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LIFE CYCLE ASSESSMENT OF

SUBSURFACE WATER RETENTION TECHNOLOGY

By

Ning Gong

A THESIS

Submitted to
Michigan State University
in partial fulfillment of the requirements
for the degree of

Packaging-Master of Science

2014
ABSTRACT

LIFE CYCLE ASSESSMENT OF SUBSURFACE WATER RETENTION TECHNOLOGY

By

Ning Gong

Subsurface water retention technology (SWRT) is a system of contoured engineered

membranes made of a blend of linear low and low density polyethylene, and drip irrigation

installed below the root zone to increase water use efficiency. It is claimed that SWRT is

capable of increasing crop yields by 50 to 400% through extending the water retention

time in the root zone. More than four million hectares of sandy soil area in the U.S. creates a

great opportunity for using SWRT to improve the soil use efficiency; however, SWRT’s

environmental footprint (EFP) is still unknown. The focus of this LCA study was to

determine the EFP of SWRT compared to control methods and previous benchmark studies

in growing corn. The functional unit was selected as 1000 kg of corn grain grown in sandy

soil in Michigan, U.S. The study boundary and temporal condition was cradle-to-gate with

data obtained from 2000 to 2013. The ReCiPe 1.07 (H) midpoint impact assessment

methodology was used. Six different treatments (15” -row spacing- SWRT, 30” SWRT, 15”

Control, 30” Control, Irrigated SWRT, and Nonirrigated Control) planted on Sandhill farm,

Michigan State University were evaluated. A simulation of continuous corn production on

the Sandhill farm was also performed to estimate the pay-off time for the additional burden

of installing SWRT. The benchmark comparison confirmed that the study results were in a

reasonable range. The study identified climate change, fossil fuel depletion, and terrestrial

acidification as the largest impacts for SWRT. Contribution analysis indicated that

irrigation was a hotspot activity. The parameter of corn grain yield was highly sensitive.
Copyright by
NING GONG
2014
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I received tremendous support and help with this project. I am indebted to many people

who contributed their work with my thesis. First of all, I would like express my sincere

thanks to my parents. Without their supports on both spirit and finance, I would not be

able to finish this thesis. Second, I cannot find words to express my gratitude to Dr. Auras,

my supervisor. Thank you for his guidance, support, and patient along the past three years.

It is my honor to be one of RAA member, being influenced largely from Dr. Auras and

everyone in the group. Thanks to Dr. Alvin J.M. Smucker, together with the SWRT project’s

members for providing the significant contributions and critical advices on this thesis.

Thanks to Dr. Selke for her valuable inputs and care to both my research and living. Also, I

wish to express my thanks to Dr. Bruno Basso. Without his support, I am afraid my thesis

could not be done in another one year. Also, I share the credit of my work with my

boyfriend Yao Li who helped me go over the fear and loss when started this project, and

brought positive energy to my life. Thanks to all my friends for their encouragement and

the good time we had. They are the parts I am bet to miss the most of life in MSU.

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

LIST OF TABLES................................................................................................................................................. viii

LIST OF FIGURES ................................................................................................................................................. xii

KEY TO ABBREVIATIONS ................................................................................................................................ xv

Introduction & Motivation................................................................................................................................. 1


REFERENCES .......................................................................................................................................................... 3

Literature Review ................................................................................................................................................. 6


2.1 SWRT background ...................................................................................................................... 6
2.2 Field management ................................................................................................................... 10
2.3 Water management................................................................................................................. 12
2.3.1 Goal of water management ......................................................................................... 12
2.3.2 Water demands in different corn grown phases ................................................ 13
2.3.3 Soil water............................................................................................................................ 15
2.3.4 Irrigation approaches .................................................................................................... 16
2.4 Chemical fertilizers ................................................................................................................. 17
2.4.1 Nitrogen fertilizer ........................................................................................................... 17
2.4.2 Phosphate fertilizer ........................................................................................................ 19
2.4.3 Potassium fertilizer ........................................................................................................ 19
2.5 Corn harvest............................................................................................................................... 20
2.6 Crop residue utilization ......................................................................................................... 20
2.7 Tillage ........................................................................................................................................... 22
2.8 Introduction of crop growth and management models ............................................ 23
2.9 Land use....................................................................................................................................... 25
2.10 Overview of life cycle assessment ..................................................................................... 27
2.11 Framework of LCA ................................................................................................................... 30
2.11.1 Goal and Scope Definition ............................................................................................ 31
2.11.2 Inventory Analysis .......................................................................................................... 33
2.11.3 Impact Assessment ......................................................................................................... 33
2.11.4 Interpretation ................................................................................................................... 34
2.12 Allocation and system expansion methods ................................................................... 34
2.13 Past corn studies ...................................................................................................................... 37
2.14 Identified reasons of large variations .............................................................................. 38
REFERENCES ....................................................................................................................................................... 42

Goal and Scope .................................................................................................................................................... 49


3.1 Intended use of study ............................................................................................................. 49
3.2 Target audience ........................................................................................................................ 50
3.3 Functional unit .......................................................................................................................... 51
3.4 System boundary ..................................................................................................................... 51

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3.5 Cut-off rules................................................................................................................................ 52
3.6 Allocation rules ......................................................................................................................... 52
3.7 Temporal and technology representative ...................................................................... 53
3.8 Software and data collection ............................................................................................... 53
3.9 Life cycle impact assessment methodology and impact categories ..................... 53
REFERENCES ....................................................................................................................................................... 55

Life Cycle Inventory .......................................................................................................................................... 57


4.1 Project design ............................................................................................................................ 57
4.1.1 Experimental dataset..................................................................................................... 57
4.1.2 Simulation data ................................................................................................................ 58
4.2 Overview ..................................................................................................................................... 61
4.3 Machinery ................................................................................................................................... 63
4.3.1 Tillage .................................................................................................................................. 64
4.3.2 Sowing ................................................................................................................................. 67
4.3.3 Fertilizing ........................................................................................................................... 69
4.3.4 Combine harvesting ....................................................................................................... 71
4.4 Irrigation ..................................................................................................................................... 73
4.4.1 Drip irrigation, irrigation water and electricity .................................................. 73
4.4.2 Drip tape production ..................................................................................................... 74
4.4.3 End of life (EOL) of disposed drip tape ................................................................... 75
4.5 Chemical ...................................................................................................................................... 75
4.6 Seed .............................................................................................................................................. 78
4.7 SWRT ............................................................................................................................................ 81
4.8 Planting ........................................................................................................................................ 83
4.8.1 Field preparation............................................................................................................. 84
4.8.2 Harvest ................................................................................................................................ 85
4.9 Calculation procedure ............................................................................................................ 86
4.9.1 Seed flow calculation ..................................................................................................... 87
4.9.2 Chemical flow calculation ............................................................................................ 88
4.9.3 Machinery flow calculation ......................................................................................... 88
4.9.4 Irrigation flow calculation ........................................................................................... 89
4.9.5 SWRT flow calculation .................................................................................................. 90
4.9.6 Biogenic carbon flow calculation .............................................................................. 90
4.9.7 Land occupation flow calculation ............................................................................. 91
4.9.8 Fertilizer emission flow calculation ......................................................................... 92
4.10 Assumptions .............................................................................................................................. 93
4.10.1 Machinery .......................................................................................................................... 93
4.10.2 Irrigation ............................................................................................................................ 94
4.10.3 Chemical ............................................................................................................................. 95
4.10.4 Seed ...................................................................................................................................... 95
4.10.5 SWRT.................................................................................................................................... 95
4.10.6 Planting ............................................................................................................................... 96
4.10.7 Missing data ...................................................................................................................... 96
APPENDIX ............................................................................................................................................................. 97
REFERENCES ..................................................................................................................................................... 116

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Results and interpretation ........................................................................................................................... 119
5.1 Evaluation of result quality ................................................................................................ 119
5.1.1 Completeness check ..................................................................................................... 119
5.1.2 Consistency check ......................................................................................................... 122
5.1.3 Contribution analysis .................................................................................................. 126
5.2 LCIA Results ............................................................................................................................. 129
5.2.1 LCIA Results of experimental treatments ............................................................ 130
5.2.2 Benchmark of published studies ............................................................................. 138
5.3 Scenario comparisons .......................................................................................................... 141
5.3.1 Yield increase scenario ............................................................................................... 141
5.3.2 Drip tape lifetime scenario ........................................................................................ 143
5.3.3 Scenarios regarding multifunctionality methods of allocation ................... 147
5.3.4 LCA methodology scenario ........................................................................................ 151
5.4 Uncertainty analyses ............................................................................................................ 154
5.4.1 Data quality evaluation ............................................................................................... 154
5.4.2 Land use (LU) ................................................................................................................. 154
5.4.3 Monte Carlo simulations based on the pedigree matrix ................................ 163
APPENDICES ...................................................................................................................................................... 164
Appendix A5: Contribution analyses ........................................................................................................ 164
Appendix B5: Allocation scenarios............................................................................................................ 198
Appendix C5: Pedigree matrix .................................................................................................................... 201
REFERENCES ..................................................................................................................................................... 212

Normalization and weighting ...................................................................................................................... 215


6.1 Normalization ..................................................................................................................................... 216
6.2 Weighting.............................................................................................................................................. 219
REFERENCES ..................................................................................................................................................... 220

Conclusions and future work ...................................................................................................................... 222


7.1 Conclusions .............................................................................................................................. 222
7.2 Future work ............................................................................................................................. 226

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LIST OF TABLES

Table 4- 1 Yield and irrigation of year 2012 experiment ...................................................................58

Table 4- 2 Yield and irrigation of year 2013 experiment ...................................................................58

Table 4- 3 Unit processes grouping of corn production system .......................................................63

Table 4- 4 Representation of tillage activity ............................................................................................65

Table 4- 5 Input /Output flows of chisel tillage 1 ha farm .................................................................66

Table 4- 6 Input /Output flows of sowing corn seed per 1 ha farm with .....................................68

Table 4- 7 Representation of processes in sowing activity ................................................................69

Table 4- 8 Input /Output flows of fertilizing by broadcaster process ............................................70

Table 4- 9 Representation of processes in fertilizing activity ...........................................................71

Table 4- 10 Inputs and Outputs of combine harvesting process ......................................................72

Table 4- 11 Representation and key assumptions of harvesting activity .....................................73

Table 4- 12 Chemical processes description ............................................................................................77

Table 4- 13 LCI of seed process .....................................................................................................................79

Table 4- 14 Representation and data resource of SWRT processes ...............................................83

Table 4- 15 LCI of field preparation process in irrigated SWRT plan.............................................85

Table 4- 16 LCI of harvest process in irrigated SWRT plan ................................................................86

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Table A- 1 LCI of 2012 experiment ..............................................................................................................98

Table A- 2 LCI of 2013 experiment ........................................................................................................... 102

Table A- 3 LCI of 2004-2013 simulation ................................................................................................. 105

Table A- 4 Soil profile in SALUS .................................................................................................................. 108

Table A- 5 Crop management profile ....................................................................................................... 108

Table A- 6 Yields from SALUS simulation for year 2004 to 2013 ................................................. 109

Table A- 7 Difference between average yields and simulated aggregate NOSWRT ............... 109

Table A- 8 LUs summary of experiment treatments .......................................................................... 110

Table A- 9 Field preparation process flow calculations of experiment treatments ............... 111

Table A- 10 Field preparation process flow calculations of simulated treatments ............... 113

Table A- 11 LU [acre] to produce 1000 kg grain of simulated treatments ................................ 114

Table A- 12 Drip tape measurement record .......................................................................................... 115

Table 5- 1 Completeness check .................................................................................................................. 120

Table 5- 2 Consistency check ...................................................................................................................... 123

Table 5- 3 Published corn grain study result for reference ............................................................. 140

Table 5- 4 Comparison of LCIA from database and published studied results, and the 2012
and 2013 SWRT and Ctrl results ................................................................................................................ 140

Table 5- 5 Time [year] to pay-off SWRT burden if yield increase due to SWRT application
................................................................................................................................................................................. 143

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Table 5- 6 Mean and SD of LU ..................................................................................................................... 155

Table 5- 7 Water consumption comparisons ........................................................................................ 162

Table A5- 1 LCIA of 2012 15” SWRT for contribution analysis...................................................... 166

Table A5- 2 LCIA of 2012 30” SWRT for contribution analysis...................................................... 168

Table A5- 3 LCIA of 2012 15” Ctrl for contribution analysis .......................................................... 170

Table A5- 4 LCIA of 2012 30” Ctrl for contribution analysis .......................................................... 172

Table A5- 5 LCIA of 2013 Irrigated SWRT for contribution analysis........................................... 174

Table A5- 6 LCIA of 2013 Nonirrigated SWRT for contribution analysis .................................. 176

Table A5- 7 LCIA of simulated 2004 Ctrl for contribution analysis ............................................. 178

Table A5- 8 LCIA of simulated 2004 SWRT for contribution analysis ........................................ 180

Table A5- 9 Flow relative contributions (%) of 2012 15” SWRT .................................................. 182

Table A5- 10 Flow relative contributions (%) of 2012 30” SWRT ............................................... 184

Table A5- 11 Flow relative contributions (%) of 2012 15” Control ............................................. 186

Table A5- 12 Flow relative contributions (%) of 2012 30” Ctrl .................................................... 188

x
Table A5- 13 Flow relative contributions (%) of 2013 Irrigated SWRT .................................... 191

Table A5- 14 Flow relative contributions (%) of 2013 Nonirrigated SWRT ............................ 193

Table A5- 15 Flow relative contributions (%) of 2004 simulated Ctrl ....................................... 195

Table A5- 16 Flow relative contributions (%) of 2004 simulated SWRT .................................. 197

Table B5- 1-a Allocation scenarios on 15” SWRT and 30” SWRT ................................................. 199

Table B5- 1-b Allocation scenarios on 15” Ctrl and 30” Ctrl ........................................................... 200

Table B5- 1-c Allocation scenarios on Irrigated SWRT and Nonirrigated Ctrl ........................ 201

Table C5- 1 Pedigree matrix used to assess the data quality .......................................................... 203

Table C5- 2 Pedigree matrix used for uncertainty analysis ............................................................. 204

Table C5- 3 Monte Carlo simulation on SWRT machine diesel consumption rate ................. 210

Table C5- 4 Monte Carlo simulation on drip tape production ........................................................ 211

Table C5- 5 Monte Carlo simulation on seed ......................................................................................... 212

Table 6- 1 ReCiPe 1.07 (H) World midpoint normalization factor .............................................. 216

Table 6- 2 LCIA of SWRT .............................................................................................................................. 218

Table 6- 3 Normalized LCIA ........................................................................................................................ 219

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LIST OF FIGURES

Figure 2- 1 SWRT configuration ..................................................................................................................... 9

Figure 2- 2 Components of SALUS [39] ......................................................................................................25

Figure 2-3 Stages of an LCA [1] .....................................................................................................................31

Figure 3-1 System boundary ..........................................................................................................................52

Figure 4- 1 Average grain yield from year 1942-2012 in Ingham, MI [1] .....................................59

Figure 4- 2 Corn grain production systems ..............................................................................................62

Figure 4- 3 Tillage process model.................................................................................................................64

Figure 4- 4 Sowing plan model .....................................................................................................................67

Figure 4- 5 Drip irrigation process ..............................................................................................................74

Figure 5- 1 Contribution analysis of 2012 SWRT treatments: 15”SWRT (left top), 30’’SWRT
(right top), 15” Ctrl (left bottom), and 30” Ctrl (right bottom) ..................................................... 127

Figure 5- 2 Contribution analysis of 2013 Irrigated SWRT (left top), Nonirrigated Ctrl (right
top), 2004 simulated Ctrl (left bottom), and 2004 simulated SWRT (right bottom) ............ 128

Figure 5- 3 ReCiPe 1.07 (H) Midpoint of Agricultural Land Occupation ................................... 130

Figure 5- 4 ReCiPe 1.07 (H) Midpoint of Climate Change ............................................................... 131

Figure 5- 5 ReCiPe 1.07 (H) Midpoint of Fossil Depletion .............................................................. 132

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Figure 5- 6 ReCiPe 1.07 (H) Midpoint of Freshwater Ecotoxicity (top) and freshwater
eutrophication (bottom) ............................................................................................................................... 134

Figure 5- 7 ReCiPe 1.07 (H) Midpoint of Human Toxicity ............................................................... 135

Figure 5- 8 ReCiPe 1.07 (H) Midpoint of Terrestrial Acidification .............................................. 136

Figure 5- 9 ReCiPe 1.07 (H) Midpoint of Water Depletion ............................................................. 137

Figure 5- 10 Time to pay-off SWRT burden on climate change impact ..................................... 142

Figure 5- 11 Drip tape lifetime scenario on climate change .......................................................... 145

Figure 5- 12 Drip tape lifetime scenario on fossil depletion .......................................................... 145

Figure 5- 13 Drip tape lifetime scenario on human toxicity .......................................................... 146

Figure 5- 14 Drip tape lifetime scenario on terrestrial acidification .......................................... 146

Figure 5- 15 System expansion corn system ........................................................................................ 150

Figure 5- 16 Allocation scenarios on agricultural land occupation ............................................. 151

Figure 5- 17 Impact assessment methodology scenarios on climate change .......................... 152

Figure 5- 18 Agricultural land occ. [m2 * a], columns with the different lower case letters
are statistically significant different at 95% CI, with a indicating the lowest, using the
simulated LU mean and SD of simulated LU mean ............................................................................. 157

Figure 5- 19 LU Climate change [kg CO2 eqv.], columns with the different lower case letters
are statistically significant different at 95% CI, with a indicating the lowest, using the
simulated LU mean and SD of simulated LU mean ............................................................................. 157

Figure 5- 20 LU Fossil depletion [kg oil eqv.], columns with the different lower case letters
are statistically significant different at 95% CI, with a indicating the lowest, using the
simulated LU mean and SD of simulated LU mean ............................................................................. 158

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Figure 5- 21 Freshwater ecotoxi. [Kg 1, 4 -DB eqv.], columns with the different lower case
letters are statistically significant different at 95% CI, with a indicating the lowest, using
the simulated LU mean and SD of simulated LU mean ..................................................................... 159

Figure 5- 22 Freshwater eutrophication [kg P eqv.], columns with the different lower case
letters are statistically significant different at 95% CI, with a indicating the lowest, using
the simulated LU mean and SD of simulated LU mean ...................................................................... 159

Figure 5- 23 Human toxicity. [Kg 1, 4 -DB eqv.], columns with the different lower case
letters are statistically significant different at 95% CI, with a indicating the lowest, using
the simulated LU mean and SD of simulated LU mean ..................................................................... 160

Figure 5- 24 Terrestrial acidification [kg SO2 eqv.], columns with the different lower case
letters are statistically significant different at 95% CI, with a indicating the lowest, using
the simulated LU mean and SD of simulated LU mean ...................................................................... 160

Figure 5- 25 Water depletion [m3], columns with the different lower case letters are
statistically significant different at 95% CI, with a indicating the lowest, using the simulated
LU mean and SD of simulated LU mean .................................................................................................. 162

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KEY TO ABBREVIATIONS

agg Aggregated unit process

aLCA Attributional LCA

AMS Ammonium Sulfate

AN Ammonium nitrate

CI Confident interval

cLCA Consequential LCA

EC Electronic conductivity

EFP Environmental footprint

EOL End of life

FU Functional unit

GHG Greenhouse gas

IPCC Intergovernmental Panel in Climate Change

ISO International Organization for Standardization

LCA Life cycle assessment

LCI life cycle inventory

LCIA Life cycle impact assessment

LLDPE Linear low density polyethylene

LU Land use

MSW Municipal solid waste

NMVOCs Non-methane volatile organic compounds

PE Polyethylene

xv
SALUS The system approach to land use sustainability model

SD Standard deviation

SOM Soil organic matter

SRR Stover removal rates

SWRT Subsurface water retention technology

USDA United States Department of Agriculture

u-so Single operation unit process

xvi
Introduction & Motivation

Irrigation withdrawal, about one third of the nation water use in 2005, was the

largest use of freshwater in U.S. [1]. Subsurface water retention technology (SWRT)

is a new generation of agricultural water saving technology. A contour shaped

plastic membrane based on a polyethylene blend and drip irrigation system are the

major components of SWRT. The membrane is installed below the root zone to

extend the water retention time in soil. A drip irrigation system is used to reduce

the water loss during the water amendment process. SWRT not only increase the

water use efficiency by extending retention time, but it also increases the yield by

enhancing the grain to shoot ratio [2]. Considering that 61% of the crop growing

area in Michigan is sandy soil [3], there is great potential for SWRT to increase

Michigan agricultural soil productivity.

The largest grain stock in the U.S. is corn, which account for 64.2% of the total

grain stock [4]. According to a USDA statistical service report, the U.S. corn grain

production was 353,698,734 metric tons in 2013 [5]. Many environmental

performance studies regarding corn grain and corn stover production have

previously been published [6-9]. Most of these studies were aimed to provide an

insight to the corn-ethanol and stover-ethanol production discussion. The main

driving reasons for the corn related biofuel life cycle assessment LCA studies were

the rising petroleum price and federal subsidies. Only a few studies explored factors

affecting the environmental footprint (EFP) of corn production such as irrigation

and row spacing. These might be driven by the small amount of irrigated corn in the

US [10]. However, studies showing the great economic return for irrigation begin to

1
raise the attraction of the irrigation method to a growing number of corn growers

[11]. Until now, none of the available studies evaluate the potential EFP of using

SWRT for crop production.

Thus, the objective of this study is using LCA to evaluate the EFP of growing corn

using SWRT in sandy soil with various row spacings and irrigation management

strategies. Specifically, the study will focus on two main parts: a) using experimental

data from growing corn in sandy soil during the years 2012 and 2013, and b)

creating simulated data for corn production from 2004 to 2013 to determine the

EFP of SWRT for long term corn production and the pay-off of using SWRT. The

overall motivation of this study is to understand the EFP of SWRT application and

use, which is necessary for policy makers, corn growers, and SWRT researchers for

evaluation and implementation of this technology.

2
REFERENCES

3
REFERENCES

1. State, N.a.o.t.U. Water use in the United States. Jan 14, 2013 [cited 2014 Apr
11]; Available from:
http://nationalatlas.gov/articles/water/a_wateruse.html.

2. Smucker, A.J.M, Corn Yield of 2012 SWRT experiment in Sandhill farm, in 2012
Experiment results. 2012, Michigan State University: East Lansing.

3. Lyles, L., Sandy surface soils in the United States, in Agricul tural Research
Service. 1975, USDA: Manhattan,Kansas.

4. NASS, U., Grain stocks, USDA-NASS, Editor. 2014, NASS; Available from
http://usda.mannlib.cornell.edu/usda/current/GraiStoc/GraiStoc-03-31-
2014.pdf

5. Service, U. N. A. S. (2013). 2013 US total corn grain production_ Survey.


USDA, USDA National Agricultural Statistic Service; available from:
http://quickstats.nass.usda.gov/results/D429F7A1-8B99-3054-AE71-
C106DA7C3DDB

6. Kim, S., B.E. Dale, and R. Jenkins, Life cycle assessment of corn grain and corn
stover in the United States. The International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment,
2009. 14(2): p. 160-174.

7. Kim, S. and B.E. Dale, Life cycle assessment of various cropping systems utilized
for producing biofuels: Bioethanol and biodiesel. Biomass and Bioenergy, 2005.
29(6): p. 426-439.

8. Sheehan, J., et al., Energy and Environmental Aspects of Using Corn Stover for
Fuel Ethanol. Journal of Industrial Ecology, 2003. 7(3-4): p. 117-146.

9. Pimentel, D. and T.W. Patzek, Ethanol Production Using Corn, Switchgrass, and
Wood; Biodiesel Production Using Soybean and Sunflower. Natural Resources
Research, 2005. 14(1): p. 65-76.

10. (NASS), U.-N.A.S.S., USDA michigan specified crops harvested-yeild per acre
irrigated and nonirrigated:2007. 2007, United States department of
Agriculture.

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11. Market, F.t. Corn: Environmental Results. Environmental and Socioeconomic
Indicators for Measuring Outcomes of On-Farm Agricultural Production in
the United States: Second Report 2012 [cited 2014 Apr 10]; From the 2012
Environmental and Socioeconomic Indicators Report ]. Available from:
http://www.fieldtomarket.org/report/national-2/PNT_NatReport_Corn.pdf.

5
Literature Review

The current chapter describes the SWRT background and management of soil,

irrigation, and fertilizer in cultivating corn. For prescription agriculture and yield

projection purposes, crop growth and management models are introduced. The

basic framework of an LCA study and an overview of the published LCA corn studies

are reported.

2.1 SWRT background

Temperature, solar radiation, soil, management, and available water are major

factors in crop production. Temperature is a pivotal factor for germination,

respiration and evaporation. Solar radiation satisfies the basic need for

photosynthesis, which is proportional to plant growth when assuming that other

environmental factors are not under stress. Soil, the host to the crops, is a

composition of solid particles, liquids, and air. Different levels of the components in

combination make soil display a wide range of features in texture, water holding

capacity, organic compound level, pH, electronic conductivity (EC), etc. The soil type

has great impact on plant growth in ways that providing growing conditions, such as

acid or alkaline, anaerobic or aerobic environment in the root zone, fertility, and

drainage rate, which affect the health of the crops. Management is a human effect on

plant growth. Management approaches include crop species selection, tillage,

adjusting soil pH, designing row spacing, weeding, fertilizing/ fertigation, and

scheduling dates to plant, manage, and harvest.

6
Among the above crop production parameters, water availability is a critical

factor for crop yield and quality [2]. Soil water deficits rank among the highest

stress limitations to crop growth and productivity. Droughts, limits land

productivity and decreasing fertilizer efficiency, will lead to crop price increase and

aggravate the hunger issue. Irrigation water is responsible for 80% of total water

consumption in the U.S. Due to the wide-spread use of irrigation, underground

water body is experiencing unsustainable withdrawals. If current withdrawal rates

continue, the next worse scenarios would be extensive droughts. A greater demand

for irrigation has to compete with municipal, industrial, and commercial interests

[3], while fresh water declines. In this situation, new technologies that maintain

water and nutrient levels in the soil to achieve high productivity are highly sought,

such as water supplementation, prescription agriculture, water desalination, and

drought-tolerant plants [4-6].

Conventional methods to fight droughts are either to increase water

supplementation or to develop drought-tolerant plants. The former method is a

short-term practice, raising problems such as high labor and resource cost, as well

as increasing leaching of fertilizers, pesticides, manure, and other soil nutrients. The

latter method achieves the goal via gene modification to develop plants with larger

root systems that can absorb sufficient water and nutrients in deeper soil. This

method is time consuming, and requires costly investment for every cropping

system.

7
Another alternative developed by Michigan State University is subsurface water

retention technology (SWRT) [7]. SWRT consists of two components: contoured

engineered membranes made of a blend of linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE)

and low density polyethylene (LDPE), and drip irrigation systems. Membranes are

installed below the root zone with two installation depths- 56 cm and 40 cm from

the soil surface. Each installation depth is used in every other row, as shown in

Figure 2-1. In the long term, iDrip tapes are placed in the root zone above the

membranes. The current practice was to place the pipes on the soil surface parallel

to the linear direction of the SWRT membranes. In order to install the membranes

with the target contoured shape, a new type of tractor was developed for SWRT [7].

8
Figure 2- 1 SWRT configuration

SWRT water saving membranes are contoured engineered LLDPE films strategically
spaced below the plant root zone with space available for root growth and internal
drainage during excess rainfall. Note: (。) Installed drip pipes located 10 cm above
the SWRT water saving membranes.

Experimental plots have successfully been installed and field tested. It is claimed

that the SWRT method helps increase aboveground biomass and food production by

50 to 400%, while reducing irrigation water by 60% at seven experiments in MI and

TX [8]. It is expected that application of SWRT will increase soil water and nutrient

level, and will eventually lead to soil enrichment and conversion to productive soil

[9]. Preliminary studies show that SWRT could transform at least 160 million acres

9
of sandy soils across the USA (3 million acres in Michigan alone) into water-

conserving and highly sustainable agricultural production landscapes with minimal

leaching [8, 10]. In addition to greater yields, the long-term use of SWRT has the

potential to increase soil water holding capacity. In response, less irrigation (60%

less in Michigan, U.S.) and nutrient supplements should be required [8].

Furthermore, it is claimed that using SWRT on permeable sandy soil would

effectively reduce global warming impact compared to planting on clay soil.

To date, the potential environmental impact of this technology has not been

studied. On one hand, yield records from the seven SWRT experimental sites suggest

that SWRT helps reduce irrigation, and nutrient and agrochemical run-off [8].

Meanwhile, there are potential benefits by planting on sandy soil to both reduce

greenhouse gas (GHG) emission and effectively use idle sandy soil. On the other

hand, SWRT introduces plastic membranes into the soil, which consumes

nonrewable resources, and requires extra energy for installation. Life cycle

assessment (LCA) is a systematic approach that could evaluate the environmental

footprint of installing and using SWRT, from raw material extraction to the end of

life of the membranes.

2.2 Field management

Corn, as a kind of C4 plant, is the major crop grown in the U.S. with large

harvested area and sales revenue [11]. The average corn yield [kg/ha] grown by

more than 300% since 1942 [12]. This tremendous yield increase should be

10
attributed to agricultural technology development and growing understanding of

field management skills.

Row spacing is a factor affecting yield. A continuous narrowing trend on row

spacing has occurred in modern agriculture. Current row widths employed by

producers typically vary from 38.1 to 96.5 cm, with most producers at 76.2 cm.

Narrow row width has increased appeal for many corn growers. Farnham et al [13]

at Iowa State University Extension conducted a six-year study and found that,

compared to 76.2 cm row spacing, 38.1 cm rows resulted in 0.3% higher yield,

while 96.5 cm rows led to 2.9% lower yield.

After the row spacing decision has been made and seeds have been broadcast,

optimal field managements requires different actions in relation to the corn

development stages. A most commonly used theory to identify corn plant

development stages is Iowa System [14]. Corn development is divided into two main

stages: the vegetative stage and the reproductive stage. Vegetative stage can be

subdivided into emergence, leaves development, and tasseling. The reproductive

stage includes silking, blister, milk, dough, dent, and physiological maturity [14].

Emergence requires soil temperatures above 10°C for germination. Most corn

growers choose the soil temperature as the critical factor to determine the planting

date. Early planting would allow a longer growing season, which may be beneficial

to higher yield. However, if planted too early (e.g., in March in Michigan), soil

temperature will not facilitate corn germination and will increase the seeding

mortality risk. Corn seeds start emergence in 7 to 10 days after broadcasting. Then

11
corn plants typically develop 20-21 leaves in the vegetative stage. About 130 days

after emergence, field corn becomes physically mature. Farmers decide to harvest

field corn based on tassel observation. A yellow or dark brown color silk is a signal

for harvest. A delayed harvest will not result in continuous accumulation of dry

matter. In the opposite, occurs the corn plant will itself consume starch and sugar

for respiration. Farmers decide the date to harvest corn by considering many factors.

The factors include but are not limited to corn production purposes (silage or grain),

corn variety, plant appearance, weather, availability of machines, etc.

2.3 Water management

Water management is part of field management. Despite the higher

infrastructure cost and labor investment required compared to purely relying on

rain feed, water amendment gains increasing popularity due to the significant yield

increases brought by irrigation [15].

2.3.1 Goal of water management

The goal of water management for crop producers is to maintain the field at

its near maximum soil water holding capacity (also called field capacity), to prevent

water stress on plant growth. Irrigated crops have greater economic revenue than

ones relying on rain only. Though only 18% of crop production area is irrigated in

Michigan, the irrigated area produces 23% of the total production value.

Agricultural producers tend to have higher irrigation rates on high value crops, such

as vegetables, potatoes, seed crops, and turf [16].

12
Since agricultural water use takes up to 90 percent of the nation’s water use in

many western states [17], as well as issues such as exhaustive fresh water

withdrawal situations, it is urgent to improve the irrigation water management to

enhance water use efficiency. This can be achieved by controlling the irrigation rate

and frequency, selecting the irrigation method, and retaining water in the soil for a

longer time. Irrigation management should take both economic and environmental

consequences into consideration. Irrigating corn during its water stress sensitive

periods helps to obtain the greatest benefits in the yield. On the other hand,

maximum irrigation rate should be adjusted based on average soil texture, slope,

and rate of residue. Over irrigation not only leads to unnecessary economic cost,

but also causes issues as excessive ponding, runoff, erosion, and an anaerobic

environment for roots.

2.3.2 Water demands in different corn grown phases

Crop water use is the sum of evaporation from the soil surface and plant

respiration [18]. For corn, soil surface evaporation and plant respiration are

responsible for 20 - 30% and 70 - 80% of total crop water use, respectively. Corn

daily water use depends on external conditions and internal factors. Major external

factors are air temperature, humidity, solar radiation, wind speed, and location.

Internal factors are associated with plant growth stages. Especially in summer,

when precipitation is smaller than evaporation, water deficit become a major threat

to crop growth. To eliminate this negative impact on yield, a number of crop

13
growers irrigate their crops. In Michigan, about 10% of corn is irrigated [19], and

this percentage is expected to increase.

