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Faculty of Earth and Life Science MSc in Environmental Resource and Management (ERM)

Analysis of allocation methods of bioethanol LCA

Keiji Kodera
August 2007
Internship at CML, Leiden University

Supervisor at IVM: Dr. Michiel van Drunen Supervisor at CML: Dr. Gjalt Huppes, Dr. Jeroen Guinee 468015 (traineeship) 18 ects

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Analysis of allocation methods of bioethanol LCA

Table of Contents
Foreword Abstract 1. Introduction 2. Background 2.1. Biofuel and bioethanol 2.2. Process of bioethanol production 2.3. Co-products 3. Allocation procedures 4. Approach 5. Result and discussion 5.1. Overview of studied literatures 5.2. Analysis of allocation procedures 5.2.1. Allocation methods explicitly treated 5.2.2 Influences on choosing different allocation methods 5.2.3 Validity of each allocation method 6. Conclusion and recommendation Annex: Summaries of literatures References 2 3 5 7 7 8 9 11 14 15 15 16 16 22 25 27 28 51

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Analysis of allocation methods of bioethanol LCA

Foreword
CML (Center of Environmental Science) in Leiden University is in charge of the scientific coordination of a project named CALCAS which stands for Co-ordination Action for Innovation in Life-Cycle Analysis for Sustainability". CALCAS is funded within the 6th Framework Programme of the European Union. The objective of the project is to develop (ISO-) LCA by: "deepening" the present models and tools to improve their applicability in different contexts while increasing their reliability and usability, "broadening" the LCA scope by better incorporating sustainability aspects and linking to neighbouring models, to improve their significance, and "leaping forward" by a revision/enrichment of foundations, through the crossing with other disciplines for sustainability evaluation. I was involved in the project under the supervision of Dr. Gjalt Huppes and Dr. Jeroen B.Guinee from CML and Dr. Michiel van Drunen from IVM. My task in CALCAS project belonged to the first objective: deepening the present models and tools. Expected results of deepening the LCA are: critical review of the current research needs and limitations related to ISO-LCA practice, Standardization guidelines of deepened and broadened LCA, and Main R&D lines to improve reliability, significance and usability of the applications of standardized LCA. Particularly, I worked for the analysis of allocation methods in bioethanol LCA. The aim of my research was to figure out the current situation and problems of allocation procedures of LCA practice in bioethanol by looking at differences of studies and analyzing of them. The research started from understanding of LCA in general and allocation procedure. Then I collected literatures related to bioethanol LCA mainly from website. 35 literatures were collected in total. Summaries focused on allocation and relevant information of each literature were made by following suggestions of the supervisors. Having made summaries and collected data, analyses of the studies were carried out from several viewpoints. My personal purpose of the traineeship was to acquire deeper understanding of LCA through learning by doing research. Fortunately, I could be engaged in the suitable theme thanks to Dr. Huppes and Dr. Guinee. They kindly accepted me despite the fact that I am not a professional researcher of LCA. The research definitely gave me sufficient knowledge of LCA. In addition, I also learned how to approach environmental problems and reach its goals with scientific insight. I would like to thank Dr. Gjalt Huppes and Dr. Jeroen Guinee for their support and guidance throughout my whole work and also thank Lin Luo for giving me the opportunity to work for CML. I would also like to thank Dr. Michiel van Drunen, supervisor of this thesis. 7, August, 2007 Keiji Kodera

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Analysis of allocation methods of bioethanol LCA

Abstract
Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is an assessment of the environmental effects of a product or service during its lifetime, from cradle to grave. One of the most controversial issues about LCA is allocation procedure. It is often necessary to decide how the environmental burdens of the unit process are to be treated among the different co-products. Therefore, the materials and energy flows as well as associated environmental releases shall be allocated to the different products according to clearly stated procedures. The aim of this paper is to examine allocation procedures of bioethanol LCA by reviewing literatures available online and to consider how allocation method should be carried out. Ethanol can be produced from the following feedstocks: Sugar, Grain, and Cellulosic Biomass. The study focuses on the analysis of allocation method in bioethanol LCA by reviewing 35 literatures. Four types of allocation methods were used in the studies; 27 avoiding allocation, 12 mass allocation, 9 energy allocation and 11 market value allocation. The purpose of LCA was categorized to 3 criteria: GHG emissions assessments, energy balance assessments, and pollution assessments. A large part of studies were about grain such as corn and wheat, and carried out in North America.

30 25 20 15 10 5 0 Base Avoiding Mass Energy Market 27 12 9 11 Energy 21 10 7 8 GHG 22 9 4 6 Pollutio n 9 4 2 4 Sugar 5 4 3 3 Grain 23 9 7 9 Cellulos N. Europe e America 8 1 1 1 14 5 4 2 7 4 4 4 Avoiding Mass Energy Market

Analyses are carried out from the perspectives of consistency of assumption and calculation, sensitivity of choosing different allocation methods, and validity of each allocation. To establish the reliability of LCA, it is important that the assumption and the calculation are consistent whenever the same method is applied.

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Analysis of allocation methods of bioethanol LCA

However, in avoiding allocation method, various substitution products are employed to one co-product. Also in market value allocation, the period and the point in supply chain of the estimated price are not consistent by study. Influences on choosing different allocation methods can be large in some feedstocks. Avoiding allocation method tends to be the lowest environmental performance whereas mass allocation tends to be the highest. The choice of allocation method is one of the substantial issues in bioethanol LCA. There is no single allocation procedure which is appropriate for all bioethanol processes. Avoiding allocation method may be the most suitable when there are significant co-products that replace other products. Data for physical allocation method is generally available and therefore easily applicable. However, physical allocation in bioethanol LCA does not reflect physical causality between functional units and environmental burdens. Market value allocation reflects the underlying economic reasons for production which are important in determining how co-products are used. To increase the reliability of bioethanol LCA, it is important for ISO or an environmental organization to develop more detailed standard so that the study of LCA is carried out with more reality and achieves more reliable result.

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Analysis of allocation methods of bioethanol LCA

1. Introduction
Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is an assessment of the environmental effects of a product or service during its lifetime, from cradle to grave. It can provide environmental performance information and works as a decision-supporting tool of environmental management or policy making. LCA is often used to compare products with equivalent functions, or to determine aspects of the life cycle that are critical to the overall environmental impact (Robert et al., 2002). The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) (1998) has developed methodological standard of LCA. Several guidebooks also have been published to support carrying out LCA (Weidema, 1997, Guinee, 2002, SETAC). According to ISO 14001, the process of making an LCA can be divided into four phases. 1: Goal and scope definition 2: Life cycle inventory analysis (LCI) 3: Life cycle impact assessment (LCIA) 4: Life cycle interpretation of the result The goal and scope definition of an LCA provides a description of the product system in terms of the system boundaries and a functional unit. The functional unit is the important basis that enables alternative goods, or services, to be compared and analyzed. It is defined as the measure of performance which is delivered by a system. In practice, a functional unit is an equivalent amount of a product, service or process function (Krozer, 1998). Life cycle inventory (LCI) is a methodology for estimating the consumption of resources and the quantities of waste flows and emissions caused by or otherwise attributable to a products life cycle. The processes within the life cycle and the associated material and energy flows as well as other exchanges are modeled to represent the product system and its total inputs and outputs from and to the natural environment, respectively. It results in a product system model and an inventory of environmental exchanges related to the functional unit. Life cycle impact assessment (LCIA) provides indicators and the basis for analyzing the potential contributions of the resource extractions and wastes/emissions in an inventory to a number of potential impacts. The result of the LCIA is an evaluation of a product life cycle, on a functional unit basis, in terms of several impacts categories such as green house gas emissions, energy consumption, air pollution, and eutrophication. Life cycle interpretation occurs at every stage in an LCA. If two product alternatives are compared and one

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Analysis of allocation methods of bioethanol LCA

alternative shows higher consumption of each material and of each resource, an interpretation purely based on the LCI can be conclusive. A practitioner, however, may also want to compare across impact categories, particularly when there are trade-offs between product alternatives, or if it is desirable to prioritize areas of concern within a single life cycle study. For example, emissions of CO2 in one life cycle may result in a higher climate change indicator than in another, but the alternative involves more pesticides and has a higher potential contribution to toxicological impacts. A stakeholder may therefore want more information to decide which difference is a higher priority (Rebitzer G., Ekvall T., et al., 2004) Among numerous argumentations of LCA, one of the most controversial issues is allocation procedure (Tillman, 2000) in Life cycle inventory analysis phase. Most industrial processes yield more than one product, and they recycle intermediate or discarded products as raw materials. Since it would not be realistic if the main product is made responsible for all environmental burdens of the unit process and the preceding steps in the life cycle, it is often necessary to decide how the environmental burdens of the unit process are to be treated among the different co-products. Therefore, the materials and energy flows as well as associated environmental releases shall be allocated to the different products according to clearly stated procedures (ISO, 1998E). A number of industrial processes of products and purposes for LCA allow various possibilities of allocation procedures. The choice of allocation method and boundary setting may have a significant impact on the final results (Bernesson, et al., 2006). Due to the recent rapid market growth, a lot of LCA studies have been carried out in the field of bioenergy. The purposes of LCA are mainly to assess energy balance of gasoline input and ethanol output, greenhouse gas emissions, and pollution to environment. Since the cropping systems and output functions are various, a proper allocation procedure is required to estimate the environmental performance (Kim, et al., 2005a). A result of LCA is often used to support decision making. The result must be fair and reliable as a decision making tool. However, there seems to be lack of consistency in application of allocation procedure. Although several studies assessed bioenergy LCA (Larson, 2005, Blottnitz, et al., 2007), no study focused on allocation procedure. The aim of this paper is to examine bioethanol LCA focusing on allocation procedures by reviewing literatures available online and to consider how allocation method should be carried out for bioethanol LCA to increase its reliability. In order to achieve this, consistency of assumption and calculation, sensitivity of choosing different allocation methods, and validity of each allocation method are looked at in detail. In the following chapter, backgrounds are explained. First, overview of bioethanol in the viewpoint of market situation and the processes of bioethanol production from various crops are described. Then, study approach is explained, and the paper concludes with the results of study and discussions.

