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Life cycle analysis of transportation fuel pathways

Abstract

The purpose of this work is to improve the understanding of the concept of life cycle analysis (LCA) of transportation fuels and some of its pertinent issues among non-technical people, senior managers, and policy makers. This work should provide some guidance to nations considering LCA-based policies and to people who are affected by existing policies or those being developed. While the concept of employing LCA to evaluate fuel options is simple and straightforward, the act of putting the concept into practice is complex and fraught with issues. Policy makers need to understand the limitations inherent in carrying out LCA work for transportation fuel systems. For many systems, even those that have been employed for a 100 years, there is a lack of sound data on the performance of those systems. Comparisons between systems should ideally be made using the same tool, so that differences caused by system boundaries, allocation processes, and temporal issues can be minimized (although probably not eliminated). Comparing the results for fuel pathway 1 from tool A to those of fuel system 2 from tool B introduces significant uncertainty into the results. There is also the question of the scale of system changes. LCA will give more  More>>
Authors:
"NONE"
Publication Date:
Feb 24, 2012
Product Type:
Miscellaneous
Subject:
33 ADVANCED PROPULSION SYSTEMS; LIFE CYCLE ASSESSMENT; TRANSPORTATION SECTOR; LIQUID FUELS; ENERGY ANALYSIS
OSTI ID:
22110321
Research Organizations:
IEA-Advanced Motor Fuels Agreement, Annex 40 (Canada); Reilly-Roe and Associates, Ltd. and S and T 2 Consultants Inc., Delta, British Columbia (Canada)
Country of Origin:
IEA
Language:
English
Other Identifying Numbers:
TRN: XY13OA550
Availability:
Commercial reproduction prohibited. Available from ETDE as OSTI ID: 22110321; This report is also available at: http://www.iea-amf.org/app/webroot/files/file/Annex%20Reports/AMF_Annex_40.pdf
Submitting Site:
ETDE
Size:
223 page(s)
Announcement Date:
Jul 06, 2013

Citation Formats

Life cycle analysis of transportation fuel pathways. IEA: N. p., 2012. Web.
Life cycle analysis of transportation fuel pathways. IEA.
2012. "Life cycle analysis of transportation fuel pathways." IEA.
@misc{etde_22110321,
title = {Life cycle analysis of transportation fuel pathways}
abstractNote = {The purpose of this work is to improve the understanding of the concept of life cycle analysis (LCA) of transportation fuels and some of its pertinent issues among non-technical people, senior managers, and policy makers. This work should provide some guidance to nations considering LCA-based policies and to people who are affected by existing policies or those being developed. While the concept of employing LCA to evaluate fuel options is simple and straightforward, the act of putting the concept into practice is complex and fraught with issues. Policy makers need to understand the limitations inherent in carrying out LCA work for transportation fuel systems. For many systems, even those that have been employed for a 100 years, there is a lack of sound data on the performance of those systems. Comparisons between systems should ideally be made using the same tool, so that differences caused by system boundaries, allocation processes, and temporal issues can be minimized (although probably not eliminated). Comparing the results for fuel pathway 1 from tool A to those of fuel system 2 from tool B introduces significant uncertainty into the results. There is also the question of the scale of system changes. LCA will give more reliable estimates when it is used to examine small changes in transportation fuel pathways than when used to estimate large scale changes that replace current pathways with completely new pathways. Some LCA tools have been developed recently primarily for regulatory purposes. These tools may deviate from ISO principles in order to facilitate simplicity and ease of use. In a regulatory environment, simplicity and ease of use are worthy objectives and in most cases there is nothing inherently wrong with this approach, particularly for assessing relative performance. However, the results of these tools should not be confused with, or compared to, the results that are obtained from a more complex and rigorous ISO compliant LCA. It should be reiterated that an LCA will not determine which product is the most cost effective or works best. No LCA can identify optima in the manner of, say, a linear program. This would still be true even if all inputs were specified with complete accuracy and precision because no result would yield a simultaneous optimum for all outputs.}
place = {IEA}
year = {2012}
month = {Feb}
}