Irrigation should be adjusted based on the corn growth phase. Before plant

emergence, surface irrigation is highly discouraged. It can lead to crust formation on

the soil surface and impede the seedlings [18]. In the early N leaf stages, when only a

few leaves have emerged and the root system is tiny, plant water demand is

relatively low due to the limited area to transpire water. Most water use is

attributed to soil surface evaporation during this period. A month and a half after

planting, when corn plants reach the 12-leaf stage, the average daily water use rate

increase to approximately 0.26 in/day, as much as double the amount in the 4-leaf

stage [18]. Normally at 60-80 days after seeding, when corn is in the stages of early

tassel, silking, and blister kernel, daily water use rates reach peak values. Severe

water stress occurring during these reproduction phases will have the greatest

threat to yield. Therefore, in dry years, irrigation at least once during this stage is

highly recommended to offset possible yield loss. Three months after planting, the

corn plant is in the beginning dent stage. Because air temperature begins to cool

down and the root system finishes development, both soil surface evaporation

water and plant respiration water demand decrease. In the next stages, full dent

and maturity stages, the lower leaf drop leads to a continuous shrinking water

demand. From an economic standpoint, most corn growers do not irrigate in the last

two stages, because grain has been developed and water stress will not create

severe consequence in the yield.

14
2.3.3 Soil water

After precipitation enter the soil, the amount of water that can be held by the soil

is determined by the soil water holding capacity. Soil water holding capacity varies

greatly by soil textures, soil organic matter (SOM), and the effective rooting depth of

the crop with the soil. The available water is the difference between the field

capacity and the permanent wilting point (the point at which plants cannot absorb

water from soil and thus die), which depends on pore size and the surface area. For

example, coarse-textured soil (fine sands, loamy sands, and fine sandy loams) is

characterized by a relatively small surface area and weak Vander Waals forces

attributed to large pore size. The water holding capacity of coarse-textured soil is as

low as 0.021 to 0.100 [cm water/ cm soil] (equivalent to 0.25 to 1.2 inches

water/foot of soil), while that of fine-textured soil can be as high as 0.21 [cm water/

cm soil] (equivalent to 2.5 inches water/foot of soil) [20]. At the same time, soil

texture, soil structure, and slope greatly determine the infiltration rate. Slope

determines the tendency for water movement by gravity. Soil texture and structure

determine the available water that can flow into the soil. In general, high clay

content in the soil indicates good water holding capacity. When making irrigation

plans, the effective root depth of the planted crop should also be considered. Some

crops, such as alfalfa and corn, have very strong branching root systems that

penetrate more than 122 cm deep, while a few crops, like soybeans, could not have

effective root depth up to 61 cm [16].

15
The residue cover rate should also be taken into account when scheduling

irrigation. Residue surface coverage can minimize soil evaporation by reflecting a

portion of the incoming solar radiation [18]. Watts and Klocke et al [21]

demonstrated that after a single wetting event, the evaporation rate of bare soil is

higher initially, and decreases as a function of time (days) until the soil water

content is identical to that of residue-covered soil in about 8 days. In reality,

precipitation occurs more frequently than every 8 days for most places during the

growing season. Hence, residue has a barrier effect in reducing total evaporation. In

addition, residue layers are capable of slowing down the speed of surface runoff

[22].

2.3.4 Irrigation approaches

Traditional overhead sprinkler, drip, trickle, furrow, and sub-surface irrigation

systems are commonly used irrigation approaches in the U.S. Center pivot, one of

the overhead sprinkler methods, is the most often used water amendment approach

for corn. Compared to drip irrigation systems, overhead sprinkler irrigation systems

operate with relatively lower water use efficiency. The water use efficiency of

overhead sprinkler is as low as 45%, while that of drip irrigation system is 90%

[23]. A considerable portion of water loss occurs during the delivery of water to

plants for the overhead sprinkler methods. Unlike the drip irrigation method deliver

water directly to roots, reducing excessive evaporation. Less water is required to

deliver to the plants, so reducing electricity consumption and irrigation time. In

addition, drip irrigation water is a good carrier of liquid nutrients and fertilizer,

16
simplifying the application. Drip irrigation also has potential functional benefit in

eliminating crop burning, crop contamination, and plant diseases [17].

A drip irrigation system consists of pumps, filters, drip tubing, valves, regulators,

connectors, ground sensors, and data collectors. Pumps provide the driving force for

the system, either powered by fuel or electricity. In the U.S., electric pumps are

popular on large farms. SWRT employs drip irrigation systems, combined with

membranes to extend the soil water retention time.

2.4 Chemical fertilizers

Fertilizer use in Michigan has increased since commercial fertilizers became

available. At the same time, agricultural areas are continuously shrinking [24].

Investing more money on fertilizers for productive harvest has gained popularity in

Michigan. However, considerable environmental cost and risks should be concerns

associated with over-fertilization. Excessive fertilizer nutrients, especially N and P,

appearing in both surface and groundwater, has become non-point source of

contamination and is hard to control [25, 26].

2.4.1 Nitrogen fertilizer

The N recommendations for most crops grown on organic soils are 45 to 56

kg/ha (40 to 50 lbs. /acre). Little nitrogen replenishment is recommended for

legumes. However, corn, a kind of responsive crop, faces nitrogen limitation most

often, followed by phosphorus. For the purpose of a good benefit return, many corn

producers use more N and P fertilizer than necessary [24].

17
Best management of N fertilizer is estimated based on expected yield and N

credits. A realistic expected yield can be made based on average history under

favorable growing conditions. An unrealistically high yield goal will lead to over

fertilization, raising in both economic and environmental issues. A recommended N

application rate on corn is 112 to 213 kg/ha (100-190 lbs. /acre) [27] depending on

the goal, SOM and N credits. Nitrogen credit sources include NO3-N concentration in

the soil and irrigation water, soil organic matter concentration, manure application,

and legume credit. Detail equations in determine proper N application rate can be

found in corn production guidelines [28].

In addition to the N application rate, choices of nitrogen fertilizer form should be

under consideration based on consideration of soil physics, type of application

method, environment, and plant growth phase. Nitrate, ammonia, and urea are

common forms of N fertilizer. Nitrate N (calcium nitrate or ammonium nitrate) is

readily available for plants, while ammonia and urea require transformation

processes into nitrate N. Their high solubility means a high leaching issue at the

same time. Unless the plant is actively growing, a high nitrate N rate is strongly

discouraged for use on highly permeable soil. For a lower leaching rate, ammonium

is a good substitute. It can incorporate with clay and SOM to delay leaching. Only

high temperature and moist conditions favor the nitrification process to convert it

into nitrate. Urea N is sensitive to volatilization under warm temperatures, high soil

pH, and high humidity. Surface application should be avoided for urea N. Once urea

N becomes gaseous ammonia, plants hardly make use of it, which for crop producers

18
mean losses. To maximize N use efficiency, applying N only a few days ahead of

planting, instead of in early spring, and splitting N applications are encouraged.

2.4.2 Phosphate fertilizer

Phosphate is the second most often occurring nutrient stress for corn growing.

The inorganic forms of phosphorus that can be directly uptaken by plants from soil

are H2PO4- and HPO42-. Precipitation-dissolution and sorption-desorption processes

are the domainant inorganic reactions from P2O5 to phosphate in soil. Plant uptake

will promote both reactions. A common practice to replenish P2O5 fertilizer is via

either broadcasting or banding to incorporate fertilizers in the root zone prior to

planting. Choices of fertilizer, fertilizer spreaders, P concentrate in soil, and

additional manure application are factors to determine P fertilizer rates. For

example, the recommended application rate via the banded method is

approximately half of the broadcasting one. If manure has been applied, a lower P

fertilizing rate should be used. Because corn only responds to low to medium level P,

an excessive amount cannot help yield but incurs the risk of surface water

eutrophication. Depending on the P concentration in sandy soil, 45 to 90 kg/ha (40

– 80 lbs. /acre) P fertilizer is usually applied to corn [27].

2.4.3 Potassium fertilizer

Shortage of extractable K in the soil can cause issues such as leaf

yellowing/browning and lodging during corn two to eight leaves with visible leaf

collars stages. The K2O fertilizing rate usually takes soil K concentration, cation

exchange capacities (CEC), and goal of yield into consideration. For low CEC soil (< 7

19
meq /100 g) sandy soil, a suggested K application range is 80 to 140 lbs./acre [27]

for average corn yield in Michigan (about 150 bushels /acre).

2.5 Corn harvest

In the U.S., the vast majority of corn production is harvested by combine

machines and simultaneously shears the cobs to collect the kernels. At harvest, each

field corn plant typically has developed one cob, with kernels at 30 – 35% moisture

content. For long-term storage purposes, the harvested kernels need to be dried to

13 – 15% moisture content.

Traditionally, corn stover is left behind in the field to cover and protect the soil.

A small percentage of corn farms operate a second-pass run to collect a portion of

the stover for silage and ethanol production. Based on common experience, the total

mass of produced stover is assumed to be a 1:1 ratio of stover to grain. The stover

removal rate needs to be determined to achieve maximum economic benefit, while

keeping local soil erosion losses below the USDA’s tolerable soil-loss limit. Nelson

[29] established a model to estimate the constrained maximum stover removal rate

based on the tolerable soil loss. It considers the rainfall and wind erosion models to

calculate the minimum left behind residue. Dale et al [30] studied the effects of corn

stover removal on soil organic carbon and soil nitrogen dynamics aspects by

running residue removal rate scenarios from 0 to 70% in the DAYCENT model.

2.6 Crop residue utilization

Stover, the major residue left behind in corn harvesting, refers to the above

ground part of maize except grain. Stover takes up about 50% of the total biomass

20
yield. The majority components in stover are stalks and leaves. Stover can be

chopped as fodder for animal feed, which only takes about 5%, while a popular

approach to deal with the recovering of 90% stover is leaving it onsite without

utilization [31]. Even with cellulose ethanol conversion technology development,

less than 1% of corn stover in the U.S. is collected for industrial processes.

The top three chemical components of corn stover by weight are cellulose

(37.7%), hemicellulose (27.5% total, mainly from xylan (21.1%) and arabinan

(2.9%)), and lignin (18.0%) [32]. According to the National Renewable Laboratory

study [32], after corn stover is collected as large round bales and transported to a

nearby plant, it is pretreated with dilute acid to release hemicellulosic sugars. In the

next step, the cellulose polymer will hydrolyze to dissolve sugars into a liquid phase,

leaving mostly lignin in solid form to be removed. Next, the soluble sugar released

from the acid-pretreatment and hydrolysis steps are fermented to ethanol and

purified. Meanwhile, the lignin-rich solid residue is used for steam and electricity

generation via combustion. However, due to the low efficiency of cellulose-ethanol

conversion and high cost of stover baling, storage, and transportation, corn stover

utilization for bioenergy purpose still faces great challenges [32].

While the bioengineering industry is working on corn stover utilization, soil

scientists bring up their concerns on potential negative impacts on soil fertility and

structure from continuous stover continuously removal. Several studies [30, 32]

using CENTURY model-based simulated the stover removal effects on soil, and draw

a consistent conclusion that harvesting corn stover could lower the SOM

21
accumulation rate. But even at the maximum removal rate, which was constrained

to maintain tolerable soil erosion level, the SOM level climbed gently over a period

of decades.

In the opposite case, zero removal of corn stover, covering all corn residues on

the top of soil, there are negative consequences on agronomy. A thick stover layer

covering the surface can delay planting and retard plant development. Because most

of the incident sunshine is reflected, little heat is absorbed by soil to defrost the soil.

The stover layer actslike a barrier, locking most moist with low temperature, and

can retard seedling. An additional consequence is less uniform emergence.

2.7 Tillage

Tillage is an agricultural process for soil preparation. It can loosen the top soil,

mix residue and manure into the soil, and destroy weeds for planting crops. Based

on the tillage extent, tillage systems can be classified into three levels: no-till,

conservation till, and conventional till. A 2010 USDA report estimates that the U.S.

corn cultivation employed conventional till, conservation till and no till at 28.8%,

47.5%, and 23.5%, respectively, in 2005 [33].

Conventional till often involves multiple operations, beginning with implements

such as moldboard, disk, or chisel plows, and ending with harrows to prepare the

seed beds. Conventional till buries more than 80% of residue into deep soil, which is

harmful to the environment [34]. Because these techniques accelerate the

decomposition process of stover and facilitate most of the residue carbon

mineralizing to CO2 emissions. Meanwhile, the deep soil being turned over results in

22
nutrients being vulnerable to loss. In addition, several large machine-pass runs

leave considerable compaction. The negative effect of tilling was determined as

constraining of root development because of hard pan formation and soil aggregates

destruction. So, a growing number of agricultural growers in the U.S. began to

become aware of the economic and environmental benefits from reducing the

number of machine travel times, including fuel and labor saving.

Conservation tillage has less interruption to the soil, with less than 70% of

residue being incorporated into soil, usually by moldboard or disk plows. No till

management, as the name indicates, does not employ any tools to turnover the soil

and incorporate residue.

2.8 Introduction of crop growth and management models

Crop growth and management models can be used to simulate plant growth and

optimize agricultural management approaches for benefit optimization. Previous

biomass production LCA studies [30,32,35,36] employed agricultural models in

their studies mostly for the needs of simulating long-term land use effects and

projections of biomass yields. A group of models are designed to simulate SOM

change and GHG emission, such as CENTURY, DNDC, EPIC, etc. For plant growth

simulation, CERES [37] is a commonly used model. CERES is designed to estimate

the crop growth and development based on the crop species, available light and

temperature. The system approach to land use sustainability model (SALUS) [38] is

one of the integrity models, which can be used to simulate both soil conditions and

plant growth. It is a powerful decision support model, which has been developed

23
into both a PC version and web version. It is capable of helping crop growers to

prescribe their schedules for irrigation, fertilizing, tillage, and harvesting to avoid

unnecessary loss and achieve expected yields.

The SALUS biophysical model is composed of three main components as

illustrated in Figure 2-2: I) growth models for 19 major crop species; II) a SOM and

nutrient cycling model; III) a soil water balance and temperature model.

The crop growth models are derived from the CERES and the International

Benchmark Site Network for Agrotechnology Transfer project family of crop

production models. Therefore, the fundamental crop growth algorithm in SALUS is

identical to CERES. The growth algorithm is governed by variety-specific genetic

coefficients and environmental variables (e.g., degree days, photoperiod). Additional

effort was taken to link the crop growth model with soil water, nutrient and

management submodels in SALUS. Whenever stresses are reported from these

submodels, growth limitation will be posted on carbon assimilation and dry matter

production [38].

The SOM and nutrient cycling models in SALUS are derived from the Century

model with modifications. The Century model was initially designed on a monthly

time frame to simulate carbon pool dynamics. Additional effort was devoted into

daily step simulation in SALUS for an more precise projection. Carbon source were

physically divided into aboveground and belowground carbon in the model. Both

carbon streams can be further traced to structural and metabolic to represent

recalcitrant and easily decomposable residues, based on residue lignin and N

content. Eventually, the entire carbon source will either decompose in the three soil

24
organic matter (SOM) pools (active, slow, and passive) or mineralize to CO2,

depending on their turnover rates and characteristic C/N ratios.

The soil water balance model in SALUS is extracted from CERES and determines

infiltration, drainage, evaporation and runoff. An important modification in SALUS is

that a new concept named time-to-ponding is used to replace infiltration and runoff

calculations [38].

Figure 2- 2 Components of SALUS [39]

2.9 Land use

In field experiments, SWRT demonstrated a desirable effect on the soil because it

maintained soil moisture and promoted soil carbon sequestration. SWRT was

25
initially designed for sandy soil. Compared to clay, sandy soil has 10-times larger

particle size and significantly higher porosity and gas permeability. For this reason,

little agrochemical surface run-off occurs in sandy soil, as well as little chance of

anaerobic denitrification. The anaerobic denitrification process is the critical

process to release N2O. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)

reported that 1 kg N2O is equivalent to 298 kg CO2 in climate change effect. It is

reasonable to propose that planting crops in sandy soil can be an effective solution

to mitigate climate change burdens from agriculture. In other words, SWRT not only

can preserve the biodiversity and value of the land, but also has potential to

improve the sustainability of the agriculture land for future production.

Land use in LCA has been addressed by different approaches [40-42]. For

instance, the LANCA® method has been incorporated into ReCiPe, which is a widely

recognized LCA impact assessment methodology. It covers a variety of aspects that

involve the land occupation area, the duration of occupancy, activities on the land,

land transformation, impact on biodiversity, and soil physics. These aspects are

expressed in erosion resistance, physicochemical filtration, mechanical filtration,

biotic production and ground water replenishment in the LANCA® method. In order

to calculate these values according to the LANCA® method, a few parameters

concerning the land environment and soil physics must be known. Environmental

parameters include average summer precipitation, mean annual temperature,

declination of the land, water and nutrient supply resource, and distance from the

surface to ground water. Soil physics parameters needed for the modeling include

texture of soil, soil organic matter content and soil pH. Texture of soil is defined by

26
the textural triangle, i.e., the percentage of clay (below 0.002 mm), silt (0.002-0.05

mm), and sand (0.05-2.0 mm) [43]. Different soil textures have their own distinct

pore size to capture water and organic compounds. Sandy soil, with approximately

0.1 mm diameter, much larger than loam and clay (below 0.001 mm), has very low

specific surface (no more than 1 or 2 m2g-1 ). Clay’s specific surface is about 100

times higher than sand’s [43]. The specific surface area of the soil is positively

correlated with important phenomena such as cation exchange, adsorption of

various chemicals, and retention of water.

2.10 Overview of life cycle assessment

LCA is a systematic way to evaluate the environmental footprint of products and

systems. It grew from mere energy analysis to a comprehensive environmental

burden analysis in the 1970s. It has been recognized that, for many products, a large

share of environmental burden did not occur during the use phase, but in the

production, transportation, and disposal phases[44]. To evaluate the comprehensive

environmental impact of a product, a full-fledged LCA is required. During 1970s and

1980s, there was a lack of international agreement on the theoretical framework of

LCA. LCAs were conducted with diverging methodologies and terminologies.

Therefore, less agreement in the LCA results presented during these periods can be

found [44], preventing LCA from emerging as a truly scientific subject at that time.

During 1990-2000, life cycle methodology standardization gained remarkable

momentum and growth. Well acknowledged basic steps, principles and

methodologies to estimate carbon footprint (global warming potential) were

27
established, and a number of LCA guides and handbooks were published. A few

standards were established at that time and are still being followed today, such as

the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 14040 and 14044.

Currently, LCA practitioners and community are exploring broadening the scope of

LCA by developing regional scale impact indicators for land use (land occupation

and land transformation), expanding the LCA analysis beyond limited geographic

boundaries (typically dominated by Europe and North America at present)[44], and

completing water footprint indicators. The modelling phase of LCA has raised

scientific attention as well. Attributional LCA (aLCA), which is merely accountability

of the input and output processes in an LCA study, has dominated LCA studies until

now. With deeper understanding of LCA, the consequential LCA (cLCA) modeling

method, which identifies the displaced product and accounts for the relative

footprint differences due to the marginal change, has raised increasing attention. In

order to accommodate cLCA studies, LCA data providers are changing their database

structure accordingly. The Swiss Center for Life Cycle Inventories, one of the leading

LCA data providers, has recently published their Ecoinvent 3.0 version of the

database to facilitate cLCA modeling [45]. Additionally, LCA scientists are working

on enhancing transparency of LCAs and facilitating LCA collaboration with other

disciplines. LCA is still evolving into a robust methodology. Limitations of

conducting and applying LCA studies’ results still occur due to assumptions, data

gaps, representative technologies, spatial differences, etc., that affect the final result

significantly. Moreover, lengthy time, and huge effort in collecting reliable

inventories are also critical obstacles for popularizing LCA.

28
Today, most LCA studies are comparative aLCA case studies, in which alternative

products typically have a number of distinguishing features; these studies address

many fierce debates, such as in the packaging area: e.g. plastic bags versus paper

bags, or glass bottle versus alternative plastic bottle or aluminum cans. On the other

hand, there is a rising demand for cLCA studies. aLCA and cLCA are modeled in

different ways. In a cLCA, environmental consequences of a marginal change in

demand are assessed, whereas in an aLCA the environmental burdens of a product

are evaluated.

The corn grain and corn stover example is used to illustrate a simplified cLCA

calculation process. Since cLCA is developed from the system expansion method,

they are similar, but mainly differentiated in the products that are being substituted.

To estimate the EFP of 1000 kg corn grain for ethanol production, the system

expansion method is used to solve the co-product (stover) issue in aLCA, while the

cLCA method is applied to estimate the environmental consequence of an additional

1000 kg grain production. In the system expansion method, the stover EFP is

substituted by an equivalent switchgrass EFP, which will be further explained in

section 2.12. In cLCA, assuming the 1000 kg marginal corn grain that used to be

feeding animals is spent on ethanol production instead, to compensate for the

absent of 1000 kg animal-feed corn, 1097.6 kg sorghum is used to feed the animal to

replace corn. If the EFPs of producing 1000 kg corn grain, producing 1097.6 kg

sorghum, and fermented 1000 kg grain to ethanol are 400 kg CO2, 320 kg CO2, and

588 kg CO2 equivalent, respectively, then in aLCA, the EFP of ethanol production

from 1000 kg corn grain is calculated as (400 + 588) kg CO2, while in cLCA, the EFP

29
is equal to (588 + 320 –400) kg CO2. In this case, the EFP calculated from cLCA is

lower than that from aLCA. This is because the absent grain is substituted by a less

burden intensive product, sorghum.

As mentioned above, for many of these products/services, a large share of the

environmental impacts are not attributed to the use phase, but to the raw material

extraction, production, transportation, and the end of life scenarios (landfill,

incineration, recycling). By evaluating the potential environmental impact of the

product system throughout their life cycle, results can be convincing enough to be

accepted for making important decisions. To date, governments all over the world

encourage the use of LCA as a tool for scientific environmental decisions. This

method has become a core element in environmental policy or in voluntary actions

in the European Union, the U.S., Japan, Korea, Canada, Australia, and has been

initiated in booming economies like India and China [44].

2.11 Framework of LCA

A series of ISO standards such as ISO 14040, 14044 and the ILCD series

handbook detail principles and procedures for conducting an LCA. Fundamentally,

the LCA framework consists of a goal and scope definition, inventory analysis,

impact assessment, and interpretation. Conducting an LCA study is an iterative

process between parts. As illustrated in Figure 2-3, to achieve the required precision

with minimum effort, it is recommended to first define the goal, scope, functional

unit (FU) and collect inventory data in an iterative manner.

30
Life cycle assessment

Goal

and scope

definition

Interpretation
Inventory

analysis

Impact

assessment

Figure 2- 3 Stages of an LCA[1]

2.11.1 Goal and Scope Definition

The goal definition is the first phase of conducting an LCA study. A clear goal

definition should identify six aspects: reasons for conducting the project, intended

applications of the delivered results, limitations, target audiences, type of study

(public or internal use), and commissioners of the study [1].

The scope of the project should be defined according to the goal. It defines what

to analyze and how. In scope, qualitative and quantitative aspects of the FU and the

31
reference flows must be specifically documented. The FU is a measure unit of the

output performance for the studied product systems. The FU is the basis for

selecting one or more alternative product systems that provide equivalent services.

It enables fair comparison of different systems to be treated as functionally

equivalent and allows reference flows to be calculated [46]. The FU could be widely

diverging in different case studies. For example, the FU could be defined as 10,000

hours at 600 lumen of light intensity when comparing incandescent bulbs and

fluorescent bulbs [47]; the FU might be “20 m2 of wall covering with a colored

surface of 98% opacity” when comparing environmental impact of various types of

wall paint. Defining the FU requires a good understanding of the studied products or

system. In the previous wall paint example, if the paints’ thermal resistance

property is crucial for users living in cold regions, the original FU is unable to ensure

an equivalent service comparison, and specific thermal resistance criteria should be

included in the FU. Furthermore, if different paints do not stay on the wall for a

same duration, one more criteria should be added, such as service for 5 years. Once

the FU is properly defined, it is feasible to estimate input and output flows and

scaling in relation to the FU. In addition, temporal and geographical boundaries

should be included in the scope section. They define the technological and

geographical representativeness of the inventory. Allocation procedures, impact

categories and methodology selected, data requirements, assumptions, limitations,

and type of critical reviews should also be clear documented in the scope definition.

32
2.11.2 Inventory Analysis

The step of life cycle inventory (LCI) accounts for material and energy resources

consumption and the environmental emissions throughout the lifetime of the

product and/or system. During the LCI step, the data resources used should be

accurately documented. Any assumptions involved with calculation for each unit

process, and work flow of the system model and submodel should be recorded. This

documented information ensures the transparency and robustness of an LCA study.

Many LCA practitioners are aware that different data quality, lack of inventory

completeness, wrong assumptions and differing system boundaries are often

reasons for a lack of agreement between conclusions from LCA projects with the

same studied object.

2.11.3 Impact Assessment

Life cycle impact assessment (LCIA) is the stage where the LCI and the potential

environmental impacts for a product system are evaluated. Impact methodologies

translate inventory data to midpoint or endpoint environmental impact values for

the different areas of protection (i.e., environment, humans, and resources). For

example, 1 kg N2O emission has a climate change effect equivalent to 298 kg CO2. So

if 1 kg N2O emission is stocked in the inventory, the equivalent amount of CO2 is

calculated in LCIA phase. The characterization factor of 286 is obtained from the

impact methodology used. Different impact methodologies might have different

values for the same input of 1 kg N2O. In the previous example, the ReCiPe

Midpoint 1.07(H), CML 2010 and TRACI 2.1 adopt a value of 298, while

33
Impact2002+ sets this value as 156. Therefore, multiple methodologies are

recommended to be used in a study analysis to prevent methodology-resulted bias.

According to ISO 14040 and 14044, normalization, data quality analysis, and

weighting are optional. Due to lack of agreement on weighting methodology,

weighting is not recommended in academic LCA reports.

2.11.4 Interpretation

Interpretation is the last phase of an LCA study. Results calculated from the LCIA

phase are first evaluated for consistency and completeness. And then other analyses

are carried out during the interpretation phase. A series of analyses include:

sensitivity analysis, which estimates the effect of choices made on methods and data;

uncertainty analysis, that quantify the uncertainty due to cumulative effects of

model imprecision and data availability [48]; and contribution analysis, which

investigates the hotspots of impacts. At last, conclusions and recommendations are

formulated in relation to the initial goal and scope.

2.12 Allocation and system expansion methods

In an LCA study, only one product or system is involved out of several products

from the same activity to be quantified the environmental footprint. Partitioning

flows to estimate the impact of the studied product alone is often required in LCA

studies. Allocation and system expansion are traditional solutions to separate the

impacts between products produced by a common system, like corn-stover and corn.

Allocation is the action of partitioning the input or output flows of a process or a

product system between the studied product system and other products occurring

34
from the same activity based on a given ratio. According to ISO 14044, allocation

should be avoided whenever possible by either dividing the unit process into two or

more sub-processes to collect the related sub-process data, or system expansion.

System expansion is defined as subtracting the impacts of co-products from the total.

The ISO standard requires avoiding allocation mainly due to the controversial issues

concerning the partitioning ratio between study products or systems. The

partitioning ratio is often assigned based on a physical relation like energy content,

mass ratio and/or economic value. For example, for an LCA study to quantify the

environmental footprint of producing 1000 kg corn grain, 1000 kg corn stover is

generated as a co-product simultaneously. In an allocation method, the flows are

partitioned between the inputs and outputs going to grain and stover mainly based

on physical relationships, such as mass or economic value relationships between

them. Many LCA studies demonstrate that different choices of partitioning ratio

significantly influence and even alter the final results and can provide a misleading

assessment of the environmental footprint of a product.

Compared with arbitrary defined ratios for allocation, dividing unit processes

and substitution are more convincing in partitioning impacts based on facts.

However, dividing unit processes is not always possible, while the substitution

method is believed to be too complex, hard to determine the displacement of the

non-determining product, and sometimes involves with endless regressions [49].

In the above-discussed corn and stover example, to comply with ISO 14040 and

14044, allocation is not the top candidate method to isolate the impact of the

35
studied product system/ activity. To perform the system expansion method, the

displaced products due to the additional co-product in the market need to be

identified first. Then, an investigation of the quantity relationship between

displaced the product and the co-product is conducted. After that, the LCIA of the

displaced product is calculated. At last, the LCIA of displaced product is assumed to

be equivalent to the co-product, and is deducted from the total studied LCIA.

In the case of applying system expansion in the corn and co-product stover case:

a) producing 2000 kg corn plant (1000 kg corn grain plus 1000 kg corn stover)

produces 500 kg CO2 equivalent emissions was calculated first; b) then switchgrass

ethanol was identified as the displaced product of corn stover; c) after that the

stover-ethanol production efficiency, switchgrass-ethanol production efficiency, and

the displaced quantity relationship were found from the literature; d) the scaling

relation between stover and switchgrass was determined to be that the ethanol

produced from 1000 kg stover was equivalent to the ethanol fermented 375 kg

switchgrass; e) next, the LCIA of 375 kg switchgrass was estimated to be 100 kg CO2

equivalent; f) last, the LCIA of producing 1000 kg stover was substituted by the

switchgrass one (100 kg CO2 equivalent) and removed from the total 500 kg CO2

equivalent. Thus, in this example, the LCIA of producing 1000 kg corn grain is 400

kg CO2 equivalent.

B.P. Weidema, S. Suh et al, and others [49-51]have published a series of papers

to explain detailed procedures of system expansion and a matrix-based approach

towards endless regression issues. This paved the foundational techniques for cLCA.

36
2.13 Past corn studies

Many LCA corn studies [32, 36, 52, 53] have been developed to quantify the

environmental footprint of biofuel compared to petroleum. The initial interest that

drove these studies was: a) biofuel is a promising alternative fuel resource to

address with limited petroleum stock; b) replacing non-renewable resources by

biofuel is a potential way to mitigate the global warning effect; c) new stover-

ethanol conversion technology has been developed to promote a higher corn crop

utilization rate. Vote et al., [54]conducted a literature review of 67 biofuel LCA

studies published between 2005 and 2010. They found that almost all biofuel

studies involved global warming as an impact indicator. Although results had large

variations, most of the studies concluded that biofuel displayed GHG advantages

compared with fossil alternatives. Contrarily, in the eutrophication and toxicity

categories, biofuel showed worse performance. With respect to acidification and

photochemical smog formation, inconsistent conclusions were drawn in the

different studies. Moreover, other important indicators, such as specific land use

and water depletion, were hardly included in the studies. Only one study of

bioethanol explicitly discussed water consumption and resources [55].The

incomplete conclusions are insufficient to support public policy. The large variation

of different studies’ results is recognized as one of the main LCA limitations. The

divergence in results can derived from differences of system boundaries, studied

geographic locations, key assumptions, allocation methods, and agronomic

processes. Many of them are objective differences among studies, like geographic

37
locations, while a few variables are subjective issues, like allocation methods and

key assumptions.

2.14 Identified reasons of large variations

The FUs used in most corn LCA studies can be divided into two types: type I-the

amount of fuel (biofuel/petroleum) used to drive a unit distance for a certain type of

car; and type II-a unit mass of corn grain or/and corn stover. For example, the FU

can be either service-oriented, defined as the power to wheels for 1 km driving a

midsize car [53]; product-oriented as 1 kg of dry grain and 1 kg of dry stover [31],

or occupied area-oriented as 1 acre of farmland [30]. For studies focusing on the

environmental impact of the biofuel life cycle, the FU is often selected as service-

oriented; for studies aiming to evaluate the environmental performance of

agricultural activity towards the cropping system, the other two types of FUs are

favored. As a consequence of using different FUs, system boundaries are usually

different. For the first type of FU, the system boundary is usually identified from

cradle to grave, i.e., agricultural production of the feedstock, transportation and

conversion of stover-based ethanol, fuel use phase, and waste management. For the

product-oriented and occupied area-oriented types of FUs, their system boundary is

normally from cradle to farm gate. A key assumption is that after the farm gate,

products from different treatments have equivalent functions, so the following

phases after leaving the farm gate could be left out in comparative studies.

One of the reasons for large variations between the different LCA studies about

bioethanol derived from differences in the studied locations and temporal scopes.

38
Most geographic locations in corn LCA studies are either Europe or the U.S. (mainly

within the Corn Belt states which produce over 80% of the total corn in the U.S. [56],

especially within Iowa [30-32, 53]). Different geographic regions represent different

soil physics, climate, and favorite tillage methods. Due to data-availability

limitations, only a few studies allow investigating the effects of location [31].

Additionally, temporal scope of yield records varies significantly. Dale et al [31]

used 4-year average values between 2000 and 2003 for yield and agronomic input

data, while Sheehan et al [32] employed corn yield reports from 1995-1997 and

inconsistently used climate records of 1961-1991. The inconsistency in temporal

scope may involve inventory errors due to two reasons: (1) the average corn yield

continues to increase with the advancement of agricultural technology. According to

the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Services report [12], the average yield has

increased from 100 bushels/acre to 160 bushels/acre since 1983. (2) The weather

conditions vary significantly year-to year, which affect decision making about

agronomic inputs and yields dramatically. The yield increase dilutes the

environmental footprint of a cropping system largely by spreading them over more

outputs. For this reason, it is believed that yield and yield change are highly

sensitive parameters in crop related LCA studies [57]. In addition, the time and

geography representation of the yields and weather data should be matched and

well documented.

Another large source of variation is the great uncertainty of the inventory for

stover-based ethanol conversion. Most reported studies are constructed on a

projected inventory of advanced stover-ethanol conversion technology. To the best

39
of the author’s knowledge, few records of commercialized stover-conversion

technology were available when this work was published. DuPont launched one of

the first and largest commercial biorefinery in the world to produce fuel from

cellulose in 2012 [58]. Another key factor resulting in less agreement in different

studies is the stover removal rate without additional fertilizer supplement. The

stover removal rate (SRR) is a factor to determine the stover share of total corn crop

environmental impacts. It varies from 0 to 70% among corn LCA studies. Some

studies[30, 31, 53] defined SRR based on arbitrary assumptions or so-called a

dominant represented value, while one study [32] set up a constraint on tolerable

soil loss to model the maximal stover collection rate.