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2. Background 2.1. Biofuel and bioethanol


Biofuel is a fuel produced from dry organic matter or combustible oils produced by plants. Liquid biofuels are mainly developed as a vehicle fuel. Many eventual fuels are conceivable: methanol, ethanol, hydrogen, synthetic diesel, biodiesel, and bio oil (Hamelincka, and Faai, 2006). There are several priorities for biofuels to be introduced both developing and industrialized countries; sustainability, reduction of GHG emissions, regional development, social structure and agriculture, and security of supply (Demibras, 2007). At present, the most widely used biofuel for transportation worldwide is bioethanol. Global production of bioethanol reached 33 million litres in 2004, with an average annual growth of 12% over the last five years. The leading producers of bioethanol are Brazil, the United States, the EU, and China. Brazil produced 38% of the world bioethanol in 2004. The United States is the second largest ethanol producer, accounting for 32%. EU and China produced 10% and 9% of the world share respectively. The primary crops for bioethanol are different in regions. 95% of the crop produced in Brazil comes from sugarcane. In the United States, corn production is several times greater than wheat. In the EU, in contrast, wheat production is three times higher than corn production (IEA, 2004). The crops produced in each area are mainly consumed for market in the same area. In Brazil, the most successful country introducing bioethanol in the world, all gasoline contains at least 25% ethanol. About 3 million motor cars run on 100% alcohol. About 60% of all motor vehicles produced in Brazil are now flexi; they can run on any mixture of alcohol/gasoline, as well as on 100% alcohol. The Brazilian program started as a response to the Middle East oil embargo of 1973. With the help of public subsidies and tax breaks, farmers planted more sugar cane, investors built distilleries to convert the sugar to ethanol and car makers designed cars to run on 100% alcohol. The government financed a huge distribution network to get the fuel to gasoline stations and kept alcohol prices low to attract consumers. Maurilio Biagi Filho, an executive with giant sugar trader Crystalsev, says that one of the main reasons why the program was successful was a combination of strong policy and market forces (Grad, 2006). Brazil plans to expand ethanol exports from 2.5 billion litres in 2004 to 9.4 billion litres in 2010 (Slingerland et al., 2005). In the United States, bioethanol started to be produced from corn in the early 1970s, but only recently began to be more widely used. Bioethanol production capacity increased from 4 billion litres in 1996 to 14 billion litres in 2004 (Dufey, 2006). Currently, bioethanol production from subsidized corn (maize) crops accounts for 3% of the total US gasoline market with recent growth at 15-20% per year. The potential of bioethanol

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estimated by the Department of Energy and Department of Agriculture amounts up to 30% replacement of current petroleum consumption for transport fuels by 2030. The EU has also moved to support the penetration of biofuel in the EU market. In 2003, the EU adopted the Biofuels Directive aimed at increasing the share of bioethanol used in road transport to 5.75% by 2010. In 2005, the market share reached 1%. Only Germany (3.8%) and Sweden (2.2%) reached the 2% reference value. Although this figure is less than the reference value, it represents a doubling progress in two years. An ambitious and achievable vision for 2030 is that up to 25% of the EUs transport fuel needs can be met by bioethanol (European Commission). The future of bioethanol seems to be prospecting. However, it is anticipated that the rapid increase of bioethanol demand will lead to shortage of agricultural land and take place competition between food sector and energy sector. As a possible solution to the anticipation, besides the current bioethanol from crops, second generation bioethanols are being developed, which is derived from inexpensive and abundant sources of cellulosic biomass including agricultural residues (e.g., corn stover and sugarcane bagasse), forestry wastes (e.g., sawdust and paper sludge), and herbaceous and woody energy crops (Gnansounou et al., 2004). The hurdle to penetrate the second generation bioethanol to the fuel market for transport is that the production cost is not low enough to be competitive in the market yet. Therefore, significant process developments for cost reduction and scale-up are required before second generation technologies can be commercialized.

2.2. Process of bioethanol production


Ethanol can be produced from any biological feedstock that contains appreciable amounts of sugar or materials that can be converted into sugar such as starch or cellulose. The feedstock can be categorized to three types; Sugar, Grain, and Cellulosic Biomass. Sugar beets and sugarcane are examples of feedstock that contain sugar. Grains such as corn and wheat contain starch in their kernels and can relatively easily be converted to sugar. Trees and grasses are largely made up of cellulose and hemicellulose, which can also be converted to sugar though with more difficulty than conversion of starch. Fundamental production process of bioethanol is different in feedstock. The processes for making ethanol from each feedstock are explained below and table 1 shows basic ethanol production steps by feedstock and conversion technique.

Sugar to ethanol
In producing ethanol from sugar crops, the crops must first be processed to remove the sugar (such as through crushing, soaking and chemical treatment). The sugar is then fermented to alcohol using yeasts and other microbes. A final step distils (purifies) the ethanol to the desired concentration and usually removes all

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Analysis of allocation methods of bioethanol LCA

water to produce anhydrous ethanol that can be blended with gasoline.

Grain to ethanol
The grain-to-ethanol production process starts by separating, cleaning and milling (grinding up) the starchy feedstock. Milling can be wet or dry, depending on whether the grain is soaked and broken down further either before the starch is converted to sugar (wet) or during the conversion process (dry). When wet milling process is employed, only starch enters the process. When dry milling of corn is taken, all components of the grain (starch, fiber, proteins, fats, minerals) are involved in the process. In both cases, the starch is converted to sugar, typically using a high-temperature enzyme process (Cardona, 2007). From this point on, the process is similar to that for sugar crops, where sugars are fermented to alcohol using yeasts and other microbes. A final step distils (purifies) the ethanol to the desired concentration and removes water.

Cellulosic biomass to ethanol


A large variety of feedstock is available for producing ethanol from cellulosic biomass. The materials being considered are agricultural wastes (including those resulting from conventional ethanol production), forest residue, municipal solid wastes, wastes from pulp/paper processes and energy crops. Agricultural wastes available for ethanol conversion include crop residues such as wheat straw, corn stover (leaves, stalks and cobs), rice straw and bagasse (sugar cane waste). The first step in converting biomass to ethanol is pre-treatment, involving cleaning and breakdown of materials. Some hemicellulose can be converted to sugars in this step, and the lignin removed. Next, the remaining cellulose is hydrolysed into sugars, the major saccharification step. Common methods are dilute and concentrated acid hydrolysis, which are expensive and appear to be reaching their limits in terms of yields. As sugars are produced, the fermentative organisms convert them to ethanol.

2.3. Co-products
Processes for making bioethanols involve making some co-products. The type of co-products depends
on the type of employed feedstock and the production process. In the process of ethanol by sugarcane, the crushed stalk of the plant allows the production of bagasse, which consists of cellulose and lignin. The bagasse can be used for process energy in the manufacture of ethanol. The grain to ethanol process also yields several co-products. Co-products through corn production are different in milling system. When wet milling system is employed, ethanol, corn syrup, corn oil, corn gluten meal, corn gluten feed, different chemicals and food-related products as vitamins and amino acids could be obtained (Lynd et al., 1999). In addition, the nutritional quality of Corn Condensed Distillers Solubles (CCDS), the syrup of concentrated solubles has been evaluated in order to utilize them for animal feed. When dry milling system of corn is employed during fuel ethanol production, Dried Distillers Grains with Solubles (DDGS) are formed, which

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Analysis of allocation methods of bioethanol LCA

are widely utilized for animal feed. From wheat feedstock, DDGS and glycerin are often produced. In the

conversion of lingocellulosic biomass into ethanol, electricity will often be co-produced (IEA, 2004).
Table 1: Ethanol Production Steps by feedstock and Conversion Technique Feedstock Sugar crops (cane) Harvest technique Feedstock conversion Process to sugar Cane stalk cut, Sugars mostly from field taken through bagasse-crushing, soaking, treatment Grain crops (wheat, corn) Cellulosic crops (grasses, trees) Starchy parts of Starch plants harvested; milling, in the field Full heat extracted Primarily from crushed (bagasse) separation, Typically Fermentation and Animal of (e.g. dried alcohol feed grains), (if conversion from fossil distillation distillers chemical cane Sugar conversion Co-products to alcohol Fermentation and Heat, distillation alcohol of electricity and molasses

stalks mostly left to sugars via enzyme fuel application

sweetener

corn feedstock) plant Cellulose conversion Lignin and Fermentation and Heat, sugar via excess cellulose lignin process distillation alcohol of electricity animal feed, bioplastics, etc. saccharification (encymatic hydrolysis); use energy (International Energy Agency (IEA) (2004): Biofuels for transport -an international perspective-, p35) for harvested; grasses to cut with regrowth

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Analysis of allocation methods of bioethanol LCA

3. Allocation procedures
As discussed in the chapter 2, production process of bioethanol is various due to different types of feedstocks and co-products. Therefore, several approaches of allocation procedures are possibly applied in bioethanol LCA. The ISO 14041 (1998) suggests the following steps of allocation procedure be used. Step 1: Wherever possible, allocation should be avoided by: (a) Dividing the unit process to be allocated into two or more sub-processes and collecting the input and output data related to these sub-processes (subdivision), (b) Expanding the product system to include the additional functions related to the co-products. After expanding the system, subtract equivalent product from main product inventory (system expansion) (Figure 1). Figure 1: System expansion

Main product Process (Corn) (Ethanol) (-) subtract Co-product (DDGS*) *DDGS and soy meal are used for animal feed Savings due to substitution of equivalent product by co-product (soy meal*)

Step2: Where allocation cannot be avoided, the inputs and outputs of the system should be partitioned between its different products or functions in a way which reflects the underlying physical relationships between them (physical allocation); i.e. they shall reflect the way in which the inputs and outputs are changed by quantitative changes in the products or functions delivered by the system (Figure 2).

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Analysis of allocation methods of bioethanol LCA

Figure 2: Physical allocation

Main product (70kg, 70MJ) Process (100kg, 100MJ) Co-product (30kg, 30MJ)

70%

30%

Step3: Where physical relationship alone cannot be established or used as the basis for allocation, the inputs

should be allocated between the products and functions in a way which reflects other relationships between them. For example, input and output data might be allocated between co-products in proportion to the economic value of the products (Figure 3). Figure 3: Economic allocation

Main product (450) Process (500) Co-product (50)

90%

10%

Unit processes are divided to allocate the environmental burdens to two or more sub-processes according to their functions. The category of sub-processes includes a joint sub-process, in which the allocation procedure is required, and a separated sub-process, in which no allocation procedure is required (Kim and Dale, 2004). In practice, subdivision does not solve the allocation problem completely. It can be applied only when the sub-processes are both physically separate and economically independent of each other. It is often used to reduce the allocation problem (Ekvall, 2001). Therefore, some other allocation methods must be carried out in most of the LCA studies.

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Analysis of allocation methods of bioethanol LCA

An allocation problem can be avoided through system expansion method. In general, it requires an alternative way of generating the exported functions by expanding the system limits to include the additional functions related to the co-products and data can be obtained for this alternative production. The advantage of avoiding allocation through system expansion is that it makes it possible to model the indirect effects of actions (Ekvall and Finnveden, 2000). However, Ekvall and Finnveden (2000) suggested that in application of system expansion the accurate result can be acquired only when accurate data on the effects on the production of exported functions and on the indirect effects of changes in the exported functions were used. Another difficulty of system expansion was remarked by Weidema (1993) that the method may be too complicated and time consuming since it involves the addition of a new branch to the process tree for every byproduct with certainty which products are actually replaced. For example, Kim and Dale (2005b) employed system expansion approach in the study of soybean. One of the co-products of soybean is soybean meal. Soybean meal is used in animal feed and assumed to be able to replace distillers dried grains and solubles (DDGS), which is also used in animal feed. The environmental burdens of DDGS are estimated so that the system boundary includes corn production, transportation of corn grain, dry milling, transportation of ethanol, driving operation by an E10 fueled vehicle, and avoided driving operation by a gasoline fueled vehicle. In addition to these expanded systems, accurate data to each system are also required in the system expansion method. ISO proposes to carry out physical allocation when allocation cannot be avoided through subdivision or system expansion. Physical allocation can be conducted based on the physical flow of mass or energy. For example, Hill et al. (2006) used mass and energy allocation method in the study of corn. In the mass allocation method, the co-product credit was equal to the energy input of all production steps leading to creation of the co-product multiplied by the relative weight of the co-product. In the energy allocation method, the co-product credit was the amount of inherent energy (low heat value) within each product assuming complete combustion at 90% boiler efficiency. The physical allocation method works well when there is a close correlation between the chosen physical property and the value of the co-products. The limitation of mass (weight) allocation is that it cannot be applied for energy services as, for example, the output from a co-generation plant (Weidema, 1993) The basic principle of economic allocation is that, having determined the various functional flows of a multi-functional process, all other flows need to be allocated to these functional flows according to their shares in the total proceeds which based on prices. Hill et al. (2006) employed market value allocation method. In the study, the co-product credit was equal to the relative value (2002-2004 wholesale averages) of each of the products such as ethanol and DDGS. The idea behind this market value allocation is that the actual cause for the production is the economic value of the products (Weidema, 1997).

