Life Cycle Assessment

The Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) collection is a catalog and archive of data, tools, and resources that support LCA for agriculture and related areas of research. It is complementary to the USDA LCA Commons Life Cycle Inventory (LCI) database, and provides access to a wider range LCA data and tools.

Life Cycle Assessment (also known as life cycle analysis, or cradle-to-grave analysis) is a method of assessing environmental impacts associated with all stages of a product's life. For example, it measures impact from raw material extraction to materials processing, manufacture, distribution, use, repair and maintenance, and disposal or recycling. The goal of LCA is to compare the full range of environmental effects assignable to products and services by quantifying all inputs and outputs of material flows, and then assessing how these material flows impact the environment. This information is used to improve processes, support policy, and provide a sound basis for informed decisions.

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Datasets

17 datasets

Unit process data for field crop production version 1

These unit process models represent crop production in US states in multiple years. The main data source used for the development of the field crop data described here is the annual USDA Agricultural Resource Management Survey (ARMS). ARMS data are from an annual national survey of field-level farm practices sponsored jointly by USDA Economic Research Service (ERS) and the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS). These datasets were released in ecospold version 1 in June 2012.

Life Cycle Assessment program

Unit process data for agricultural self-propelled equipment version 1

This document describes the preparation of datasets for the LCA Digital Commons that represent unit process/ gate-to-gate operations for the production of work (in MJ) by agricultural self-propelled equipment and fleets of agricultural self-propelled equipment. The data cover 19 types of fleets and over 200 types of self-propelled equipment datasets, representing the potential to prepare thousands of unit-process datasets by varying the operating and model years, applicable power ranges, and operating temperatures.

Life Cycle Assessment program

Unit process data for field crop production version 2

The goals for the release of Version 2 of the field crop data are to rework the data to link up with the tier 2 field operations/ work process datasets, eliminate the use of service processes, and rework balance parameters using a simpler formula. Models represent states that produced field crops in the ARMS survey years included.

Life Cycle Assessment program

Unit process data for field operations: work processes and farm implements version 1

This document describes the preparation of datasets for the LCA Commons that represent unit process/ gate-to-gate operations for field operations (a.k.a. work processes e.g., soil preparation and planting for conventional tillage, applying fertilizer with incorporation) and farm implements (e.g., operation of moldboard plows, broadcast sprayers) used in the production of field crops. The data cover 49 types of field operations and 104 types of farm implements for 9 crops in 36 U.S. states, resulting in the development of almost 19,000 unit process datasets. The field operation and farm implement datasets described herein fall between the field crop production and the aggregated fleet equipment datasets already in the Commons.

Life Cycle Assessment program

LCA Commons

The USDA Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) Commons provides access to data, tools, and resources that support life cycle assessment for U.S. agricultural production and agriculturally derived products.

Life Cycle Assessment program

Unit process data for Rapeseed production in the U.S. wheat belt

Unit processes represent wheat-wheat-fallow and wheat-wheat-rapeseed crop production simulations that illustrate using the IPCC (Tier 1) method for calculating changes in soil C and the roundtable on sustainable biomaterials (RSB) method for estimating N2O emissions in different locations for the use in modeling the crop production portion of the HRJ lifecycle. Data are archived in a SimaPro .csv file, which can be imported into various life cycle assessment modeling tools.

Life Cycle Assessment program

Unit process data for bio-jet fuel production from poplar biomass via bioconversion at a biorefinery

A partial Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is conducted to investigate the life cycle impacts of a biorefinery designed to convert poplar tree chips into jet fuel via fermentation and subsequent hydrogenation. The goal of producing jet fuel from Populus (poplar) trees (bio-jet) is to create an alternative to petroleum based jet fuel (petro-jet). Currently no jet fuel producing biorefineries are in commercial operation and the results of this LCA will be used to assess a potential environmental impact that could result from scaling up the proposed system. Work is part of the Advanced Hardwood Biofuels Northwest project.

Life Cycle Assessment program