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Integrated assessment of vehicle fuels with Lifecycle Sustainability Assessment – tested for two petrol and two biofuel value chains.
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Sustainable development, Environmental science and Engineering.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-7521-2310
IVL Svenska Miljöinstitutet.
IVL Svenska Miljöinstitutet.
Lunds universitet, IIIEE.
2016 (English)Report (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The production and use of vehicle fuels results in both environmental and socio-economic impacts.In the Renewable Energy Directive (RED) the European Union (EU) implemented mandatory sustainabilitycriteria for biofuels for transport and liquid biofuels. These include demand for reductionsin greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and restrictions related to land with high biodiversityvalue. This directive and the vast majority of the available studies enfolding vehicle fuels, focus onenvironmental impacts, and in many cases primarily on GHG emissions. To move towards sustainabledevelopment, a broader scope of sustainability issues needs to be taken into account in futureassessment efforts and policy.In order to address a broad range of sustainability aspects a method labelled Life Cycle SustainabilityAssessment (LCSA) can be employed. It combines three different lifecycle methods, correspondingto the three pillars of sustainable development; environmental-LCA (E-LCA), socialLCA(S-LCA) and life cycle cost (LCC).In recognition of these knowledge gaps, the overall aim of this project is to examine the use ofLCSA to assess the sustainability performance of transportation fuels. This is achieved by applyingit to four selected fossil and renewable vehicle fuel value chains. The principal aim of this work isto develop the methodology of LCSA with focus on a full integration step in the assessment. Theintegration of different sustainability perspectives is a challenge, as it is inevitably based on valuejudgements. In this analysis we apply the Multi Criteria Decision Analysis (MCDA) methodologyusing different stakeholder profiles for the integration. This approach has the advantage that it increasestransparency on these value judgements. Further, as a part of this work, the policy relevanceof LCSA results is discussed briefly.The analysis considers four vehicle fuel value chains: Petrol based on crude oil from Nigeria ; petrolbased on crud from Russia; Ethanol based on sugarcane grown in Brazil, and ethanol based oncorn (maize) grown in the USA. Both biofuels represent first generation biofuels. These vehiclefuels were selected so as to build on an earlier study where an S-LCA was conducted for nine vehiclefuel chains.1 They were also attractive as they have relatively high data availability. These fourfuels were also found to have relatively high potential risks of negative social impacts in the previousstudy.The LCSA conducted in this study is done by integrating S-LCA results with results from E-LCAand LCC. In addition to the compilation of comparable E-LCA and LCC results we seek to detailthe S-LCA results in the previous study as well as complementing them with positive social impactsin order to provide a more detailed analysis.The main contribution of this project is related to the steps taken towards aggregating the differentsustainability perspectives into one holistic outcome for sustainability. This is done using three differentstakeholder profiles. These represent different worldviews and value judgments when prioritizingbetween the different sustainability perspectives. The result shows that the ranking order ofthe different vehicle fuels chains are quite different for the different stakeholder profiles. This shows that there is not always one single answer for the most sustainable choice between differentalternatives. Rather this is dependent on different priorities held by different stakeholders, or thepopulation they represent.All three underlying lifecycle methods– E-LCA, S-LCA and LCC - have different methodologicallimitations. Further, they are to various extents relatively new and still under development. One issueidentified for all three methods is the lack of robust and updated databases for data collection.This causes problems as the data requirements for assessments are considerable. Thus the importanceof data quality is emphasized. The MCDA method offers, however, a possibility to addressuncertainties based on variable data quality. In general, the MCDA methodology seems to offermany useful features to ameliorate the effects of a number of data-related complications. Assuch, it seems to offer a good tool for the aggregation step in LCSA. This stated, the lack of robustand updated databases imply that the actual LCSA-results for the included vehicle fuels may not berepresentative of the current situation regarding sustainability performance.In this project, positive social impacts were handled and integrated separately. By considering thepositive social impacts separately, the influence of the positive impacts on the end result of anS-LCA becomes visible. Although this was done in a limited way in this analysis, it is important toinclude positive impacts separately in future S-LCA efforts, to be able to distinguish the contributionfrom positive impacts to the total social impact. This may inform future action to enhancethese positive contributions. Yet, the lack of data makes this a difficult task, needing further work.Another important contribution, we believe, is the attempt to assess both fossil and renewable vehiclefuel chains with the same assessment tool. In the future, all vehicle fuels should be evaluated ontheir total sustainability performance at the same level of detail.Finally, we believe that the methodology approach examined in this work may be useful for effortsto leave the 'silo'-thinking that can be found in sustainability discourse behind. Instead of this, actorscan be motivated to focus on broad, comprehensive sustainability implications of various productlife cycles. Once the underlying data and methodology-related limitations have been improved,we believe that LCSA in combination with MCDA has true potential to provide a useful tool forsustainability assessment in a life cycle perspective.LCSA could be used as an information tool to guide the formulation of policy, and as an assessmenttool providing information to assess overall success (or failure) of policy interventions. Inconclusion however, we stress that it is important that communication with stakeholders and decisionmakers should be clear in terms of data quality and of the assumptions and complex assessmentsrequired for this assessment method. This is vital if it is to be useful in policy-making anddevelopment of specific policy instruments.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: f3 The Swedish Knowledge Centre for Renewable Transportation Fuels , 2016. , p. 69
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-238593OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-238593DiVA, id: diva2:1260783
Funder
The Swedish Knowledge Centre for Renewable Transportation Fuels (f3), 2016:12
Note

QC 20181217

Available from: 2018-11-05 Created: 2018-11-05 Last updated: 2018-12-17Bibliographically approved

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Full texthttps://f3centre.se/app/uploads/39120-1_2016-12_ekener_et_al_final_180314.pdf

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Ekener-Petersen, Elisabeth

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