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Analysis of allocation methods of bioethanol LCA

4. Approach
The objective of the study is to evaluate allocation methods in LCA of bioethanol produced from a variety of biomass sources for transportation fuel. This research focused on differences of allocation procedure between studies which explain what and how they carried out in practice. Since bioethanol is by far the most widely used biofuel for transportation worldwide (IEA, 2004), biodiesel and other biofuels were not considered in this study. The study consisted of a literature review of bioethanol LCA studies, followed by an analysis of each method and the influences on the results by choosing different methods. 35 literatures were collected from online published in English between 2000 and 2007. Many of them were found on the webpage, such as Science Direct (www.sciencedirect.com) and Google Scholar (scholar.google.com), with the following keywords: LCA, life cycle, ethanol, bioenergy, allocation, well to wheel, etc. Some articles were provided by Dr. Jeroen Guinee, the supervisor of the internship at CML. Reviewed literatures were not only scientific journals but also publications from private companies and public organizations. Analysis was carried out with regard to following criteria: Location, Purpose of LCA, Type of feedstock, Impact categories, Allocation method, and Allocation method illustrated and explicitly treated. One study is not always categorized to each of one criterion.

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Analysis of allocation methods of bioethanol LCA

5. Result and discussion 5.1. Overview of studied literatures


In the 35 studies (see Annex), 19 studies were carried out in North America, 9 studies were in EU, 4 studies were in Asia and the rest of the 3 were other areas (Australia, South Africa, and Mauritius). Most of the studies have several purposes and some studies examined more than one feedstock to compare with. Some studies applied several allocation methods as a sensitivity analysis. According to the market share of bioethanol, Brazil is the most leading country and the United States is the second. It seems to be strange that no study in Brazil was found. The reason is maybe because the main driver for application of bioethanol in Brazil is not the environment but the energy security. Thus, they dont need to assess the environmental impacts of ethanol production by LCA. In addition, the articles collected were only in English. Purpose of LCA is categorized to 3 types: Energy balance assessments (28), Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions assessments (27), and Pollution assessments (12). Impact categories of Energy balance assessments were either Joule (MJ, GJ) or BTU. BTU tends to be used in North America. Carbon dioxide (CO2), Nitrous oxide (N2O), and Methane (CH4) were seen as impact categories of GHG emissions assessments. Some studies calculated them altogether as CO2 equivalent value. Pollution assessments include assessments of Air quality, acidification, eutrophication, and human toxicity. Therefore, impact categories of pollution assessments were various such as carbon oxide (CO), sulphur oxide (SOx), and nitrogen oxide (NOx) for air quality assessments, sulphur dioxide (SO2), NOx, NH3 for acidification. Among three types of feedstocks (sugar, grain, cellulose), the most studied feedstock was Grain (29) such as corn, wheat, soybean, and cassava. The next was cellulose (11). Corn stover, switchgrass, woodchip and bagasse were studied as feedstock for bioethanol from cellulose. As there was no study seen in Brazil, only 6 studies about sugarcane and sugar beet were identified. The choice of allocation methods was categorized to the following types: Avoided (27), Mass (12), Energy (9), Market value (11). According to ISO, avoiding allocation is recommended whenever possible and 27 studies selected this avoiding method. 14 studies applied more than one allocation method as sensitivity analysis. Figure 4 shows the result of the assessment sorted by Purpose of LCA (Energy balance assessment, GHG emissions, Pollution assessment), Type of feedstock (Sugar, Grain, Cellulose), and Location (North America, Europe). In appearance, there seems to be no clear relevance between the categories and the choice of allocation method. It is clear that the choice of allocation was not influenced by the purpose, feedstock, or

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Analysis of allocation methods of bioethanol LCA

location. In other words, any allocation can be applied to any occasion. Selection of allocation is usually done arbitrarily by the practitioner. Figure 4: Result of assessment
30 25 20 15 10 5 0 Base Avoiding Mass Energy Market 27 12 9 11 Energy 21 10 7 8 GHG 22 9 4 6 Pollutio n 9 4 2 4 Sugar 5 4 3 3 Grain 23 9 7 9 Cellulos N. Europe e America 8 1 1 1 14 5 4 2 7 4 4 4 Avoiding Mass Energy Market

5.2. Analysis of allocation procedures


Analyses of allocation procedures explained in literatures are discussed in more detail. Even if the same method is selected, the way of applying allocation procedures seems to be various by LCA practitioners. For the results of LCA to be reliable, assumption and calculation must be consistent under the same method. Consistency of assumption and calculation will be discussed in the section 5.2.1. If influences on results by choosing different allocation methods are large, the selection of allocation method is substantial issue in LCA study. Sensitivity of choosing different allocation method will be discussed in the section 5.2.2. Allocation method can be selected arbitrarily. But the selected method should reflect on reality as much as possible. Validity of each allocation method in bioethanol LCA will be discussed in the section 5.2.3.

5.2.1. Allocation methods explicitly treated


Although allocation methods are categorized to four types, the way of each allocation method treated can be various by practitioner due to the different interpretation of the allocation method. Reliability of LCA study

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Analysis of allocation methods of bioethanol LCA

is achieved by consistent assumption and calculation even if the practitioner is different. Differences between studies under the same type of method are examined.

Avoiding allocation
First of all, different terms were used in avoiding allocation method. Some studies used system expansion as in ISO, other studies called substitution, displacement or replacement method. Literary, the concepts of system expansion and substitution, displacement, and replacement method should be distinguished. System expansion means that the boundaries of the system investigated are expanded to include the alternative production of exported functions. Other activities outside the life cycle of the product investigated can also be included in the system investigated if they are affected by the exported functions (Ekvall and Finnveden, 2001). In contrast, substitution, displacement and replacement method are not to add functions to the various alternatives but to subtract them from those alternatives providing additional functions (Guinee, 2002). General Motors (2001) states the steps of displacement method: First, the amount of co-products produced in an ethanol plant is estimated. Second, the products to be displaced by these co-products in marketplace are identified. Third, the displacement ratios between co-products and the displaced products are determined. Finally, environmental burdens such as energy use or emissions of producing the amount of displaced products are estimated. The estimated amounts of environmental burdens are subtracted from total environmental burdens of ethanol pathways. In the displacement method, it is not necessary to add new branches to the process tree which is required in system expansion method. Complex calculation can be avoided with this displacement method. However, these different concepts were not distinguished strictly in practice. For instance, in the case of corn production, DDGS are often identified as co-product. Those studies using system expansion method are supposed to expand the system to include additional functions such as animal feed products so that the DDGS could replace soy meal as a protein source. The environmental burdens associated with the production of soy meal are subtracted from the environmental burdens needed to produce the ethanol fuel. As for substitution method, the environmental burdens of substitution product, in this case soy meal, are counted by calculating a displacement ratio. Then, the environmental burdens are subtracted from ethanol production. Indeed, system expansion method and the other avoiding allocation methods are different in strict meaning, but they can be regarded as the same method in principle. Assuming these avoiding allocation procedures are the same type of method, calculations of their studies are examined by crops whether there is any difference between studies under the same method. Sugar crops and cellulose are not considered here because the number of the reviewed literatures is too small. Table 2 shows the co-products and their substitution products of each feedstock identified in literatures. It is clear that there is no consistency in choosing substitution products while a number of studies employed avoiding allocation

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methods.

Corn
Different milling systems produce different co-products. DDGS, glycerol and corn oil are produced from dry milling system. Corn gluten meal (CGM), corn gluten feed (CGF), corn oil, and ethanol are produced from wet milling system. Although not many co-products were identified as co-products of corn feedstock, assumptions of substitution products for replacement were not coherent. In dry milling system, most of the substitution products for DDGS were assumed soybean meal, soybean oil, corn, or mix of them for some feeds such as cattle or swine. Calculations of displacement ratio were conducted based on either market value or protein content, otherwise not clearly stated. In wet milling system, soybean meal, corn and urea in animal feeds, and feed materials were assumed to be substitution for CGM and CGF. Soybean oil, soybean meal, and vegetable oil were employed for corn oil.

Wheat
As for wheat, DDGS, rapessed meal, glycerine, straw, and CO2 were identified as co-products. Just as corn feedstock, DDGS were replaced with corn, soymeal, soy oil or mix of them for animal feed. Some studies stated just as animal feed. Rapessed meal is replaced with soya meal for animal feed or fuel for heat. Glycerine was replaced with synthetic glycerine, propylene glycol in market or fuel for heat. Straw was not considered as credit due to its little influence although it can be used for generating energy. CO2 was regarded as being vented.

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Analysis of allocation methods of bioethanol LCA

Table 2: co-product and substitution products for system expansion


Feedstock and co-product Corn (dry milling) DDGS Soybean meal Corn/soybean meal Corn for cattle feed Corn in swine diet Corn/soybean meal including soybean oil Soybean meal/soybean oil Glycerol Corn oil Corn (wet milling) CGM, CGF Corn and urea in animal feeds Soybean meal Feed material Corn oil Soybean oil Soybean oil/soybean meal Vegetable oil Ethanol Wheat DDGS Animal feed Soy meal for animal feed or fuel for heat Soymeal/soy oil Corn/soymeal Rapessed meal Glycerine Soy meal or fuel for heat Synthetic fuel for heat Straw CO2 Not considered Vented EUCAR (2004) (S&T)2 Consultants (2003) glycerine, Bernessen (2006) (S&T)2 Consultants (2003) Jonasson (2004) Jonasson (2004) EUCAR (2004), Malca (2004), Malca (2006) Jonasson (2004), LowCVP (2004) Ethanol in dry milling Kim (2002), Kim (2005a), Kim (2005b) Shapouri (2002), Kim (2005a) Graboski (2002) Shapouri (2002), Kim (2005) Kim (2005b) Graboski (2002) Kim (2005) Synthetic glycerol Soybean oil Kim (2002) Hill (2006) Kim (2002) Shapouri (2002), Kim (2005b), Nielsen (2005) Graboski (2002), Hill (2006) Levelton (2000), GM (2001) Nielsen (2005) Kim (2005a) Substitution products Author

propylene glycol in market or

Even if the same avoiding allocation method is used, calculations can be totally different due to inconsistent assumptions by study. As illustrated in the example that the co-product DDGS can be substituted by several