There are different treatments and blurred descriptions of biogenic carbon

among biofuel LCA studies. In theory, all relevant interventions must be included. In

biofuel LCAs, plants capture CO2 from atmosphere and release equivalent CO2 when

they burn. Therefore, a common simplified method is to feature the biofuel chain as

“carbon neutral” to avoid unnecessary errors by not accounting for capture of CO2

and burning emission CO2 interventions [54]. In the IPCC methodology, when

calculating GHG, both included biogenic CO2 and excluded biogenic CO2 approaches

were developed, while a few methodologies, such as ReCiPe 1.07, default to exclude

biogenic carbon. However, if the system boundary of studies is from cradle to farm

gate, which does not involve fuel burning, biogenic carbon should be included.

Furthermore, Luo et al [53] demonstrate that differences in results might be hidden

if a method that excludes biogenic carbon is used. Especially in cases of large

economic value differences between the determined product and co-products,

40
including the biogenic CO2 makes a large difference since credits for extracted CO2

are allocated to different parts of a multiproduct-system than the debits for CO2

emissions.

41
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42
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48
Goal and Scope

This chapter defines the purpose of the study, intended use of the delivered

results, and target audience. To enable environmental comparisons, the scope is to

define the boundary of this attributional LCA study. The motivation of the studied

system is to investigate the environmental performance of producing corn grain on

Sandhill farm using SWRT. Sandhill farm is an experimental plot located south to

Michigan State University main campus (East Lansing, Michigan, US).

Purpose of StudyThe primary purpose of this study is to evaluate the environmental

footprint of using SWRT and irrigation to grow corn in Michigan. The four

combination agronomic scenarios were: i) SWRT with irrigation, ii) SWRT without

irrigation, iii) non-SWRT with irrigation, and iv) non-SWRT without irrigation. The

study aims compare the environmental footprints between SWRT experimental

treatments and control treatments. Another purpose of this study is to provide

recommendations on planning agronomic management based on the studied results.

3.1 Intended use of study

The primary use of this study is to establish a baseline for the SWRT

environmental performance. The study is a purely methodological study without

relationship to decision support and accounting/monitoring of the study’s object.

The findings can help SWRT researchers identify hotspots of environmental burden

associated with corn growth on sandy soil. In addition, the study can provide

guidance for agricultural researchers and offer advises to farmers about planning

corn growing with a preferable environmental performance.

49
3.2 Target audience

The primary target audiences for this study are SWRT researchers, corn growers,

and policy makers. The interest parties will be mainly the agricultural industry,

plastic industry, soil scientists, agricultural hydraulic engineers, and governments

responsible for agricultural land management. The study itself is mainly intend for

academic purposes, not aimed at a public comparative assertion.

50
3.3 Functional unit

The functional unit is 1000 kg of corn grain grown in sandy soil in MI, US. (dry

weight, with 15.5% water content).

3.4 System boundary

This study focuses on the comparison of the corn production process involved

with SWRT and irrigation technologies. A cradle to farm gate system boundary was

selected for corn production comparison, reducing the chance to incorporate

potential errors and reducing noise by avoiding the steps after leaving the farm gate.

A cradle to grave boundary was used for the SWRT membrane.

For the corn production life cycle, the cradle here refers to raw material

extraction, such as mining for further fertilizer production. The farm gate refers to

the farm where the corn is harvested. For the membrane life cycle, the cradle is

petroleum extraction for resin production, and the grave means the end of life (EOL)

of the membrane. The whole studied system includes 14 major processes, as shown

in Figure 4-1. These processes are membrane manufacture, membrane installation

by tractor, twice conservation tillage (before planting and after harvest), seed

production, sowing, irrigation, combine harvesting, stover removal, and five

agrochemical application processes (nitrogen, phosphate, potassium fertilizers,

glyphosate and ammonium sulfate).

51
[1] Membrane [7] N fertilizer
manufacture
[8] N fertilizer
[2] Membrane [14] Stover removal
installation [9] K fertilizer

[3] Tillage
Field production Harvest
[6] Irrigation

[5] Sowing
[10] Rdup [12] Combine
harvest
[5] Seed [11] AMS [13] Tillage
production

Figure 3-1 System boundary

3.5 Cut-off rules

Due to the extensive number of inputs and outputs in this LCA study, flows that

contribute less than 1% of the cumulative mass and the total environmental

footprint were excluded. In some cases, small amounts of certain components have

great impacts on certain impact categories (such as sulphur hexafluoride and N2O

on climate change). Therefore, the initial identification of inputs and outputs were

selected primarily based on mass, but also keep cautious to a group of components

with high environmental impacts.

3.6 Allocation rules

In accord with the functional unit ( 1000 kg corn grain in this study), the

environmental impacts of grain production should be isolated from the whole plant

52
growing process. System expansion was conducted to partition impacts to grain and

stover productions. For a comprehensive understanding, allocation methods based

on mass, economic values, and energy contents were used as well. Mass allocation is

the default allocation method to solve the co-products or multifunctionality issues.

3.7 Temporal and technology representative

The time representative for most technologies is the most recent 10 years,

except for SWRT, a pilot technique, where it is the post 5 years. The study complies

with the ISO 14040 and 14044 standards [1, 2].

3.8 Software and data collection

This LCA study was mainly conducted using GaBi 6 professional version from PE

International Company (Stuttgart, Germany). A part of the system expansion work

was conducted in Matlab Version R2010b (Mathworks, Natick, MA, U.S.). The study

mainly consists of two parts: experimental treatments and model-based simulations.

The data used in evaluation of SWRT experiments were collected from primary

results. And the model-based simulation part partially employed primary data such

as fuel cost of membrane installation, and irrigation construction, while it used

simulated data for corn yield and water amendment from simulation using the

SALUS model Version 1.0 (Alpha). Detailed information regarding data sources can

be found in chapter 4 Life cycle inventory.

3.9 Life cycle impact assessment methodology and impact categories

To quantify the environmental impact from inventories, the midpoints for

ReCiPe 1.07(H) were mainly used. A mixture of impact assessment methodologies

53
including CML2001 - Nov. 2010IPCC, TRACI 2.1, and IPCC were used for benchmark

comparisons with published corn LCA studies. The following six impact categories

were mainly assessed: a) climate change, b) water depletion, c) non-renewable

resource depletion, d) land use, e) aquatic eutrophication, f) acidification, g)

ecotoxicity, and h) human toxicity. They were selected by following LCA guidelines

for grains[3] that discusses the important impact categories for LCA grain studies.

54
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Environmental management- Life cycle assessment-Requirements and
guidelines. 2006: Switzerland.

3. Mia Lafontaine, François Charron-Doucet, and E. Clément, Production of


Pulses, Grains and Oilseeds - A guide for LCA Practicioners, in LCA guidelines
for pulses, grains and oilseeds, Quantis, Editor. 2013, Pulse Canada. p. 42.

56
Life Cycle Inventory

4.1 Project design

The Life Cycle Inventory (LCI) was created as two dataset to be analyzed: a) an

experimental dataset and b) a simulated dataset. The experimental dataset was

created from the data obtained from the inputs and outputs of the unit processes of

growing corn in the experiment run in the Sandhill farm. The simulated dataset was

created from running corn growth scenarios in the SALUS simulation software [2].

Detailed LCI inventories of both the experimental and simulation dataset are

provided in Appendix -LCI section 1 LCI of the Sandhill farm experiment.

4.1.1 Experimental dataset

Field corn was grown in the Sandhill farm located in East Lansing, MI in 2012

and 2013. The soil texture on Sandhill farm is 96.1% sand and 3.9% silt and clay.

The total experimental site area was 65.580 m * 27.432 m (N-S * E-W) = 1,881.287

m2. The total area was divided into five plots. Treatments were randomly assigned

to each plot.

In 2012, two factors were studied: using SWRT and row spacing. Each factor had

two levels: SWRT, without SWRT, 0.381 m row spacing, and 0.762 m row spacing.

Due to the unusually low precipitation that year, to keep the corn plants alive,

additional water supplement was applied to all four treatments at different levels,

which is described in Table 5-7. In 2013, two factors were studied using SWRT and

irrigation. Theoretically, each factor had two levels: SWRT, without SWRT, and

irrigated, nonirrigated. The 2013 experiment was an incomplete design experiment,

57
so the treatment irrigated SWRT and nonirrigated without SWRT were the only

ones conducted. The yields and irrigation water consumption for 2012 and 2013 are

provided in Tables 4-1 and 4-2, respectively.

Table 4- 1 Yield and irrigation for 2012 experiment

SWRT No SWRT
Row spacing Yield Irrigation Yield Irrigation
m [kg/ha] m3/acre [kg/ha] m3/acre
0.381 16830±1256 1989 9671±2135 583
0.762 13376±1319 1070 9921±1444 269
* Yield [kg/ha]: mean ± stand error

Table 4- 2 Yield and irrigation for 2013 experiment

SWRT No SWRT
Yield Irrigation Yield Irrigation
[kg/ha] m3/acre [kg/ha] m3/acre
Irrigated 11981±359 765
Nonirrigated 3544±957 0
* Yield [kg/ha]: mean ± stand error

4.1.2 Simulation data

Since the studied factors are different between years 2012 and 2013, and the

studied factors were monitored for only a single year, drawing conclusions based

simply on year 2012 and 2013 experiment datasets has its limitations.

Yield is a data with large year-to-year variations because of weather changes (i.e.,

temperature, precipitation, radiation, wind speed, etc.). So, a short study duration

decreases the representativeness of experiment results to some extent.

Furthermore, year 2012 was a special dry year, which decreased its

58
representativeness of average results. An obvious drop in corn grain average yield

in Ingham county, MI was observed in 2012 as illustrated in Figure 4-1, which

further ratifies the assumption about being a dry year. Treatments were irrigated at

different levels. So, it is difficult to isolate the water irrigation effect from the studied

factors. In addition, the incomplete experiment design of 2013 caused trouble in

drawing conclusions towards two of the studied factors: irrigation and SWRT.

180

160

140
grain yield (Bu/a)

120

100

80

60

40

20

0
1942 1952 1962 1972 1982 1992 2002 2012
year

Figure 4- 1 Average grain yield from 1942-2012 in Ingham County, MI [1]

Based on the above reasons, the need for data simulation emerged. The

simulated dataset can overcome the limitation of short study periods in agricultural

experiments. At the same time, long-period data would eliminate the disturbance of

years with extreme weather conditions.

59
The SALUS model was used to simulate corn yields in Sandhill farm from 2004 to

2013. Four specific input files were created for the SALUS simulation scenarios: crop

file, field management file, soil texture file, and weather file 2004 to 2013.

A crop file was created based on a pre-created library with more than 18

common crops in the U.S. From the SALUS simulation library, the studied crop

species was selected.

The soil texture file required information regarding the lower limit of soil water,

drainage in the upper limit of soil, the saturated soil water content, soil hospitality,

saturated hydraulic conditions, bulk density, organic carbon content, clay content,

and silt content. The soil texture file was created based on the Sandhill farm soil

texture, as presented in Appendix-LCI Table A-4.

The weather file for the SALUS simulation was obtained from daily weather

records of the MSU Horticulture Teaching and Research Center (1.8 miles from

Sandhill farm), which was available in the Michigan Automated Weather Network

[3]. The weather records of air temperature, precipitation, solar flux density, and

wind speed from 2004 to 2013 were used to create the weather file.

The crop management parameter settings in the SALUS model are mostly

derived from experimental records. A series of typical inputs are plant population,

row spacing, dates and type of tillage, planting and harvesting. Fertilizer types and

application levels, important inputs for both the SALUS model and LCA studies, are

decided based on expert opinion for Michigan [4]. The crop management settings

can be found in Appendix-LCI Table A-5.

60
To select the plant growth and water balance model in SALUS, the output yields

and irrigation water were used for the LCA study of the simulation treatments. Two

levels of irrigation factor, irrigated and non-irrigated, were simulated in the SALUS

model. Because only about 10% of corn is irrigated in Michigan, the aggregated

dataset used in the second part of the LCA evaluations to represent corn grown in

Sandhill farm was modelled as 10% irrigated and 90% non-irrigated. Appendix-LCI

Table A-7 provides the irrigated yield, non-irrigated yield, and aggregated yield

from the SALUS simulation, and average yields of the U.S., Michigan, and Ingham

County retrieved from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) National

Agricultural Statistics Survey.

4.2 Overview

The life cycle inventory (LCI) step of an LCA study documents the data collection

and calculation processes, and keeps records of inputs and outputs of the whole

system. Input and output quantities are adjusted according to the functional unit

61
(FU) of the study. The corn grain production system is shown in Figure 4- 2.

Seed Nutrien Water

(SWRT)
Corn Grain
Energy Grain production
Production System
Agricultural machinery

Emissions Emissions Solid


to water to air wast
e systems
Figure 4- 2 Corn grain production

There are 28 unit processes within the whole system. To simplify the analysis,

they were grouped into 6 groups as shown in Table 4-3. The following section

introduces the LCI by groups.

62
Table 4- 3 Unit process grouping for corn production system

Group Unit processes


Machinery Harvesting
Fertilizing
Sowing
Tillage
Chemical Gypsum
Roundup
AMS
K2O
P2O5
Urea
AN (liquid)
KCl (liquid)
Irrigation irrigation water
drip irrigation
Electricity
drip tape
pipe landfill
pipe incineration
pipe recycle
Seed Seed
SWRT PE membrane
membrane install
tillage machine production
tractor production
Diesel
Shed
Planting Field Preparation
Harvest

4.3 Machinery

The machinery group includes plans of tillage, sowing, broadcast fertilizing, and

combine harvesting. Chisel tillage machinery was used twice per growing season.

The first use was several days prior to sowing seeds, and the other time was applied

63
after harvesting. The remaining three machinery activities were modeled on the

field once per growing season.

In general, each machinery plan was controlled by a central unit process. It fixed

the reference flow, 10000 m2 machinery work flow output in this case, to manage

the quantity of inputs and outputs of the connected processes. The input processes

that were connected to the reference process can be categorized into three types: i)

machine production (including tractor and agricultural machinery), ii) shed, the

solid construction of building for machinery production, iii) diesel, the primary

energy for operating the machine.

4.3.1 Tillage

The tillage unit process was a cradle to farm gate plan. The output of the unit

process was 1 ha farm being chisel tilled. The model of the chisel tillage process is

illustrated in Figure 4-3 below.

CH: shed US: diesel, at refinery

1 ha farm being

CH: tractor production chisel tilled

CH: agricultural machinery, CH: tillage, cultivating, chiseling


tillage, production

Figure 4-3 Tillage process model

The tillage plan was developed from the Ecoinvent Data v2.2 (Swiss Centre for

LCI) unit process named “tillage, cultivating, chiselling, single operation unit process

(u-so)”, whose detailed LCI is listed in Table 4- 5. The primary energy supply,

64
Switzerland diesel, was substituted by U.S. diesel. The purpose of primary energy

substitution is to localize the original Switzerland tillage process to the U.S. The

remaining three processes were obtained from Ecoinvent Data v2.2 aggregated unit

process (agg) without further change. The temporal representation, geography

representation, and key assumptions are listed in the Table 4- 4.

Table 4- 4 Representation of tillage activity with primary US energy substitution


Process Temporal Geography Key assumptions
agricultural machinery, 1995- 800 kg machine, 800 hours
tillage, production 2002 Switzerland useful life, 0.72 repair factor
1995- 3000 kg machine, 7000 hours
tractor, production 2002 Switzerland useful life, 0.74 repair factor
dataset was built on one
example of a typical
1994- agricultural building, 50 years
shed 2002 Switzerland lifetime
diesel, at refinery 2009 U.S. US LCI dataset
tillage, cultivating, 1991-
chiselling 2002 Switzerland working width 2.5 m

65
Table 4- 5 Input /Output flows of chisel tillage 1 ha farm with primary US energy
substitution
Standard
Flow Amount Unit deviation
Input
CH: agricultural machinery, tillage, production
[Machines] 1.48 kg 111%
US: diesel, at refinery[fuels] 15.5 kg 111%
CH: shed [buildings] 0.00573 m2 301%
CH: tractor, production [Machines] 0.883 kg 111%

Output
CH: tillage, cultivating, chiselling 10000 m2 0%
Waste heat [Other emissions to air] 705 MJ 111%
Carbon dioxide [Inorganic emissions to air] 48.3 kg 121%
Nitrogen oxides [Inorganic emissions to air] 6.08E-01 kg 152%
Carbon monoxide [Inorganic emissions to air] 1.30E-01 kg 501%
Dust (PM2.5) [Particles to air] 8.28E-02 kg 305%
NMVOC (unspecified) [Group NMVOC to air] 0.0302 kg 152%

Sulphur dioxide [Inorganic emissions to air] 0.0156 kg 121%


Methane [Organic emissions to air (group VOC)] 2.00E-03 kg 156%
Nitrous oxide (laughing gas) [Inorganic emissions to
air] 1.86E-03 kg 156%
Zinc (+II) [Heavy metals to agricultural soil] 0.00112 kg 152%
Ammonia [Inorganic emissions to air] 3.10E-04 kg 156%
Benzene [Group NMVOC to air] 0.000113 kg 156%
Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) [Group
PAH to air] 5.11E-05 kg 305%
Copper (+II) [Heavy metals to air] 2.64E-05 kg 505%
Zinc (+II) [Heavy metals to air] 1.55E-05 kg 505%
Lead (+II) [Heavy metals to agricultural soil] 1.85E-06 kg 152%
Nickel (+II) [Heavy metals to air] 1.09E-06 kg 505%
Chromium (unspecified) [Heavy metals to air] 7.76E-07 kg 505%
Benzo [5]pyrene [Group PAH to air] 4.66E-07 kg 505%
Cadmium (+II) [Heavy metals to agricultural soil] 4.24E-07 kg 152%
Cadmium (+II) [Heavy metals to air] 1.55E-07 kg 505%
Selenium [Heavy metals to air] 1.55E-07 kg 156%

66
4.3.2 Sowing

The sowing plan included the machine and energy cost of corn seed sowing.

Similarly to the tillage process, it was built based on the Ecoinvent Data v2.2 u-so

type unit process named “CH: sowing”. For primary energy, Switzerland diesel was

substituted by U.S. diesel. The sowing plan model is illustrated in Figure 4- 4. The

input and output flows for sowing per hectare are presented in Table 4-6. The

temporal, geography and key assumptions of the processes in this plan are

documented in Table 4-7.

CH: shed US: diesel, at refinery

CH: tractor production 1 ha farm being


chisel tilled
CH: agricultural machinery, CH: sowing
tillage, production

Figure 4- 4 Sowing plan model

67
Table 4- 6 Input /Output flows of sowing corn seed per 1 ha farm with primary US
energy substitution
Standard
Flow Amount Unit deviation
Input
CH: agricultural machinery, general, production
[Machines] 0.966 kg 111%
CH: diesel, at regional storage [fuels] 3.82 kg 111%
CH: shed [buildings] 0.00546 m 2 301%
CH: tractor, production [Machines] 0.596 kg 111%
Output
CH: sowing [work processes] 10000 m2 0%
Waste heat [Other emissions to air] 174 MJ 111%
Carbon dioxide [Inorganic emissions to air] 11.9 kg 121%
Nitrogen oxides [Inorganic emissions to air] 0.17 kg 152%
Carbon monoxide [Inorganic emissions to air] 0.0143 kg 501%
Dust (PM2.5) [Particles to air] 0.0128 kg 305%
NMVOC (unspecified) [Group NMVOC to air] 0.0125 kg 152%
Sulphur dioxide [Inorganic emissions to air] 0.00385 kg 121%
Zinc (+II) [Heavy metals to agricultural soil] 0.00085 kg 152%
Methane [Organic emissions to air (group VOC)] 0.00049 kg 156%
Nitrous oxide (laughing gas) [Inorganic emissions
to air] 0.00046 kg 156%
Ammonia [Inorganic emissions to air] 7.64E-05 kg 156%
Benzene [Group NMVOC to air] 2.79E-05 kg 156%
Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) [Group
PAH to air] 1.26E-05 kg 305%
Copper (+II) [Heavy metals to air] 6.50E-06 kg 505%
Zinc (+II) [Heavy metals to air] 3.82E-06 kg 505%
Lead (+II) [Heavy metals to agricultural soil] 1.44E-06 kg 152%
Cadmium (+II) [Heavy metals to agricultural soil] 3.25E-07 kg 152%
Nickel (+II) [Heavy metals to air] 2.68E-07 kg 505%
Chromium (unspecified) [Heavy metals to air] 1.91E-07 kg 505%
Benzo pyrene [Group PAH to air] 1.15E-07 kg 505%
Cadmium (+II) [Heavy metals to air] 3.82E-08 kg 505%
Selenium [Heavy metals to air] 3.82E-08 kg 156%

68
Table 4- 7 Representation of processes in sowing activity with primary US
energy substitution
Process Temporal Geography Key assumptions
seeder: 1000 kg machine,
agricultural machinery, 1995- 1000 hours useful life, 0.54
general, production 2002 Switzerland repair factor
1995- 3000 kg machine, 7000 hours
tractor, production 2002 Switzerland useful life, 0.74 repair factor
dataset was built on one
example of a typical
1994- agricultural building, 50 years
shed 2002 Switzerland lifetime
diesel, at refinery 2009 U.S. US LCI dataset
1991-
Sowing 2002 Switzerland working width 3 m

4.3.3 Fertilizing

The fertilizing activity refers to a process that applies granular fertilizers using a

broadcaster. The fertilizer plan inventories the machine cost and primary energy

consumption to broadcasting fertilizer per one-hectare farm. The NPK fertilizer

consumption is not included in the fertilizing plan.

Similar to the tillage process, the fertilizing plan consisted of five processes: i)

general agricultural machinery production, ii) tractor production, iii) shed, iv) U.S.

diesel, and v) fertilizing by broadcaster. Process iv was obtained from the US LCI

database, and the other four processes are derived from Ecoinvent Data v2.2. Detail

inputs and outputs of the fertilizing by broadcaster unit process (u-so) are

inventoried in Table 4-8. The temporal, geographical representations and key

assumptions of each process in this plan are listed in Table 4-9.

69
Table 4- 8 Input /Output flows of fertilizing by broadcaster process with primary US
energy substitution
Standard
Flow Amount Unit deviation
Input
CH: agricultural machinery, general, production
[Machines] 0.241 kg 111%
CH: diesel, at regional storage [fuels] 5.29 kg 111%
CH: shed [buildings] 0.00171 m2 301%
CH: tractor, production [Machines] 0.687 kg 111%
Output
CH: fertilizing, by broadcaster [work
processes] 10000 m2 0%
Ammonia [Inorganic emissions to air] 0.00011 kg 156%
Benzene [Group NMVOC to air] 3.86E-05 kg 156%
Benzo pyrene [Group PAH to air] 1.59E-07 kg 505%
Cadmium (+II) [Heavy metals to air] 5.29E-08 kg 505%
Cadmium (+II) [Heavy metals to agricultural soil] 3.40E-07 kg 152%
Carbon dioxide [Inorganic emissions to air] 16.5 kg 121%
Carbon monoxide [Inorganic emissions to air] 0.021 kg 501%
Chromium (unspecified) [Heavy metals to air] 2.65E-07 kg 505%
Copper (+II) [Heavy metals to air] 9.00E-06 kg 505%
Dust (PM2.5) [Particles to air] 0.0208 kg 305%
Lead (+II) [Heavy metals to agricultural soil] 1.49E-06 kg 152%
Methane [Organic emissions to air (group VOC)] 0.00068 kg 156%
Nickel (+II) [Heavy metals to air] 3.70E-07 kg 505%
Nitrogen oxides [Inorganic emissions to air] 0.231 kg 152%
Nitrous oxide (laughing gas) [Inorganic emissions
to air] 0.00064 kg 156%
NMVOC (unspecified) [Group NMVOC to air] 0.0143 kg 152%
Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) [Group
PAH to air] 1.74E-05 kg 305%
Selenium [Heavy metals to air] 5.29E-08 kg 156%
Sulphur dioxide [Inorganic emissions to air] 0.00533 kg 121%
Waste heat [Other emissions to air] 240 MJ 111%
Zinc (+II) [Heavy metals to air] 5.29E-06 kg 505%
Zinc (+II) [Heavy metals to agricultural soil] 0.0009 kg 152%

70
Table 4- 9 Representation of processes in fertilizing activity with primary US energy
substitution
Process Temporal Geography Key assumptions
agricultural machinery, 1995- Switzerland seeder: 1000 kg machine, 1000
general, production 2002 hours useful life, 0.54 repair factor
tractor, production 1995- Switzerland 3000 kg machine, 7000 hours
2002 useful life, 0.74 repair factor
shed 1994- Switzerland dataset was built on one example
2002 of a typical agricultural building,
50 years lifetime
diesel, at refinery 2009 U.S. US LCI dataset
fertilizing, by 1991- Switzerland 500 fertilizer carrying capacity
broadcaster 2002

4.3.4 Combine harvesting

A Combine harvester machine is one of the most often used machine to harvest

grain crops. A combine harvester can finish reaping, threshing, and winnowing corn

simultaneously in a single pass. Depending on the needs, the specific model, and

crop row spacing, the combine can harvest about three to ten rows at the same time.

Thus, the combine harvester is one of the most important labor saving machines for

corn harvesting.

There are inevitable corn losses in corn harvesting. Prior to machine harvesting,

about one bushel per acre ear is lost due to early drop [6]. Machine-loss is

comprised of failure in corn collection by the combine and processing loss in the

combine machine. The Sandhill farm experiment employed a hand-pick method to

harvest corn due to the small experimental area and the need for several batches in

harvest sampling. Therefore, a zero machine loss rate was ideally assumed in the

combine-harvesting plan for these scenarios.

71
The combine harvesting plan consisted of four unit processes: i) harvester

production, ii) shed, iii) diesel, and iv) combine harvesting. The inputs and outputs

to harvest a one-hectare farm were inventoried in Table 4- 10, and the

representation and key assumptions of processes in this plan were recorded in

Table 4- 11.

Table 4- 10 Inputs and Outputs of the combine harvesting process

Standard
Flow Amount Unit deviation
Input
CH: diesel, at regional storage [fuels] 33.3 kg 111%
CH: harvester, production [Machines] 6.3 kg 111%
CH: shed [buildings] 0.00858 m2 301%
Output
CH: combine harvesting [work processes] 10000 m2 0
Ammonia [Inorganic emissions to air] 0.00067 kg 156%
Benzene [Group NMVOC to air] 0.00024 kg 156%
Benzo pyrene [Group PAH to air] 1E-06 kg 505%
Cadmium (+II) [Heavy metals to air] 3.3E-07 kg 5.05
Cadmium (+II) [Heavy metals to agricultural soil] 8.8E-07 kg 152%
Carbon dioxide [Inorganic emissions to air] 103 kg 121%
Carbon monoxide [Inorganic emissions to air] 0.32 kg 501%
Chromium (unspecified) [Heavy metals to air] 1.7E-06 kg 5.05
Copper (+II) [Heavy metals to air] 5.7E-05 kg 505%
Dust (PM2.5) [Particles to air] 0.149 kg 305%
Lead (+II) [Heavy metals to agricultural soil] 3.8E-06 kg 152%
Methane [Organic emissions to air (group VOC)] 0.0043 kg 1.56
Nickel (+II) [Heavy metals to air] 2.3E-06 kg 505%
Nitrogen oxides [Inorganic emissions to air] 1.7 kg 152%
Nitrous oxide (laughing gas) [Inorganic emissions
to air] 0.004 kg 156%
NMVOC (unspecified) [Group NMVOC to air] 0.145 kg 1.52
Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) [Group
PAH to air] 0.00011 kg 305%
Selenium [Heavy metals to air] 3.3E-07 kg 156%
Sulphur dioxide [Inorganic emissions to air] 0.0336 kg 121%

72
Table 4- 10 (cont’d)

Standard
Flow Amount Unit deviation
Waste heat [Other emissions to air] 1510 MJ 1.11
Zinc (+II) [Heavy metals to air] 3.3E-05 kg 505%
Zinc (+II) [Heavy metals to agricultural soil] 0.00238 kg 152%

Table 4- 11 Representation and key assumptions of harvesting activity with primary


US energy substitution
Process Temporal Geography Key assumptions
harvester 1995- Switzerland 1000 kg machine, 1300 hours
production 2002 useful life, 0.55 repair factor
shed 1994- Switzerland dataset was built on one example of
2002 a typical agricultural building, 50
years lifetime
diesel, at refinery 2009 U.S. US LCI dataset
combine 1991- Switzerland working width 4.5 m, straw
harvesting 2002 treatment is not included

4.4 Irrigation

The most widely used irrigation approach to supplement water for corn is center

pivot irrigation [7]. To enhance the water use efficiency, a drip irrigation method

was employed to irrigate corn on the Sandhill farm experiment, combined with

SWRT.

4.4.1 Drip irrigation, irrigation water and electricity

The drip irrigation process manages the quantity relationship between

electricity consumption per unit of irrigation water, as illustrated in Figure 4- 5.

73
According to the irrigation process in Ecoinvent report no.15 [8], 2.64 MJ electricity

is spent to pump 1000 kg water with a delivery pressure of 700,000 to 800,000 Pa.

Electricity, at grid, western US 2.64 MJ


Drip irrigation
Water 1000 kg

Figure 4- 5 Drip irrigation process

4.4.2 Drip tape production

Drip tapeused in the Sandhill farm experiment is a type of black color HDPE tube.

It is a semi-rigid textured tube manufactured by extrusion. The data for the

manufacturing process dataset to produce the irrigation tube was not available.

Therefore, the process of general purpose HDPE pipe production was used as drip

tape production. This was a cradle to plant gate dataset, which included petroleum

extraction, oil fractionation for ethylene, polymerization for HDPE, and pipe

extrusion. The aggregated HDPE pipe production unit process was developed based

on Europe. The geography and technology differences should be noted.

The mass of drip tape used per unit area was measured from sampling (as

shown in Appendix-LCI Table A-12). The total length of the drip tape was calculated

based on irrigation maps; the mass to length ratio of the drip tape was obtained

from measurement; the average drip tape consumption (kg/m2) was calculated

from the total mass of irrigation tubes [kg] divided by the total irrigated area [m2].

The average drip tape consumption rate was used for drip tape infrastructure flow

74
calculations in the field preparation process. A detailed calculation of irrigation tube

consumption is provided in Section 4.9.4.

4.4.3 End of life (EOL) of disposed drip tape

Drip tapes are disposed every year after crop harvesting. Because the soil

contamination is higher than general accepted contamination levels for recycling,

and the non-PVC irrigation pipe-recycling program is immature, only a small

fraction of the disposed irrigation pipes are recycled. A majority of them are sent to

incineration and landfill. Because agricultural plastic is not included in municipal

solid waste (MSW) report that is generated annually by the Environmental

Protection Agency, little solid data can be found regarding the drip tape EOL. The

result of the New York State agricultural plastic disposal survey in 2004 [9] was

used as the benchmark for the EOL fraction assumption: 66% wt. incineration, 27%

wt. landfill, and 7% wt. recycle. These EOL fractions are used in the harvesting unit

process.

4.5 Chemical

Urea, K2O, and P2O5 are granular fertilizers applied ahead of planting via

broadcasting. The liquid fertilizers (KCl and Ammonium Nitrate (AN)) and

herbicides (Ammonium Sulfate (AMS) and glyphosate) are delivered in solution.

They are applied to the crops via the irrigation system during the growing phases.

Since the amount of electricity consumed to apply these liquid chemicals is

negligible, the electricity consumption is not accounted. Gypsum (CaSO4 ·2H2O) is a

common used sulfuric acid form soil-pH adjuster. The ideal pH for most crop

75
growth is around 6.5. To lower soil pH, gypsum is a commonly used amendment.

Lowering pH is a slow process; it typically takes more than a year to be effective.

Since the latest gypsum amendment in 2009, no more gypsum was added to the

Sandhill farm during the 2012-2013 experiments. According to soil experts, gypsum

on NOSWRT treatment should be added by the year 2015, while they were

expecting less frequent amendment of gypsum on SWRT treatment. The gypsum

amendment rate [kg/ha] is assumed the same for both SWRT and NOSWRT

treatments.

In the LCIs for the 2012 and 2013 experiments, as described above, there were

eight unit processes in the chemical group. In the LCIs of 2004-2013 simulation,

there were six unit processes, with liquid fertilizers (KCl and AN) being left out.

Leaving out liquid fertilizers was due to a) the small irrigation fraction (10%) of the

simulated dataset leads to tiny liquid fertilizer consumption, and b) a lack of

confident predictions concerning the application rates.

All of the chemical unit processes were cradle to gate production processes,

which include material, energy used, and transportation. They represented the

standard technology level in their corresponding temporal scope. The tracked

elementary output flow was 1 kg of chemical production for all eight chemical

production processes. The geography, temporal, technology representations, and

data resource are summarized in Table 4- 12.

