................................16 15 ALLOCATION FOR REUSE AND RECYCLING ........................................................................18 15.1 OPEN-LOOP RECYCLING ..............................................................................................................19 15.2 CLOSED-LOOP RECYCLING .........................................................................................................19 16 SENSITIVITY ANALYSIS ...............................................................................................................20 17 CRITICAL REVIEW ........................................................................................................................20 APPENDIX A CONVERSION FACTORS ....................................................................................... A-1 APPENDIX B GUIDELINES FOR APPLYING ECONOMIC ALLOCATION TO MULTI-

    PRODUCT UNIT PROCESSES AND SYSTEMS .................................................................................B-1

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    U.S. LCI Database Project

    1Development Guidelines

    1 Introduction

    This report is intended as a guide for the development of life-cycle inventory (LCI) 2database during Phase II of the U.S. Database Project.

    The ultimate objective of the project is to develop publicly available LCI data modules

    for commonly used materials, products and processes. The purpose is threefold: 1) to

    support public, private, and non-profit sector efforts to develop product life-cycle

    assessments (LCAs) and LCA-based decision support systems and tools; 2) to provide

    regional benchmark data for generating or assessing company, plant, or new technology

    data; 3) and to provide a firm foundation and broad data resource base for conducting

    LCAs generally.

    The project is intended to support the growing trend of taking a systems view when

    evaluating the environmental performance of products and services. However, tradeoffs

    are often encountered in systems analyses, and database users might find it appropriate to

    choose a subsystem or material that carries higher environmental burdens over

    alternatives because it imparts an overall environmental performance improvement to the

    product system under study. Providing sufficiently reliable information to assess system

    environmental performance in the light of tradeoffs is one of the prime reasons for

    developing such a database.

    As discussed in the following section on goal and scope definition, the U.S. Database

    Project differs from typical life-cycle assessments of individual products, processes, or

    systems. Those differences affect this document in certain fundamental ways that are

    made clear in various sections of the guidelines. We especially have to anticipate a much

    broader range of potential uses and users of the LCI data, with attendant variety in the

    manner in which, and degree to which, the LCI data will be used for full LCA purposes.

    This document is intended for use by LCA practitioners or others who will be directly

    involved in development of the LCI data modules, as well as those interested in

    observing or reviewing the project. As a result, we have assumed a basic level of

    understanding about LCA principles and practices, including the International

    Organization for Standardization (ISO) 14000 series of standards and technical reports,

    and have not attempted to explain or justify all of the procedures or guidelines.

    The guidelines have been prepared as part of a broader Phase I work-programming effort.

    The companion document, Work Program for Phase II, as outlined in the U.S. LCI

    Database Project Phase I Final Report, or Phase I Final Report, provides a list of the

    processes recommended for study in Phase II, in priority order, as well as an overview

    discussion of current data availability from the perspective of this project. It also makes

    recommendations for further work that will augment or supplement this report. In fact, as

     1 Formerly the U.S. LCI Database Project Research Protocol 2 LCI Database Project available at: http://www.nrel.gov/lci

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    explained in that report, the guidelines are a work in progress. This Phase I final version has been modified to account for some, but not all, of the comments received as a result of the formal review process. Further modification is expected early in Phase II, but the guidelines should continue to evolve as the science evolves and as lessons are learned during its application.

    An important task recommended in the Work Program for Phase II is the development of

    a detailed data user‟s guide that will explain how modules can be used in full LCAs (see Section 2: Goal and Scope Definitions, below, for a description of the module concept). The user‟s guide will contain example process trees and clear guidelines to ensure, to the extent possible, that data users take full account of relevant environmental effects without double counting, including during the use phase of products. The user‟s guide will be

    particularly important with regard to such difficult LCA steps as co-product allocation and accounting for material recycling and reuse (see Section 14: Co-product Allocation and Section 15: Allocation for Reuse and Recycling of these guidelines).

    2 Goal and Scope Definition

    2.1 Project Goal

    The basic goal of Phase II of the database project is to establish and maintain LCI modules that can be readily accessed, combined, and augmented to develop more

    complex LCIs or full LCAs.