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Analysis of allocation methods of bioethanol LCA

ingredients in animal feed, some co-products have possibility of being substituted by more than one substitution product. It may lead an arbitrary choice of a substitution product which affects the result. The different substitution product will make different calculation, and naturally the result will be different. Moreover, the inconsistent calculations and results under the same allocation method will lose reliability of LCA. For the substitution products of DDGS from corn dry milling system, 6 types of assumptions were made by 9 studies. This inconsistent calculation is caused by the lack of clear standard for choosing substitution products. To increase consistency of calculation and reliability of LCA, more detailed standardization should be developed. In developing standardization, how substitution products are decided and calculated should be considered. The principle of avoiding allocation method is that if co-products can replace (substitute) one or more other products, the production of these other products will no longer be needed, and the environmental burdens from the production of these substitution products will be avoided (Weidema, 1993). First of all, there must be a realistic alternative product with the same function as the co-product. And both the co-product and the substitution product must be identified in the market. The problem is when there are several substitution products which share equivalent function to the co-product. In that case, the function should be as general as possible and the substitution product should have close characteristics to the co-product so that the assumption is realistic. For instance, DDGS is most commonly used as the protein supplement for animal feeds. So the substitution product of DDGS should be found within animal feeds. In literatures, mainly corn, soybean meal, and mix of them were identified as substitution products. In fact, all of them are regularly used as animal feed. Then, which is the most appropriate substitution, or how substitution should be decided? There are several ways to compare DDGS to other animal feeds; protein content, market price, energy content, and weight. Among them, the realistic factors are protein content and market price. If DDGS replaces corn or soybean meal, calculation is normally conducted based on protein content because they are used for protein supplement for animal feed. However, in some cases, market value might be more important than protein content. As a preliminary of replacing DDGS with corn or soybean meal, the price of DDGS must be competitive relative to the value of protein. Otherwise, DDGS cannot be replaced by any other animal feed ingredients. In this perspective, it is also conceivable that substitution is done based on market price rather than protein content. Table 3 shows protein content and price of feedstocks. The protein content of DDGS is about 30% whereas corn is about 48% and soybean meal is about 9%. The mix of corn and soybean meal in the ratio of 50/50 will be the closest to DDGS. Therefore, corn/soybean meal: 50/50 is recommended for the substitution product provided the market value of DDGS is competitive. When market value is considered to be more important than protein content, corn is likely to be adequate. However, a number of factors can affect the price of feedstocks, and the result can be changed easily when considering market value. It should be explained at which point or period of the price is employed and ideally with the reason of the choice. Since when corn or soybean meal in animal feed are replaced for DDGS, energy

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Analysis of allocation methods of bioethanol LCA

content and weight are not considered, energy content and weight do not reflect on the reality in this case. Table 3: Protein content and price of feedstocks DDGS Protein (%) Price ($/short ton) * Protein: Plain (2006) * Price (wholesale, Jan.02 Jun. 06): U.S. Grains Council 29-30 50-130 Corn 8-9 50-130 Soybean meal 48 150-300 Corn/Soybean meal:50/50 28-29

Physical allocation
If allocation cannot be avoided, an appropriate method has to be chosen to allocate the environmental burdens between main products and co-products. 8 studies did not avoid allocation but used other methods. Both mass allocation and energy allocation are identified as physical allocation methods. Mass allocation is also called weight allocation. In mass allocation, close results were seen between studies. For example, in case of corn feedstock, Kim and Dale (2002) states the output mass allocation resulted in about 49% in dry milling and 48% in wet milling system assigned to ethanol. Kim and Dale (2005) again states the allocation factor for ethanol is 0.52 in dry milling and 0.51 in wet milling system. Baral and Baksi (2006) set allocation for ethanol at 49%. Since the calculation is based on the relative weight of co-products to the entire products, results are supposed to be similar between studies as long as similar production process and co-products are employed. As for energy allocation, a clear difference was seen in the way of calculating energy credit. Some studies treated energy based on energy (or caloric) content, other studies calculated based on energy consumed in producing ethanol. Wu (2006) explained the steps of energy content calculation explicitly in the study of corn stover: First, total energy and emissions of the bioethanol and co-products were estimated. Then, their energy shares were determined on the basis of product yields and energy content. Finally, the total energy and emissions from the fuel production process and upstream feedstock activities were allocated to bioethanol and co-products (chemicals and bio-electricity) by multiplying the total energy and emissions by their energy shares. Allocation method based on energy consumed was taken when ASPEN PLUS, a process simulation program, was used. 2 studies (Durante, 2004, Shapouri, 2004) used ASPEN PLUS for calculation of the study. When looking at the results of calculation, there is not much difference between energy content allocation

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Analysis of allocation methods of bioethanol LCA

and energy consumed allocation. Clear calculation results were seen in 3 articles which studied energy balance assessment of corn grain. Kim (2002) states in the allocation based on energy content, which uses the energy contents of ethanol and its co-products, the dry milling system gets a 61% ethanol net energy credit, and wet milling has a 57% ethanol credit. Shapouri (2004) used allocation based on energy consumed in the plants to ethanol and co-products by using ASPEN PLUS program and ended up 59% in dry milling and 64% in wet milling of the energy used to convert corn to ethanol respectively. Durante (2004) also employed energy consumed allocation method by using ASPEN PLUS model and approximately 65% of the total energy used in an ethanol plant is related to the ethanol.

Market value allocation


The market value method allocates environmental burdens among products on the basis of the market values. There were differences at which timeframe of the market value was estimated for calculation. Kim (2002) and Leng (2007) used 10 year average market values of ethanol and its co-products for the allocation by market value in the studies of corn and cassava respectively. Baral (2006) used market value allocation in the study of corn based on annual average wholesale price of ethanol and DDGS from 1997-2005. Hill (2006) calculated based on the wholesale average prices between 2002 and 2004. The other studies do not clearly state the exact date of the market value estimated. When using market value allocation, generally speaking, it is recommended that average prices of certain period be estimated so that the result will be more stable. Furthermore, price can be wholesale price or retail price. It should be explained at which point of the price is taken for calculation.

5.2.2 Influences on choosing different allocation methods


Even if the same allocation method is employed, the way of treating calculation could be totally different. In avoiding allocation method, substitution products for each co-product were inconsistent. The estimation of substitution products should reflect on reality as much as possible. In mass allocation, due to its simple concept of application, results tended to be similar as long as the same or close production process and co-products were taken. In energy allocation, two concepts were seen in the way of calculation. The one is based on the energy content and the other is based on energy consumed. In market value allocation, the timeframe of the price varies by study. It is recommended that an average price of certain period be estimated so that the result will be more stable. These differences of estimation may influence the result even if the same allocation methods are chosen. Therefore, more detailed standardization should be developed to increase the reliability of each allocation method. How much will the influence on results be by choosing different allocation method? To understand the sensitivity of different allocation method is also important. Five studies by four authors applied all of the four

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Analysis of allocation methods of bioethanol LCA

different allocation approaches (avoiding, mass, energy, market value) treated in this report. Kim (2002) carried out sensitivity analyses of the four allocation methods in the energy balance assessments of corn grain. According to the study, the allocation to ethanol was in the range of 49% to 80% in dry milling, and 48% to 80% in wet milling. The allocation by market value results in 76% of the total net energy allocated to ethanol in the dry milling system and 70% in the wet milling system by using 10 year average market values of ethanol and co-products. The energy allocation method was based on the energy contents of ethanol and its co-products and the results were 61% in the dry milling and 57% in the wet milling allocated to ethanol. The mass allocation resulted in 49% in the dry milling and 48% in the wet milling of the net energy used assigned to ethanol. In the system expansion approach, the expanded system in the dry milling includes corn production and soybean milling for the ethanol production, and the expanded system in the wet milling includes corn production, urea production and soybean milling. It resulted to 80% of the net energy used is allocated to ethanol in both dry milling and wet milling system. The lowest allocation of the net energy value to ethanol is mass allocation approach, and the highest allocation is the system expansion approach. Table4: the allocation of corn crop Feedstock Corn (dry) Corn (wet) System expansion 80% 80% Mass 49% 48% Energy 61% 57% Market value 76% 70%

Malca (2004) used four allocation approaches in the energy balance assessments of wheat and sugar beet. In wheat production, the sensitivity analysis shows that the choice of the allocation procedure has a strong influence on the results. The range of allocation is from 37% to 85.6%. In system expansion approach, DDGS was identified as co-product which is replaced for animal feed and 85.6% was allocated to ethanol. In mass allocation, 37% was assigned to ethanol. 54.2% of energy was allocated to ethanol in energy allocation whose calculation was based on energy content. In market value allocation, 44.8% was allocated to ethanol. The case of sugar beet is not as sensitive to allocation as ethanol from wheat. Extended system boundary in system expansion method includes the additional functions related to the following co-products: leaves from sugar beet cultivation; foams from purification of green juice in the sugarhouse and vinasses from distillation of ethanol, after fermentation of green juice and green syrup in the distillery, which was assigned 48% to ethanol. In mass allocation, 42.1% was allocated to ethanol. The calculation of energy allocation to ethanol resulted 47.5%. 44% was allocated to ethanol in market value allocation.

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Analysis of allocation methods of bioethanol LCA

Table 5: Primary energy requirement to ethanol Feedstock Wheat Sugar beet System expansion 85.6% 48% Mass 37% 42.1% Energy 54.2% 47.5% Market value 44.8% 44%

Hill (2006) carried out LCA of energy balance assessments, GHGs emissions assessments, and (air) pollution assessments about corn feedstock. The study introduce net energy balance (NEB: energy output energy input) and NEB ratio (energy output/energy input) for the analysis of energy balance. In displacement method, it was assumed that DDGS were substituted for corn and soybean meal, and glycerol was substituted for synthetic glycerol in the marketplace, and calculated the energy required to generate the products for substitute products. However, soybean meal does not have an adequate substitute in the marketplace based on both its availability and protein quality. The co-product energy credit was estimated by a mass allocation method based on the relative weight of the soybean meal to the entire soybean weight processed, used to grow soybeans and produce soybean meal and oil. NEB ratio of replacement method is 1.25. For the mass allocation method, the co-product credit for each co-product is equal to the energy input of all production steps multiplied by the relative weight of the co-product to the bioethanol. NEB ratio of mass allocation method is 1.52. For the energy method, the co-product credit is the amount of energy content (low heat value) within each product assuming complete combustion at 90% boiler efficiency (DDGS = 20.79 MJ/kg; soybean meal = 16.84 MJ/kg; glycerol = 16.55 MJ/kg). NEB ratio is 1.71. For the market value method, the co-product credit is calculated based on the wholesale average prices between 2002 and 2004. (ethanol = $0.37/kg; DDGS = $0.10/kg; soybean meal = $0.22/kg; raw glycerol = $0.88/kg). NEB ratio of market value allocation is 1.21. According to the NEB ratio, Energy allocation gives the highest energy balance (1.71) and the lowest energy balance is market value allocation (1.21). Table6: NEB (net energy balance) ratio Feedstock Corn Displacement 1.25 Mass 1.52 Energy 1.71 Market value 1.21

Reijnders (2006) carried out GHG emissions assessments of sugar beet and wheat. Although the study applied four allocation methods, the result were shown only the range of CO2 equivalent emissions per hectare per year. The range in wheat crop is 0.6-2.5kg CO2 equivalent. Unfortunately, it does not show the result of each allocation method.

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Analysis of allocation methods of bioethanol LCA

5.2.3 Validity of each allocation method


It was confirmed in the section 5.2.2 that the choice of allocation method influences the final results significantly. However, the degree of influence seems to be depending on feedstock or practitioner. In the study of corn by Kim (2002), the lowest allocation of the net energy value to ethanol is mass allocation (48%), and the highest allocation is the system expansion approach (80%). In the study of wheat and sugar beet by Malca (2004), the lowest allocation to ethanol is mass (37%), and highest is system expansion (85.6%) in the case of wheat. In the case of sugar beet, the lowest was mass (42.1%), and the highest was system expansion (48%), but there was not so much difference in the application of the allocation. In the study of corn by Hill (2006), energy allocation gives the highest energy balance (1.71) and the lowest energy balance is market value allocation (1.21). It should be noted that in avoiding allocation approach a large share of the energy consumption in the chain is allocated to ethanol, therefore its environmental performance is the lowest if this method is applied, and mass allocation tends to be higher environmental performance. According to ISO, avoiding allocation is seen as the preferable procedure. However, some studies did not choose avoiding allocation method but chose other arbitrarily methods. Furthermore, many studies applied more than one method as sensitivity analyses. That implies there is no impeccable allocation method for bioethanol LCA. There must be avantages and disadvantages in each allocation. Validity of each allocation method will be discussed.