76
Table 4- 12 Chemical processes description

Process Geography Temporal Database Note


46% N content, represent technology that ammonia and CO2
2011- transformation into ammonium carbonate, which then being cracked
Urea U.S. PE
2014 into water and urea by heating; country specific energy supply,
transportation included
45% P content, technology representation: rock phosphate and
2011- phosphoric acid are transferred by energy input to triple super
P2O5 U.S. PE
2014 phosphate (TSP); after that product is pelletized. Country specific
energy supply, transportation included
Ecoinvent 60% K2O content, a mixture of technologies in salt concentration
K2O Germany 2000
v2.2 (solution in hot water, flotation, and electrostatic separation)
52% N content, represent technology of neutralization of nitric acid
2011-
AN (liq.) U.S. PE with gaseous ammonia; country specific energy supply, transportation
2014
included
2011- 60% potassium compound content, market value allocation, country
KCl (liq.) U.S. PE
2014 specific data
2000- Ecoinvent Including materials, energy uses, infrastructure and emissions; from
Glyphosate Europe
2010 v2.2 literature data, modeled for Europe
2011- AMS and acrylonitrile are produced as co-products of a combine
AMS U.S. PE
2014 reaction; country specific data, transportation included
Represent production technology via opening pit mining, then gypsum
2011-
Gypsum Germany PE stone being crushed, grinded, dried, and purified. Country specific
2014
energy grid, transportation included.

77
4.6 Seed

The corn seeds planted in the Sandhill farm experiment were Roundup Ready

DeKalb DKC 46-61 hybrid for both the 2012 and 2013 experiments. They were

purchased from DeKalb Genetics Corporation. Thus, the seed process was modeled

as an open-loop seed resource.

Field corn seeds planted on Sandhill farm were directly applied via machine

sowing without pretreatment (such as seedling in greenhouse). The seed unit

process in this LCA study referred to 1 kg maize seed production (fresh weight with

12% humidity). Unit process data from Ecoinvent v2.2 named “maize seed IP, at

farm” was used. This was a cradle to farm gate corn seed production, including seed,

chemicals, machinery, energy, biogenic carbon, transportation, and land occupation

and transformation. The seed process represented the situation in Switzerland, with

3000 kg/ha grain yield in 2000.

Table 4- 13 illustrates the input and output inventories for the seed process.

From the table, it can be speculated that the corn seed was cultivated without

artificial water supplement. In addition, it should be acknowledged that the

Switzerland seed process was less representative of greenhouse U.S. situation

because the grain yield (3000 kg/ha) was much lower than the U.S. average

78
Table 4- 13 LCI of seed process

Group Flows Amount Unit


Inputs
Seed CH: maize seed IP, at regional storehouse [seed] 0.005 kg
RER: ammonium nitrate, as N, at regional
0.03536 kg
storehouse [mineral fertilizer]
RER: triple superphosphate, as P2O5, at regional
0.02178 kg
storehouse [mineral fertilizer]
RER: potassium chloride, as K2O, at regional
0.01502 kg
storehouse [mineral fertilizer]
Chemical CH: green manure IP, until April [plant production] 3.3333 m2
RER: acetamide-anillide-compounds, at regional
0.0002 kg
storehouse [Pesticide]
RER: organophosphorus-compounds, at regional 8.33E-
kg
storehouse [Pesticide] 05
RER: triazine-compounds, at regional storehouse
0.00022 kg
[Pesticide]
CH: tillage, harrowing, by spring tine harrow [work
10 m2
processes]
CH: tillage, ploughing [work processes] 3.3333 m2
CH: mowing, by rotary mower [work processes] 20 m2
CH: sowing [work processes] 11.667 m2
Machinery
CH: fertilizing, by broadcaster [work processes] 10 m2
CH: application of plant protection products, by
5.6667 m2
field sprayer [work processes]
CH: combine harvesting [work processes] 3.3333 m2
CH: grain drying, low temperature [work processes] 0.35385 kg
CH: electricity, low voltage, at grid [supply mix] 0.0468 MJ
Energy Energy, calorific value, in organic substance
16.216 MJ
[Renewable energy resources]
Biogenic
Carbon dioxide [Renewable resources] 1.401 kg
carbon
CH: transport, freight, rail [Railway] 0.01714 t*km
CH: transport, lorry 20-28t, fleet average [Street] 0.01714 t*km
CH: transport, tractor and trailer [work processes] 0.01 t*km
Transport
9.00E-
CH: transport, van <3.5t [Street] t*km
05
RER: transport, barge [Water] 0.1543 t*km

79
Table 4- 13 (cont’d)
Group Flows Amount Unit
Occupation, arable, non-irrigated [Hemerobie
1.6667 m2*a
ecoinvent]
Transformation, from arable, non-irrigated
2.3667 m2
Land occ. & [Hemerobie ecoinvent]
transform. Transformation, from pasture and meadow
0.96667 m2
[Hemerobie ecoinvent]
Transformation, to arable, non-irrigated
3.3333 m2
[Hemerobie ecoinvent]
Outputs
CH: maize seed IP, at farm [seed] 1 kg
Ammonia [Inorganic emissions to air] 0.00086 kg
Atrazine [Pesticides to agricultural soil] 0.00022 kg
2.63E-
Cadmium (+II) [Heavy metals to fresh water] kg
08
2.42E-
Cadmium (+II) [Heavy metals to agricultural soil] kg
06
7.57E-
Chromium (+VI) [Heavy metals to fresh water] kg
06
Chromium (unspecified) [Heavy metals to 5.10E-
kg
agricultural soil] 06
1.77E-
Copper (+II) [Heavy metals to fresh water] kg
06
-3.16E-
Copper (+II) [Heavy metals to agricultural soil] kg
07
8.33E-
Glyphosate [Pesticides to agricultural soil] kg
05
9.57E-
Lead (+II) [Heavy metals to fresh water] kg
08
4.32E-
Lead (+II) [Heavy metals to agricultural soil] kg
07
Metolachlor [Pesticides to agricultural soil] 0.0002 kg
7.83E-
Nickel (+II) [Heavy metals to fresh water] kg
07
2.35E-
Nickel (+II) [Heavy metals to agricultural soil] kg
06
Nitrate [Inorganic emissions to fresh water] 0.09769 kg
Nitrogen oxides [Inorganic emissions to air] 0.00042 kg
Nitrous oxide (laughing gas) [Inorganic emissions
0.00199 kg
to air]
8.58E-
Phosphate [Inorganic emissions to fresh water] kg
05

80
Table 4- 13 (cont’d)
Group Flows Amount Unit
4.78E-
Phosphorus [Inorganic emissions to fresh water] kg
05
Waste heat [Other emissions to air] 0.0468 MJ
5.67E-
Zinc (+II) [Heavy metals to fresh water] kg
06
8.39E-
Zinc (+II) [Heavy metals to agricultural soil] kg
06

4.7 SWRT

One of the intentions of using SWRT is to extend the time that the soil water

stays in the root zone. To achieve this goal, plastic membrane strips were installed

below the root zone with a contoured shape. The inventories of using SWRT should

include: membrane production, special machine production for the SWRT

membrane installation (referred as the SWRT machine in the following chapters),

and energy used for installation. The data sources, and representation of temporal,

geography, and technology are presented in Table4- 14.

Because SWRT is a pilot technology, with limited information available, a

number of key assumptions were necessary to conduct this LCA study.

Currently, the membrane used in SWRT is made of linear low-density

polyethylene (LLDPE). This is a commercial thermoplastic without degradability.

Theoretically, it is not expected that the SWRT membrane will fail due to

degradation for at least a century. In practice, the membrane might fail to work

because of animal attack, contour shape deformation, and accidental human

breakage. However, any of the above failures would simply be repaired locally and

81
do not affect the life of the total membranes across any field. Thus, a very

conservative 10-year lifetime assumption for SWRT lifetime was made.

The second key assumption was that the SWRT machine production had

equivalent environmental impact to tillage machine production. There was a lack of

SWRT machine production data; however, the SWRT machine has similar tilling

effects as the tillage machine.

The third assumption was that the diesel consumption rate was assumed to be a

function of the SWRT installation area; in other words, installation depth was

irrelevant. It took about six hours to install one-acre of land with John Deere 8520

tractor (Moline, IL, US) at the very beginning tractor development phase in the

experiments.. The diesel consumption rate was estimated according to the engine

test report [10]. Because the installation rate is positive related to the number of

chisels on the tractor, the advanced tractor with more chisels are expected to have a

higher installation efficiency.

82
Table 4- 14 Representation and data resource of SWRT processes

Process Source Temporal Geography Technology


Cradle to gate production, from
oil extraction, to obtain ethylene
Polyethylene Plastic 2005-
Europe through oil fractionation to
film Europe 2012
produce LDPE resin, and then
film extrusion
Tillage Represent plough class machine,
Ecoinvent 1995-
machine Switzerland with 800 kg, 800 hours lifetime,
v2.2 2002
production and 0.72 repair factor
Tractor, Ecoinvent 1995- 3000 kg machine, 7000 hours
Switzerland
production v2.2 2002 useful life, 0.74 repair factor
Dataset was built on one
Ecoinvent 1994-
Shed Switzerland example of a typical agricultural
v2.2 2002
building, 50 years lifetime
Represent conventional diesel
production from well drilling,
crude oil production and
Diesel, at
US LCI 2009 U.S. processing as well as
refinery
transportation of crude oil via
pipeline resp. vessel to the
refinery.
modified
Pilot SWRT installation
Membrane from 2012-
U.S. technology, machine working
installation tillage, 2013
width 1 m
chiselling

4.8 Planting

The planting group covers two unit processes: field preparation and harvest. The

field preparation process defines the inputs for planting corn and outputs of

fertilizer emissions. The harvesting process is connected right after the field

preparation process. It describes the machinery to harvest the corn.

83
4.8.1 Field preparation

The field preparation process was the only fixed process in the LCA plan. This

means the field preparation process was the reference process, and every other

process was scaled in relation to this fixed process. The inputs were the tracked

elementary output flows of the seed, machinery, chemicals, irrigation, and SWRT

processes. Its tracked output was 1000 kg corn grain, with the scaling factor 1 being

fixed. The LCI of the field preparation process for year 2013 irrigated SWRT is

presented in Table 4- 15. The other LCI tables for the four 2012 experiments, 2013

non-irrigated, and 2004-2013 simulated NOSWRT are listed in Appendix-LCI

Section 4 Field preparation process LCI tables.

84
Table 4- 15 LCI of field preparation process in irrigated SWRT plan

Group Flow Amount Unit


Inputs
Seed Maize seed IP, at farm [seed] 8.3684 kg
Urea (agrarian) [Agro chemicals] 3.3456 kg
Triple superphosphate (agrarian, 45% P2O5) 1.3038 kg
Potassium chloride, as K2O, at regional storehouse 3.3456 kg
Chemical Ammonium nitrate (solution 52%, agrarian) 3.1734 kg
Potassium chloride (agrarian, 60% K2O) 2.091 kg
Ammonium sulfate, as N, at regional storehouse 0.633 kg
Glyphosate 0.1148 kg
Gypsum 79.934 kg
Tillage, cultivating, chiselling [work processes] 630.52 m2
Machinery Sowing [work processes] 331.85 m2
Fertilizing, by broadcaster [work processes] 331.85 m2
Pipe 10.254 kg
Irrigation
Irrigating [work processes] 62.73 m3
Polyethylene-film (PE) [Plastic parts] 3.526 kg
SWRT
Membrane installation [work processes] 33.185 m2
Biogenic
carbon Carbon dioxide [Renewable resources] 760 kg
Land
occupation Occupation, permanent crop, fruit, intensive 331.85 m2*a

Outputs
Elementary
flow US: corn, at farm [plant production] 1000 kg
Nitrate [Inorganic emissions to fresh water] 4.1174 kg
Fertilizer
Nitrogen oxides [Inorganic emissions to air] 0.0602 kg
emissions
Phosphorus [Inorganic emissions to fresh water] 0.0235 kg

4.8.2 Harvest

The harvest process refers to harvesting corn grain at the farm and disposal of

the drip tape. As discussed in section 5.3.4 combine harvesting, an ideal assumption

was made that 100% of the produced corn can be harvested. There was no loss

85
between the 1000 kg corn grain output flow in the field preparation process and the

1000 kg corn grain output flow in the harvest process. Drying, stover treatment, and

transportation of goods were not included. The LCI of the harvest process is

presented in Table 4- 16.

Table 4- 16 LCI of harvest process in irrigated SWRT plan

Flow Amount Unit


Inputs
Combine harvesting [work processes] 331.85 sqm
Corn, at farm [plant production] 1000 kg

Outputs
Corn, grains [Renewable primary products] 1000 kg
Incineration good [Waste for disposal] 6.7677 kg
Municipal solid waste deposition [landfill] 2.7686 kg
Recycling goods [Waste for recovery] 0.7178 kg

4.9 Calculation procedure

This section explains the calculation procedures by which input and output

flows in the field preparation processes were calculated. They are introduced group

by group as divided in Table 4- 15. Also, flows of irrigated SWRT are used as an

example to demonstrate the calculation process.

Before exploring calculation details, an important parameter land use (LU)

should be introduced. LU is extensively used in most flow quantity calculations.

Yield, a common recorded indicator in agricultural activity, was expressed in

harvested mass per unit area, e.g., bushel/acre, kg/ha. Most of the agricultural

consumptions are recorded as mass/ volume/ energy per unit area. The FU in this

86
LCA study is producing 1000 kg corn grain. Here, LU is the intermediate parameter

to convert the consumption information from kg/acre (Acre Cost) into mass/

volume/ energy per 1000 kg corn grain production (FU Cost). The LUs of each

treatment are first calculated based on Eq. 4- 1. The calculated LUs of total six

treatments in 2012 and 2013 experiments are list in Appendix-LCI Table A-8.

𝑌𝑖𝑒𝑙𝑑 [𝑘𝑔] 1000 [𝑘𝑔]


= 𝐿𝑈 [𝑎𝑐𝑟𝑒] (Eq. 4- 1)
𝑈𝑛𝑖𝑡 𝑎𝑟𝑒𝑎 [𝑎𝑐𝑟𝑒]

Another extensively used parameter is the allocation factor (AF). Corn grain is

one of the output products of the planting process. A portion of responsibility of the

whole cultivation activity loads to grain production. The AF defines the portion,

which varies from 0 to 1. If the corn grain production activity is charged with the

whole corn cultivation duty, AF is 1. If the duty allocated on corn grain is based on

its economic value [11-14], energy content [15], or mass ratio [16], the AF equals

0.79, 0.63 or 0.5, respectively. The mass allocation method (AF=0.5) is the default

method in the calculation.

4.9.1 Seed flow calculation

The seed flow in the field preparation process for the 2013 irrigated SWRT

treatment was calculated based on Eq. 4-2:

𝐴𝑐𝑟𝑒 𝑐𝑜𝑠𝑡 [𝑘𝑔 /𝑎𝑐𝑟𝑒 ] ∗ 𝐿𝑈 [𝑎𝑐𝑟𝑒 ] ∗ 𝐴𝐹 = 𝐹𝑈 𝑐𝑜𝑠𝑡 [𝑘𝑔 /𝐹𝑈 𝑝𝑟𝑜𝑑𝑢𝑐𝑡𝑖𝑜𝑛 ] (Eq. 4-

2)

The acre cost was 102 kg/acre; it took 0.164 acre to produce 1000 kg corn grain.

Thus, the FU cost of seed flow was calculated as:

87
102 [(𝑘𝑔 𝑠𝑒𝑒𝑑)/𝑎𝑐𝑟𝑒] ∗ 0.164 [𝑎𝑐𝑟𝑒] ∗ 0.5 = 8.364 [(kg seed)/(FU production)]

4.9.2 Chemical flow calculation

Similar to seed flow calculation, the chemical flow calculation use Eq. 4- 2 to

calculate the FU cost of each chemical flow quantity in the field preparation process.

The Acre cost of each type of chemicals is inventoried in Appendix-LCI Table A-9

and Table A-10. The LU values can be found in Appendix-LCI Table A-11. The urea

flow in field preparation process of 2013 irrigated SWRT is presented as a

calculation example:

By checking Appendix-LCI Table A-2 and Appendix-LCI Table A-11, the urea acre

cost =40.8 [kg/acre], and LU irrigated SWRT = 0.164 acre were known.

Urea FU cost=40.8 [kg/acre] *0.164 [acre]*0.5 = 3.346 [kg urea/FU production]

4.9.3 Machinery flow calculation

Machine flows are calculated following Eq. 4-2. Different from the chemical flow,

the LU is the FU cost of machinery flows. The output elementary flows of the

machinery group are 1000 m2. A unit conversion process was required in flow

calculations. The sowing flow and fertilizing flow in field preparation process of

2013 irrigated SWRT treatment were calculated as: (1 acre = 4047 m2)

0.164 acre *4047 [m2/acre] * 0.5 = 331.85 m2

The tillage flow was a little different from other machinery flows in the

calculation. For NOSWRT treatments (2012 15” Ctrl & 30” Ctrl, 2013 nonirrigated

Ctrl, 2004-2013 simulated Ctrl), there were two tillages per growing season.

Therefore, the quantity was calculated as: 2* FU *4047 [m2/acre] * 0.5. For SWRT

88
treatments (2012 15”SWRT, 30” SWRT, and 2013 irrigated SWRT), the initial

membrane installation completed the tillage simultaneously. Given the key

assumption that the SWRT lifetime was 10 years, the annual tillage flow was

calculated as:

(1+2* t [a]) * FU [acre] * 4047 [m2/acre] *AF/ t = tillage flow (Eq. 4- 3)

where t is SWRT lifetime

For 2013 irrigated SWRT: (1+2*9)*FU/10 * 4047 [m2/acre] * 0.5 = 630.52 [m2 ]

4.9.4 Irrigation flow calculation

Irrigation and drip tape are the two flows in the irrigation group of field

preparation processes. Irrigation flow (irrigation water [m3]) connects the output of

the drip irrigation process to the input of the field preparation process. Irrigating

flow was calculated followed Eq. 4-2.

To perform the drip tape flow calculation, the drip tape acre cost calculation

need to be done first. Each irrigated plot used 14 irrigation tubes, and each tube was

9.144 m (30 feet) long. Each plot area was 41.8 m2 (450 ft2). Thus, the tube used per

unit area was 14 * 9.144 m / 41.8 m2 = 3.063 [m/ m2]. According to the sampling

measurement, the drip tape was calculated as 9.904 *10-3 [kg/m]. Thus, the mass of

drip tape per irrigation unit area was 9.904 *10-3 [kg/m] * 3.063 [m/ m2] = 3.033 *

10-2 [kg/ m2] (equivalent to 125 [kg/acre]). The remaining calculation procedure for

drip tape FU cost was followed by Eq. 4- 2.

89
4.9.5 SWRT flow calculation

Polyethylene-film flow and membrane installation flow were the two SWRT

flows in the field preparation processes. The polyethylene film flow describes the

weight of LLDPE used to produce 1000 FU annually. The membrane installation flow

depicted the annual membrane installation area per FU.

The membrane total surface area used per 10000 m2 (1 hectare) farmland was

15152 m2. The membrane was maintained in a contour shape with width to depth in

the ratio of 2:1. Based on measurement result, the membrane thickness was 7.6E-

5±3E-6 m (3±0.1 mil). The density of LLDPE was about 0.92 [g/cm3 ] (eqv. to 920

[kg/m3]). Thus, the average membrane mass per hectare was 15152 [m2/ha] * 7.6 E-

5 [m] * 920 [kg/m3] = 1059 [kg/ha] (eqv. to 430 [kg/acre]).

Given that the SWRT membrane lifetime was 10 years, based on Eq. 4- 3, the

annual membrane consumption per FU is:

430 [kg/acre] * 0.164 [acre] *0.5 /10 [a] = 3.526 [kg /a]

Because there were no gaps between each membrane strips in the horizontal

direction, the installation area is the farm area that employed SWRT. For irrigated

SWRT treatment, the average annual membrane installation area per FU was:

0.164 [acre]* 4047 [m2/acre] * 0.5/10 [year] = 33.185 [m2/a]

4.9.6 Biogenic carbon flow calculation

CO2 in the air is naturally fixed by plants to be used for producing carbohydrates

via photosynthsis process. At this point, CO2 in the atmosphere is sequestered by

plants. The CO2 fixed and released by biomass production is called biogenic carbon.

90
From cradle to farm gate perspective, plants could receive credits for reducing the

GHG in the atmosphere. But from the whole life cycle perspective, growing plants

should not receive biogenic carbon dioxide credits. Plants will release the carbon

eventually when they are burned or decomposed. A classic view of point is that the

captured and released CO2 amount should be equal, which is called carbon neutral.

In this study, since the scope is cradle to farm gate, the corn production receives a

carbon credit.

The amount of CO2 fixed per 1000 kg corn production is estimated based on

literature [17-19], which reported 1.494, 1.33, and 1.75 kg CO2 fixed per 1 kg corn

plant production. The estimated CO2 captured per 1000 kg corn grain production is

illustrated below, where 0.5 is the default allocation factor by mass.

0.5*1000 [kg]*(1.494+1.33+1.75) [kg CO2/1 kg plant] /3=760 [kg CO2/FU]

4.9.7 Land occupation flow calculation

Crop land was occupied by corn plants for grain production. In the field

preparation process, the land occupation flow refers to the direct land used to

produce 1000 kg corn grain. Even though corn plants only physically occupy the

crop land less than six months (from May to Oct), the whole year of land occupation

was counted. One reason is that no other crops were planted during winter; the

other reason is that the fallow winter benefits the land for the next year’s corn

production. The land occupation flow was calculated using Eq. 4-2:

0.164 [acre/year] * 4047 [m2/acre]*0.5 = 331.85 [m2/year]

91
4.9.8 Fertilizer emission flow calculation

The fertilizer emission flows take nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium

fertilizer emission to soil, water and air into consideration. The main impacts to air

are generated from N2O, NH3, and NOx. The major impacts to water are from nitrate

and phosphorus leaching. Impacts to soil are mainly due to heavy metal adhere to

soil and soil pH change due to fertilizer.

The NOx emission was the main fertilizer emission to air in Sandhill farm

condition. Based on the 2006 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)

guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories, direct N2O emissions from soil

due to nitrogen fertilizer application are about 1% of all applied N [20]. The N2O gas

generation requires anaerobic conditions in the soil. Considering the little anaerobic

environment in sandy soil driven by the large pore size compared to clay, direct N2O

emissions from N application were negligible. NH3 gas formation normally occurs on

the soil surface. But, the high permeability of sandy soil speeds up the N fertilizer

penetration into the soil, and this greatly lessens NH3 formation. The NOx gas

emission rate was calculated based on a reference [8].

Nitrate and phosphate leaching were the main contamination flows to water.

Nitrate is the form of N that can be directly used by plant growth. Nitrate is

negatively charged and highly water-soluble. In other words, nitrate is less likely to

attach to sandy soil that contains less soil organic matter soil organic matter (SOM)

(positive charge), and easily drains with water. The N drainage rate was about 63%

of the total applied N based on a study [21]. Phosphate leaching to water leached 1.8%

of the total applied P based on a reference [8].

92
Because of the negligible quantity and lack of reliable data, the emission to soil

flows were left out.

The emission flows for fertilizer emission were calculated based on Equation 4-

4:

E= F*R*LU*AF (Eq. 4- 4)

where

E is fertilizer emissions; the unit is kg/FU;

F is the fertilizer application rate, expressed in the unit of kg/acre;

R is the fertilizer release rate, expressed in the unit of kg/kg;

LU is the land use to produce 1 FU, in the unit of acre;

AF is the allocation factor, which defaults to 0.5 based on mass allocation.

4.10 Assumptions

This section lists the key assumptions in this study. These assumptions are

significant to this LCA study, either helping to simplify or support the LCI

calculations.

4.10.1 Machinery

 The machine production was included as machine cost in the machinery work

flow. They were proportionally loaded to the machinery work flow based on the

operation time to finish 1 ha surface area over total machine lifetime.

 The assumed machine lifetimes were: general tractor 7000 h, general

agricultural machine (machine class: seeder, hoe, fertilizer spreader, rotary

93
mower, self-loading-trailer) 1000 h, tillage machine 800 h, combine harvester

1300 h. The basis for the assumption is the agricultural machine weights

reported in ecoinvent report no.15- Life Cycle Inventories of Agricultural

Production Systems.

 Operation time to finish 1 ha surface area for machinery processes were:

combine harvesting 1.3 h, fertilizing by broadcaster 1.3 h, sowing 1.3 h, and

chisel tillage 1.2 h.

 The agricultural machines (general tractor, general agricultural machine, tillage

machine, combine harvester) used in Sandhill farm were manufactured in

Switzerland, and used in the U.S. Thus, the energy grid to produce the machines

was Swiss energy, and the primary energy (diesel) was U.S. diesel.

 Transport machine from factory to the farm was included, same as the

assumptions of agricultural field work processes in Ecoinvent 2.2.

4.10.2 Irrigation

 Water used for irrigation was well water.

 Irrigation cost came from drip tape production, irrigation water use, and

electricity consumption for pumping water.

 The water pumped from reservoir was 100% used on plant, without losees

during water transportation.

 The pump engine was 22 kW with 30 m3 volume capacity.

 The drip tape was disposed annually after harvest.

 The EOL of the drip tape was 66% wt. to incineration, 27% wt. to landfill, and 7%

wt. to recycle.

94
4.10.3 Chemical

 The consumption of carrier water and electricity to apply the liquid fertilizers

(AN and KCl) were negligible.

 The 2004-2013 simulated experiment did not use liquid fertilizers.

 The NPK granular fertilizer application levels for 2004-2013 simulated

treatments were assumed to be 134-36-90 kg/ha. The assumed application level

was a little higher than the 2013 experiment level because of the absence of

liquid fertilizer. (The NPK granular fertilizer application rates were 135-39-112

kg/ha in the 2012 experiment, and 80.2-31.2-80.2 kg/ha in the 2013 experiment)

 The AMS and roundup application rate for 2004-2013 simulated treatments

were assumed to be the same as level used in 2012 and 2013 experiments.

4.10.4 Seed

 The corn seed used in the experiment had the same environmental footprint

(EFP) as the Switzerland seed that the Ecoinvent v2.2 dataset refers to.

4.10.5 SWRT

 The EFP of SWRT machine production was the same as the EFP of the

Switzerland tillage machine production.

 It took 14.8 hours for the SWRT machine to install membrane in a 1 ha surface

area farm. The diesel consumption of the SWRT machine was 46.9 kg/h.

 The SWRT membrane was LLDPE material with uniform 7.6E-5 m (3 mil)

thickness. The density of the membrane was 0.92 g/cm3.

95
 The EFP of LLDPE membrane production was equal to EFP of PE membrane

production.

4.10.6 Planting

 There was little surface run-off.

 The amounts of N2O and NH3 direct emission from soil due to N fertilizer

amendment were negligible.

 The NPK drainage rates were the same in SWRT and NOSWRT treatments.

 The NO3 leaching rate was 63% of total N amendment. The NOx gas emission to

air was 1.8% of total N amendment. The phosphate leaching was 1.8% of total P

addition.

 There was no machine lose in the combine harvest process.

 Mass (corn grain): Mass (stover) = 1:1

 The harvest corn grain had moisture content of 15.5%.

 Drying and stover treatment were not included in the harvest process.

4.10.7 Missing data

 Pump production for irrigation.

 Fertilizer emission to soil.

 Transportation of disposal drip tapes to EOL facilities, chemicals from

manufacture to farm, corn seed from the seed farm to Sandhill farm, SWRT

machine and membrane from factories to farm, and harvest corn grain to storage

barn.

96
APPENDIX

97
APPENDIX

The LCI tables in this section records the entire acre cost for flow quantity calculation and some information to assist in the

LCA calculation.

Table A- 1 LCI of 2012 experiment


sub- 38.1 cm 76.2 cm 38.1 cm 76.2 cm
Group parameter unit
category NOSWRT NOSWRT SWRT SWRT
direct land land occupation to
Land m2 1032 1008 595 749
use produce 1Mg grain
farm location degree 42.6805, -84.4669
soil soil texture 96.1% sand 3.9% silt& clay
Seed seed kg/ha 252 126 252 126
irrigation water m3/ha 1441 665 4915 2644
rainfall water m3/ha 1824
Irrigation drip tape kg/ha 309
MJ/m3
pump electricity 2.64
water

98
Table A- 1 (cont’d)
sub- 38.1 cm 76.2 cm 38.1 cm 76.2 cm
Group parameter unit
category NOSWRT NOSWRT SWRT SWRT
thickness m 7.6E-5±3E-6
film surface area m2 /ha 15152
density g/cm3 0.92
LLDPE mass kg/ha 1062
SWRT Kg
tractor fuel rate 45.2-48.6
diesel/h
working hours hour /ha 14.8
tractor life time
hour 15000
employed hour
machine weight kg 3000
Chemical granular Urea (32% N) kg/ha 135
phosphorus pentoxide
kg/ha 39
(P2O5) (43.7% P)
potassium chloride
kg/ha 112
(KCl) (47.1% K)
AN[ammonium
liquid kg/ha 52
nitrate]
P[concentrated
kg/ha 30
superphosphate]
K[potassium chloride] kg/ha 18
herbicide AMS kg/ha 19
Rdup-glyphosate kg/ha 3.5
pH-adjust gypsum / lime kg/(ha*a) 2409
CO2 CO2 capture from kg/kg
1.52
binding atmosphere plant

99
Table A- 1 (cont’d)
sub- 38.1 cm 76.2 cm 38.1 cm 76.2 cm
Group parameter unit
category NOSWRT NOSWRT SWRT SWRT
stover ± standard 13376±13
by-product kg/ha 9671±2135 9922±1444 16830±1256
error 19
corn grain commercial
wt. content % 15.5
moisture content
stover oven dried
wt. content % 4
moisture content
root root depth cm 40-55
fertilizer emission to 0
ammonia (NH3) %
emission air
N2O % 0
NOx % 1.8
emission to
nitrate leaching % 63
ground water
phosphorus leaching % 1.8
emission to
phosphorus run-off % 0
surface water
allocation mass (grain) : mass
mass 1 0.5:0.5
method (stover)
energy
grain MJ/kg 53.4
content
stover MJ/kg 31.4
energy (grain) : energy
1 0.63:0.37
(stover)
economic
grain $/ton 214
value
stover $/ton 50-66.7
price (grain) : price
1 0.79:0.21
(stover)

100
Table A- 1 (cont’d)
sub- 38.1 cm 76.2 cm 38.1 cm 76.2 cm
Group parameter unit
category NOSWRT NOSWRT SWRT SWRT

substitute
stover
system
environment stover collected rate % 50
expansion
al impact
from total

ethanol
convention stover ethanol L/kg 0.3
efficiency
Switchgrass ethanol L/kg 0.4
Switchgrass ethanol by
KWh/ kg 0.206
product- electricity
Switchgrass ethanol
net electricity
consumption for 150L kWh 21.75
eqv. ethanol
production
yield of switchgrass ton/ha/a 10

101
LCI of 2013 experiment

Table A- 2 LCI of 2013 experiment


Irrigated- Nonirrigated-
Group sub-category Parameter unit
SWRT NOSWRT
direct land
land land occ. to produce 1000 kg grain m2
use 835 2820
land location degree 42.6805, -84.4669
row spacing cm 38.1
seed soil soil composition 96.1% sand 3.9% silt& clay
seed kg/ha 252
irrigation water m3/ha 1890 0
rainfall water m3/ha 3998 3998
total direct water m3/ha 5889 3998
water
HDPE drip tape kg/ha 309 NA
MJ/m3
pump electricity
water 2.64 NA
SWRT membrane surface area m2 /ha 15152 NA
7.6E-5±3E-
thickness m
6 NA
density g/cm3 2.54 NA
LLDPE mass kg/ha 1063 NA
tractor fuel rate kg diesel/h 45.2-48.6 NA
working hours hour /ha 14.8 NA
tractor life time employed hour hour 15000 NA
machine weight kg 3000 NA
Chemical granular urea kg/ha 80.2
phosphorus pentoxide (P2O5)
kg/ha
(43.7% P) 31.2
K2O kg/ha 80.2

102
Table A- 2 (cont’d)
Irrigated- Nonirrigated-
Group sub-category Parameter unit
SWRT NOSWRT
P[concentrated superphosphate] kg/ha 0 0
K[potassium chloride] kg/ha 62.9 0
herbicide AMS kg/ha 19
Rdup-glyphosate kg/ha 3.46
pH-adjust gypsum / lime kg/(ha*a) 2408
CO2 binding CO2 capture from atmosphere kg/kg plant 1.52
Yield main product corn grain kg/ha 11981±359 3544±957
harvest index 0.49 0.58
by-product stover kg/ha 15679 3227
corn grain commercial moisture
wt. content %
content 15.5
wt. content stover oven dried moisture content % 4
root root depth cm 48 122
fertilizer emission to
ammonia (NH3) %
emission air 0
N2O % 0
NOx % 1.80
emission to
nitrate leaching %
ground water 63
phosphorus emission through soil
emission to
erosion by water+ phosphorus %
surface water
leaching 1.80
allocation
mass mass (grain) : mass (stover) 1 (cont’d)
method 0.5:0.5
energy
grain MJ/kg
content 53.4
stover MJ/kg 31.4

103
Table A- 2 (cont’d)
Irrigated- Nonirrigated-
Group sub-category Parameter unit
SWRT NOSWRT
energy (grain) : energy (stover) 1 0.63:0.37
economic
value (2011 grain $/ton
USDA) 214
stover $/ton 50-66.7
price (grain) : price (stover) 1 0.79:0.21
system substitute
expansion stover
environmental stover collected rate % 50
impact from
total
ethanol
convention stover ethanol L/kg
efficiency 0.3
Switchgrass ethanol L/kg 0.4
Switchgrass ethanol by product-
KWh/ kg
electricity 0.206
Switchgrass ethanol net electricity
consumption for 150L eqv. ethanol KWh
production 21.75
yield of switchgrass ton/ha/a 10