    The goal is not to carry out full product LCIs in this project, but rather to make the creation of such LCIs easier, while reducing the problem of data inconsistency and incompatibility that currently plagues the LCA field in general. Accordingly, database modules will provide data on many of the processes needed to conduct life-cycle analyses, but will not contain data characterizing the full life cycles of specific products. For example, LCI data on electricity generation, transportation fuel use and emissions, and energy production and pre-combustion, is required for virtually all LCAs, and will be provided as a series of modules. Other modules could include mining and quarrying activities, commodity metals production, the production of basic building block

    petrochemicals, etc. Data documentation released by the project must support the project goal.

    It is also important to carefully distinguish the concept of publicly available data from the

    idea of data for use by the general public. While the data modules developed through this

    project will be made publicly available, they will not be intended for use by the general public in the way that full product LCIs might be used. The modules will typically be used in combination with each other, and with other data to be developed or provided by data users.

    It is expected that users of the database are likely to include the following groups:

    ? Manufacturers, researchers, policy analysts, and others undertaking LCAs of

    specific products or processes;

    ? Developers and users of tools for LCA practitioners;

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    ? Developers of tools for non-practitioners, which typically do not allow the user to

    modify embedded databases; and

    ? Organizations or individuals engaged in product assessment and labeling at

    various levels of system complexity, from relatively simple consumer products to

    complex systems like buildings and automobiles. Two common threads run through this list:

    1. An assumed level of knowledge and sophistication on the part of the anticipated

    users, and

    2. The fact that the database will provide a resource base for LCAs, rather than

    presenting completed cradle-to-grave LCA comparisons of individual product life

    cycles.

    It is important to recognize that point 2, above, dictates adoption of the highest feasible

    data development standards. Because we do not know in advance precisely how or why

    individual database modules will be used, this report assumes the most stringent

    requirements in terms of data categories, transparency, review, and other factors that are

    normally determined by the starting goal and scope statement of a study as described in

    ISO 14041. In general, that means assuming the data will be used in full LCAs for the

    purpose of making public comparative assertions.

    A critical proviso with regard to the use of the database modules is that they will be

    developed principally for use in “attributional” LCAs, which seek to establish the

    burdens associated with the production and use of a product, or with a specific service or

    process, at a point in time (typically in the recent past). The modules will not be

    developed at the outset to serve the needs of those undertaking “consequential” LCAs,

    which seek to identify the environmental consequences of a decision or a proposed

    change in a system under study. Consequential LCAs can impose different requirements

    from an LCI perspective (e.g., marginal electricity generation may be more appropriate

    for a consequential LCA than average generation), and it is not clear at this point that the

    data modules can be developed to serve both needs equally well. We have therefore

    opted to focus first on the needs of attributional studies, leaving the data requirements of

    consequential studies for future assessment as the database evolves.

    2.2 Compliance with ISO 14041

    This project intends to develop a database of LCI data modules that are compliant with

    ISO 14041, and that help users conduct full LCAs that are ISO 14041-compliant. If for

    any reason a study module cannot adhere to a relevant requirement of ISO 14041, it will

    be incumbent on the analysts first to obtain agreement from the project managers for any

    departure and then to fully explain the departure, at least indicating the directional

    effect(s) on the relevant unit processes.

    Other aspects of the project scope are covered in the following sections of these

    guidelines.

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3 Boundaries

    3.1 General Description

    Production systems generally consist of a combination of unit processes (see Section 4:

    Unit-Process Data Development for a discussion of unit process definition). In a full

    product LCI or LCA, the entire system must be limited by an imaginary boundary that

    encompasses the full life cycle and all of the essential operations for which information

    will be collected.