Avoiding allocation (system expansion, replacement, substitution)


Ekvall and Finningen (2001) recommend system expansion as long as there is a substitution product of generating the exported functions and data can be obtained for this substitution production. Bernessen et al. (2006) also stated that allocation with an expanded system may be most suitable when there are many significant co-products that replace other products in later processes. This method attempts to model a world with and without ethanol production, which is a more realistic representation than arbitrarily assigning co-product credits based on monetary value, weight or energy content (Levelton Engineering, 2000, EUCAR, 2004). This method contributes to a more comprehensive picture of the consequences of any action that will affect an exported function (Ekvall and Finningen, 2001). However, this approach would not work well for an LCA study in which the goal of a study is to compare the environmental burdens between different ethanol production technologies (Kim and Dale, 2002). For example, system expansion should not be used when comparing energy balance between corn grain and sugar beet because it is difficult and complicating for different feedstock and different production process to make fair comparison. Another problem is that expanding the system boundary would only result in an increasingly complex system since many co-products are competing with other co-products. In particular, many of the co-products of bioethanol technologies have

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Analysis of allocation methods of bioethanol LCA

no separate main means of production (Malca, 2006).

Physical allocation
Allocation methods based on physical properties of the products, such as mass or energy are easily applicable and can identify the key sub-processes (Kim and Dale, 2005). Data on the properties are generally available and easily interpreted (Malca, 2004). Since co-product credits can be measured by simple way, the results tend to be similar between studies. As for disadvantages, several problems of mass allocation were pointed out in some studies. LowCVP (2004) remarked that different dispositions of the co-products can produce very different environmental impacts, which would not be reflected in the calculation. The mass of corn oil and DDGS from corn feedstock is different, but it does not reflect the difference of GHG emissions in reality. Kim (2005) stated that mass allocation method is unable to determine effects of key process parameter changes. Another problem suggested by Malca (2004) is related to the reason of choosing mass allocation. The main reason for using mass allocation seems to arise because both main and co-products can be weighed. Mass allocation in bioethanol LCA does not reflect physical causality between functional units and environmental burdens. It is strange that the assumption of mass allocation that the more co-product one produce in the process of ethanol, the better environmental performance with respect to the ethanol will be. Allocation based on energy also has similar problems to mass allocation. Malca (2004) insisted that the use of energy content would only be relevant if both main and co-products were actually burned as fuels.

Market value allocation


The advantage of market value allocation is that it is universally applicable. In addition, it reflects the underlying economic reasons for production (Jonasson, 2004). Economic factors are important in determining how co-products are used and that these choices could change over time as prices vary to reflect saturation of markets or other external economic factors (LowCVP, 2004). As a disadvantage of market value allocation, many studies (Jonasson, 2004, LowCVP, 2004, Malca, 2004, 2006) concerns about the effect of price changes of ethanol and co-products. In the short term, price changes can change the calculation, whereas in reality the use and environmental impact of the products may not change (LowCVP, 2004). As discussed in the chapter 4, some studies adapted the average price of a certain period of the products in estimating the credit, which makes it rather robust estimation. In summary, it has been seen that there are advantages and disadvantages in each allocation method. Many studies provided no discussion regarding the selection of the allocation procedure and no complete justification were found concerning the reason of choosing allocation procedure. It is important to recognize that there is no single allocation procedure which is appropriate for all bioethanol processes. Therefore, whenever several alternative allocation procedures seem applicable, a sensitivity analysis should be conducted.

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Analysis of allocation methods of bioethanol LCA

6. Conclusion and Recommendation


The study focused on the analysis of allocation method in bioethanol LCA by reviewing 35 literatures. Four types of allocation methods in three categories were applied in reviewed literatures; avoiding allocation, physical (energy, mass) allocation, and market value allocation. Analyses were carried out from the perspectives of consistency of assumption and calculation, sensitivity of choosing different allocation method, and validity of each allocation method. To establish the reliability of LCA, it is important that the assumption and calculation are consistent whenever the same method is applied. However, in avoiding allocation method, various substitution products were employed to one co-product. Also in market value allocation, the period and the point in supply chain when estimating the price were not consistent by study. These inconsistencies of assumption and calculation may lose the reliability of LCA. In terms of sensitivity, influences on choosing different allocation methods can be large in some feedstocks. In avoiding allocation approach a large share of the energy consumption in the chain is tended to be allocated to ethanol, therefore its environmental performance turns to be the lowest if this method is applied, and mass allocation tends to be higher environmental performance. The choice of allocation method is one of the substantial issues in bioethanol LCA. ISO recommends avoiding allocation as much as possible. However, some studies did not choose avoiding allocation but chose other arbitrarily methods. Furthermore, many studies applied more than one method as sensitivity analyses. There is no single allocation procedure which is appropriate for all bioethanol processes. Avoiding allocation method may be the most suitable when there are significant co-products that replace other products. Data for physical allocation method is generally available and therefore easily applicable. However, physical allocation in bioethanol LCA does not reflect physical causality between functional units and environmental burdens. Market value allocation reflects the underlying economic reasons for production which are important in determining how co-products are used. Main findings through this study are that there are inconsistencies in assumptions and calculations of each allocation method, there may be a large influence on choosing different allocation methods, and each allocation has advantages and disadvantages. To increase the reliability of bioethanol LCA, it is important for ISO or organizations which study LCA to develop more detailed standard so that the calculation of LCA is more consistent and reflects on reality. LCA practitioners of bioethanol should follow the standard and carry out sensitivity analysis as much as possible.

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Analysis of allocation methods of bioethanol LCA

Annex: Summaries of literatures


Notes are provided here briefly summarizing key points from studies that included the following criteria: Source, Location, purpose, type of feedstock, impact categories, allocation method, and allocation method illustrated and explicitly treated.

Levelton Engineering Ltd. (2000). ASSESSMENT OF NET EMISSIONS OF GREENHOUSE GASES FROM ETHANOL-GASOLINE BLENDS IN SOUTHERN ONTARIO, Cross-Sectoral Policy Development Division Industry Performance and Analysis Directorate Policy Branch, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada Source: http://www.oregon.gov/ENERGY/RENEW/Biomass/docs/FORUM/GHG_Lig.PDF
Location: Canada

Purpose: Energy balance assessments, GHG emissions assessments Type of feedstock: Grain (corn) Impact categories: GHG (CO2, CH4, N2O), Energy use (BTU) Allocation method: Displacement Allocation method illustrated and explicitly treated: Displacement: The DDGS co-produced by an ethanol plant are used as cattle feed, displacing corn otherwise used as feed. Based on information from Delucchi, obtained from US experts, the co-product credit for DDGS is calculated from the amount of corn that DDGS replaces in cattle feed rations. Delucchi contends that one pound of DDGS is equivalent to 1.57 lbs. of corn. Consequently, 45% of the corn required for ethanol production in essence is corn diverted from existing use as cattle feed, without having any impact on the cattle industry.

ADEME/DIREM (2001). Energy and greenhouse gas balances of biofuels production chains in France
Source:

http://www.ademe.fr/partenaires/agrice/publications/documents_anglais/synthesis_energy_and_greenhouse_ english.pdf
Location: France

Purpose of LCA: Energy balance assessments, GHGs emissions assessments

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Analysis of allocation methods of bioethanol LCA

Type of feedstock: Sugar (beet), Grain (wheat) Impact categories: GHGs (CO2, N2O, CH4), Energy use (MJ) Allocation method: System expansion, mass Allocation method illustrated and explicitly treated: Not clearly illustrated

General Motors, Argonne National Laboratory, BP, ExxonMobil, Shell (2001). Well-to-Tank Energy Use and Greenhouse Gas Emissions of Transportation Fuels - North American AnalysisSource: Argonne: http://www.transportation.anl.gov/pdfs/TA/165.pdf Location: North America Purpose of LCA: Energy balance assessments, GHGs emissions assessments Type of feedstock: Grain (corn), cellulose (wood, herbaceous) Impact categories: GHGs (CO2, N2O), Energy use (BTU) Allocation method: Displacement, market value Allocation method illustrated and explicitly treated: Corn-based ethanol plants produce other products besides ethanol. These so-called co-products include distillers grains and solubles (DGS) in dry milling plants, and corn gluten feed, corn gluten meal, corn oil, and other products in wet milling plants. Displacement: Not clearly stated Market value: The market value method allocates energy and emissions among products on the basis of the market values of different products from corn ethanol plants. The method provides higher energy and emission credits than the displacement method does for corn ethanol.

Graboski M.S. (2002) Fossil Energy Use in the Manufacture of Corn Ethanol, Colorado School of Mines
Source: http://www.ncga.com/ethanol/pdfs/energy_balance_report_final_R1.PDF Location: USA

Purpose of LCA: energy balance assessments Type of feedstock: Grain (corn) Impact categories: Energy use (BTU)

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Analysis of allocation methods of bioethanol LCA

Allocation method: replacement Allocation method illustrated and explicitly treated: Replacement: The energy content of co products was estimated based upon their feed value in the livestock industry. Feeding formulas are generally established based upon least cost subject to diet constraints. In the feed marketplace, the relative value of all feed components is generally based upon their protein content. To conduct this analysis, economics were not employed to establish the appropriate substitutions. Instead diet substitutions were established based upon the likely replacement of corn and soybean meal by co products in the animal diet using a feeding model developed by the National Research Council. Once a substitution was established, the energy avoided by not having to supply grain is assigned to the co product. For dry mills, the main co product is termed DDGS and it is assumed that DDGS is fed to beef cattle. The co product protein is significantly more effective than protein in corn or soybean meal for ruminant animals. Also, since DDGS contains all of the oil in the corn, it has a higher energy content than either corn or soybean meal. The main feed products for wet mills are corn oil, corn gluten feed and corn gluten meal. In wet mills, the corn oil is recovered as a separate product; thus the feed materials are essentially oil free. To establish an energy value for the co products, crude vegetable oil production was constrained.

Kim S., Dale B.E. (2002) Allocation Procedure in Ethanol Production System from Corn Grain, Int J LCA, OnlineFirst, LCA Case Studies Source: http://www.scientificjournals.com/ Purpose of LCA: energy balance assessments Type of feedstock: Grain (corn) Impact categories: Energy use (MJ) Allocation method: System expansion, market value, energy content of outputs, mass, sub-division System expansion: DDGS could replace both soybean meal from the soybean milling process and corn in the market, but the quantity of alternative product replaced is not equal to the quantity of DDGS used. Therefore, a correlation factor for each alternative product system is required to make the function of DDGS equivalent to the function of soybean meal or corn. The correlation factor is referred to as displacement ratio. The displacement ratio indicates that one kg (bone-dry) of DDGS could replace 0.823 kg (bone-dry) of soybean meal and 1.077 kg (bone-dry) of corn in the market. (Note that the displacement ratio weights are based on

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Analysis of allocation methods of bioethanol LCA

bone-dry compositions, i.e., containing no moisture.) To complete the system expansion approach for the dry milling process, a product system whose function is equivalent to the function of soybean oil is required as well. Corn oil is assumed to replace soybean oil in the market with the same quantity. It is assumed that corn gluten meal could replace both corn and nitrogen in urea in the market, and corn gluten feed could replace corn and nitrogen in urea, which is used for animal feed as well. Market value: The allocation by market value, using 10-year average market values of ethanol and its co-products, results in a 76-percent of the total net energy allocated to ethanol in the dry milling system and a 70-percent in the wet milling case. Energy: In the allocation based on energy content, which uses the energy contents of ethanol and its co-products, the dry milling system gets a 39-percent co-product net energy credit, and wet milling has a 43-percent co-product credit. Mass: The output mass allocation results in about 49 percent (48 percent) of the net energy used in the dry milling (wet milling) system assigned to ethanol.