104
LCI of 2004-2013 experiment

Table A- 3 LCI of 2004-2013 simulation


NOSWRT NOSWRT
Group sub-category parameter unit SWRT
irrigated nonirrigated
direct land use land location degree 42.6805, -84.4669
land
row spacing cm 38.1
soil soil composition 96.1% sand 3.9% silt& clay
seed seed kg/ha 252
irrigation water m3/ha 493 NA 49
HDPE drip tape kg/ha 309 NA 31
Irrigation
MJ/m3
pump electricity 2.64 NA 2.64
water
membrane surface area m2/ha NA NA 15152
7.6E-5±3E-
thickness m NA NA
6
density g/cm3 NA NA 2.54
LLDPE mass kg/ha NA NA 1063
SWRT kg
tractor fuel rate NA NA 45.2-48.6
diesel/h
working hours hour /ha NA NA 15
tractor life time employed hour hour NA NA 15000
machine weight kg NA NA 3000

105
Table A- 3 (cont’d)
NOSWRT NOSWRT
Group sub-category parameter unit SWRT
irrigated nonirrigated
granular urea kg/ha 134
P2O5 kg/ha 36
K2 O kg/ha 80
herbicide AMS kg/ha 19
Chemical
Rdup-glyphosate kg/ha 3.5
pH-adjust gypsum / lime kg/(ha*a) 5950
kg/kg
CO2 binding CO2 capture from atmosphere 1.52
plant
main product corn grain kg/ha appendix 2-3
by-product stover kg/ha appendix 2-3
corn grain commercial moisture
wt. content % 15.5
content
Yield
wt. content stover oven dried moisture content % 4
Harvest index-grain percentage over
Harvest Index % 50
total
root root depth cm 122
emission to
NH3 % 0
air
N2O % 0
Fertilizer
NOx % 1.8
emission
emission to
nitrate leaching % 63
fresh water
phosphorus leaching % 1.8

106
Table A- 3 (cont’d)
NOSWRT NOSWRT
Group sub-category parameter unit SWRT
irrigated nonirrigated
mass mass (grain) : mass (stover) 1 0.5:0.5
energy
grain MJ/kg 53.4
content
stover MJ/kg 31.4
Allocation energy (grain) : energy (stover) 1 0.63:0.37
method economic
value (2011 grain $/ton (cont’d) 214
USDA)
stover $/ton 50-66.7
price (grain) : price (stover) 1 0.79:0.63

substitute
stover
environmenta stover collected rate % 50
l impact from
total

ethanol
System
convention stover ethanol L/kg 0.3
expansion
efficiency
Switchgrass ethanol L/kg 0.4
Switchgrass ethanol by product-
KWh/ kg 0.206
electricity
Switchgrass ethanol net electricity
consumption for 150L eqv. ethanol KWh 21.75
production
yield of switchgrass ton/ha/a 10

107
SALUS settings and simulation results

Soil profiles in SALUS

Table A- 4 Soil profile in SALUS

Layer cm 0-5 6-15 16-25 26-34 35-43 44-53 54-90


Lower Limit of
soil water m3/m3 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1
Drained upper
limit of soil m3/m3 0.21 0.21 0.21 0.21 0.21 0.21 0.21
Saturated soil
water content m3/m3 0.34 0.34 0.34 0.34 0.34 0.34 0.34
Soil hospitality factor 1 0.874 0.874 0.351 0.351 0.31 0.31
Sat. hydraulic
cond. cm/h 10 10 10 10 10 10 10
Bulk density, Mg/m3 1.67 1.67 1.67 1.67 1.67 1.67 1.67
Organic C % 0.29 0.29 0.28 0.27 0.24 0.23 0.2
Clay content % 5 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 5
Silt content % 5 5 5 5 5 5 5

Crop management profile

Table A- 5 Crop management profile

Unit/
Category Item Value comment
Planting date May 15
plant population 18.06 plant/m2
method seed
distribution row
row spacing 38.1 cm
30% of max. available at 25cm
Irrigation threshold for automatic apply water depth
threshold for automatic apply incorporate
Fertilizer urea 95% N stress factor at 2 cm depth
Tillage date of 1st one-way disk date May 13
date of 2nd one-way disk date Oct 10
Harvest Harvest 99% product Harvest at maturity

108
Yield and irrigation water used of simulation results

Table A- 6 Yields from SALUS simulation for year 2004 to 2013

Aggregate:
Nonirrigated 10% irrigated+90%
Irrigated NOSWRT NOSWRT nonirrigated
year yield Irrigation yield Irrigation yield Irrigation
unit [kg/acre] [m3/acre] [kg/acre] [m3/acre] [kg/acre] [m3/acre]
2004 5057.6 79 4877.3 0 4895.3 7.9
2005 3511.3 157 2637.3 0 2724.7 15.7
2006 3872.1 159 3628.8 0 3653.1 15.9
2007 3306.6 319 2425.3 0 2513.4 31.9
2008 3658.1 318 2128.2 0 2281.2 31.8
2009 4073.2 160 3907.2 0 3923.8 16.0
2010 3431.4 240 2858.3 0 2915.6 24.0
2011 4389.5 163 4304.6 0 4313.1 16.3
2012 3439.2 320 2787.5 0 2852.6 32.0
2013 4388.5 79 3858.7 0 3911.7 7.9

Comparisons between simulations and institute records

Table A- 7 Percentage difference between average yields and simulated aggregate


NOSWRT
SALUS
Year USDA record [18] simulation Data Verification
US MI Ingham Aggregate US MI Ingham
2004 10062 8411 9980 12097 -17% -30% -17%
2005 9283 8976 9101 6733 38% 33% 35%
2006 9359 9227 9478 9027 4% 2% 5%
2007 9459 7720 7407 6211 52% 24% 19%
2008 9660 8662 8097 5637 71% 54% 44%
2009 10338 9290 9478 9696 7% -4% -2%
2010 9591 9415 9967 7205 33% 31% 38%
2011 9239 9603 9315 10658 -13% -10% -13%
2012 7746 8348 7614 7049 10% 18% 8%
2013 9967 9729 NA 9666 3% 1% NA

109
Land uses (LUs) of experiments to produce 1000 kg corn grain

Table A- 8 LUs summary of experiment treatments

LU
Treatment
acre m2
38.1 cm SWRT 0.147 595
76.2 cm SWRT 0.185 749
2012
38.1 cm NOSWRT 0.255 1032
76.2 cm NOSWRT 0.249 1008
Irrigated-SWRT 0.164 835
2013
Non-irrigated-NOSWRT 0.555 2820

Field preparation process LCI tables

This part of the document provides the field preparation process, LCI table of 2012

experiments, 2013 nonirrigated NOSWRT, and 2004-2013 simulated data. These LCIs are

created based on the same principles with different input levels. Here, the equations to

calculate each flow quantity are summarized. The input/output levels are available to look

up in Appendix-LCI Table A-1, 1A-2, and A-3.

110
Field preparation process LCIs of experiment treatments

Table A- 9 Field preparation process flow calculations of experiment treatments

Group Flow Flow equation Unit


Inputs
Seed seed seed[kg/acre]*LU[acre]*AF kg
Urea urea[kg/acre]*LU[acre]*AF kg
P2O5 P2O5[kg/acre]*LU[acre]*AF kg
K2O K2O[kg/acre]*LU[acre]*AF kg
AN I*AN[kg/acre]*LU[acre]*AF kg
Chemical
KCl I*KCI[kg/acre]*LU[acre]*AF kg
AMS AMS[kg/acre]*LU[acre]*AF kg
Glyphosate glyphosate[kg/acre]*LU[acre]*AF kg
Gypsum gypsum[kg/acre]*LU[acre]*AF kg
Tillage (t1[a]*2-S)*4047[m2/acre]*LU[acre]*AF/t1[a] m2
Machinery Sowing 4047[m2/acre]*LU[acre]*AF m2
Fertilizing 4047[m2/acre]*LU[acre]*AF m2
Pipe I*pipe[kg/acre]*LU[acre]*AF/t2[a] kg
Irrigation
Irrigating I*water[m3/acre]*LU[acre]*AF m3
PE film S*PE film[kg/acre]*LU*AF/t1[a] kg
SWRT
Install S*4047[m2/acre]*LU[acre]*AF/t1[a] m2
Biogenic
carbon CO2 1520[kg]*AF kg
Land
occupation Land occ. 4047[m2/acre]*LU[acre]*AF*1 year m2*a
Outputs
Elementary
flow corn grain 1000 kg
(urea[kg/acre]+AN[kg/acre])*0.6316*LU[acre]*
Nitrate AF kg
Fertilizer
(urea[kg/acre]+AN[kg/acre])*0.018*LU[acre] *
emissions
NOx AF kg
Phosphorus P2O5[kg/acre]*0.018*LU[acre]*AF kg
where

S is SWRT factor, when treatment is SWRT, S=1; treatment is NOSWRT, S=0;

I is irrigation factor, when treatment is irrigated, I=1; treatment is nonirrigated, I=0;

t1 is SWRT membrane lifetime, a default value t1=10 years;

111
t2 is drip tape lifetime, a default value t2=1 year;

AF is allocation factor, a default value AF=0.5;

LU is the land use to produce one unit FU; the specific values of different treatments are list

in Appendix Table A-11.

Field preparation process LCIs of simulated treatments

Different from experimental treatments with single year data, simulated treatments

have ten continuous year data. In experimental treatments, SWRT burdens are evenly

loaded to every year, while in simulated treatments, SWRT burdens are charged totally to

the initial installation year 2004.

112
Table A- 10 Field preparation process flow calculations of simulated treatments

Group Flow Flow equation Unit


Inputs
Seed seed seed[kg/acre]*LU[acre]*AF kg
Chemical Urea urea[kg/acre]*LU[acre]*AF kg
P2O5 P2O5 [kg/acre]*LU[acre]*AF kg
K2O K2O[kg/acre]*LU[acre]*AF kg
Chemical AMS AMS[kg/acre]*LU[acre]*AF kg
Machinery Glyphosate glyphosate[kg/acre]*LU[acre]*AF kg
Gypsum gypsum[kg/acre]*LU[acre]*AF kg
Tillage (2-S)*4047[m2/acre]*LU[acre]*AF m2
Sowing 4047[m2/acre]*LU[acre]*AF m2
Machinery
Fertilizing 4047[m2/acre]*LU[acre]*AF m2
Irrigation
Pipe I*pipe[kg/acre]*LU[acre]*AF/t2[a] kg
Irrigation Irrigating I*water[m3/acre]*LU[acre]*AF m3
SWRT PE film S*PE film[kg/acre]*LU*AF kg
SWRT Install S*4047[m2/acre]*LU[acre]*AF m2
Biogenic
carbon CO2 1520[kg]*AF kg
Land
occupation Land occ. 4047[m2/acre]*LU[acre]*AF*1 [a] m2*a
Outputs
Elementary
flow corn grain 1000 kg
Fertilizer (urea[kg/acre]+AN[kg/acre])*0.6316*LU[acre]
emissions Nitrate *AF kg
(urea[kg/acre]+AN[kg/acre])*0.018*LU[acre]
Fertilizer NOx * AF kg
emissions Phosphorus P2O5[kg/acre]*0.018*LU[acre]*AF kg

where,

S is SWRT factor, when it is the first year to install SWRT, S=1; otherwise, S=0;

I is irrigation factor, when treatment is irrigated, I=1; treatment is nonirrigated, I=0;

t2 is drip tape lifetime, a default value t2=1 year;

AF is allocation factor, a default value AF=0.5;

113
LU is land use to produce one unit FU; the specific values of different treatments are list in

appendix 5 Table 11.

Yield increase scenario on 2004-2013 simulated treatments

Table A- 11 LU [acre] to produce 1000 kg grain of simulated treatments

Year Original 20%+ 30%+ 50%+ 80%+ 100%+ 200%+ 300%+


2004 0.204 0.170 0.157 0.136 0.114 0.102 0.051 0.041
2005 0.370 0.308 0.284 0.246 0.205 0.185 0.092 0.076
2006 0.274 0.228 0.211 0.183 0.152 0.137 0.068 0.055
2007 0.401 0.334 0.309 0.268 0.223 0.201 0.100 0.082
2008 0.450 0.375 0.346 0.300 0.250 0.225 0.113 0.093
2009 0.255 0.212 0.196 0.170 0.142 0.127 0.064 0.051
2010 0.344 0.287 0.265 0.229 0.191 0.172 0.086 0.070
2011 0.232 0.193 0.178 0.155 0.129 0.116 0.058 0.046
2012 0.352 0.293 0.271 0.235 0.196 0.176 0.088 0.072
2013 0.256 0.213 0.197 0.171 0.142 0.128 0.064 0.052

where

Original means the LU by NOSWRT without yield increase assumption;

20+ means if SWRT will lead to yield increase by 20% compared to NOSWRT.

114
Drip tape sampling records

Drip tapes were collected and measured in 5 replicates to estimate the mass per unit

length. Each replicate was 0.25 m in length. The mass was recorded in the following table.

Table A- 12 drip tape measurement record

Replicate # mass [g]


#1 2.61
#2 2.36
#3 2.43
#4 2.48
#5 2.50
average 2.48
stdev 0.09

115
REFERENCES

116
REFERENCES

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Agricultural Statistics Service. 2013 [cited 2013 Nov.].

2. Ritchie, J.T. SALUS MODEL. [cited 2013 Nov.6]; Available from:


http://nowlin.css.msu.edu/salus/overview.html#N_1_.

3. (MUS-AWO);, M.A.W.O., M.S.C.s. office;, and M.D.o. Geography, Enviro-weather. 2012,


Michigan State University: East Lansing.

4. Farnham, D., Corn Planting Guide, D. Marks, Editor. 2001, Department of Agronomy,
Iowa State University. p. 8.

5. Basso, F., M. Pisante, and B. Basso, 25 Soil Erosion and Land Degradation.
Mediterranean desertification: A mosaic of processes and responses, 2003: p. 347.

6. UWEX, C.E.o. Grain Harvesting. Corn Agronomy 2014 [cited 2014 Mar 19, 2014];
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7. Perlman, H. Irrigation water use. 2005 Mar 17, 2014 [cited 2014 Apr 1]; Available
from: http://water.usgs.gov/edu/wuir.html.

8. Nemecek, T. and t. Kagi, Life Cycle Inventories of Agricultural Production Systems.


2007, Agroscope Reckenholz-Tanikon Research station ART. p. 360.

9. Levitan, l., Use and Disposal of Agricultural Plastics in Prohibition of Open Burning of
Solid Waste in New York State, e.r.a. Program, editor. 2004, Cornell University: Ithaca.

10. Nelson, D., Nebraska OECD Tractor Test 1801–Summary 367 John Deere 8520 Diesel
16 Speed. 2002, Agricultural Research Division Institute of Agriculture and Natural
Resources: Lincoln.

11. USDA. Agricultural Prices. 2011 Dec 30, 2011 [cited 2013 Sep 1st]; Available from:
http://usda01.library.cornell.edu/usda/nass/AgriPric/2010s/2011/AgriPric-12-
30-2011.pdf.

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12. Jena Thompson and W.E. Tyner. Corn Stover for Bioenergy Production: Cost Estimates
and Farmer Supply Response. Renewable Energy [cited 2013 Sep 1]; Available from:
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[cited 2013 Sep 1st]; Available from:
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Available from: http://www.agmrc.org/renewable_energy/corn-stover.

15. Gelfand, I., S.S. Snapp, and G.P. Robertson, Energy efficiency of conventional, organic,
and alternative cropping systems for food and fuel at a site in the US Midwest.
Environmental science & technology, 2010. 44(10): p. 4006-4011.

16. Kim, S., B.E. Dale, and R. Jenkins, Life cycle assessment of corn grain and corn stover in
the United States. The International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment, 2009. 14(2): p.
160-174.

17. PE-GaBi, Corn, whole plant, at field, U.S.L. Database, Editor. 2009, PE-Gabi.

18. PE International, L.-G., Corn grain (field border), L.-G. PE International, Editor. 2012,
PE-GaBi.

19. MONSANTO. Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Corn. 2013 [cited 2013
Sep 30]; Available from:
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know-about-corn/.

20. (IPCC), I.P.O.C.C., 2006 IPCC Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories.
Institutefor Global Environmental Strategies, Hayama, Kanagawa, Japan, 2006.

21. Guber, A., Nitrate emissions on Sandhill farm using 2-D hydrus model, in 2-D hydrus
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118
Results and interpretation

5.1 Evaluation of result quality

This chapter describes the results and interpretation of the SWRT LCA study. It is

divided into the following sections: a) completeness check, b) consistency check, and 3)

contribution analysis. The evaluation of the result quality was performed to identify

significant issues such as data gaps, data inconsistencies, and wrong use of data with the

LCI and to determine the reliability and robustness of the results.

5.1.1 Completeness check

A completeness check was performed on the inventory to evaluate the degree of

completeness. This step helps to investigate the completeness level concerning processes

in the LCA framework. Table 5-1 provides the basic completeness check of the data and

indicates that the inventories of the studied treatments were completeness at a satisfactory

level. A minor number of flow values were missing, so they were logically assumed.

119
Table 5- 1 Completeness check
2012 2013 Simulation
15'' 30'' 15'' 30'' Irrigated Non-
unit process SWRT SWRT Ctrl Ctrl SWRT irrigated Ctrl SWRT Ctrl
Machinery harvest × × × × × × × ×
fertilizing × × × × × × × ×
sowing × × × × × × × ×
tillage × × × × × × × ×
Chemical gypsum * * × × * * *! *!
roundup × × × × × × ! !
AMS × × × × × × ! !
KCl × × × × × × Ω Ω
P2O5 × × × × × × Ω Ω
urea × × × × × × Ω Ω
AN × × × × × ×
K2O × × × × × ×
Irrigation water × × × × × × × ×
drip irrigation × × × × × × × ×
electricity × × × × × × × ×
drip tape × × × × × × × ×
pipe incineration ∆ ∆ ∆ ∆ ∆ ∆ ∆ ∆
pipe landfill ∆ ∆ ∆ ∆ ∆ ∆ ∆ ∆
pipe recycle ∆ ∆ ∆ ∆ ∆ ∆ ∆ ∆
Seed seed × × × × × × × ×

120
Table 5- 1 (cont’d)
2012 2013 Simulation
15'' 30'' 15'' 30'' Irrigated Non-
unit process SWRT SWRT Ctrl Ctrl SWRT irrigated Ctrl SWRT Ctrl
SWRT PE membrane × × × × × × × ×
membrane install × × × × × × × ×
tillage machine
production × × × × × × × ×
tractor production × × × × × × × ×
diesel × × × × × × × ×
shed × × × × × × × ×
Planting Field Preparation × × × × × × × ×
Harvest × × × × × × × ×
where

×-completeness

*- missing gypsum applied level for SWRT, assuming SWRT use the same level as Ctrl;

!- missing herbicide level for Simulation, assuming the same level used as experiments;

Ω- missing value, assuming levels based on corn fertilizer guidelines;

∆- incineration, landfill, and recycle percentage of HDPE drip tape not found, assumed values based on literature.

121
5.1.2 Consistency check

A consistency check was performed to investigate if the assumptions, methods, and

data were applied consistently throughout the LCA study [1]. The consistent applications of

the LCA methodology and the LCI inventory data were two of the major aspects evaluated

in the consistency check.

The methodological issues were first evaluated according to several aspects, such as the

LCI modelling framework, approaches, setting of system boundaries, the consistency in the

impact assessment, and other assumptions. The LCA study was conducted as an

attributional LCA study for every group and treatment. The mass allocation approach was

used as a default to solve the multifunction issues; the system boundaries of the inputs and

system were cradle to gate; and comparisons between treatments were under the same

impact assessment methodology- ReCiPe midpoint 1.07 (H); and the key assumptions were

consistently used on the different comparison scenario treatments.

The second part was to investigate the consistency of the LCI. The data accuracy, data

time-related issue, technological representation, and geography representation were areas

to evaluate the representativeness of the LCI. Table 5-2 presents the results of the

consistency check of the LCI.

122
Table 5- 2 Consistency check
Data Time-related Geographical
Check Source Accuracy age Technology coverage coverage coverage
harvesting database good 14 commercial level 1991-2001 Switzerland ₅
fertilizing database good 14 commercial level 1999-2001 Switzerland ₅
Machinery
sowing database good 14 commercial level 1999-2001 Switzerland ₅
tillage database good 14 commercial level 1991-2002 Switzerland ₅
gypsum ₁ database good <3 commercial level 2011-2014 Germany
roundup database good <3 commercial level 2000-2010 Europe
AMS database good <3 commercial level 2011-2014 US
K2O database good 15 commercial level 2000 Europe
Chemical
P2O5 database good <3 commercial level 2011-2014 US
urea database good <3 commercial level 2011-2014 US
AN database good <3 commercial level 2011-2014 US
KCl (liquid) database good <3 commercial level 2011-2014 US
irrigation water database good <3 commercial level 2011-2014 Europe
drip irrigation literature caution 13 commercial level 1991-2002 Switzerland
electricity database good 14 commercial level 1999-2001 US
Irrigation
drip tape database good 10 commercial level 2005-2012 Europe

pipe landfill database good <3 commercial level 2011-2015 US
pipe incineration database good <3 commercial level 2011-2014 Europe
pipe recycle database good <3 commercial level 2011-2014 US
Significant lower yield
Seed seed database good 15 than MI average 2000 Switzerland

123
Table 5- 2 (cont’d)

Data Time-related Geographical


Check Source Accuracy age Technology coverage coverage coverage
PE membrane database good 10 commercial level 2005-2012 Europe
measure,
membrane install literature caution <3 pilot (estimation) 2012 US
tillage machine
SWRT ₃ production database good 13 commercial level 1995-2002 Switzerland

tractor production database good 13 commercial level 1995-2003 Switzerland


diesel database good <3 commercial level 2009-2014 US
shed database good 13 commercial level 1994-2002 Switzerland
measure,
Field Preparation literature caution <2 pilot (estimation) 2012-2013 US
Planting ₄
commercial
Harvest literature weak <2 (estimation) 2012-2013 US
Where, footnotes (1-5) are consistency notes

1- Gypsum applied level of SWRT treatments was consistently assumed to be identical as the Ctrl treatments;

2- Processes on irrigation groups were modelled only in treatments receiving irrigation;

3- Processes on SWRT groups were modelled only in SWRT treatments;

4- The yields of 2012 15”SWRT and 30”SWRT were significantly higher than the average corn yield in Ingham County (MI,

U.S.), while yield of 2013 nonirrigated Ctrl were reported significant lower than the Ingham average;

124
Table 5- 2 (cont’d)

5- The primary energy supplies to the machinery group were substituted from Switzerland diesel to US diesel, the

remaining secondary energy supply was unchanged. That is to say, the energy used to power the agricultural machine

was US diesel, and the energy used to support machine production and transportation from factory to farm was still

Switzerland.

125
5.1.3 Contribution analysis

The contribution of each group of processes to the total LCIA is investigated in the

contribution analysis. The contribution analysis provides a comprehensive view of the LCA

study to identify the major contributors and reveals insights about where to concentrate

additional energy and time to improve the robustness of the study. A summary of the

contribution analysis results is presented in Figure 5-1 and 5-2. The contributions of each

group process are evaluated using ReCiPe 1.07 (H) Midpoint indicators. The figures

indicate that, for treatments using irrigation, the irrigation group takes up a significant

weight on the water depletion, terrestrial acidification, human toxicity, fossil depletion, and

agricultural land occupation impact categories; for treatments without irrigation, the

impacts from machinery, chemical, and seed are magnified to considerable levels due to the

irrigation absence of irrigation. The planting group displays great contributions in the

freshwater eutrophication and freshwater ecotoxicity impact categories. The fertilizer

emissions are responsible for that.

The LCIA values and relative contributions of each flow are presented in Appendix A5-

Contribution analysis Section A5-1 and A5-2, respectively.

126
Machinery Chemical Irrigation Seed SWRT Planting

Water depletion
Terrestrial acid.
Human toxicity
Freshwater eutro.
Freshwater…
Fossil depletion
Climate change
Agricultural…

0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100%

Water depletion
Terrestrial acid.
Human toxicity
Freshwater eutro.
Freshwater ecotoxi.
Fossil depletion
Climate change
Agricultural land occ.

0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100%
Figure 5- 1 Contribution analysis of 2012 SWRT treatments: 15”SWRT (left top), 30’’SWRT (right
top), 15” Ctrl (left bottom), and 30” Ctrl (right bottom)
127
Machinery Chemical Irrigation Seed SWRT Planting
Water depletion

Terrestrial acid.
Human toxicity

Freshwater eutro.
Freshwater ecotoxi.
Fossil depletion

Climate change

Agricultural land occ.

0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100%

Water depletion
Terrestrial acid.
Human toxicity
Freshwater eutro.
Freshwater ecotoxi.
Fossil depletion
Climate change
Agricultural land occ.

0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100%

Figure 5- 2 Contribution analysis of 2013 Irrigated SWRT (left top), Nonirrigated Ctrl (right top), 2004
simulated Ctrl (left bottom), and 2004 simulated SWRT (right bottom)

128
5.2 LCIA Results

The LCIA results of six experimental treatments were analyzed using the ReCiPe 1.07 (H)

midpoint methodology. This methodology covers 18 impact categories, and 8 of them were

selected to investigate the analyzed treatments. The chosen impact categories were

agricultural land occupation, climate change, fossil depletion, freshwater ecotoxicity,

human toxicity, terrestrial acidification, and water depletion. To perform the comparisons,

the LCIA results of the experimental treatments were summarized by impact categories. In

addition, the contribution analysis concluded that the irrigation group had large

contributions to 6 of the 8 impact categories. So, the irrigation group was individually

presented at the unit process level. In the second part of the LCIA result section, the LCIA

results of a few published corn LCA studies are summarized and compared as benchmark

studies. Since the results of these studies were reported using mixed impact assessment

methodologies, the results of this study were transformed for comparison.

129
5.2.1 LCIA Results of experimental treatments

Figure 5- 3 ReCiPe 1.07 (H) Midpoint of Agricultural Land Occupation

Figure 5-3 indicates that the agricultural land occupation impacts are mainly from the

planting and seed groups. The planting group accounts for the direct land use to produce

1000 kg of corn grain. The order of impacts from the planting group for the six experiment

treatments is 15’SWRT < Irrigated SWRT < 30”SWRT < 30” Ctrl < 15” Ctrl < Nonirrigated

Ctrl, which is reversed to the yield order. This explanation is confirmed by the reverse

order of yield. The second highest contributor group is seed. The corn seed unit process

takes land occupation into account. Therefore, the land occupation burden from corn seed

should be accounted for when corn seeds are used for corn grain production.

130
Figure 5- 4 ReCiPe 1.07 (H) Midpoint of Climate Change

Figure 5-4 indicates the contribution of every group to the total climate change. The

irrigation group (including drip tape EOL, drip tape production, irrigation electricity, and

irrigation water) is the biggest producer, taking up 65%-73% of the total climate change

impact. When further analyzed, about 50% of the burden in the irrigation group was

derived from the water amendment activity. On average, every extra cubic meter of water

incurred burden from water and pump electricity consumption. The remaining about 50%

of the burdens for the irrigation group came from the irrigation system infrastructure (i.e.,

drip tape production and pipe EOL). Since there was no artificial water amendment in the

2013 nonirrigated Ctrl, though its yield is the lowest, the nonirrigated Ctrl treatment

displays the lowest climate change impact.

131
Figure 5- 5 ReCiPe 1.07 (H) Midpoint of Fossil Depletion

Figure 5-5 shows the fossil depletion midpoint impact, which has a similar pattern to

climate change. A significant difference between them is that the portion of drip tape EOL

vanishes while the portion of drip tape expands.

Figure 5-6 shows the main impact sources of freshwater ecotoxicity and freshwater

eutrophication. More than 80% of the impacts were due to fertilizer emissions embedded

in the planting group. From the soil electrical conductivity experiments which were

discussed in the planting group calculation procedure in the LCI chapter, and Hydrus 2D

modelling results [2], there was a lack of evidence to model a significant difference in

fertilizer emissions between the SWRT and the Ctrl treatments. Thus, the fertilizer

emission impacts linearly correlate to the fertilizer application level, and are inverse

132
correlated to the yields. Therefore, a natural recommendation will be avoiding excessive

fertilizer applications, which is one of the study recommendations.

133
Figure 5- 6 ReCiPe 1.07 (H) Midpoint of Freshwater Ecotoxicity (top) and freshwater
eutrophication (bottom)
134
Figure 5- 7 ReCiPe 1.07 (H) Midpoint of Human Toxicity

The machinery group is the greatest source of the LCIA human toxicity. The diesel

consumption to power the machinery was responsible for approximately 70% of the

machinery impacts, while machine production was responsible for about 25%. The

remaining 3-5% burden of the machinery group was mainly caused by the non-methane

volatile organic compounds (NMVOCs) emitted during vehicle maintenance. Irrigation

burdens from water and electricity consumption rank second and third, respectively.

The irrigation group takes up the greatest amount of fossil depletion and human

toxicity impact, but there was an obvious pattern difference between the two impacts. In

the fossil depletion category, the absent of irrigation reduces the total kg of oil equivalent

consumption, so the Nonirrigated Ctrl has the lowest impacts. In contrast, due to the lowest

yield of the Nonirrigated Ctrl, the human toxicity impact was significantly magnified by the

135
use of machinery and the seed group impacts. So, the nonirrigated Ctrl was the one with

highest impacts.

Figure 5- 8 ReCiPe 1.07 (H) Midpoint of Terrestrial Acidification

Figure 5-8 reveals that the irrigation electricity impacts the most to the terrestrial

acidification impacts. The contributions from machinery, irrigation water, drip tape

production, SWRT and seed groups are all at similar levels. A common trigger reason to

produce terrestrial acidification is fuel burning. When a petroleum based fuel is burned, a

lot of S and N gases are emitted, such as NO2, NOx and SO2. Thus, processes involving power

use incurred larger terrestrial acidification impact scores. The terrestrial acidification

impact from the planting group is different from the others since most of the impact

derives from fertilizer emissions.

136
Figure 5- 9 ReCiPe 1.07 (H) Midpoint of Water Depletion

The water depletion impact category takes both direct and indirect water use into

consideration. Irrigation water, the greatest one, is direct water use. The impacts from the

chemical, machinery and seed group are indirect water use.

Figure 5-9 shows that the SWRT treatments consumed more water to produce 1000 kg

corn grain than the Ctrl treatments in year 2012.

Most of the indirect water used is spent on water used for turbine cooling for

production of all chemical, machinery and seed groups. This is a characteristic of how

water depletion for ReCiPe 1.07 (H) is implemented in GaBi 6.0, which considers water for

cooling as part of the water depletion indicator.

137
5.2.2 Benchmark of published studies

To evaluate whether the LCIA results obtained in this study were in the acceptable

range, the results were compared with published LCA corn grain studies.

The LCA of corn grain and corn stover in the United States published by Kim and Dale [3]

was one of the main published studies used for comparison since this study’s results are

representative of the US Midwest production. The sampling datasets for this study were

from multiple locations, so it was possible to overcome the soil, climate, and management

variations across US. Corn production datasets used in this study were taken from eight

counties in seven different states producing the majority of US corn. Another important

published data source used for comparisons was available LCA databases. The LCI of

several corn studies are available in the PE international database, Ecoinvent 2.2v, and the

USLCI datasets, which have undergone different levels of review. An additional advantage

of comparing results of this study with corn grain datasets from databases is the flexibility

in adapting the assessment methodology. In contrast, not all published corn studies are 100%

LCI transparent about their assumptions, geographical and boundary conditions to afford

reproducing the studies. Different published studies reported their results using different

methodologies. Results calculated from different methodologies on the same impact area

cannot easily be compared without extensive reverse data engineering of the involved

process. Thus, the benchmark comparisons of this study with previous results are listed in

separate tables.

Table 5- 3 shows the results conducted by Kim and Dale [3]. Table 5- 4 shows the LCIA

from database and results of this study. By comparing Table 5- 3 and Table 5- 4, on average,

138
the air acidification and climate change impact values of this study results are 66% and 33%

respectively lower than the Kim and Dale published study. This might be owing to the less

gas emissions from fertilizer in sandy soil compared to loamy and clay soil. As discussed

before, the NH3, N2O are less often produced in sandy soil due to its high soil permeability.

139
Table 5- 3 Published corn grain study result for reference [3]

Hardin Fulton Tuscola Morrison Freeborn Macon Hamilton Codington


(IA) (IL) (MI) (MN) (MN) (MO) (NE) (SD)
RAINS Model
g SO2 eq
Air Acid. for site 4.1 6.5 5.9 6.2 3.2 7.4 4.5 4.7
/kg grain
specific factor
g PO4 3- eq
Eutrophic. CML 1.0 1.4 1.3 1.3 0.7 1.8 0.9 0.9
/kg grain
g CO2 eq/
GHG IPCC2001 344 457 451 470 474 785 430 342
kg grain
Sum up fossil
Fossil
fuel * lower kJ /kg grain 473 330 605 581 581 439 1202 294
energy
heating value

Table 5- 4 Comparison of LCIA from database and published studied results, and the 2012 and 2013 SWRT and Ctrl results

Corn, 2012 2013


US Corn Corn,
whole Non-
grain (field at farm 15" 30" 15" 30" Irrigated
plant, at irrigated
border) [4] [5] SWRT SWRT Ctrl Ctrl SWRT
field [6] Ctrl
g SO2 eq/
Air Acid. TRACI 2.1 2.4 3.5 10.4 2.2 1.9 2.0 1.5 1.5 1.7
kg grain
Eutrophic. CML2001 - g PO4 3- eq/
0.90 4.25 2.26 1.63 1.82 2.66 2.34 1.44 3.23
Potential Nov. 2010 kg grain
IPCC global
warming,
Global g CO2 eq/kg
excluding 240 433 580 374 344 368 286 285 242
Warming grain
biogenic
carbon
Fossil TRACI 2.1 kJ / kg 225 443 402 600 616 624 534 514 348

140
5.3 Scenario comparisons

Several scenario comparisons were performed to predict the consequence of

changing a number of parameters according to different assumptions/ methods.