    This project, in contrast, will be providing basic LCI data modules covering some, but

    not necessarily all, of the unit processes contained within the boundary of a full product

    LCI or LCA. The boundaries for each production module under study in this project will

    therefore be separately and more narrowly determined on a case-by-case basis, with some

    modules covering cradle-to-gate and some gate-to-gate processes. For example, a

    module could be defined to include just the extraction and crushing of limestone with

    boundaries that stop at the quarry or crushing facility gate. Any more elaborate process

    that requires limestone, like cement manufacturing, could then call on that module and

    incorporate the LCI data for this common unit process.

    By combining appropriate modules, it will be possible to construct the cradle-to-gate

    systems necessary to reach predefined levels of production for materials or products that

    have been studied. The predefined level may in some cases be an intermediate product

    such as steel reinforcing bar, and in other cases a final product like softwood lumber.

    Boundaries will also have to be established for generic transformation unit processes

    included in the project. Transformations are defined as typical manufacturing, finishing

    or end-of-life processes (e.g., extruding, stamping, painting, shredding and baling, and

    incineration) that would be applicable to a wide range of full LCI/LCA studies of specific

    products. This project will not include use and maintenance phase activities other than

    those that might be covered by transformation modules as defined above.

    3.2 Specific Boundaries

    Data and estimates must be based on relevant, practical and appropriate analysis

    boundaries. The boundaries may include activities such as the following:

    ? Acquisition, beneficiation, storage, and transfer of raw materials, including

    construction and earth-moving, which must be done to gain access to a raw

    material, and non-point emissions from these operations;

    ? Acquisition, storage, and transfer of energy which will be calculated from a set of

    standard processes unless specific data is available for a unit process;

    ? Processing of raw materials into primary products (e.g., steel, rolls of paperboard);

    ? Transformation of primary products into secondary products (e.g., steel joists,

    corrugated boxes);

    ? Disposal, incineration, recovery of waste materials, and recycling and other end-

    of-life unit processes;

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    ? Transportation of materials, fuels and products at all stages; and

    ? Allocated energy requirements of, and waste accumulation from, pollution control

    processes that are not an integral part of the industrial processes under study (e.g.,

    a central waste water treatment plant).

    The boundaries will not typically include the following activities, depending on relative

    environmental significance per unit of production (see Section 6: Elementary Flows and

    Section 7: Exclusion of Small Amounts):

    ? Construction of plants, vehicles, or other machinery used for any phase of

    production;

    ? Maintenance and administration of plants or equipment; and

    ? Transportation of people to work and related infrastructure costs. One of the recommended Phase II tasks is the development of tests for relevance that can

    be made available as an annex to these guidelines. In the absence of such tests, the

    preceding items can be excluded with the proviso that datasets may require subsequent

    modification to add missing elements found to be more important than previously thought.

    3.3 Non-Domestic Production

    Researchers will not be required to trace with primary data the full energy and

    environmental costs of non-domestic production of raw resources or components to the

    countries of origin. If data are available for non-domestic processes for the region of

    interest, it will be used with appropriate citations. In cases where region-appropriate LCI

    data for non-domestic processes are unavailable from both primary and secondary

    sources, the supply chain will be modeled using process data characterizing U.S.

    production technologies. These data should then be adapted where possible by using

    available information to characterize key aspects of the non-domestic supply chain, such

    as transportation distances, and fuels used to generate electricity.

    Transportation energy and associated emissions will be included for imports based on the

    actual location of production, hauling distances, and typical modes of transportation.

    4 Unit-Process Data Development

    Descriptions of industrial processes can be obtained and aggregated at different levels of

    complexity and extent. ISO 14040 defines a unit process as the “smallest portion of a

    product system for which data are collected when performing a life-cycle assessment.”

    Thus, if data (on inventory flows, product flows, and inputs from other processes) are

    collected at the level of a stamping press, then the stamping press is by definition a unit

    process. If the same sorts of data are collected at the level of entire factories, the factory

    level is then defined as a unit process. A model of an entire supply chain will generally

    contain data for unit processes at various physical scales.

    For this project, the goal is to obtain data for unit-process modules that represent subsets

    of an industry so that users of the data can understand and combine various components

    of a product system and so that critical reviewers can conduct technical analyses. Higher

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