Shapouri H., et al. (2002) The Energy Balance of Corn Ethanol: An Update, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Economic Report No. 813 Source: http://www.usda.gov/oce/reports/energy/aer-814.pdf Location: USA Purpose of LCA: energy balance assessments Type of feedstock: Grain (corn) Impact categories: Energy use (BTU) Allocation method: Substitution Allocation method illustrated and explicitly treated: Substitution:

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Analysis of allocation methods of bioethanol LCA

The co-products used in this analysis include distillers dried grains (DDGS) with solubles from dry milling, and corn oil, corn gluten meal (CGM), and corn gluten feed (CGF) from wet milling. Energy credits are assumed to be equal to the energy required to produce a substitute for the ethanol co-product. In this analysis, we used soybean meal as the substitute for distillers grain with solubles, corn gluten meal and corn gluten feed, and soybean oil was used as the substitute for corn oil. Using this method, about 19 percent of the energy used to produce ethanol would be assigned to co-products.

(S&T) 2 Consultants Inc. (2003) Addition of Wheat Ethanol to GHGenius


Source: http://www.gov.mb.ca/est/energy/ethanol/wheat-ethanolreport.pdf Location: Canada

Purpose of LCA: Energy balance assessments, GHGs emissions assessments Type of feedstock: Grain (wheat) Impact categories: GHGs (CO2, CH4, N2O), Energy use (BTU) Allocation method: displacement Allocation method illustrated and explicitly treated: Displacement: Wheat ethanol plants will produce distillers grains and carbon dioxide as co-products. The wheat DDG will be used in animal feed rations and the carbon dioxide will either be vented or if a local market exists it can be collected and marketed. The corn DDG displacement ratios that are in the model are that one kg of corn DDG displaces 1.077 kg of corn and 0.823 kg of soymeal. Much of the DDG produced in western Canada is expected to be exported to the United States where it will still displace corn and soymeal. In consideration of the lower energy content and higher protein levels the displacement ratio that has been modeled is that one kg of wheat DDG displaces one kg of corn and 1.04 kg of soymeal. The model assumes that the carbon dioxide is vented.

EUCAR,

CONCAWE

and

JRC AND

(2004)

WELL-TO-WHEELS IN THE

ANALYSIS

OF

FUTURE CONTEXT,

AUTOMOTIVE

FUELS

POWERTRAINS

EUROPEAN

WELL-to-WHEELS Report, Version 1b Source: http://www.enpc.fr/fr/formations/dea_masters/tradd/documents/Welltowheeleucar2004.pdf Location: EU Purpose of LCA: Energy balance assessments, GHGs emissions assessments

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Analysis of allocation methods of bioethanol LCA

Type of feedstock: Sugar (beet), Grain (wheat), cellulose (woody biomass) Impact categories: GHGs (CO2, N2O), Energy use (MJ) Allocation method: Displacement Allocation method illustrated and explicitly treated: Many processes produce not only the desired product but also other streams or by-products. In all such cases we have used the following methodology: All energy and emissions generated by the process are allocated to the main or desired product of that process. The by-product generates an energy and emission credit equal to the energy and emissions saved by not producing the material that the co-product is most likely to displace. For sugar beet, we considered three options for utilizing the pulp leftover after filtration of the diluted ethanol liquor: Animal feed, Feed to a cellulose to ethanol process, Fuel for the ethanol production process. Wheat grain processing leaves a protein-rich residue known as distillers dried grain with solubles or DDGS which is traditionally used as animal feed. However, the main by-product generally attributed to wheat is straw which represents on average about 60% of the energy content of the grain. In some regions straw must be left in the soil and in some it is used for other purposes but a significant amount could in principle be available for energy production. However, the availability of straw is not influenced by whether the wheat is used for food or for making ethanol. Whether wheat is used for producing ethanol or not, a lot of straw will be available from food production and the opportunities for generating usable energy from it will be the same. Since there is little synergy in burning straw in the ethanol plant rather than in other heat/power applications we have not considered a straw credit for the wheat to ethanol pathway.

Jonasson K., Sanden B. (2004) Time and Scale Aspects in Life Cycle Assessment of Emerging Technologies -Case Study on Alternative Transport Fuels-, CPM-report, ISSN 1403-2694 Source: http://www.cpm.chalmers.se/document/reports/04/CPM_Report_2004_6_Time%20and%20Scale%20Aspe

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Analysis of allocation methods of bioethanol LCA

cts%20in%20LCA.pdf Location: EU Purpose of LCA: GHGs emissions assessments Type of feedstock: Grain (wheat) Impact categories: GHGs (CO2, CH4, N2O) Allocation method: System expansion Allocation method illustrated and explicitly treated: System expansion: DDGS and rapeseed meal are here used as ingredients in animal feed products, replacing soya meal as a protein source. Glycerine is used as a chemical, replacing synthetic glycerine or propylene glycol of fossil origin. It can also be used as an ingredient in animal feed products, replacing wheat as an energy source. When these higher value markets have been saturated, we assume that DDGS, rapeseed meal and glycerine can be used as fuels for heat production.

LowCVP (2004) Well-to-Wheel Evaluation for Production of Ethanol from Wheat, WTW Sub-Group
Source: http://www.lowcvp.org.uk/assets/viewpoints/Biofuels%20WTW%20final%20report.pdf Location: UK

Purpose of LCA: Energy balance assessments, GHGs emissions assessments Type of feedstock: Grain (wheat) Impact categories: GHGs (CO2), Energy use (MJ) Allocation method: substitution Allocation method illustrated and explicitly treated: In this study, the substitution method has been adopted, with the two options below for use of DDGS (animal feed and energy) covering the range of economic scenarios that can be envisaged, and export of surplus electricity to the grid. (a) DDGS as animal feed DDGS, the dried residue after the fermentation and distillation process, is valuable as a protein animal feed. If used for this purpose it will displace maize gluten feed from the US wet milling ethanol industry or the DDGS from the dry milling ethanol industry or soya protein feed from soya oil production. The displacement of maize protein products for feeding to ruminant animals (cows & sheep) is likely to occur first because it has a close match to the protein levels and amino acid profile of the wheat DDGS. Soya protein has a higher

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Analysis of allocation methods of bioethanol LCA

protein level and is used for mono-gastric animals (such as pigs). Some secondary substitution of soya protein could occur. This study has used soya protein as the substitution product as data were available from the JEC study. If maize gluten was to be used the credits are likely to be larger, so soya protein represents the lower end of the range. The alternative use of DDGS as a fuel for power generation, described below, generates much higher energy and GHG credits. (b) DDGS as energy DDGS can potentially be used in power generation. The basis for this scenario is the increasing practice in UK power stations of co-firing biomass in thermal power plants, as well as in dedicated biomass power plants. Where the ethanol plant includes a straw boiler plus sufficient steam turbine capacity, the DDGS may also be used for power generation within the ethanol plant, although this scenario has not been considered in this study. In either case, there are primary energy and GHG emissions credits from UK grid electricity displaced by the extra electricity generated from the DDGS.

Mala J., Freire F. (2004) Life cycle energy analysis for bioethanol: allocation methods and implications for energy efficiency and renewability, 17th International Conference on Efficiency, Costs, Optimization, Simulation and Environmental Impact of Energy and Process Systems. 7-9 July, 2004, Mexico Source: Location: France Purpose of LCA: energy balance assessments Type of feedstock: Sugar (beet), Grain (wheat) Impact categories: Energy use (MJ) Allocation method: replacement, mass, energy, market value Allocation method illustrated and explicitly treated: System expansion: Leftover residue (Distilled Dried Grain with Solubles, DDGS) is extracted as a co-product that can be sold for animal feed Allocation was avoided by extension of system limits to include the additional functions related to the following co-products: leaves from sugar beet cultivation; foams from purification of green juice in the sugarhouse and vinasses from distillation of ethanol, after fermentation of green juice and green syrup in the distillery.

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Analysis of allocation methods of bioethanol LCA

Ethanol from wheat is much more sensitive to the allocation procedure chosen than sugar beet based ethanol, with ERE values ranging from -3% to 55%. The best energy renewability efficiency is obtained for ethanol produced from wheat. In particular, a maximum ERE value of 55% is achieved using mass allocation, meaning that more than 50% of the ethanol energy content is indeed renewable energy. However, wheat based ethanol also shows a negative ERE value (replacement method), due to low energy credits from co-products substitution. Ethanol from sugar beet (case #A) is clearly renewable, even before adding co-product energy credits, with ERE values of around 30% regardless of the allocation approach chosen. Sheehan J., et al. (2004) Energy and Environmental Aspects of Using Corn Stover for Fuel Ethanol, Journal of Industrial Ecology, Volume 7, Number 34
Source: http://www.mitpressjournals.org/doi/pdfplus/10.1162/108819803323059433

Location: USA Purpose of LCA: Energy balance assessments, GHGs emissions assessments, Pollution assessments Type of feedstock: Cellulose (corn stover) Impact categories: GHGs (CO2, CH4, N2O), Energy use (KW, MJ), Air quality (CO, NOx, SOx) Allocation method: System expansion Allocation method illustrated and explicitly treated: System expansion: We also assume that nutrients removed with the stover must be replaced with fertilizer additions above and beyond the amount of fertilizer already applied for corn grain production. This new system has two outputs for an acre of land: grain used in the food and feed market and stover used to make ethanol. We make the very broad assumption that the functional services delivered by an acre of corn and an acre of soybeans are about the same. This gross simplification leads to a net system in which the life-cycle burdens of stover collection and the incremental burdens of corn versus soybean production in the second year of the two-year rotation are completely allocated against the production of stover.

Kim S., Dale B.E. (2005 a) Environmental aspects of ethanol derived from no-tilled corn grain: nonrenewable energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, Biomass and Bioenergy 28, 475489 Source: http://www.sciencedirect.com Location: USA Purpose of LCA: energy balance assessments, GHGs emissions assessments,

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Analysis of allocation methods of bioethanol LCA

Type of feedstock: Grain (corn) Impact categories: GHGs (CO2, N2O), Energy use (MJ) Allocation method: system expansion, mass Allocation method illustrated and explicitly treated: System expansion: In the system expansion allocation approach, DDGS from dry milling can replace both corn and soybean meal at their respective displacement ratios for each alternative product. Soybean meal is a product from soybean milling in which soybean oil is also produced. Corn oil is assumed to replace soybean oil in the market on an equal mass basis. CGM and CGF replace both corn and urea in animal feeds at their known displacement ratios. Ethanol produced in wet milling can replace ethanol produced in dry milling. Mass: The allocation factor for ethanol becomes the mass fraction of outputs (i.e., product and co-products), which is 0.52 in dry milling and 0.51 in wet milling.