5.3.1 Yield increase scenario

Yield increase scenarios analysis was conducted on simulated Ctrl treatment. It

was assumed that in 2004, SWRT was initially installed on the Sandhill farm. The

total environmental burden for using SWRT was loaded to 2004. Then, it was

assumed that SWRT increased corn grain yield by 20%, 30%, 50%, 80%, 100%,

200%, and 300% compared to the Ctrl treatment yield, with the remaining the rest

input and output levels the same. The extra yield diluted the environmental burden

of corn grain production and reduced the impact. The impact differences between

SWRT and Ctrl are the credit for using SWRT. The time required to pay off the SWRT

initial burden was calculated. When the SWRT burden was no larger than the sum of

the SWRT benefits, the SWRT burdens were paid off. Figure 5-10 uses the climate

change impact as an example to explain the calculation process. The SWRT burden

was the difference between the original 2004 SWRT column and the original 2004

Ctrl column, which is the distance marked by the black arrow in Figure 5-10. If

SWRT increased yield by 20% every year from 2004 to 2013, the SWRT benefits

were the differences between the original column and the 20%+ column, which

were marked as the red color right parenthesis. Based on the calculations, until the

end of the growing season in 2013, the SWRT burden was still larger than the sum of

SWRT benefits. Then, the conclusion was drawn that if SWRT increased yield by

141
20%, it took more than 10 years to pay off SWRT burden when considering the

climate change impact.

A summary of time to pay off the SWRT burden according to the yield increasing

scenarios on selected eight impact categories using ReCiPe 1.07 (H) midpoint

indicator is shown in Table 5-5. Climate change, fossil depletion, and terrestrial

acidification are the impact categories that take relatively long times to pay off the

SWRT burden. If SWRT utilization increased yield by 100%, the SWRT burden can

be paid within 10 years. A 10-year lifetime is a conservative assumption towards

SWRT effective lifetime since polyethylene membranes are not impacted due to

biodegradation [7].

250

original 20%+ 30%+ 50%+


80%+ 100%+ 200%+ 300%+
Climate Change [kg CO2 eqv]

200

150 Burden

100 Benefits

50

0
2004 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013
Ctrl SWRT

Figure 5- 10 Time to payoff SWRT burden on climate change impact

142
Table 5- 5 Time [year] to pay-off SWRT burden if yield increase due to SWRT
application
20%+ 30%+ 50%+ 80%+ 100%+ 200%+ 300%+
Agricultural land
occupation 1 1 1 1 1 1 1
Climate change >10 >10 7 5 5 4 4
Fossil depletion >10 >10 >10 >10 9 6 6
Freshwater
ecotoxicity 1 1 1 1 1 1 1
Freshwater
eutrophication 1 1 1 1 1 1 1
Human toxicity 1 1 1 1 1 1 1
Terrestrial
acidification >10 9 7 5 5 4 3
Water depletion 1 1 1 1 1 1 1

5.3.2 Drip tape lifetime scenario

In the LCI chapter it was mentioned that the drip tapes were disposed every year

after harvest. After field observations and disposal pipe sample collection were

performed, it was observed that there were no issues of either broken tubes or

blocked pores after 1year of use.

As discussed in section 6.2.1- LCIA analysis of experiment treatments, drip tape

production and drip tape EOL processes retained a significant weight on the climate

change, fossil depletion, human toxicity, and terrestrial acidification impact

categories.

Therefore, an drip tape lifetime scenario is worthy of evaluation. Agricultural

experts, who were consulted, suggested that usually drip tape could be used for up

to 4 years. So, the drip tape lifetime was considered as a scenario for comparison

under the different experimental treatments. Scenario I is a 1 year lifetime of the

143
pipe, and scenario II is a 4 year lifetime. In scenario II, the main reductions are

observed in the climate change, fossil depletion, human toxicity, and terrestrial

acidification categories (as presented in Figure 5-11 to 5-14), while the other four

categories had little change.

144
Machinery Chemical
Irrigation water Irrigation electricity
Irrigation pipe production irrigation pipe EOL
200 Seed SWRT
180
160
kg CO2 eqv.

140
120
100
80
60
40
20
0

Figure 5- 11 Drip tape lifetime scenario on climate change

Machinery Chemical
Irrigation water Irrigation electricity
Irrigation pipe production irrigation pipe EOL
MJ Nonrewable resource

60

50

40

30

20

10

Figure 5- 12 Drip tape lifetime scenario on fossil depletion

145
45 Machinery Chemical
40 Irrigation water Irrigation electricity
35 Irrigation pipe production irrigation pipe EOL
30 Seed SWRT
kg 1,4-DB eqv.

25
20
15
10
5
0

Figure 5- 13 Drip tape lifetime scenario on human toxicity

Machinery Chemical
Irrigation water Irrigation electricity
1.2 Irrigation pipe production irrigation pipe EOL
Seed SWRT
1.0 Planting

0.8
kg SO2 eqv.

0.6

0.4

0.2

0.0

Figure 5- 14 Drip tape lifetime scenario on terrestrial acidification


146
5.3.3 Scenarios regarding multifunctionality methods of allocation

Corn production activity produced corn grain and corn stover simultaneously.

Methods were needed to assign the environmental footprint of corn grain and

stover. The ISO 14040 and ISO 14044 [8, 9] provided guidelines that, whenever

possible, system expansion should be used to estimate the studied activity/ process

by a co-product being substituted. However, due to the overwhelming workload and

sometimes impossibility of dividing subprocesses by system expansion, the

allocation method is preferable. Allocation was used in this study was aimed to

partition and distribute the EFP of corn grain over the corn stover. In general,

allocation methods are performed based on physical relationships, such as mass,

energy, and economic value.

Allocation is one of the most controversial issues in the LCA methodology. There

are two aspects that lead an allocation method to be less convincing: the allocation

factor is an arbitrary value that is unable to represent the real EFP distributions; the

allocation fails to consider the displacement effects and additional treatment of the

co-products before displacement takes place [10]. Several studies of corn [11, 12]

reported that allocation methods are a highly sensitive parameter affecting the

results. The choice of allocation method can significantly influence and/or even shift

the results.

The mass allocation method was used to partition the EFP of corn grain from

whole corn plant production. To ensure the robustness of this study, scenarios of

solving the multifunctionality method were evaluated. The scenarios of methods

147
were: allocation all on grain, allocation by economic value, allocation by energy

content, allocation by mass, and system expansion.

The reason for the allocation all on grain scenario was based on the initial

purpose of corn planting. The field corn was planted for corn grain production. And

none of the stover was collected but left behind to protect the soil fertility for corn

growing in the coming years. Thus, it was reasonable to charge the total EFP on corn

grain, even though stover was produced. In the allocation all on grain scenario, the

allocation factor [AF] was 1.

Allocations by economic value, by energy content, and by mass are commonly

used physical relationships in allocation methods. The justification of not charging

the total EFP on grain was if was unnecessary to abandon the stover totally on the

field to maintain the soil sustainability [13]. In other words, the unnecessary stover

waste should not being accounted on the corn grain, and corn stover was

responsible for part of the EPF. As explained in detail in the section 5.9 calculation

procedures, the AF of corn grain are 0.79 for economic value, 0.63 for energy

content, and 0.5 for mass relation.

System expansion was performed to substitute the stover from the whole corn

plant. The EFP of collected stover was substituted by an equivalent amount of

switchgrass biomass production. Then, the substituted EFP was deducted from the

EPF of corn biomass production. The EFP left behind was expected to be the EFP of

corn grain.

As illustrated below in Figure 5-15, every 1,000 kg of corn grain produced

means approximately 1,000 kg of corn stover is produced at the same time [3]. A
148
general level of maximum stover collection is 50%, which is constrained by the

tolerable soil loss that stover collection can be allowed without causing adverse

effects on soil and water resources [13]. Therefore, 500 kg stover was collected for

stover ethanol production. With the stover to ethanol conversion rate being 0.3 L

ethanol / kg stover[14], about 150 L stover- ethanol was produced from 500 kg

stover. Assuming the function and quantity were identical between stover ethanol

and switchgrass ethanol, the same volume (150 L) ethanol required 375 kg

switchgrass biomass, in which the switchgrass to ethanol efficiency is 0.4 L ethanol/

kg feedstock [15]. Meanwhile, 77.25 kWh electricity was produced as a co-product

[15]. The co-produced electricity was less than the total electricity consumption

during the switchgrass ethanol conversion process. The assumption was made that

the co-produced electricity was fully utilized for ethanol. The inputs/outputs stock

of switchgrass production were derived from references [16, 17]. The inventory of

375 kg switchgrass biomass production was computed in Matlab Version R2010b

(Mathworks, Natick, MA). Then, the LCIA of 375 kg switchgrass biomass production,

named as EFP stover, was calculated from the stover inventory. The last step was to

follow Equation 5-1 to calculate the EFP of 1000 kg of corn grain by subtracting the

EFP stover from the EFP of 2000 kg corn biomass.

EFP 1000 kg corn grain = EFP 2000 kg corn biomass - EFP 375 kg switchgrass biomass (Equation 5-1)

149
Corn biomass
2000 kg

Corn grain Corn stover


1000 kg 1000 kg

Switchgrass biomass
50% left 50% collect 375 kg
500 kg 500 kg

Stover ethanol Switchgrass Electricity


150 L ethanol 77.25 kWh
150 L

Figure 5-15 System expansion corn system

The results of different scenarios in solving multifunctionality on agricultural

land use impact are presented in Figure 5-16. The figure implies that using different

allocation methods cannot change the relative EFP order among treatments, but the

absolutely value is highly sensitive to the allocation method. Full results of the

allocation scenarios on the eight selected impact categories are in Appendix B5-

Allocation scenarios. The results indicate that the relative ranking conclusion of this

study was not affected by the allocation method.

150
2500 all on grain (100%)
Agricultural land occ. [m2*a] economic (79%)
2000
energy (63%)

mass (50%)
1500
system expansion (whole corn plant - stover)

1000

500

0
15'' SWRT 30'' SWRT 15" Cotrol 30" Cotrol Irrigated Non-irrigated
SWRT Ctrl

Figure 5- 16 Allocation scenarios on agricultural land occupation

5.3.4 LCA methodology scenario

The ReCiPe 1.07 (H) midpoint is the default assessment methodology in this

study. As suggested by the LCA guidelines for grains and oilseeds [18], the following

impact categories should be covered in the LCA grain studies: global warming, water

consumption, non-renewable resource, aquatic eutrophication, acidification,

ecotoxicity, and human toxicity. The ReCiPe 1.07 (H) Midpoint Methodology was

selected because it covered most of the recommended impact categories. As

discussed in section 2.4 Impact Assessment, the characterization factors are not

always identical in different impact assessment methodologies. Thus, employing

different assessment methodologies might result in divergent conclusions. To

151
address this concern, scenarios on climate change (kg CO2 equivalent) in five impact

assessment methodologies (ReCiPe 1.07 (H) Midpoint, Impact 2002+ v2.1, TRACI

2.1, CML 2001-Nov.2010, IPCC global warming include biogenic carbon ) were

evaluated.

2012 15'' SWRT 2012 15" Control 2012 30'' SWRT


2012 30" Control 2013 Irrigated SWRT 2013 Nonirrigated Ctrl
Climate Change [kg CO2 equivlent]

200

150

100

50

0
ReCiPe 1.07 I02+ v2.1 - TRACI 2.1, CML2001 - Nov. IPCC global
Midpoint (H) - Global warming Global Warming 2010, Global warming, incl
Climate change 500yr - Air Warming biogenic carbon
Midpoint Potential (GWP
100 years), incl
biogenic carbon

Figure 5- 17 Impact assessment methodology scenarios on climate change

Figure 5-17 shows the relative order among the treatments is slightly different

under different methodologies. For ReCiPe 1.07 (H) midpoint and TRACI 2.1

midpoint, in which modelling of biogenic CO2 is excluded, the differences among

treatments are relatively smaller than when using the Impact 2002+, CML 2001, and

IPCC methodologies that include credits for biogenic CO2 , in Gabi 6.0. Due to the

152
increased differences, the order of the climate change impact values is slightly

different. The order is shifted between irrigated SWRT and 30” Ctrl. This implies

that the choice of impact assessment methodology has an effect on the results. Thus,

it is important to clearly state the employed impact assessment methodology and

the version when drawing conclusions.

153
5.4 Uncertainty analyses

Uncertainty analysis was conducted in this study due to the number of

estimations and assumptions causing variations from the experiments and to

understand if they will affect the conclusions.

5.4.1 Data quality evaluation

To understand which datasets have high uncertainty, data quality evaluation

was performed first. A pedigree matrix [19] was used to assess dataset standard

deviation (SD). Then, Monte Carlo simulation was performed on the datasets with

high SD. The outputs of the Monte Carlo simulations were considered as mean of

LCIA and the SD of the simulated mean. The number of Monte Carlo simulation runs

was determined depending on whether the simulation results converged or not. If

fluctuations were observed, the number of simulation runs was increased.

5.4.2 Land use (LU)

The main results obtained in this study were calculated by using the mean value

of the experimental yields, which were used to calculate the LU values (parameters)

for each studied treatment. Since large uncertainty was found in yield values, these

were propagated in the LU parameter. As explained in the LCI calculation procedure

section, the LU was shown to be highly sensitive to the results. Therefore, Monte

Carlo simulations were performed on the LU values.

Instead of using a pedigree matrix method, SD values of yields were derived

from experiments. However, LUs directly participated in the flow calculations. Since

154
the SD of the LUs was unknown, a Monte Carlo simulation was performed to

estimate the SD of the LUs first.

It was assumed that the yield of the treatments followed a normal distribution

with the SD of the experiments. Based on Equation 5-1, the LUs of the treatments

were calculated from the randomly taken yields in the 95% confidence interval (CI).

In other words, the yields of each treatment were simulated 100,000 times. Then

100,000 LU values were computed from the simulated yields, together with the SD

of the LUs. Table 5-6 presents the LU means directly calculated from the yields, LU

means from the Monte Carlo simulation, and the SD of the simulated LU mean.

Table 5- 6 Mean and SD of LU

Experiment LU Simulated LU SD of simulated


mean [acre] mean [acre] LU mean
2012 15'' SWRT 0.1468 0.1477 0.0117
2012 30'' SWRT 0.1847 0.1867 0.0198
2012 15''Ctrl 0.2554 0.2720 0.103
2012 30''Ctrl 0.2489 0.2552 0.0420
2013 Irrigated SWRT 0.1640 0.1648 0.0110
2013 Nonirrigated Ctrl 0.5546 0.6073 0.0520

After the SD values of the LUs were estimated, another Monte Carlo simulation

was performed, using the simulated LU mean and the SD of the simulated LU mean.

The goal of this Monte Carlo simulation was to evaluate the LU uncertainty effect on

the LCIA results.

Figures 5-18 to 5- 25 show the Monte Carlo simulation results of the LU

uncertainty effect on LCIA values. A two tail Z-test was performed at the 95% CI. In

the same figure, columns containing the same letter indicate that there was no

155
significant difference between two compared mean values. Letter “a” indicates the

lowest.

Figure 5-18 implies that the experimental means and Monte Carlo means are

very close, which indicates that the simulations reproduced the results very well.

From the two tail comparisons, the 15” SWRT and Irrigated SWRT do not have

significant differences; there was no significant difference among 30” SWRT, 30” Ctrl,

and Irrigated SWRT; the highest and second highest land occupation treatment were

nonirrigated Ctrl and 15” Ctrl.

156
1600
d
Experiment Mean
1400
Monte Carlo Mean
1200
1000
c
800 b
600 b ab
400 a
200
0
15'' SWRT 30'' SWRT 15" Control 30" Control Irrigated Nonirrigated
SWRT Ctrl

Figure 5- 18 Agricultural land occ. [m2 * a], columns with the different lower case
letters are statistically significant different at 95% CI, with a indicating the lowest,
using the simulated LU mean and SD of simulated LU mean

Experiment Mean
250
bc Monte Carlo Mean
b
200 b
abc ac a
150

100

50

0
15'' SWRT 30'' SWRT 15" Control 30" Control Irrigated Nonirrigated
SWRT Ctrl

Figure 5- 19 Climate change [kg CO2 eqv.], columns with the different lower case
letters are statistically significant different at 95% CI, with a indicating the lowest,
using the simulated LU mean and SD of simulated LU mean

157
Figure 5-19 shows that according to the Monte Carlo simulation runs there were

no differences among the 2012 treatment means and among the 2013 treatment

means. This indicates that SWRT and irrigation application did not increase the

climate change burden significantly. The relatively large SD of the 15” Ctrl and

Nonirrigated Ctrl were due to the large SD of their yields.

Figure 5-20 implies that the 2012 Ctrl treatments had relatively lower fossil

depletion impact than the 2012 SWRT treatments. The Nonirrigated Ctrl being

significantly lower than Irrigated SWRT suggested that SWRT combined with

irrigation treatment significantly increased the fossil depletion burden over the

treatments without SWRT and irrigation.

80.0 bc Experiment Mean


c
c
70.0 Monte Carlo Mean

60.0 b b
50.0
a
40.0

30.0

20.0

10.0

0.0
15'' SWRT 30'' SWRT 15" Control 30" Control Irrigated Nonirrigated
SWRT Ctrl

Figure 5- 20 Fossil depletion [kg oil eqv.], columns with the different lower case
letters are statistically significant different at 95% CI, with a indicating the lowest,
using the simulated LU mean and SD of simulated LU mean

158
14.00
Experiment Mean d
12.00
Monte Carlo Mean
cd
10.00 d
8.00 c
b
6.00
a
4.00

2.00

0.00
15'' SWRT 30'' SWRT 15" Control 30" Control Irrigated Nonirrigated
SWRT Ctrl

Figure 5- 21 Freshwater ecotoxi. [Kg 1, 4 -DB eqv.], columns with the different lower
case letters are statistically significant different at 95% CI, with a indicating the
lowest, using the simulated LU mean and SD of simulated LU mean

0.14 d
Experiment Mean
0.12 Monte Carlo Mean

0.10 d
d
0.08
c
0.06 b
a
0.04

0.02

0.00
15'' SWRT 30'' SWRT 15" Control 30" Control Irrigated Nonirrigated
SWRT Ctrl

Figure 5- 22 Freshwater eutrophication [kg P eqv.], columns with the different


lower case letters are statistically significant different at 95% CI, with a indicating
the lowest, using the simulated LU mean and SD of simulated LU mean

159
60
Experiment Mean c
50 Monte Carlo Mean

40 bc

30 b
ab ab
a
20

10

0
15'' SWRT 30'' SWRT 15" Control 30" Control Irrigated Nonirrigated
SWRT Ctrl

Figure 5- 23 Human toxicity. [Kg 1, 4 -DB eqv.], columns with the different lower
case letters are statistically significant different at 95% CI, with a indicating the
lowest, using the simulated LU mean and SD of simulated LU mean

Experiment Mean
1.2 b ab Monte Carlo Mean
b ab
1.0
a a
0.8

0.6

0.4

0.2

0.0
15'' SWRT 30'' SWRT 15" Control 30" Control Irrigated Nonirrigated
SWRT Ctrl

Figure 5- 24 Terrestrial acidification [kg SO2 eqv.], columns with the different lower
case letters are statistically significant different at 95% CI, with a indicating the
lowest, using the simulated LU mean and SD of simulated LU mean
160
Figure 5-21 and 5-22 show a similar pattern. Irrigated SWRT is the lowest, and

Nonirrigated Ctrl, 2012 Ctrl treatments are the highest. 2012 Ctrl treatments are

slightly higher than SWRT treatments. The driving reason for these results is the

yield.

Figure 5-23 indicates that there is no significant difference among 2012

treatments on human toxicity, while in 2013 Nonirrigated Ctrl was significant

higher than Irrigated SWRT.

Limited difference among treatments is shown on the terrestrial acidification

impact indicator. Despite an obvious mean difference that can be seen between

15”Ctrl and 30” Ctrl, when considering the large SD of 15” Ctrl, they are statistically

the same. This changed the conclusions that was simply drawn from the

experimental mean. The comparisons between Irrigated SWRT and Nonirrigated

Ctrl are similar to comparisons between 15”Ctrl and 30” Ctrl, in which conclusions

were changed when considering the uncertainty of LU.

161
350 Experiment Mean
Monte Carlo Mean
cd
300
d bcd
250

200 c
ab
150 a

100

50

0
15'' SWRT 30'' SWRT 15" Control 30" Control Irrigated Nonirrigated
SWRT Ctrl

Figure 5- 25 Water depletion [m3], columns with the different lower case letters are
statistically significant different at 95% CI, with a indicating the lowest, using the
simulated LU mean and SD of simulated LU mean

Table 5- 7 Water consumption comparisons

Direct water Direct water (Direct + Indirect)


Application level consumption water consumption
[m3/ha] [m3/FU] comparisons
2012 15'' SWRT 4915 (6) 166 (6) d
2012 30'' SWRT 2644 (5) 112 (5) c
2012 15''Ctrl 1441 (3) 85 (4) bcd
2012 30''Ctrl 665 (2) 38 (2) a
2013 Irrigated SWRT 1890 (4) 71 (3) ab
2013 Nonirrigated Ctrl 0 (1) 0 (1) cd

Table 5-7 compares the water consumption of the experimental treatments. The

direct water application level is the irrigation water given to the plant based on

observations and experience. The number in brackets right after each number is the

order of the value in that column, with (1) indicating the lowest. The direct water
162
consumptions in the unit of [m3/FU] represent the water consumption per FU. This

parameter not only considers the absolute water used, but also indicates a relatively

water spent when considering the yield effect. The last column summarizes the

statistic difference according to two-tail Z-test comparisons, which has the identical

letters in Figure 5-25. Since the total water consumption includes both direct and

indirect water use, the yield effect is intensified.

By comparing the yields and the irrigation applied to the 2012 SWRT treatments

and Ctrl treatments, it can be observed that over-irrigation is not recommended. In

contrast, no irrigation cut off the direct water use at the beginning, but the low yield

led to high cost in the indirect water consumption. The Nonirrigated Ctrl is a good

example, which ranks the lowest in direct water comparisons while ranking the

highest in total water comparisons. Thus, a suitable irrigation level is both

economical and environmentally preferable, such as irrigated SWRT and 30” Ctrl.

5.4.3 Monte Carlo simulations based on the pedigree matrix

According to SD estimated from the pedigree matrix method (as shown in

Appendix 5C-Pedigree matrix Table 5C-1), the diesel consumption rate of SWRT

installation, drip tape production, and seed were selected to be evaluated by the

Monte Carlo method. The results from the Monte Carlo simulations implied that

despite the great uncertainty with these parameters, they all had limited effect on

the LCIA results (as detailed in Appendix B5 Pedigree Matrix Table B5-1-a, B5-1-b,

and B5-1-c)

163
APPENDICES

164
Appendix A5- Contribution analyses

The contribution analyses were conducted using the ReCiPe 1.07 (H) Midpoint

indicator methodology. Eight impact indicators were chosen: agricultural land

occupation, climate change, fossil depletion, freshwater ecotoxicity, human toxicity,

terrestrial acidification, and water depletion. The LCIA values for each flow are

presented in Appendix A5-1, and the relatively contributions (%) are presented in

appendix A5-2 in total 8 treatments.

165
A5-1 LCIA value of each flow

LCIA values using ReCiPe 1.07 (H) midpoint methodology for each flow of the four treatments conducted in 2012, two

treatments in 2013, and two treatments simulated between 2004 and 2013 are documented in this section.

Table A5- 1 LCIA of 2012 15” SWRT for contribution analysis


Agri. Climate Fossil Freshwater Freshwater Human Terrestrial Water
Indicator land occ. change depletion ecotoxi. eutro. toxicity acid. deplete.
kg CO2- kg 1,4-DB kg 1,4-
Unit m *year Equiv.
2 kg oil eq eq kg P eq DB eq kg SO2 eq m3
total 328.6 187.3 66.0 5.12 4.63E-02 23.6 0.994 229.7
harvest 0.163 4.59 1.51 0.0626 6.22E-04 3.01 0.0396 8.12
fertilizing 0.0323 0.753 0.252 9.64E-03 8.56E-05 0.459 5.65E-03 1.17
Machine
sowing 0.0964 0.676 0.222 8.72E-03 1.26E-04 0.406 4.58E-03 1.72
tillage 0.198 4.02 1.32 0.0535 3.70E-04 2.33 0.0286 5.72
gypsum 7.42E-03 0.17 0.0465 1.44E-05 2.10E-07 3.82E-03 9.27E-04 0.187
roundup 0.0201 1.05 0.373 0.0136 5.33E-04 0.691 0.0113 6.2
AMS 2.20E-04 0.179 0.0939 3.51E-05 2.77E-07 1.48E-03 4.72E-04 0.0168
KCl 0.0734 1.66 0.589 0.0138 5.76E-04 0.816 5.51E-03 4.13
Chemical
P2O5 5.84E-03 1.78 0.735 1.43E-03 1.38E-05 0.0736 0.0105 0.558
urea 0.0119 6.13 2.36 7.89E-04 5.78E-06 0.0565 0.0141 1.63
AN 1.63E-03 1.47 0.303 1.39E-04 1.16E-06 5.58E-03 1.67E-03 0.268
K2O 2.13E-04 0.0991 0.0438 3.40E-06 1.59E-08 8.26E-04 2.32E-04 0.0158

166
Table A5- 1 (cont’d)
Agri. Climate Fossil Freshwater Freshwater Human Terrestrial Water
Indicator land occ. change depletion ecotoxi. eutro. toxicity acid. deplete.
drip
irrigation 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
electricity 0 60.9 21 0.272 0 6.31 0.495 0
drip tape 0 22.8 16.2 4.93E-04 4.38E-06 0.028 0.0804 0.533
pipe landfill 8.51E-04 0.124 0.0392 9.22E-03 2.38E-04 1.54 4.04E-04 0.0536
pipe
incineration 5.20E-04 19 0.0485 2.67E-05 6.39E-08 5.47E-03 1.41E-03 0.275
pipe recycle 1.67E-04 0.121 0.0597 2.25E-04 1.96E-06 5.92E-03 6.28E-04 0.106
Seed seed 30.8 13.5 1.86 0.164 2.74E-03 3.43 0.0642 32.3
PE
membrane 0 7.5 5.58 4.24E-04 3.80E-06 0.0109 0.0332 0.159
SWRT
membrane
installation 0.0785 6.61 2.19 7.84E-04 2.46E-05 0.114 0.0461 0.488
Field
Planting Preparation 297 0 0 4.09 0.0372 0 0.0715 0
Harvest 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

167
Table A5- 2 LCIA of 2012 30” SWRT for contribution analysis
Agri. Climate Fossil Freshwater Freshwater Human Terrestrial Water
Indicator
land occ. change depletion ecotoxi. eutro. toxicity acid. depletion
kg CO2- kg 1,4-DB kg 1,4-
Unit m2*year Equiv. kg oil eq eq kg P eq DB eq kg SO2 eq m3
total 394.4 172.0 63.2 5.94 5.44E-02 21.3 0.877 171.7
harvesting 0.205 5.78 1.91 0.0787 7.82E-04 3.79 0.0498 10.2
fertilizing 0.0406 0.947 0.317 1.21E-02 1.08E-04 0.578 7.11E-03 1.47
Machine
sowing 0.121 0.85 0.279 1.10E-02 1.58E-04 0.511 5.76E-03 2.17
tillage 0.249 5.06 1.66 0.0673 4.65E-04 2.93 0.036 7.2
4.80E-
gypsum 9.34E-03 0.214 0.0585 1.81E-05 2.64E-07 03 1.17E-03 0.235
roundup 0.0253 1.32 0.469 0.0171 6.71E-04 0.869 0.0142 7.8
1.87E-
AMS 2.77E-04 0.226 0.118 4.42E-05 3.49E-07 03 5.94E-04 0.0212
KCl 0.0924 2.09 0.742 0.0173 7.25E-04 1.03 6.94E-03 5.2
Chemical
P2O5 7.35E-03 2.24 0.925 1.80E-03 1.74E-05 0.0926 0.0132 0.702
urea 0.015 7.72 2.97 9.93E-04 7.27E-06 0.0711 0.0177 2.05
7.02E-
AN 2.05E-03 1.85 0.381 1.75E-04 1.46E-06 03 2.11E-03 0.337
1.04E-
K2O 2.68E-04 0.125 0.0551 4.27E-06 2.00E-08 03 2.92E-04 0.0199

168
Table A5- 2 (cont’d)
Agri. Climate Fossil Freshwater Freshwater Human Terrestrial Water
Indicator
land occ. change depletion ecotoxi. eutro. toxicity acid. depletion
kg CO2- kg 1,4-DB kg 1,4-
Unit m2*year Equiv. kg oil eq eq kg P eq DB eq kg SO2 eq m3

irrigation
water 0.0906 23.1 7.56 0.283 2.55E-03 2.88 0.0526 112
drip
irrigation 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
electricity 0 41.3 14.2 0.184 0 4.27 0.335 0
Irrigation drip tape 0 28.7 20.4 6.21E-04 5.52E-06 0.0352 0.101 0.671
pipe landfill 1.07E-03 0.156 0.0494 1.16E-02 3.00E-04 1.94 5.08E-04 0.0675
pipe 6.89E-
incineration 6.54E-04 23.9 0.061 3.36E-05 8.04E-08 03 1.77E-03 0.346
7.44E-
pipe recycle 2.10E-04 0.153 0.0751 2.83E-04 2.46E-06 03 7.90E-04 0.133
Seed seed 19.4 8.47 1.17 0.103 1.73E-03 2.16 0.0404 20.3
PE
membrane 0 9.44 7.02 5.34E-04 4.78E-06 0.0138 0.0417 0.2
SWRT
membrane
installation 0.0988 8.32 2.75 9.86E-04 3.10E-05 0.143 0.0581 0.614
Field
Planting Preparation 374 0 0 5.15 0.0468 0 0.09 0
Harvest 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

169
Table A5- 3 LCIA of 2012 15” Ctrl for contribution analysis
Agri. Climate Fossil Freshwater Freshwater Human Terrestrial Water
Indicator
land occ. change depletion ecotoxi. eutro. toxicity acid. deplete.
kg CO2- kg 1,4-DB kg 1,4-DB
Unit m2*year Equiv. kg oil eq eq kg P eq eq kg SO2 eq m3
total 570.5 184.2 61.7 8.03 7.57E-02 27.9 0.886 194.3
harvesting 0.283 7.97 2.63 0.109 1.08E-03 5.22 0.0687 14.1
fertilizing 0.056 1.31 0.437 0.0167 1.48E-04 0.797 9.80E-03 2.03
Machine
sowing 0.167 1.17 0.384 0.0151 2.18E-04 0.705 7.94E-03 2.99
tillage 0.362 7.35 2.42 0.0977 6.75E-04 4.26 0.0523 10.4
gypsum 0.0129 0.295 0.0807 2.49E-05 3.64E-07 6.62E-03 1.61E-03 0.324
roundup 0.0349 1.82 0.647 0.0236 9.25E-04 1.20 0.0196 10.8
AMS 3.81E-04 0.311 0.163 6.09E-05 4.81E-07 2.57E-03 8.18E-04 0.0292
KCl 0.127 2.88 1.02 0.0239 0.001 1.42 9.56E-03 7.16
Chem.
P2O5 0.0101 3.08 1.27 2.48E-03 2.39E-05 0.128 0.0181 0.968
urea 0.0206 10.6 4.10 1.37E-03 1.00E-05 0.098 0.0244 2.82
AN 2.83E-03 2.54 0.526 2.41E-04 2.01E-06 9.68E-03 2.90E-03 0.465
K2O 3.70E-04 0.172 0.0759 5.89E-06 2.75E-08 1.43E-03 4.02E-04 0.0274

170
Table A5- 3 (cont’d)
Agri. Climate Fossil Freshwater Freshwater Human Terrestrial Water
Indicator
land occ. change depletion ecotoxi. eutro. toxicity acid. deplete.
kg CO2- kg 1,4-DB kg 1,4-DB
Unit m2*year Equiv. kg oil eq eq kg P eq eq kg SO2 eq m3
irrigation
water 0.068 17.4 5.68 0.213 1.92E-03 2.16 3.95E-02 84.5
drip
irrigation 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
electricity 0 31.0 10.7 0.139 0 3.21 0.252 0
Irrigate
drip tape 0 39.6 28.1 8.56E-04 7.61E-06 0.0485 0.139 0.924
pipe landfill 1.48E-03 0.215 0.068 0.016 4.13E-04 2.67 7.00E-04 0.093
pipe
incineration 9.02E-04 33.0 0.0841 4.63E-05 1.11E-07 0.0095 2.44E-03 0.476
pipe recycle 2.90E-04 0.210 0.104 3.90E-04 3.40E-06 0.0103 1.09E-03 0.184
Seed seed 53.4 23.3 3.22 0.284 4.76E-03 5.95 0.111 56.0
PE
membrane 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
SWRT
membrane
installation 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Field
Planting Preparation 516 0 0 7.09 0.0645 0 0.124 0
Harvest 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

