Towards comparable carbon credits: Harmonization of lca models of cellulosic biofuels
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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OriginalversjonSustainability. 2021, 13 (18), . 10.3390/su131810371
Decarbonization programs are being proposed worldwide to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from transportation fuels, using Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) models or tools. Although such models are broadly accepted, varying results are often observed. This study describes similarities and differences of key decarbonization programs and their GHG calculators and compares established LCA models for assessing 2G ethanol from lignocellulosic feedstock. The selected LCA models were GHGenius, GREET, JRC’s model, and VSB, which originated calculators for British Columbia’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard, California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard, Renewable Energy Directive, and RenovaBio, respectively. We performed a harmonization of the selected models by inserting data of one model into other ones to illustrate the possibility of obtaining similar results after a few harmonization steps and to determine which parameters have higher contribution to closing the gap between default results. Differences among 2G ethanol from wheat straw were limited to 0.1 gCO2eq. MJ−1, and discrepancies in emissions decreased by 95% and 78% for corn stover and forest residues, respectively. Better understanding of structure, calculation procedures, parameters, and methodological assumptions among the LCA models is a first step towards an improved harmonization that will allow a globally accepted and exchangeable carbon credit system to be created.