Kim S., Dale B.E. (2005 b) Life cycle assessment of various cropping systems utilized for producing biofuels: Bioethanol and bodies, Biomass and Bioenergy 29, 426439 Source: http://www.sciencedirect.com Location: USA Purpose of LCA: Energy balance assessments, GHGs emissions assessments, Pollution assessments Type of feedstock: Grain (corn, soybean), cellulose (corn stover) Impact categories: energy consumption (J), global warming (CO2, N2O, CH4), acidification (H), eutrophication (N) Allocation method: system expansion, mass Allocation method illustrated and explicitly treated: System expansion: The alternative product for corn oil is soybean oil produced in soybean milling, in which soybean meal is also produced. Soybean meal used in animal feed can replace distillers dried grains and solubles (DDGS), so the alternative product for soybean meal is DDGS. The environmental burdens of DDGS are estimated by the system expansion approach, in which the system boundary includes corn production, transportation of corn grain, dry milling, transportation of ethanol, driving operation by an E10 fueled vehicle, and avoided driving operation by a gasoline fueled vehicle. The alternative products for CGM and CGF are corn grain

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Analysis of allocation methods of bioethanol LCA

and nitrogen in urea used as animal feeds. Mass: The system boundary in mass allocation includes corn production and dry milling. Using mass allocation in estimating the environmental burdens of DDGS changes the cradle-to-grave environmental impacts of the cropping systems by up to 65%, indicating that the allocation method in the DDGS product system significantly affects the final results.

Nielsen P.H., Wenzel H. (2005) Environmental Assessment of Ethanol Produced from Corn Starch and used as an Alternative to Conventional Gasoline for Car Driving, The Institute for Product Development, Technical University of Denmark
Source: http://ipu.sitecore.dtu.dk/upload/publikationer/bio-ethanol-report.pdf Location: USA

Purpose of LCA: Energy balance assessments, GHGs emissions assessments, Pollution assessments Type of feedstock: Grain (corn) Impact categories: GHGs (CO2, CH4), Energy use (J), Eutrophication (PO4), acidification (SO2) Allocation method: System expansion Allocation method illustrated and explicitly treated: System expansion: In the present study, application of DDGS as replacement for corn in swine diet has been used as basis for system expansion and energy credit comes out in the lower end of the interval reported in the literature. Sensitivity analyses where DDGS displaces soy meal in cattles diet indicate, however, that energy credit can vary significantly depending on the specie considered and the suggested energy credit can in fact be overestimated significantly.

Bernesson S., et al. (2006): A limited LCA comparing large- and small-scale production of ethanol for heavy engines under Swedish conditions, Biomass and Bioenergy 30 (2006) 4657 Source: http://www.sciencedirect.com Location: Sweden Purpose of LCA: GHGs emissions assessments Type of feedstock: Grain (wheat)

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Analysis of allocation methods of bioethanol LCA

Impact categories: GHGs (CO2, CH4) Allocation method: Energy, Market value, System expansion Allocation method illustrated and explicitly treated: For the physical and economic allocations, the environmental load was shared between ethanol fuel and distillers waste. The total energy and economic values of the products were calculated from the yield of each product and its lower heating value and price, respectively. Energy: In the physical allocation, the same lower heating value was used for both wet and dry distillers waste, because it was assumed that its value as forage was independent of its moisture content. Market value: The price for wet and dried distillers waste was the market prices for these products. System expansion: In the expanded system allocation, the system was expanded so that the distillers waste could replace imported (overseas) soymeal mixed with soy oil. The soymeal and the soy oil were mixed until the original protein and energy contents (as lower heat value) in the distillers waste (dried) were reached. It was assumed that the soymeal products were transported from the harbour with an open-sided lorry to the farm for consumption (110 km). The emissions and energy needed for the production of soymeal and soy oil [33] were subtracted from the emissions and energy needed to produce the ethanol fuel.

Botha T., von Blottnitz H. (2006) A comparison of the environmental benefits of bagasse-derived electricity and fuel ethanol on a life-cycle basis, Energy Policy 34, 26542661 Source: http://www.sciencedirect.com Location: South Africa Purpose of LCA: GHGs emissions assessments, Pollution assessments Type of feedstock: Cellulose (Bagasse) Impact categories: GHGs (CO2), Air acidification (H+), Depletion of non renewable resources (frac. of reserve), Eutrophication (PO4), Human toxicity (g) Allocation method: System expansion Allocation method illustrated and explicitly treated:

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Analysis of allocation methods of bioethanol LCA

System expansion: Since in the case representing current production practices there is neither electricity export nor ethanol production, the system studied is expanded to include the production of an equivalent quantity of electricity from coal and of gasoline from crude oil (which is not entirely representative of South African practices given that a third of liquid fuels is produced from coal through gasification and FT synthesis).

Fleming J. S., et al. (2006) Investigating the sustainability of lignocellulose-derived fuels for light-duty vehicles, Transportation Research Part D 11, 146159 Source: http://www.sciencedirect.com Location: USA Purpose of LCA: Energy balance assessments, GHGs emissions assessments Type of feedstock: cellulose (woody, herbaceous) Impact categories: GHGs (CO2, CH4, N2O), Energy use (MJ) Allocation method: Substitution Allocation method illustrated and explicitly treated: Substitution: GREET assumes that 0.15 kWh of electricity are produced as a co-product of each litre of switchgrass derived ethanol produced. The model assumes that ethanol receives a co-product credit based on the assumption that this co-product electricity replaces electricity (as well as the associated energy required to produce the electricity and the related emissions) that would otherwise be produced by the average US electricity generation mix.

Hill J., et al. (2006) Environmental, economic, and energetic costs and benefits of bodies and ethanol biofuels, PNAS 2006;103;11206-11210 Source: http://www.pnas.org/cgi/content/full/103/30/11206 Location: USA Purpose of LCA: Energy balance assessments, GHGs emissions assessments, Pollution assessments Type of feedstock: Grain (corn) Impact categories: GHGs (CO2, N2O), Energy use (MJ), Air quality (CO, NOx, Sox, VOC) Allocation method: Displacement, mass, energy, market value Allocation method illustrated and explicitly treated:

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Analysis of allocation methods of bioethanol LCA

Displacement - Mass: For DDGS and glycerol we use an economic displacement method whereby we calculate the energy required to generate the products for which each serves as a substitute in the marketplace (i.e., corn and soybean meal for DDGS and synthetic glycerol for soybean-derived glycerol). For soybean meal, which does not have an adequate substitute in the marketplace based on both its availability and protein quality, we estimate its co-product energy credit by a mass allocation method as the fraction of energy, based on the relative weight of the soybean meal to the entire soybean weight processed, used to grow soybeans and produce soybean meal and oil. Mass: For the mass balance method, the co-product credit for each co-product is equal to the energy input of all production steps leading to creation of the co-product multiplied by the relative weight of the co-product to the biofuel or biofuel intermediate product. Energy: For the energy content method, the co-product credit is the amount of inherent energy (low heat value) within each product assuming complete combustion at 90% boiler efficiency (DDGS = 20.79 MJ/kg; soybean meal = 16.84 MJ/kg; glycerol = 16.55 MJ/kg) . Market value For the market value method, the co-product credit is equal to the relative value (2002-2004 wholesale averages) of each of the products of biofuel production (ethanol = $0.37/kg; DDGS = $0.10/kg; biodiesel = $0.52/kg; soybean meal = $0.22/kg; raw glycerol = $0.88/kg). Values shown are NEB ratios. All three methods assume 0.914 kg of DDGS are made per kg of ethanol, and 4.56 kg of soybean meal and 0.08 kg of glycerol are produced per kg of biodiesel.

Kim S., Dale B.E. (2006) Ethanol Fuels: E10 or E85 Life Cycle Perspectives, Int J LCA 11 (2) 117 121 Source: http://www.scientificjournals.com/ Location: USA Purpose of LCA: Energy balance assessments, GHGs emissions assessments, Pollution assessments

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Analysis of allocation methods of bioethanol LCA

Type of feedstock: Grain (corn) Impact categories: GHGs (CO2, CH4), Energy use (MJ), Air quality (CO, NOx, SOx) Allocation method: System expansion Allocation method illustrated and explicitly treated: System expansion: The avoided product systems for co-products in wet milling (e.g., corn gluten meal (CGM), corn gluten feed (CGF) and corn oil) are included in the system boundary to allocate the environmental burdens to ethanol. Therefore, the allocations are done by introducing alternative product systems the system expansion approach. Ethanol fueled and gasoline fueled vehicle operations are sufficient to compare the environmental performance of ethanol fuel application systems.

Mala J., Freire F. (2006) Renewability and life-cycle energy efficiency of bioethanol and bio-ethyl tertiary butyl ether (bioETBE): Assessing the implications of allocation, Energy 31, 33623380 Source: http://www.sciencedirect.com Location: France Purpose of LCA: Energy balance assessments Type of feedstock: Sugar (beet), Grain (wheat) Impact categories: Energy use (MJ) Allocation method: System expansion, Mass, Energy, Market value Allocation method illustrated and explicitly treated: System expansion: Allocation was avoided by extension of system limits to include additional functions related to the following co-products: leaves from sugar beet cultivation; foams from purification of green juice in the sugarhouse and vinasses from distillation of bioethanol, after fermentation of green juice and green syrup in the distillery. Sub-division was used by splitting ethanol production chain (from sugar beet) into case #A (route a, Fig. 1), where only ethanol is produced, and case #B (route b, Fig. 1), where sugar is the major product; however, allocation has to be performed for case #B, where ethanol is jointly produced with sugar. The leftover residue from the fermentation process (Distillers Dried Grains with Solubles (DDGS)) is the wheat equivalent of pulps from sugar beet but with higher protein content and can be sold as high-protein animal feed.

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Analysis of allocation methods of bioethanol LCA

Mass, Energy, Market value: Not clearly stated

Reijnders L., Huijbregts M. A. J. (2006) Life cycle greenhouse gas emissions, fossil fuel demand and solar energy conversion efficiency in European bioethanol production for automotive purposes, Journal of Cleaner Production xx, 1-7
Source: http://www.sciencedirect.com Location: EU

Purpose of LCA: GHGs emissions assessments Type of feedstock: Sugar (beet), Grain (wheat) Impact categories: GHGs (CO2, N2O, CH4) Allocation method: System expansion, energy, weight, economic Allocation method illustrated and explicitly treated: Allocation can be done on the basis of monetary values or physical aspects of outputs (such as energy or weight). System expansion in which outputs substitute for other inputs in the economy is also used. Here it is supposed that the crops are dedicated to fuel production, and the two extreme cases are taken: allocation to the complete crop and allocation to ethanol only. The latter is in line with objections to allocation to by-products and wastes in view of sustainability of the cropping system. The former gives maximum credit to by-products as relative monetary values of such by-products will be below the relative energetic values. The latter were typically in the range of 2.1-3.0 kg CO2 kg_1 ethanol. Particularly, in case of a conventional wheat crop the increase in CO2 equivalent emissions are considerable: 0.6-2.5 kg CO2 equivalent kg_1 ethanol, dependent on choices regarding allocation.

Adler P.R., et al. (2007) LIFE-CYCLE ASSESSMENT OF NET GREENHOUSE-GAS FLUX FOR BIOENERGY CROPPING SYSTEMS, Ecological Applications, 17(3), 675691
Source: http://www.esajournals.org/

Location: USA Purpose of LCA: GHGs emissions assessments Type of feedstock: Grain (corn, soybean, alfalfa, hybrid poplar, reed canarygrass, switchgrass) Impact categories: GHGs (CO2, CH4, N2O) Allocation method: displacement

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Analysis of allocation methods of bioethanol LCA

Allocation method illustrated and explicitly treated: Displacement: To determine the amount of energy allocated to co-products, the displacement method was used, which credits co-products with the energy required to produce a functionally equivalent quantity of the nearest substitute (Farrell et al. 2006). The co-product energy and emission credits allocated to corn grain were 109.4 g CO2e-C/L ethanol (Wang 2001) and to soybean grain were 172.3 g CO2e-C/L bodies (Ahmed et al. 1994).