171
Table A5- 4 LCIA of 2012 30” Ctrl for contribution analysis
Agri. Climate Fossil Freshwater Freshwater Human Terrestrial Water
Indicator
land occ. change depletion ecotoxi. eutro. toxicity acid. deplete.
kg CO2- kg 1,4-DB kg 1,4-
Unit m2*year Equiv. kg oil eq eq kg P eq DB eq kg SO2 eq m3
total 531.2 143.1 50.1 7.53 7.06E-02 21.5 0.657 118.1
harvesting 0.276 7.78 2.56 0.106 1.05E-03 5.10 0.0671 13.8
fertilizing 0.0547 1.28 0.426 0.0163 1.45E-04 0.778 9.57E-03 1.98
Machine
sowing 0.163 1.14 0.375 0.0148 2.13E-04 0.688 7.75E-03 2.92
tillage 0.353 7.18 2.36 0.0954 6.59E-04 4.16 0.0511 10.2
gypsum 0.0126 0.288 0.0788 2.43E-05 3.55E-07 6.47E-03 0.00157 0.316
roundup 0.0341 1.78 0.632 0.0231 9.04E-04 1.17 0.0191 10.5
AMS 3.72E-04 0.304 0.159 5.95E-05 4.69E-07 2.51E-03 7.99E-04 0.0285
KCl 0.124 2.81 0.998 0.0233 9.76E-04 1.38 9.34E-03 6.99
Chem.
P2O5 9.89E-03 3.01 1.24 2.42E-03 2.34E-05 0.125 0.0177 0.945
urea 0.0202 10.4 4.00 1.34E-03 9.78E-06 0.0957 0.0239 2.76
AN 2.76E-03 2.48 0.513 2.35E-04 1.96E-06 9.45E-03 2.83E-03 0.454
K2O 3.61E-04 0.168 0.0741 5.75E-06 2.69E-08 1.40E-03 3.93E-04 0.0268

172
Table A5- 4 (cont’d)
Agri. Climate Fossil Freshwater Freshwater Human Terrestrial Water
Indicator
land occ. change depletion ecotoxi. eutro. toxicity acid. deplete.
kg CO2- kg 1,4-DB kg 1,4-
Unit m2*year Equiv. kg oil eq eq kg P eq DB eq kg SO2 eq m3
irrigation
water 0.0306 7.83 2.56 0.0959 8.64E-04 0.975 0.0178 38.1
drip
irrigation 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
electricity 0 14.0 4.81 6.24E-02 0 1.44 0.113 0
Irrigate
drip tape 0 38.6 27.5 8.36E-04 7.43E-06 0.0473 1.36E-01 0.902
pipe landfill 0.00144 0.21 0.0664 0.0156 4.03E-04 2.61 6.84E-04 0.0908
pipe
incineration 8.81E-04 32.2 0.0821 4.52E-05 1.08E-07 9.27E-03 2.38E-03 0.465
pipe recycle 2.83E-04 0.205 0.101 3.81E-04 3.32E-06 0.01 1.06E-03 0.18
Seed seed 26.1 11.4 1.57 0.139 2.32E-03 2.90 0.0544 27.4
PE
membrane 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
SWRT
membrane
installation 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Field
Plant Preparation 504 0 0 6.93 0.063 0 0.121 0
Harvest 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

173
Table A5- 5 LCIA of 2013 Irrigated SWRT for contribution analysis
Agri. Climate Fossil Freshwater Freshwater Human Terrestrial Water
Indicator
land occ. change depletion ecotoxi. eutro. toxicity acid. deplete
kg CO2- kg 1,4-DB kg 1,4-DB
Unit m2*year Equiv. kg oil eq eq kg P eq eq kg SO2 eq m3
total 367.1 142.6 50.9 3.25 3.10E-02 18.9 0.661 141.4
harvesting 0.179 5.06 1.69 0.0698 6.94E-04 3.35749 0.0442 9.06
fertilizing 0.0356 0.83 0.281 1.08E-02 9.55E-05 0.51238 6.30E-03 1.3
Machine
sowing 0.107 0.747 0.247 9.73E-03 1.40E-04 0.45331 5.11E-03 1.92
tillage 0.219 4.43 1.48 0.0597 4.13E-04 2.60029 0.0319 6.38
gypsum 8.28E-03 0.19 0.0519 1.60E-05 2.34E-07 4.26E-03 1.03E-03 0.208
roundup 0.0224 1.17 0.416 0.0152 5.95E-04 0.771 0.0126 6.92
AMS 2.45E-04 0.2 0.105 3.92E-05 3.09E-07 1.65E-03 5.26E-04 0.0188
KCl 0.0736 1.66 0.591 0.0138 5.78E-04 0.818 5.53E-03 4.14
Chem.
P2O5 3.69E-03 1.12 0.464 9.01E-04 8.71E-06 0.0465 0.0066 0.352
urea 0.00994 5.12 1.97 6.59E-04 4.82E-06 0.0472 0.0118 1.36
AN 3.35E-03 3.01 0.623 2.86E-04 2.38E-06 1.15E-02 3.44E-03 0.551
K2O 8.42E-04 0.391 0.173 1.34E-05 6.27E-08 3.26E-03 9.17E-04 0.0625

174
Table A5- 5 (cont’d)
Agri. Climate Fossil Freshwater Freshwater Human Terrestrial Water
Indicator
land occ. change depletion ecotoxi. eutro. toxicity acid. deplete
kg CO2- kg 1,4-DB kg 1,4-DB
Unit m2*year Equiv. kg oil eq eq kg P eq eq kg SO2 eq m3

irrigation
water 0.0574 14.7 4.79 0.18 1.62E-03 1.83 0.0333 71.3
drip
irrigation 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
electricity 0 26.2 9.01 0.117 0 2.71 0.212 0
Irrigate
drip tape 0 25.4 18.1 5.50E-04 4.89E-06 0.0312 0.0897 0.594
pipe landfill 8.24E-04 0.12 0.0438 1.03E-02 2.66E-04 1.72 (cont’d)
4.50E-04 0.0598
pipe
incineration 5.80E-04 21.2 0.0541 2.98E-05 7.13E-08 6.11E-03 1.57E-03 0.306
pipe recycle 4.50E-04 0.327 0.0666 2.51E-04 2.18E-06 6.60E-03 7.01E-04 0.118
Seed seed 34.3 15 2.07 0.183 3.06E-03 3.83 0.0716 36
PE
membrane 0 8.37 6.22 4.73E-04 4.23E-06 0.0122 0.037 0.177
SWRT
membrane
installation 0.0876 7.38 2.44 8.74E-04 2.75E-05 0.127 0.0515 0.544
Field
Plant Preparation 332 0 0 2.58 0.0235 0 0.0337 0
Harvest 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

175
Table A5- 6 LCIA of 2013 Nonirrigated SWRT for contribution analysis
Agri. Climate Fossil Freshwater Freshwater Human Terrestrial Water
Indicator
land occ. change deplete. ecotoxi. eutro. toxicity acid. deplete
kg CO2- kg 1,4-DB kg 1,4-DB
Unit m2*year Equiv. kg oil eq eq kg P eq eq kg SO2 eq m3
total 1238.3 121.1 32.0 9.98 9.84E-02 42.5 0.787 230.3
harvesting 0.607 17.1 5.72 0.236 2.35E-03 11.40 0.15 30.7
fertilizing 0.121 2.81 0.95 0.0364 3.23E-04 1.73 0.0213 4.41
Machine
sowing 0.363 2.53 0.836 0.0329 4.74E-04 1.53 0.0173 6.50
tillage 0.78 15.8 5.26 0.213 1.47E-03 9.26 0.114 22.7
gypsum 0.028 0.641 0.176 5.42E-05 7.91E-07 0.0144 0.0035 0.705
roundup 0.0759 3.97 1.41 0.0514 2.01E-03 2.61 0.0427 23.4
AMS 8.30E-04 0.677 0.355 1.33E-04 1.05E-06 0.0056 0.00178 0.0636
KCl 0.249 5.63 2.00 0.0467 1.96E-03 2.77 0.0187 14.0
Chem.
P2O5 0.0125 3.80 1.57 3.05E-03 2.95E-05 0.157 0.0223 1.19
urea 0.0336 17.3 6.68 2.23E-03 1.63E-05 0.160 0.0398 4.6
AN 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
K2O 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

176
Table A5- 6 (cont’d)
Agri. Climate Fossil Freshwater Freshwater Human Terrestrial Water
Indicator
land occ. change deplete. ecotoxi. eutro. toxicity acid. deplete
kg CO2- kg 1,4-DB kg 1,4-DB
Unit m2*year Equiv. kg oil eq eq kg P eq eq kg SO2 eq m3
irrigation
water 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
drip
irrigation 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
electricity 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Irrigate
drip tape 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
pipe landfill 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
pipe
incineration 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
pipe recycle 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Seed seed 116 50.8 7.01 0.618 0.0104 12.90 0.242 122.0
PE
membrane 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
SWRT
membrane
installation 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Field
Plant Preparation 1120 0 0 8.74 0.0794 0 0.114 0
Harvest 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

177
Table A5- 7 LCIA of simulated 2004 Ctrl for contribution analysis
Agri. Climate Fossil Freshwater Freshwater Human Terrestrial Water
Indicator
land occ. change deplete ecotoxi. eutro. toxicity acid. deplete
kg CO2- kg 1,4-DB kg 1,4-DB
Unit m2*year Equiv. kg oil eq eq kg P eq eq kg SO2 eq m3
total 456.6 53.4 15.3 4.09 3.94E-02 15.0 0.337 81.9
harvesting 0.223 6.31 2.10 0.0869 8.64E-04 4.18 0.055 11.3
fertilizing 0.0444 1.03 0.35 0.0134 1.19E-04 0.638 7.85E-03 1.62
Machine
sowing 0.134 0.93 0.308 0.0121 1.75E-04 0.565 6.36E-03 2.39
tillage 0.287 5.81 1.94 0.0783 5.41E-04 3.41 0.0419 8.37
gypsum 0.0103 0.236 0.0646 1.99E-05 2.91E-07 5.31E-03 0.00129 0.259
roundup 0.0279 1.46 0.518 0.0189 7.41E-04 0.960 0.0157 8.61
AMS 3.06E-04 0.249 0.131 4.88E-05 3.85E-07 2.06E-03 6.56E-04 0.0234
Chem.
K2O 7.41E-04 0.344 0.152 1.18E-05 5.51E-08 2.87E-03 8.06E-04 0.0549
P2O5 5.20E-03 1.58 0.654 1.27E-03 1.23E-05 0.0655 9.31E-03 0.497
urea 0.0206 10.6 4.10 1.37E-03 1.00E-05 0.098 0.0244 2.82
irrigation
water 7.16E-04 0.183 0.0597 2.24E-03 2.02E-05 0.0228 4.15E-04 0.889
drip
irrigation 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
electricity 0 0.326 0.112 1.46E-03 0 0.0337 2.65E-03 0
Irrigate drip tape 0 3.07 2.19 6.64E-05 5.91E-07 3.77E-03 0.0108 0.0718
7.22E-
pipe landfill 9.95E-05 0.0145 5.28E-03 1.24E-03 3.21E-05 0.208 5.44E-05 03
pipe
incineration 7.00E-05 2.56 6.53E-03 3.60E-06 8.61E-09 7.37E-04 1.90E-04 0.037
pipe recycle 5.44E-05 0.0394 8.04E-03 3.03E-05 2.64E-07 7.97E-04 8.46E-05 0.0143

178
Table A5- 7 (cont’d)
Agri. Climate Fossil Freshwater Freshwater Human Terrestrial Water
Indicator
land occ. change deplete ecotoxi. eutro. toxicity acid. deplete
kg CO2- kg 1,4-DB kg 1,4-DB
Unit m2*year Equiv. kg oil eq eq kg P eq eq kg SO2 eq m3

Seed seed 42.8 18.7 2.58 0.227 3.81E-03 4.77 0.0892 44.9
PE
membrane 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
SWRT
membrane
installation 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Field
Plant Preparation 413 0 0 3.64 0.0331 0 0.070 0
Harvest 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

179
Table A5- 7 LCIA of simulated 2004 SWRT for contribution analysis
Agri. Climate Fossil Freshwater Freshwater Human Terrestrial Water
Indicator
land occ. change deplete ecotoxi. eutro. toxicity acid. deplete
kg CO2- kg 1,4-DB kg 1,4-DB
Unit m2*year Equiv. kg oil eq eq kg P eq eq kg SO2 eq m3
total 457.5 246.6 122.2 4.06 3.95E-02 15.0 1.418 86.7
harvesting 0.223 6.38 2.10 0.0869 8.64E-04 4.18 0.055 11.3
fertilizing 0.0444 1.05 0.35 0.0134 1.19E-04 0.638 7.85E-03 1.62
Machine
sowing 0.134 0.939 0.308 0.0121 1.75E-04 0.565 6.36E-03 2.39
tillage 0.144 2.94 0.968 0.0391 2.70E-04 1.70 0.0209 4.18
gypsum 0.0103 0.236 0.0646 1.99E-05 2.91E-07 5.31E-03 0.00129 0.259
roundup 0.0279 1.46 0.518 0.0189 7.41E-04 0.960 0.0157 8.61
AMS 3.06E-04 0.249 0.131 4.88E-05 3.85E-07 2.06E-03 6.56E-04 0.0234
Chemical
K2O 7.41E-04 0.344 0.152 1.18E-05 5.51E-08 2.87E-03 8.06E-04 0.0549
P2O5 5.20E-03 1.58 0.654 1.27E-03 1.23E-05 0.0655 9.31E-03 0.497
urea 0.0206 10.6 4.10 1.37E-03 1.00E-05 0.098 0.0244 2.82
irrigation
water 7.16E-04 0.183 0.0597 2.24E-03 2.02E-05 0.0228 4.15E-04 0.889
drip
irrigation 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
electricity 0 0.326 0.112 1.46E-03 0 0.0337 2.65E-03 0
Irrigate drip tape 0 3.07 2.19 6.64E-05 5.91E-07 3.77E-03 0.0108 0.0718
7.22E-
pipe landfill 9.95E-05 0.0167 5.28E-03 1.24E-03 3.21E-05 0.208 5.44E-05 03
pipe
incineration 7.00E-05 2.56 6.53E-03 3.60E-06 8.61E-09 7.37E-04 1.90E-04 0.037
pipe recycle 5.44E-05 0.0163 8.04E-03 3.03E-05 2.64E-07 7.97E-04 8.46E-05 0.0143

180
Table A5- 8 (cont’d)
Agri. Climate Fossil Freshwater Freshwater Human Terrestrial Water
Indicator
land occ. change deplete ecotoxi. eutro. toxicity acid. deplete
kg CO2- kg 1,4-DB kg 1,4-DB
Unit m2*year Equiv. kg oil eq eq kg P eq eq kg SO2 eq m3

Seed seed 42.8 18.7 2.58 0.227 3.81E-03 4.77 0.0892 44.9
PE
membrane 0 104 77.5 5.89E-03 5.27E-05 0.152 0.461 2.21
SWRT
membrane
installation 1.09 91.9 30.4 0.0109 3.42E-04 1.58 0.641 6.78
Field
Plant Preparation 413 0 0 3.64 0.0331 0 0.070 0
Harvest 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

181
B-2 Relative contribution of each flow

Table A5- 9 Flow relative contributions (%) of 2012 15” SWRT


Agri.
Climate Fossil Freshwater Freshwater Human Terrestrial Water
Indicator land
change deplete ecotoxi. eutro. toxicity acid. deplete
occ.
% % % % % % % %
harvest 0.05 2.45 2.29 1.22 1.34 12.78 3.99 3.54
fertilizing 0.01 0.40 0.38 0.19 0.18 1.95 0.57 0.51
Machine
sowing 0.03 0.36 0.34 0.17 0.27 1.72 0.46 0.75
tillage 0.06 2.15 2.00 1.04 0.80 9.89 2.88 2.49
gypsum 0.00 0.09 0.07 0.00 0.00 0.02 0.09 0.08
roundup 0.01 0.56 0.56 0.27 1.15 2.93 1.14 2.70
AMS 0.00 0.10 0.14 0.00 0.00 0.01 0.05 0.01
KCl 0.02 0.89 0.89 0.27 1.24 3.46 0.55 1.80
Chem.
P2O5 0.00 0.95 1.11 0.03 0.03 0.31 1.06 0.24
urea 0.00 3.27 3.57 0.02 0.01 0.24 1.42 0.71
AN 0.00 0.78 0.46 0.00 0.00 0.02 0.17 0.12
K2O 0.00 0.05 0.07 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.02 0.01

182
Table A5- 9 (cont'd)
Agri.
Climate Fossil Freshwater Freshwater Human Terrestrial Water
Indicator land
change deplete ecotoxi. eutro. toxicity acid. deplete
occ.
% % % % % % % %
irrigation
water 0.04 18.26 16.96 8.18 8.14 18.08 7.81 72.28
drip
irrigation 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
electricity 0.00 32.51 31.81 5.31 0.00 26.78 49.82 0.00
Irrigate
drip tape 0.00 12.17 24.54 0.01 0.01 0.12 8.09 0.23
pipe landfill 0.00 0.07 0.06 0.18 0.51 6.54 0.04 0.02
pipe
incineration 0.00 10.14 0.07 0.00 0.00 0.02 0.14 0.12
pipe recycle 0.00 0.06 0.09 0.00 0.00 0.03 0.06 0.05
Seed seed 9.37 7.21 2.82 3.20 5.92 14.56 6.46 14.06
PE
membrane 0.00 4.00 8.45 0.01 0.01 0.05 3.34 0.07
SWRT
membrane
installation 0.02 3.53 3.32 0.02 0.05 0.48 4.64 0.21
Field
Plant Preparation 90.38 0.00 0.00 79.88 80.32 0.00 7.20 0.00
Harvest 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00

183
Table A5- 10 Flow relative contributions (%) of 2012 30” SWRT
Agri. Climate Fossil Freshwater Freshwater Human Terrestrial Water
Indicator
land occ. change deplete ecotoxi. eutro. toxicity acid. deplete
% % % % % % % %
harvest 0.05 3.36 3.02 1.32 1.44 17.76 5.68 5.94
fertilizing 0.01 0.55 0.50 0.20 0.20 2.71 0.81 0.86
Machine
sowing 0.03 0.49 0.44 0.19 0.29 2.39 0.66 1.26
tillage 0.06 2.94 2.63 1.13 0.86 13.73 4.11 4.19
gypsum 0.00 0.12 0.09 0.00 0.00 0.02 0.13 0.14
roundup 0.01 0.77 0.74 0.29 1.23 4.07 1.62 4.54
AMS 0.00 0.13 0.19 0.00 0.00 0.01 0.07 0.01
KCl 0.02 1.22 1.17 0.29 1.33 4.83 0.79 3.03
Chem.
P2O5 0.00 1.30 1.46 0.03 0.03 0.43 1.51 0.41
urea 0.00 4.49 4.70 0.02 0.01 0.33 2.02 1.19
AN 0.00 1.08 0.60 0.00 0.00 0.03 0.24 0.20
K2O 0.00 0.07 0.09 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.03 0.01

184
Table A5-10 (cont'd)
Agri. Water
Climate Fossil Freshwate Freshwate Human Terrestria
Indicator land deplet
change deplete r ecotoxi. r eutro. toxicity l acid.
occ. e
% % % % % % % %
irrigation
water 0.02 13.43 11.97 4.76 4.69 13.49 6.00 65.22
drip
irrigation 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 (cont’d)
0.00 0.00
electricity 0.00 24.02 22.48 3.10 0.00 20.01 38.21 0.00
Irrigate
drip tape 0.00 16.69 32.29 0.01 0.01 0.16 11.52 0.39
pipe landfill 0.00 0.09 0.08 0.20 0.55 9.09 0.06 0.04
pipe
incineration 0.00 13.90 0.10 0.00 0.00 0.03 0.20 0.20
pipe recycle 0.00 0.09 0.12 0.00 0.00 0.03 0.09 0.08
Seed seed 4.92 4.93 1.85 1.73 3.18 10.12 4.61 11.82
PE
membrane 0.00 5.49 11.11 0.01 0.01 0.06 4.76 0.12
SWRT
membrane
installation 0.03 4.84 4.35 0.02 0.06 0.67 6.63 0.36
Field
Plant Preparation 94.84 0.00 0.00 86.69 86.09 0.00 10.27 0.00
Harvest 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00

185
Table A5- 11 Flow relative contributions (%) of 2012 15” Ctrl
Agri. Climate Fossil Freshwater Freshwater Human Terrestrial Water
Indicator
land occ. change deplete ecotoxi. eutro. toxicity acid. deplete
% % % % % % % %
harvest 0.05 4.33 4.26 1.36 1.43 18.71 7.76 7.26
fertilizing 0.01 0.71 0.71 0.21 0.20 2.86 1.11 1.04
Machine
sowing 0.03 0.64 0.62 0.19 0.29 2.53 0.90 1.54
tillage 0.06 3.99 3.92 1.22 0.89 15.27 5.90 5.35
gypsum 0.00 0.16 0.13 0.00 0.00 0.02 0.18 0.17
roundup 0.01 0.99 1.05 0.29 1.22 4.30 2.21 5.56
AMS 0.00 0.17 0.26 0.00 0.00 0.01 0.09 0.02
KCl 0.02 1.56 1.65 0.30 1.32 5.09 1.08 3.69
Chem.
P2O5 0.00 1.67 2.06 0.03 0.03 0.46 2.04 0.50
urea 0.00 5.75 6.64 0.02 0.01 0.35 2.75 1.45
AN 0.00 1.38 0.85 0.00 0.00 0.03 0.33 0.24
K2O 0.00 0.09 0.12 0.00 0.00 0.01 0.05 0.01
irrigation
water 0.01 9.45 9.20 2.65 2.54 7.74 4.46 43.49
drip
irrigation 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
electricity 0.00 16.83 17.34 1.73 0.00 11.50 28.45 0.00
Irrigate
drip tape 0.00 21.50 45.54 0.01 0.01 0.17 15.69 0.48
pipe landfill 0.00 0.12 0.11 0.20 0.55 9.57 0.08 0.05
pipe
incineration 0.00 17.91 0.14 0.00 0.00 0.03 0.28 0.24
pipe recycle 0.00 0.11 0.17 0.00 0.00 0.04 0.12 0.09
Seed seed 9.36 12.65 5.22 3.54 6.29 21.32 12.53 28.82

186
Table A5-11 (cont'd)
Agri. Water
Climate Fossil Freshwate Freshwate Human Terrestria
Indicator land deplet
change deplete r ecotoxi. r eutro. toxicity l acid.
occ. e
% % % % % % % %
PE
membrane 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
SWRT
membrane
installation 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Field
Plant Preparation 90.44 0.00 0.00 88.26 85.22 0.00 14.00 0.00
Harvest 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00

187
Table A5- 12 Flow relative contributions (%) of 2012 30” Ctrl
Agri. Climate Fossil Freshwater Freshwater Human Terrestrial Water
Indicator
land occ. change deplete ecotoxi. eutro. toxicity acid. deplete
% % % % % % % %
harvest 0.05 5.44 5.11 1.41 1.49 23.71 10.21 11.69
fertilizing 0.01 0.89 0.85 0.22 0.21 3.62 1.46 1.68
Machine
sowing 0.03 0.80 0.75 0.20 0.30 3.20 1.18 2.47
tillage 0.07 5.02 4.71 1.27 0.93 19.34 7.77 8.64
gypsum 0.00 0.20 0.16 0.00 0.00 0.03 0.24 0.27
roundup 0.01 1.24 1.26 0.31 1.28 5.44 2.91 8.89
AMS 0.00 0.21 0.32 0.00 0.00 0.01 0.12 0.02
KCl 0.02 1.96 1.99 0.31 1.38 6.42 1.42 5.92
Chem.
P2O5 0.00 2.10 2.47 0.03 0.03 0.58 2.69 0.80
urea 0.00 7.27 7.98 0.02 0.01 0.44 3.64 2.34
AN 0.00 1.73 1.02 0.00 0.00 0.04 0.43 0.38
K2O 0.00 0.12 0.15 0.00 0.00 0.01 0.06 0.02
irrigation
water 0.01 5.47 5.11 1.27 1.22 4.53 2.71 32.27
drip
irrigation 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
electricity 0.00 9.79 9.60 0.83 0.00 6.70 17.19 0.00
Irrigate
drip tape 0.00 26.98 54.88 0.01 0.01 0.22 20.69 0.76
pipe landfill 0.00 0.15 0.13 0.21 0.57 12.13 0.10 0.08
pipe
incineration 0.00 22.51 0.16 0.00 0.00 0.04 0.36 0.39
pipe recycle 0.00 0.14 0.20 0.01 0.00 0.05 0.16 0.15

188
Table A5-12 (cont'd)
Agri. Water
Climate Fossil Freshwate Freshwate Human Terrestria
Indicator land deplet
change deplete r ecotoxi. r eutro. toxicity l acid.
occ. e
% % % % % % % %
Seed seed 4.91 7.97 3.13 1.85 3.29 13.48 8.27 23.21
PE
membrane 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
SWRT
membrane
installation 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Field
Plant Preparation 94.88 0.00 0.00 92.07 89.26 0.00 18.40 0.00
Harvest 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00

189
Table A5- 13 Flow relative contributions (%) of 2013 Irrigated SWRT
Agri. land Climate Fossil Freshwater Freshwater Human Terrestrial Water
Indicator
occ. change deplete ecotoxi. eutro. toxicity acid. deplete
% % % % % % % %
harvest 0.05 3.55 3.32 2.15 2.24 17.76 6.68 6.41
fertilizing 0.01 0.58 0.55 0.33 0.31 2.71 0.95 0.92
Machine
sowing 0.03 0.52 0.49 0.30 0.45 2.40 0.77 1.36
tillage 0.06 3.11 2.91 1.83 1.33 13.76 4.82 4.51
gypsum 0.00 0.13 0.10 0.00 0.00 0.02 0.16 0.15
roundup 0.01 0.82 0.82 0.47 1.92 4.08 1.90 4.89
AMS 0.00 0.14 0.21 0.00 0.00 0.01 0.08 0.01
KCl 0.02 1.16 1.16 0.42 1.86 4.33 0.84 2.93
Chem.
P2O5 0.00 0.79 0.91 0.03 0.03 0.25 1.00 0.25
urea 0.00 3.59 3.87 0.02 0.02 0.25 1.78 0.96
AN 0.00 2.11 1.22 0.01 0.01 0.06 0.52 0.39
K2O 0.00 0.27 0.34 0.00 0.00 0.02 0.14 0.04
irrigation
water 0.02 10.31 9.41 5.53 5.22 9.68 5.03 50.43
drip
irrigation 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
electricity 0.00 18.37 17.71 3.60 0.00 14.34 32.05 0.00
Irrigate
drip tape 0.00 17.81 35.57 0.02 0.02 0.17 13.56 0.42
pipe landfill 0.00 0.08 0.09 0.32 0.86 9.10 0.07 0.04
pipe
incineration 0.00 14.86 0.11 0.00 0.00 0.03 0.24 0.22
pipe recycle 0.00 0.23 0.13 0.01 0.01 0.03 0.11 0.08

190
Table A5-13 (cont'd)
Agri. Climate Fossil Freshwater Freshwater Human Terrestrial Water
Indicator
land occ. change deplete ecotoxi. eutro. toxicity acid. deplete
% % % % % % % %
Seed seed 9.34 10.52 4.07 5.62 9.87 20.26 10.82 25.46
PE
membrane 0.00 5.87 12.22 0.01 0.01 0.06 5.59 0.13
SWRT
membrane
installation 0.02 5.17 4.79 0.03 0.09 0.67 7.79 0.38
Field
Plant Preparation 90.44 0.00 0.00 79.30 75.77 0.00 5.09 0.00
Harvest 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00

191
Table A5- 14 Flow relative contributions (%) of 2013 Nonirrigated SWRT
Agri. Climate Fossil Freshwater Freshwater Human Terrestrial Water
Indicator
land occ. change deplete ecotoxi. eutro. toxicity acid. deplete
% % % % % % % %
harvest 0.05 14.13 17.89 2.36 2.39 26.80 19.05 13.33
fertilizing 0.01 2.32 2.97 0.36 0.33 4.07 2.71 1.92
Machine
sowing 0.03 2.09 2.62 0.33 0.48 3.60 2.20 2.82
tillage 0.06 13.05 16.45 2.13 1.49 21.77 14.48 9.86
gypsum 0.00 0.53 0.55 0.00 0.00 0.03 0.44 0.31
roundup 0.01 3.28 4.41 0.52 2.04 6.14 5.42 10.16
AMS 0.00 0.56 1.11 0.00 0.00 0.01 0.23 0.03
KCl 0.02 4.65 6.26 0.47 1.99 6.51 2.37 6.08
Chem.
P2O5 0.00 3.14 4.91 0.03 0.03 0.37 2.83 0.52
urea 0.00 14.29 20.90 0.02 0.02 0.38 5.05 2.00
AN 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
K2O 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
irrigation
water 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
drip
irrigation 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
electricity 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Irrigate
drip tape 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
pipe landfill 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
pipe
incineration 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
pipe recycle 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00

192
Table A5-14 (cont'd)
Agri.
Climate Fossil Freshwate Freshwate Human Terrestria Water
Indicator land
change deplete r ecotoxi. r eutro. toxicity l acid. deplete
occ.
% % % % % % % %
Seed seed 9.37 41.96 21.93 6.19 10.57 30.33 30.73 52.98
PE
membrane 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
SWRT
membrane
installation 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Field
Plant Preparation 90.45 0.00 0.00 87.58 80.66 0.00 14.48 0.00
Harvest 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00

193
Table A5- 8 Flow relative contributions (%) of 2004 simulated Ctrl
Agri. Climate Fossil Freshwater Freshwater Human Terrestrial Water
Indicator
land occ. change deplete ecotoxi. eutro. toxicity acid. deplete
% % % % % % % %
harvest 0.05 11.81 13.74 2.13 2.19 27.93 16.34 13.80
fertilizing 0.01 1.93 2.29 0.33 0.30 4.26 2.33 1.98
Machine
sowing 0.03 1.74 2.02 0.30 0.44 3.78 1.89 2.92
tillage 0.06 10.87 12.70 1.92 1.37 22.78 12.45 10.22
gypsum 0.00 0.44 0.42 0.00 0.00 0.04 0.38 0.32
roundup 0.01 2.73 3.39 0.46 1.88 6.41 4.66 10.52
AMS 0.00 0.47 0.86 0.00 0.00 0.01 0.19 0.03
Chem.
KCl 0.00 0.64 0.99 0.00 0.00 0.02 0.24 0.07
P2O5 0.00 2.96 4.28 0.03 0.03 0.44 2.77 0.61
urea 0.00 19.83 26.83 0.03 0.03 0.65 7.25 3.44
irrigation
water 0.00 0.34 0.39 0.05 0.05 0.15 0.12 1.09
drip
irrigation 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
electricity 0.00 0.61 0.73 0.04 0.00 0.23 0.79 0.00
Irrigate
drip tape 0.00 5.74 14.33 0.00 0.00 0.03 3.21 0.09
pipe landfill 0.00 0.03 0.03 0.03 0.08 1.39 0.02 0.01
pipe
incineration 0.00 4.79 0.04 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.06 0.05
pipe recycle 0.00 0.07 0.05 0.00 0.00 0.01 0.03 0.02
Seed seed 9.37 34.99 16.89 5.57 9.66 31.87 26.50 54.85

194
Table A5-15 (cont'd)
Agri.
Climate Fossil Freshwater Freshwater Human Terrestrial Water
Indicator land
change deplete ecotoxi. eutro. toxicity acid. deplete
occ.
% % % % % % % %
PE
membrane 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
SWRT
membrane
installation 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Field
Plant Preparation 90.46 0.00 0.00 89.11 83.95 0.00 20.79 0.00
Harvest 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00

195
Table A5- 9 Flow relative contributions (%) of 2004 simulated SWRT
Agri. Climate Fossil Freshwater Freshwater Human Terrestrial Water
Indicator
land occ. change deplete ecotoxi. eutro. toxicity acid. deplete
% % % % % % % %
harvest 0.05 2.59 1.72 2.14 2.18 27.89 3.88 13.04
fertilizing 0.01 0.43 0.29 0.33 0.30 4.26 0.55 1.87
Machine
sowing 0.03 0.38 0.25 0.30 0.44 3.77 0.45 2.76
tillage 0.03 1.19 0.79 0.96 0.68 11.34 1.47 4.82
gypsum 0.00 0.10 0.05 0.00 0.00 0.04 0.09 0.30
roundup 0.01 0.59 0.42 0.47 1.87 6.40 1.11 9.93
AMS 0.00 0.10 0.11 0.00 0.00 0.01 0.05 0.03
Chem.
KCl 0.00 0.14 0.12 0.00 0.00 0.02 0.06 0.06
P2O5 0.00 0.64 0.54 0.03 0.03 0.44 0.66 0.57
urea 0.00 4.30 3.35 0.03 0.03 0.65 1.72 3.25
irrigation
water 0.00 0.07 0.05 0.06 0.05 0.15 0.03 1.03
drip
irrigation 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
electricity 0.00 0.13 0.09 0.04 0.00 0.22 0.19 0.00
Irrigate
drip tape 0.00 1.25 1.79 0.00 0.00 0.03 0.76 0.08
pipe landfill 0.00 0.01 0.00 0.03 0.08 1.39 0.00 0.01
pipe
incineration 0.00 1.04 0.01 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.01 0.04
pipe recycle 0.00 0.01 0.01 0.00 0.00 0.01 0.01 0.02

196
Table A5-16 (cont'd)
Agri.
Climate Fossil Freshwater Freshwater Human Terrestrial Water
Indicator land
change deplete ecotoxi. eutro. toxicity acid. deplete
occ.
% % % % % % % %
Seed seed 9.36 7.58 2.11 5.59 9.63 31.82 6.29 51.81
PE
membrane 0.00 42.18 63.42 0.15 0.13 1.01 32.52 2.55
SWRT
membrane
installation 0.24 37.27 24.88 0.27 0.86 10.54 45.22 7.82
Field
Plant Preparation 90.27 0.00 0.00 89.61 83.69 0.00 4.94 0.00
Harvest 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00

197
Appendix B5 Allocation scenarios

Table B5- 1-a Allocation scenarios on 15” SWRT and 30” SWRT

2012 15'' SWRT 2012 30'' SWRT


Impact All on System All on System
category grain Economic Energy Mass Expansion grain Economic Energy Mass Expansion
Agricultural
land occ. 658 520 415 329 645 789 624 497 395 776
Climate
change 375 296 236 187 -655 344 272 217 172 -686
Fossil
depletion 132 104 83.2 66 109 126 99.9 79.6 63.2 103
Freshwater
ecotoxi. 10.2 8.1 6.5 5.1 10.1 11.9 9.4 7.5 5.9 11.8
Freshwater
eutro. 0.093 0.073 0.058 0.046 0.091 0.109 0.086 0.069 0.054 0.108
Human
toxicity 47.1 37.2 29.7 23.6 44.3 42.7 33.7 26.9 21.3 39.9
Terrestrial
acid. 1.990 1.570 1.250 0.993 1.650 1.75 1.39 1.1 0.877 1.41
Water
depletion 161 127 101 80.4 161 142 112 89.6 71.1 142

198
Table B5- 1-b Allocation scenarios on 15” Ctrl and 30” Ctrl

2012 15'' Ctrl 2012 30'' Ctrl


Impact All on System All on System
category grain Economic Energy Mass Expansion grain Economic Energy Mass Expansion
Agricultural
land occ. 1140 901 719 571 1127 1060 839 669 531 1047
Climate
change 368 291 232 184 -662 286 226 180 143 -744
Fossil
depletion 123 97.5 77.8 61.7 100 100 79.2 63.1 50.1 77
Freshwater
ecotoxi. 16.1 12.7 10.1 8.0 16.0 15.0 11.9 9.5 7.5 14.9
Freshwater
eutro. 0.151 0.120 0.095 0.076 0.150 0.141 0.111 0.089 0.071 0.140
Human
toxicity 55.8 44.1 35.2 27.9 53.0 43.0 34.0 27.1 21.5 40.2
Terrestrial
acid. 1.770 1.400 1.120 0.886 1.430 1.32 1.04 0.829 0.658 0.98
Water
depletion 237 187 149 118 237 167 132 105 83.7 167

199
Table B5- 1-c Allocation scenarios on Irrigated SWRT and Nonirrigated Ctrl

2013 Irrigated SWRT 2013 Nonirrigated Ctrl


Impact All on System All on System
category grain Economic Energy Mass Expansion grain Economic Energy Mass Expansion
Agricultural
land occ. 734 580 462 367 721 2480 1960 1560 1240 2467
Climate
change 285 225 180 143 -745 242 191 152 121 -788
Fossil
depletion 102 80.4 64.1 50.9 79 63.8 50.4 40.2 31.9 40.8
Freshwater
ecotoxi. 6.5 5.1 4.1 3.3 6.5 19.9 15.7 12.5 10.0 19.8
Freshwater
eutro. 0.062 0.049 0.039 0.031 0.061 0.196 0.155 0.124 0.098 0.195
Human
toxicity 37.8 29.8 23.8 18.9 35.0 85.0 67.1 53.5 42.5 82.2
Terrestrial
acid. 1.320 1.050 0.834 0.662 0.980 1.57 1.24 0.99 0.786 1.23
Water
depletion 283 223 178 141 283 460 363 290 230 460

200
Appendix C5 Pedigree matrix

The pedigree matrix was used to assess the standard deviation of the data

quality. The value of the standard deviation was calculated based on the following

equation. The corresponding scores are assessed according in Table C5-1.

