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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

23 datasets

Product system model for distributed renewable syngas production

    This product system model represents the generation of two co-products from forest or wood product mill operation residues using the Tucker Renewable Natural Gas (RNG) Thermochemical conversion process. The two co-products are a synthesis gas (syngas) and biochar (a form of charcoal made from woody biomass via pyrolysis, used as a soil amendment, and under investigation as an approach to carbon sequestration to produce negative carbon dioxide emissions). Data for this process were collected in St. Regis, Montana and Locust, NC, where the Tucker RNG conversion process has been tested and demonstrated.

    Data from: Environmental footprints of beef cattle production in the United States

      To quantify important environmental impacts of beef cattle production in the United States, surveys and visits of farms, ranches and feedlots were conducted throughout seven regions (Northeast, Southeast, Midwest, Northern Plains, Southern Plains, Northwest and Southwest). Life cycle environmental impacts of U.S. beef cattle production were determined. Annual carbon emission was 243 ± 26 Tg CO2e (21.3 ± 2.3 kg CO2e/kg carcass weight). Annual fossil energy use was 569 ± 53 PJ (50.0 ± 4.7 MJ/kg carcass weight). Blue water consumption was 23.2 ± 3.5 TL (2034 ± 309 L/kg carcass weight). Reactive nitrogen loss was 1760 ± 136 Gg N (155 ± 12 g N/kg carcass weight).

      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.

        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.

          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.

            Unit process data for lignin extraction in a softwood kraft pulp mill

              This unit process represents the gate-to-gate production of 1 air-dried metric tonne of kraft lignin, coproduced with southern bleached softwood kraft pulp (SBSK), high voltage electricity and unrefined tall oil soap. The pulp is derived from pine or loblolly pine in a kraft pulping process at a mill in the southern United States (U.S.). Lignin is extracted via precipitation and acid washing. All flows are production weighted to kraft lignin. The SBSK pulp production technologies are an aggregation of those applied in the southern U.S. in 2013.

              Data from: Comparative farm-gate life cycle assessment of oilseed feedstocks in the Northern Great plains

                This MS Word document contains the oilseed feedstock farm-gate model inventories, results, and uncertainty analyses for the Northern Great Plains discussed in Moeller et. al 2017. Analysis was conducted using IPCC GHG standardized emissions. Methodology is detailed in the associated publication (doi: 10.1007/s41247-017-0030-3). The supplementary information contains the names of the ecoinvent inventories; oilseed yield, seeding rates, and fertilization rates per USDA crop management zone (CMZ); climate change, freshwater eutrophication, and marine eutrophication percent contributions ReCiPe results per CMZ; Monte Carlo uncertainty results per CMZ; and farm-gate energy balance analysis results per CMZ.

                Product System Model for Beef Production 2011

                  Product system boundaries (cow-calf-finisher, CCF) include all material and energy flows associated with crop production and live cattle operations. Cattle inventory flows include the cow-calf operation and end with market weight finisher cattle and culls resulting from one full year of operation. The total live weight produced in one year is 2914841.44 kg and is comprised of the following animals: Finished cattle: 3724 (581 kg/finisher), Culled cows: 1156 (636 kg/cow), Culled bulls: 58 (908 kg/cow). These data were developed using Integrated Farm System Model and are intended to represent the MARC cattle operation in Nebraska in 2011. The data were a product of a project funded by the National Cattleman's Beef Association.

                  Unit Process for Torrefied Wood Chips, 2016

                    This unit process dataset represents the production of 0.0436 oven-dried kg (1 MJ) of torrefied chips at torrefier (Biogreen, ETIA Group, Compiègne, France, and Norris Thermal Technologies, Tippecanoe, Indiana, USA) at Samoa, California. Additional details on the process can be found in Alanya-Rosenbaum et al (2018).