Beer T., Grant T. (2007) Life-cycle analysis of emissions from fuel ethanol and blends in Australian heavy and light vehicles, Journal of Cleaner Production 15, 833-837
Source: http://www.sciencedirect.com

Location: Australia Purpose of LCA: GHGs emissions assessments, Pollution assessments Type of feedstock: Sugar (molasses), grain (wheat), cellulose (wood waste) Impact categories: GHGs (CO2, CH4), Air quality (CO, NOx), Air toxics Allocation method: System expansion, Market value Allocation method illustrated and explicitly treated: Wheat starch and from C-molasses, both of which are by-products of wheat and sugar processing, respectively. Two options available for dealing with co-production are to split emissions between product streams - known as allocation - or to expand the study to take into account potential flow-on effects of providing a new use for the co-products and effects on systems currently using the co-products - known as system boundary expansion. Alternative allocations were examined to determine whether there was a significant difference between the results.

Leng R., et al. (2007) Life cycle inventory and energy analysis of cassava-based Fuel ethanol in China, Journal of Cleaner Production xx, 1-11 Source: http://www.sciencedirect.com Location: China Purpose of LCA: Energy balance assessments, GHGs emissions assessments, Pollution assessments Type of feedstock: Grain (Cassava) Impact categories: GHGs (CO2, CH4), Energy use (BTU), Air quality (CO, NOx)

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Analysis of allocation methods of bioethanol LCA

Allocation method: Replacement, Market value Allocation method illustrated and explicitly treated: When denatured ethanol is produced, the co-products are CO2, DDGS, manure and biogas. Market value: As for market value allocation, the product energy uses are in proportion to a 10-year average market value of the corresponding product. Replacement As for replacement allocation, the energy credits are assumed to be equal to the energy value of a substitute product that the ethanol co-products can replace. In this study, the DDGS was replaced by corn (replacement ratio: 1.077) and soybean meal (replacement ratio: 0.823). The CO2 replacement value was based on the energy intensity of corn fermentation in the wet milling process. Its energy credit was 1.243 MJ/L.

Nguyen T.L.T., et al. (2007) Energy balance and GHG-abatement cost of cassava utilization for fuel ethanol in Thailand, Energy Policy, 2007 Source: http://www.sciencedirect.com Location: Thailand Purpose of LCA: Energy balance assessments, GHGs emissions assessments Type of feedstock: Grain (Cassava) Impact categories: GHGs (CO2, CH4), Energy use (MJ) Allocation method: Avoided Allocation method illustrated and explicitly treated: In fact, there are potentials of utilization of various by-products associated with ethanol production, e.g., CO2, fodder yeast, and distillers dried grains with solubles. However, since the CE (Cassava Ethanol) conversion stage examined was at the pilot scale, and sufficient markets for such products in Thailand have not yet been developed, this study counted these by-products as valueless by allocating all energy inputs and emissions to the CE fuel product itself.

Kadam K.L. (2000) Environmental Life Cycle Implications of Using Bagasse-Derived Ethanol as a Gasoline Oxygenate in Mumbai (Bombay), NREL/TP-580-28705

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Analysis of allocation methods of bioethanol LCA

Source: http://www.nrel.gov/docs/fy01osti/28705.pdf

Location: India Purpose of LCA: Energy balance assessments, GHGs emissions assessments, Pollution assessments Type of feedstock: Cellulose (Bagasse) Impact categories: GHGs (CO2, N2O, CH4), Energy use (MJ), Air quality (CO, NOx, SOx) Allocation method: System expansion Allocation method illustrated and explicitly treated: System expansion: The production of ethanol produces lignin as a co-product, which can be used as an energy source. The allocation technique used in the study was to expand the system boundaries to include the use of the lignin residue for on-site cogeneration. In this way the emissions from an alternate energy production method were offset by the use of the lignin. These offset emissions were accounted for as negative values in the life cycle.

Beeharry R.P. (2001) Carbon balance of sugarcane bioenergy systems, Biomass and Bioenergy 20, 361370
Source: http://www.sciencedirect.com

Location: Mauritius Purpose of LCA: GHGs emissions assessment Type of feedstock: Sugar (cane) Impact categories: GHGs (CO2,) Allocation method: weight Allocation method illustrated and explicitly treated: Weight: The sugarcane system produces sugar, molasses and surplus electricity while consuming bagasse as the sole fuel at the factory level. The calculation of the CO2 burden sharing has been based on the principle of resource consumption. The allocation factor for each option has been calculated on the basis of the amount of bagasse that is used for sugar and molasses manufacture on the one hand and the amount of bagasse that is used for surplus electricity production on the other. In the case of the reference system, only 20% of the bagasse is used for surplus power production and hence only 20% of the total CO2 burden is allocated to the surplus electricity produced. In contrast, 64% of the total bagasse produced by the Baled Residue Option is turned into surplus electricity and hence the CO2 burden-sharing factor is 64%.

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Analysis of allocation methods of bioethanol LCA

Gabrielle B., Gagnaire N. (2005) Life-cycle assessment of straw use in bio-ethanol production: a case-study based on biophysical modelling, Environment and Arable Crops Research Unit, Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique, France
Source: http://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/ccsd-00008565/en/

Location: France Purpose of LCA: Energy balance assessments, GHGs emissions assessments, Pollution assessments Type of feedstock: Grain (wheat) Impact categories: GHGs (CO2), Air quality (SO2), Acidification (NO3), Ozone (C2H4) Allocation method: Weight Allocation method illustrated and explicitly treated:

Weight:
Since straw is considered a by-product of wheat grain production, all the emissions resulting from the cultivation of wheat are allocated to the grains. Following the latter study, we used a weight-based allocation ratio to partition impacts between the product of interest (ethanol) and its main by-product (wheat meal for animal feed).

Baral A., Bakshi B. R. (2006) Comparative study of biofuels vs petroleum fuels using input-output hybrid lifecycle assessment, AICHE 2006, Sustainable Biorefineries Plenary (Invited Papers)
Source: http://www.nt.ntnu.no/users/skoge/prost/proceedings/aiche-2006/data/papers/P69370.pdf

Location: USA Purpose of LCA: Energy balance assessments, GHGs emissions assessments, Pollution assessments Type of feedstock: Grain (corn) Impact categories: GHGs (CO2, CH4), Energy return on investment (rE), Air quality (CO, NOx) Allocation method: Market value, Mass Allocation method illustrated and explicitly treated: Market value: On market value basis, ethanol was allocated 81% share which was based on annual average wholesale price of ethanol and distillers dried grain with solubles (DDGS) from 1997-2005.

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Analysis of allocation methods of bioethanol LCA

Mass: On the mass basis, allocation for ethanol was set at 49%. For gasoline mass-based allocations were 42%. It was determined from the relative mass % of gasoline among co-products.

Durante D., Miltenberger M. (2004) Issue Brief: Net Energy Balance of Ethanol Production, Publication of Ethanol Across America
Source: http://www.ethanolacrossamerica.net/04CFDC-003_IssueBrief.pdf

Location: USA Purpose of LCA: Energy balance assessments Type of feedstock: Grain (corn) Impact categories: Energy use (BTU) Allocation method: Energy Allocation method illustrated and explicitly treated: Energy: The most recent USDA study addresses this issue head on by using the ASPEN PLUS model to allocate energy between ethanol and byproducts from an ethanol plant. With this model, approximately 65% of the total energy used in an ethanol plant is related to the ethanol, with 35% related to by-products.

Kim S., Dale B.E. (2004) Cumulative Energy and Global Warming Impact from the Production of Biomass for Biobased Products, Journal of Industrial Ecology, Volume 7, Number 34
Source: http://www.mitpressjournals.org/doi/pdf/10.1162/108819803323059442?cookieSet=1

Location: USA Purpose of LCA: Energy balance assessments, GHGs emissions assessments Type of feedstock: Grain (corn, soybeans, alfalfa, switchgrass) Impact categories: GHGs (CO2, CH4, N2O), Energy use (MJ) Allocation method: Subdivision, Mass Allocation method illustrated and explicitly treated: Subdivision: When carbon dioxide is considered a co-product in ammonia manufacture, the life-cycle flows of the process must be allocated between the two co-products. In this case, allocation is done using the subdivision

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Analysis of allocation methods of bioethanol LCA

allocation approach (Kim and Overcash 2000a). The cumulative energy of nitrogen fertilizer A that results is slightly less than half the cumulative energy of nitrogen fertilizer B due to the allocation of the process energy to both ammonia and carbon dioxide in the ammonia plant. Mass: When the output mass is used as an allocation factor in dry milling, the net energy value, defined as the energy content of ethanol minus the nonrenewable energy used in producing ethanol, ranges from 7.3 to 8.4 MJ based on the energy demand of corn production estimated in this article and 1.0 MJ in research by Pimentel (2002).

Shapouri H. (2004) THE 2001 NET ENERGY BALANCE OF CORN-ETHANOL, U.S. Department of Agriculture, 2004.
Source: http://www.ncga.com/ethanol/pdfs/netEnergyBalanceUpdate2004.pdf

Location: USA Purpose of LCA: Energy balance assessments Type of feedstock: Grain (corn) Impact categories: Energy use (BTU) Allocation method: energy Allocation method illustrated and explicitly treated: Energy: For this report, we used ASPEN Plus, a process simulation program, to allocate the energy used in the plants to ethanol and byproducts. On the average, 59 and 64 percent of the energy used to convert corn to ethanol is allocated to ethanol in dry- and wet- mills respectively.

Wu M., et al. (2006) Fuel-Cycle Assessment of Selected Bioethanol Production Pathways in the United States, Energy Systems Division, ANL/ESD/06-7, Argonne National Laboratory
Source: http://www.transportation.anl.gov/pdfs/TA/377.pdf

Locatioin: USA Purpose of LCA: Energy balance assessments, GHGs emissions assessments, Pollution assessments Type of feedstock: cellulose (Corn stover) Impact categories: GHGs (CO2, N2O, CH4), Energy use (BTU), Air quality (CO, NOx, SOx)

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Analysis of allocation methods of bioethanol LCA

Allocation method: energy Allocation method illustrated and explicitly treated: Energy: During ethanol production from cellulosic feedstocks, other products are generated for export with ethanol. Such co-products include electricity and chemical co-products (i.e., n-propanol, n-butanol, and n-pentanol). The surplus electricity is sold to a grid, and chemicals are exported to the market. These products are credited for their energy and emissions by the energy allocation method. The allocation method is based on the shares of output product energy. The energy partitioning results serve as GREET inputs.

Hu Z., et al. (2006) Multi-objective optimization of cassava-based fuel ethanol used as an alternative automotive fuel in Guangxi, China, Applied Energy 83, 819840
Source: http://www.sciencedirect.com

Location: China Purpose of LCA: Energy balance assessment Type of feedstock: Grain (cassava) Impact categories: Cost of Net Energy (CNE), Energy use (MJ) Allocation method: Market value Allocation method illustrated and explicitly treated: Not clearly stated

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Analysis of allocation methods of bioethanol LCA

References
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