SD = exp √[ln(𝑈1)2 ] + [ln(𝑈2)2 ] + [ln(𝑈3)2 ] + [ln(𝑈4)2 ] + [ln(𝑈5)2 ] + [ln(𝑈6)2 ]

where,

U1= the corresponding score of reliability;

U2= the corresponding score of completeness;

U3= the corresponding score of temporal correlation;

U4= the corresponding score of geographical correlation;

U5= the corresponding score of technological correlation;

U6= the corresponding score of sample size;

201
Table C5- 1 Pedigree matrix used to assess the data quality
Indicator 1 2 3 4 5
Verified data partly
Non-verified
based on Qualified Estimate
Verified data based data partly Non-qualified
Reliability assumptions or non- (e.g. by industrial
on measurement based on estimate
verified data based expert)
assumptions
on measure
U1 1.00 1.05 1.10 1.20 1.50
Representative data Representativene
Representative data Representative
but from a smaller ss unknown or
from a sufficient Representative data data from
number of sites and incomplete data
sample of sites over from a smaller adequate
Completeness shorter periods or from a smaller
an adequate period number of sites but number of sites
incomplete data from number of sites
to even out normal for adequate periods but from shorter
an adequate number and/or from
fluctuations periods
of sites and periods shorter periods
U2 1.00 1.02 1.05 1.10 1.20
Age of data
< 10 years
Temporal < 3 years difference < 6 years difference < 15 years difference unknown or > 15
difference to
correlation to year of study to year of study to year of study years difference
year of study
to year of study
U3 1.00 1.03 1.10 1.20 1.50
Data from
Average data from Data from area Data from area with unknown area or
Geographical Data from area larger area in which with similar slightly similar area with very
correlation under study the area under study production production different
is included conditions conditions production
conditions

202
Table C5- 1 (cont’d)
Indicator Indicator Indicator Indicator Indicator Indicator
U4 1.00 1.01 1.02 NA 1.10
Data from
Data from Data on related
Data for processes processes and Data from related
enterprises, processes or
Technology and materials under materials under processes or
processes, and materials but
correlation study but from study but from materials but same
materials under different
different enterprises different technology
study technology
technology
U5 1.00 NA 1.20 1.50 2.00
> 100, continuous
measurement,
Sample size > 20 > 10 >=3 unknown
balance of
purchased products

203
Table C5- 2 Pedigree matrix used for uncertainty analysis
Group Process In/Out Flow U1 U2 U3 U4 U5 SD
harvesting Diesel 1.00 1.02 1.00 1.01 1.00 1.27
Inputs harvester production 1.00 1.10 1.00 1.02 1.00 1.57
shed 1.00 1.10 1.00 1.02 1.00 1.57
tillage machine
Fertilizing production 1.00 1.10 1.00 1.02 1.00 1.57
Inputs Diesel 1.00 1.02 1.00 1.01 1.00 1.27
shed 1.00 1.10 1.00 1.02 1.00 1.57
tractor production 1.00 1.10 1.00 1.02 1.00 1.57
machinery
Machinery
sowing production 1.00 1.10 1.00 1.02 1.00 1.57
Inputs Diesel 1.00 1.02 1.00 1.01 1.00 1.27
shed 1.00 1.10 1.00 1.02 1.00 1.57
tractor production 1.00 1.10 1.00 1.02 1.00 1.57
machinery
tillage production 1.00 1.10 1.00 1.02 1.00 1.57
Inputs Diesel 1.00 1.02 1.00 1.01 1.00 1.27
shed 1.00 1.10 1.00 1.02 1.00 1.57
tractor production 1.00 1.10 1.00 1.02 1.00 1.57

204
Table C5- 2 (cont’d)
Group Process In/Out Flow U1 U2 U3 U4 U5 SD
Gypsum stone 1.00 1.00 1.00 1.02 1.20 1.76
Glyphosate 1.00 1.00 1.00 1.02 1.00 1.15
AMS 1.00 1.00 1.00 1.01 1.20 1.69
KCl 1.00 1.05 1.50 1.01 1.00 2.60
Chemical
P2O5 1.00 1.00 1.00 1.01 1.00 1.10
Urea 1.00 1.00 1.00 1.01 1.00 1.10
AN 1.00 1.00 1.00 1.01 1.00 1.10
K2O 1.00 1.00 1.00 1.02 1.00 1.15
Water 1.00 1.00 1.00 1.02 1.00 1.15
drip
irrigation Inputs Electricity, at grid 1.05 1.05 1.20 1.02 1.00 2.74
Water 1.00 1.00 1.00 1.00 1.00 1.00
Outputs irrigating 1.00 1.00 1.00 1.00 1.00 1.00
Electricity, at
Irrigation
grid 1.05 1.05 1.20 1.00 1.00 2.38
pipe (PE-HD) 1.00 1.00 1.20 1.02 1.20 2.70
Pipe landfill 1.00 1.00 1.00 1.01 1.00 1.10
pipe
incineration 1.00 1.00 1.00 1.02 1.00 1.15
pipe recycling 1.00 1.00 1.00 1.01 1.00 1.10
Seed corn seed 1.05 1.10 1.20 1.10 1.00 3.54

205
Table C5- 2 (cont’d)
Group Process In/Out Flow U1 U2 U3 U4 U5 SD
SWRT film (PE-LD) 1.00 1.00 1.10 1.02 1.00 1.57
SWRT machine
Installation Inputs production 1.00 1.10 1.00 1.02 1.50 2.96
SWRT
Diesel 1.00 1.02 1.00 1.01 1.00 1.27
shed 1.00 1.10 1.00 1.02 1.00 1.57
tractor production 1.00 1.10 1.00 1.02 1.50 2.96
AMS 1.05 1.10 1.00 1.01 1.20 2.88
fertilizing 1.00 1.00 1.00 1.02 1.00 1.15
corn seed 1.05 1.02 1.00 1.10 1.00 1.95
sowing 1.00 1.00 1.00 1.02 1.00 1.15
tillage 1.00 1.00 1.00 1.02 1.00 1.15
SWRT installation 1.00 1.00 1.00 1.02 1.20 1.76
Glyphosate 1.05 1.02 1.00 1.10 1.00 1.95
Planting Field Gypsum 1.10 1.10 1.00 1.10 1.00 2.52
Inputs
(simulated) preparation Pipe 1.05 1.02 1.00 1.10 1.20 3.00
SWRT film 1.05 1.10 1.00 1.10 1.00 2.31
K2O 1.20 1.00 1.00 1.10 1.00 2.09
P2O5 1.20 1.00 1.00 1.01 1.00 1.69
Urea 1.20 1.00 1.00 1.01 1.00 1.69
irrigating 1.10 1.00 1.00 1.01 1.00 1.50
CO2 1.05 1.00 1.00 1.01 1.00 1.38
crop land occ. 1.00 1.00 1.00 1.00 1.00 1.00

206
Table C5- 2 (cont’d)
Group Process In/Out Flow U1 U2 U3 U4 U5 SD
corn 1.00 1.00 1.00 1.00 1.00 1.00
Field nitrate 1.10 1.00 1.00 1.00 1.00 1.36
Outputs
preparation NOx 1.10 1.00 1.00 1.00 1.00 1.36
Phosphorus 1.10 1.00 1.00 1.00 1.20 2.09
Planting Inputs harvesting 1.00 1.00 1.00 1.02 1.00 1.15
(simulated) corn 1.00 1.00 1.00 1.00 1.00 1.00
Outputs Corn grains 1.00 1.00 1.00 1.00 1.00 1.00
Harvest
pipe incineration 1.00 1.10 1.20 1.02 1.00 2.40
pipe landfill 1.00 1.10 1.20 1.02 1.00 2.40
pipe recycling good 1.10 1.20 1.20 1.10 1.00 4.36
AMS 1.05 1.10 1.00 1.01 1.00 1.88
fertilizing 1.05 1.10 1.00 1.02 1.00 1.95
corn seed 1.05 1.10 1.00 1.10 1.00 2.31
sowing 1.05 1.10 1.00 1.02 1.00 1.95
tillage 1.05 1.10 1.00 1.02 1.00 1.95
Field
Planting SWRT installation 1.05 1.10 1.00 1.02 1.20 3.00
Preparation Inputs
(experiment) Glyphosate 1.05 1.10 1.00 1.10 1.00 2.31
2012-2013
Gypsum 1.10 1.20 1.00 1.10 1.00 2.84
Pipe 1.05 1.10 1.00 1.10 1.20 3.54
SWRT film 1.05 1.10 1.00 1.10 1.00 2.31
K2O 1.05 1.10 1.00 1.10 1.00 2.31
P2O5 1.05 1.10 1.00 1.01 1.00 1.88

207
Table C5- 2 (cont’d)
Group Process In/Out Flow U1 U2 U3 U4 U5 SD
Urea 1.05 1.10 1.00 1.01 1.00 1.88
KCl 1.05 1.10 1.00 1.01 1.00 1.88
AN 1.05 1.10 1.00 1.01 1.00 1.88
Inputs
irrigating 1.05 1.10 1.00 1.01 1.00 1.88
Field
CO2 1.05 1.00 1.00 1.01 1.00 1.38
Preparation
2012-2013 crop land occ. 1.05 1.10 1.00 1.00 1.00 1.70
corn 1.00 1.00 1.00 1.00 1.00 1.00
Planting nitrate 1.10 1.10 1.00 1.00 1.00 1.85
Outputs
(experiment) NOx 1.10 1.10 1.00 1.00 1.00 1.85
Phosphorus 1.10 1.10 1.00 1.00 1.20 2.84
harvesting 1.05 1.10 1.00 1.02 1.00 1.95
Inputs
corn 1.00 1.00 1.00 1.00 1.00 1.00
Harvest Corn grains 1.00 1.00 1.00 1.00 1.00 1.00
2012 & 2013 pipe incineration 1.10 1.20 1.20 1.02 1.50 6.96
Outputs
pipe landfill 1.10 1.20 1.20 1.02 1.50 6.96
pipe recycling good 1.10 1.20 1.50 1.10 1.50 10.15

208
Table C5- 3 Monte Carlo simulation on SWRT machine diesel consumption rate

2012 15'' SWRT 2012 30'' SWRT 2013 Irrigated SWRT


Sample MC. Sample MC. Sample MC.
mean mean SD mean mean SD mean mean SD
Agri. land occ. 329 329 1.16E-03 394 395 1.47E-03 367 367 1.32E-03
Climate change 187 187 1.86E-02 172 172 2.36E-02 143 143 2.13E-02
Fossil depletion 66.0 66 3.70E-02 63.2 63.2 4.70E-02 50.9 50.9 4.21E-02
Freshwater ecotoxi. 5.12 5.12 2.73E-06 5.94 5.94 3.46E-06 3.25 3.25 3.10E-06
Freshwater eutro. 4.63E-02 0.0463 8.80E-08 5.44E-02 0.0543 1.11E-07 3.10E-02 0.031 1.00E-07
Human toxicity 23.6 23.6 4.98E-04 21.3 21.3 6.30E-04 18.9 18.9 5.67E-04
Terrestrial acid. 0.994 0.993 1.02E-04 0.877 0.877 1.31E-04 0.661 0.662 1.17E-04
Water depletion 230 230 3.17E-03 172 172 4.02E-03 141 141 3.61E-03
Where MC. mean is the mean from Monte Carlo simulation.

209
Table C5- 4 Monte Carlo simulation on drip tape production

2012 15'' SWRT 2012 30'' SWRT 2012 15" Control 2012 30" Control Irrigated SWRT
mean SD mean SD mean SD mean SD mean SD
Agri. land occ. 329 4.64E-05 395 5.73E-05 571 7.99E-05 531 7.54E-05 367 4.84E-12
Climate change 187 1.18E+00 172 1.46E+00 184 2.02E+00 143 1.92E+00 143 2.06E-12
Fossil depletion 66 4.57E-01 63.2 5.65E-01 61.7 7.90E-01 50.1 7.41E-01 50.9 9.98E-14
Freshwater
ecotoxi. 5.12 2.78E-04 5.94 3.44E-04 8.04 4.79E-04 7.52 4.52E-04 3.25 4.26E-14
Freshwater
eutro. 0.0463 6.81E-06 0.0543 8.42E-06 0.0757 1.17E-05 0.0706 1.11E-05 0.031 3.06E-16
Human toxicity 23.6 4.41E-02 21.3 5.45E-02 27.9 7.59E-02 21.5 7.16E-02 18.9 1.60E-13
Terrestrial
acid. 0.993 2.31E-03 0.877 2.86E-03 0.886 3.98E-03 0.658 3.76E-03 0.662 9.53E-15
Water
depletion 230 2.69E-02 172 3.34E-02 194 4.64E-02 118 4.39E-02 141 2.83E-13

210
Table C5- 5 Monte Carlo simulation on seed

15'' SWRT 30'' SWRT 15" Control 30" Control Irrigated SWRT Nonirrigated Ctrl
mean SD mean SD mean SD mean SD mean SD mean SD
A 329 1.082 395 0.703 570 1.938 531 0.881 367 1.215 1240 3.41E-12
B 187 0.473 172 0.308 184 0.848 143 0.386 143 0.533 121 1.63E-12
C 66 0.065 63.2 0.042 61.7 0.117 50.1 0.054 50.9 0.073 31.9 1.67E-13
D 5.12 0.006 5.94 0.004 8.04 0.010 7.52 0.005 3.25 0.006 9.96 1.12E-13
9.7E- 6.2E- 1.7E- 7.9E- 1.1E-
E 0.0463 05 0.0543 05 0.0757 04 0.0706 05 0.031 04 0.0982 1.01E-15
F 23.5 0.121 21.3 0.078 27.9 0.217 21.5 0.098 18.9 0.136 42.5 6.12E-13
G 0.993 0.002 0.877 0.001 0.886 0.004 0.658 0.002 0.662 0.003 0.786 4.44E-15
H 230 1.139 172 0.738 194 2.037 118 0.929 141 1.273 230 4.83E-12

Where A-H represent impact categories in ReCiPe 1.07 (H) Midpoint,

A- Agricultural land occupation; B- Climate change; C-Fossil depletion; D- Freshwater ecotoxicity; E- Freshwater

eutrophication; F- Human toxicity; G- Terrestrial acidification; H-Water depletion.

211
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212
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214
Normalization and weighting

LCA is a useful tool to integrate the environmental impacts for product development

and policy making. In order to conduct a comprehensive life cycle study, scientific methods

must be used to evaluate life cycle thinking. A comparison of environmental impacts

elaborates the relative environmental performance of alternatives products in the context

of analyzed impact topics. Parallel to this, there is a need for simple, easy accessible

methods to interpret the LCA results for non-LCA practitioners, such as policy makers and

product designers. This audience is interested in the relative importance among studied

impact topics to reduce the product impact effectively. Normalization and weighting are

methods to reveal the relative importance of the analyzed impacts.

Normalization is an optional step according to ISO 14044 [1]. It helps to interpret the

environmental impact profile of a product and/or system. Also, normalization is an initial

step of fully aggregated results that needs an additional weighting step across indicators

[2].

Normalization is mostly used to interpret how the results of a LCA impact an average

citizen, a country, and/or globally, etc. When displaying the normalized LCIA results of

different impact categories next to each other, the relatively contributions of each impact

indicator can be seen. Normalization can be processed either on midpoint (such as

acidification, fossil depletion, etc.) or endpoint (such as human health, natural resource,

and natural environment) impact levels.

To note that, after normalization, the relatively contributions cannot be compared

directly across categories. To judge the relative importance among impact results,

215
additional weighting step is needed. Weighting makes the LCA result more deliverable,

while it introduces more uncertainties. Weighting is an optional step and it is not

recommended for academic LCA under ISO 14044 [1].

6.1 Normalization

Normalization is a supportive method to interpret the environmental impact profile of a

product and/or system. It is also the first step towards a fully aggregated result.

Normalized LCIA impacts will indicate the relatively contribution of the impact category of

the studied system in the total impact category per average citizen, per country, per GDP,

etc. It is important to note that normalized LCIA values across different impact cannot be

compared to interpret the absolute relevance (e.g., judge one impact category is more

concerning than the other based on the result). Because the normalized LCIA results

describe different impacts with different units, their value cannot be summed up as well.

Calculation of the normalized impact potential is performed as follows:

Norm IPIC = LCIAIC * Normref (Equation 6-1)

where:

Norm IPIC is the normalized impact potential for a studied category;

LCIAIC is the LCIA result of a specific impact category;

Normref IC is the normalization reference of the corresponding studied category. In

this study, Normref equals to the total impact of all substances of the specific

category per person per year.

216
Equation 6-1 implies that the choice of normalization reference can greater affect/shift

the normalized LCIA results. Commonly used normalization references are EDIP97 and

EI99, which are originally designed for Europe. With LCA studies and applications

becoming globally, there is a need to establish the normalization and weighting references

for different Word regions. Unfortunately, this will take a long time and lots of effort to

collect sufficient information and establish references target to various regions.

In this paper, ReCiPe 1.07 (H) midpoint- world normalization factors were used, which

has two sets of parameters - Europe and World. At this point, we have to admit that

applying the World normalization reference to the U.S. studied results will introduce

certain levels of uncertainty to the results. Environmental impacts can be approximately

classified into two groups: global impacts and regional/ local impacts. In terms of global

impacts, such as global warming and ozone depletion, the uncertainties to the normalized

LCIAs in this study are relatively lower than regional and local impacts such as acidification,

eutrophication, ecotoxicity, and human toxicity.

Table 6.1 lists the World’s normalization references of ReCiPe 1.07 (H) midpoint. It is an

update from the 1994 version, which reflects the world’s population of 6,122,770,220 in

2000 [3].

Table 6 -1 ReCiPe 1.07 (H) World midpoint normalization factor [4]


Impact categories Normalization factor Unit
Climate change 1.45E-04 kg CO2 eq /p/year
Terrestrial acidification 2.62E-02 kg SO2 eq/p/Year
Freshwater eutrophication 3.45E+00 kg P eq/p/Year
Human toxicity 8.52E-03 kg 1,4-DB eq/p/Year
Freshwater ecotoxicity 2.31E-01 kg 1,4-DB eq/p/Year
Agri. land occupation. 1.84E-04 kg P eq/p/Year
Water depletion 0.00E+00 m3/p/Year
Fossil depletion 7.75E-04 kg oil eq/p/Year
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Table 6 -2 LCIA of SWRT

Agri. Climate Fossil Freshwater Freshwater Human Terrestrial Water


Indicator
land occ. change depletion ecotoxi. eutro. toxicity acid. depleti.
kg CO2- kg 1,4-DB kg 1,4-
Unit m2*year kg oil eq. kg P eq. kg SO2 eq. m3
eq. eq. DB eq.
2012 15” SWRT 328.6 187.3 66 5.12 4.63E-02 23.6 0.994 229.7
2012 30” SWRT 394.4 172 63.2 5.94 5.44E-02 21.3 0.877 171.7
2012 15” Ctrl 570.5 184.2 61.7 8.03 7.57E-02 27.9 0.886 194.3
2012 30” Ctrl 531.2 143.1 50.1 7.53 7.06E-02 21.5 0.657 118.1
2013 Irrigated SWRT 367.1 142.6 50.9 3.25 3.10E-02 18.9 0.661 141.4
2013 Nonirri. SWRT 1238.3 121.1 32 9.98 9.84E-02 42.5 0.787 230.3
simulated 2004 Ctrl 456.6 53.4 15.3 4.09 3.94E-02 15 0.337 81.9
simulated 2004 SWRT 457.5 246.6 122.2 4.06 3.95E-02 15 1.418 86.7

Table 6 -3 Normalized LCIA

Agri. Climate Fossil Freshwater Freshwater Human Terrestrial


Indicator Water depleti.
land occ. change depletion ecotoxi. eutro. toxicity acid.
2012 15” SWRT 0.06 0.03 0.05 1.18 0.16 0.20 0.03 NA
2012 30” SWRT 0.07 0.02 0.05 1.37 0.19 0.18 0.02 NA
2012 15” Ctrl 0.10 0.03 0.05 1.85 0.26 0.24 0.02 NA
2012 30” Ctrl 0.10 0.02 0.04 1.74 0.24 0.18 0.02 NA
2013 Irrigated SWRT 0.07 0.02 0.04 0.75 0.11 0.16 0.02 NA
2013 Nonirri. SWRT 0.23 0.02 0.02 2.31 0.34 0.36 0.02 NA
simulated 2004 Ctrl 0.08 0.01 0.01 0.94 0.14 0.13 0.01 NA
simulated 2004 SWRT 0.08 0.04 0.09 0.94 0.14 0.13 0.04 NA

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Table 6.3 indicates that freshwater ecotoxicity contributes relatively more than

other impact categories. It has been discussed in chapter 5.2 LCIA results that more

than 80% of the freshwater ecotoxicity is from fertilizer’s inorganic phosphate

emissions to fresh water.

6.2 Weighting

Weighting is the additional step required to interpret an aggregated result after

normalization. As in normalization, weighting is an optional step under ISO14044.

In the weighting step, a specific weighting factor is used to multiply with an impact

category. By doing that, weighted LCIAs will be able to sum up or compare across

different impact categories. Note that under ISO 14044 [1] weighting shall not be

used in studies leading to comparative assertions intended to be disclosed to the

public.

Calculation of the weighted impact potential is performed as follows:

𝑊𝑒𝑖𝑔ℎ𝑡𝑒𝑑 𝐼𝑃𝐼𝐶 = WF𝐼𝐶 ∗ 𝑁𝑜𝑟𝑚 IP 𝐼𝐶 (Equation 6-2)

Where: Norm IPIC is the normalized impact potential for a studied category,

which is the result from the normalization process;

WF IC is the weighting factor for a specific impact category;

Weighted IC is the weighted impact of the corresponding studied

category.

The weighting reference factors for ReCiPe 1.07 (H) midpoint impact assessment

has yet not been published [5]. Therefore, weighting didn’t not being performed in

this study.

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REFERENCES

220
REFERENCES

1. Standarization, I.O.f., International standars Standard 14044 only, in


Environmental management- Life cycle assessment-Requirements and
guidelines. 2006: Switzerland.

2. Commission, E., International Reference Life Cycle Data System (ILCD)


Handbook—general guide for life cycle assessment—detailed guidance. Joint
Research Centre—Institute for Environment and Sustainability. Publications
Office of the European Union, Luxembourg, 2010.

3. Census, U.S. (2014). International programs data base; Available from:


http://www.census.gov/population/international/data/idb/informationGat
eway.php.

4. Sleeswijk, A.W., et al., Normalisation in product life cycle assessment: An LCA of


the global and European economic systems in the year 2000. Science of The
Total Environment, 2008. 390(1): p. 227-240.

5. ReCiPe. Quick introduction into ReCiPe LCIA Methodology. 2008 [cited 2014;
Available from: http://www.lcia-recipe.net/project-definition.

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Conclusions and future work

7.1 Conclusions

In this study, the environmental impacts of producing 1000 kg of corn grain

were evaluated considering 6 different treatments (15” SWRT, 30” SWRT, 15” Ctrl,

30” Ctrl, Irrigated SWRT, and Nonirrigated Ctrl) planted on Sandhill farm, East

Lansing, MI, US. To compensate for the limitations of the experimental data, a 10-

year continuous corn production on Sandhill farm dataset was simulated using the

SALUS program. The environmental impact of the simulated treatment was

conducted to estimate the time to pay off the additional environmental burdens for

using SWRT.

The LCIs were mainly assessed by eight impact indicators from the ReCiPe 1.07

(H) midpoint assessment methodology. Mass allocation was the default method to

solve the co-product issues.

Benchmark comparisons:

Several studies concerning the environmental performance of corn stover and corn

grain production have been published, and some of these results were used to

compare with the results of this study. Results from this study show that most

impact categories except climate change and air acidification were in good

agreement with previous results. The published results have as great as 126%

difference among them on air acidification impact. The result of this study is lower

than benchmark about 35 to 622% depending on the study used for comparison.

The result of this study is about 18% lower than the benchmark study on climate

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change. The relatively lower impacts of this study might be owing to less gas

emissions generated from fertilizers in sandy soil conditions.

Hotspots identification:

The contribution of each group was evaluated to identify the environmental impact

hotspots. Among the groups, irrigation contributed the greatest impact. The

machinery, chemical, and seed groups were also intensive groups on most impacts.

Fertilizer emissions in the planting group were significant on freshwater ecotoxicity

and freshwater eutrophication impacts. This implies that these two impact

categories are very vulnerable to over fertilizing.

Agricultural land occupation:

Agricultural land is regarded as a limited resource. High land use efficiency (high

yield) can effectively reduce the land occupation. The LCIA result of agricultural land

occupation illustrates that the planting group largely affect this impact category.

Climate change and fossil depletion:

From the LCIA results, irrigation activity (water and electricity consumption for

pumping water) takes up 1/3 to 1/2 of the total indicators. Avoiding over irrigation

is suggested to be both economic and environmentally friendly according to the

results.

Eutrophication and acidification:

According to the soil electrical conductivity experiments and Hydrus-2D simulation

work performed on the Sandhill farm experiments, there is a lack of evidence

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indicating a significant difference in fertilizer emissions between SWRT and Control

treatments. Thus, the differences in the LCIA results of freshwater eutrophication

and acidification were mostly driven by the yields.

Human toxicity:

The LCIA results on the human toxicity impact category illustrates that machinery

was the greatest contributing group. Diesel consumption generated 70% of the

machinery burden.

Terrestrial acidification:

The LCIA result for terrestrial acidification suggests that electricity used for

irrigation, machinery, irrigation water, pipe production, SWRT and seed affected

this impact category. A further analysis explained that fuel burning was the

underlying cause in these groups.

Allocation method and impact assessment methodology:

Bias in results due to the choices of allocation methods were reported in previous

published LCA studies. So, the allocation method scenario analysis showed that the

allocation method- allocated by mass, might introduce some biased results in the

absolute values, but not in the relative ranking of the EFP of the treatments. Since

different impact assessment methodologies employ different characterization

factors for the same items, similar to the allocation method, the impact assessment

methodology scenarios showed that different impact methodologies could result in

diverging conclusions. So, a clear definition of the impact assessment methodology

and the version should be provided.


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Time to pay off additional burden from SWRT:

A yield increase scenario analysis due to the presence of SWRT was conducted on

the simulated Ctrl dataset to estimate the time to pay off the additional burden from

using SWRT. The scenario analysis indicates that if SWRT can increase the yield by

100%, the additional environmental burden incurred for installing SWRT in GHG

and fossil fuel depletion can be paid off in 5 and 9 years, respectively. Other

indicators were lower. Several approaches could decrease the SWRT environmental

burdens such as reducing the SWRT membrane thickness, extending SWRT

membrane lifetime; and enhancing the membrane installation efficiency to reduce

the machinery and diesel cost.

Impact of high sensitivity parameter standard deviations on conclusions:

An uncertainty analysis using Monte Carlo simulations conducted on land use (LU)

indicated that yield was a highly sensitive parameter in this study. High yield would

effectively dilute the EFP. Conclusions from LCIA comparisons between treatments

could be changed when accounting for yield variations. A representative case

showing the yield uncertainty effect on the conclusion is the climate change impact

result: the LCIA mean values are different among treatments, but they are

considered statistically the same for 2012 treatments and 2013 treatments when

accounting for yield uncertainty. Similar cases are human toxicity and terrestrial

acidification.

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7.2 Future work

This study was a preliminary study towards the environmental performance of

SWRT. Many modeled processes were less representative of current farmer

situations. There were missing data/ data gaps that should be filled to complete a

full evaluation of SWRT technology. The following aspects could be researched to

improve the assessment of the environmental footprint of SWRT.

Develop method to simulated SWRT yields:

There are always schedules and cost issues in expecting enough repeating years for

agricultural experiments. Reproducing experiments by using simulation methods is

a good approach to overcome these experimental limitations. Currently, corn

production on Sandhill farm without SWRT has been successfully simulated.

However, successful modeling of corn production using SWRT was not possible.

Thus, modeling corn production using SWRT will provide a meaningful

breakthrough to estimate the EFP of SWRT in sandy soil and other type of soils.

Develop SWRT processes using primary data:

Creating unit process for SWRT using primary datasets will be helpful to describe

the environmental performance of SWRT. These processes include but are not

limited to: SWRT membrane production process, SWRT machine production process,

and consumptions and emissions of SWRT installation processes.

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Complete fertilizer emission inventory in sandy soil:

Collection of information about fertilizer emissions in sandy soil will enable

completion of the fertilizer emissions profile. The environmental footprint

differences between fertilizer emissions in sandy soil and loamy soil are indirect

consequences of SWRT application. Accounting for the indirect consequences of

SWRT application will help for better quantification of the EFP.

Continue yield collections:

Yield is a highly sensitive parameter in corn production studies. Continuing

collecting SWRT yield records could enhance the temporal representative of the

whole study.

Modified less representative processes:

A few processes in this study lack representation for U.S. conditions. So if possible,

improving the following processes will enhance the geography and technology

representation. These processes include but are not limited to: seed production

process, agricultural machine productions, machinery work flow processes (tillage,

fertilizing, sowing, harvesting).

Collecting missing data:

The missing data include but are not limited to irrigation pump production and the

drip tape installation process. To avoid unnecessary errors, transportation of inputs

and products was not included. When transportation information becomes available,

transportation should be included.

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Improve experimental design:

The experimental designs for the year 2012 and 2013 were not supportive of

drawing conclusions regarding SWRT application. A well-plan experimental design

in the coming few years should be considered to obtain robust comparison data to

determine the EFP

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