Interpretation, sensitivity and uncertainty

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By Carmen Alvarado

Copyright PRé Consultants B.V

CA.3i.v1.2006.1

Sensitivity checks
• • • • • • •
Consistency check Contribution analysis Anomality check (Mis)match between inventory and impact assessment Appropriateness of impact assessment Validity of subjective choices Uncertainty assessment
Check goal and scope: Have I applied the principles described here in a consistent and realistic way? What are the processes with the highest load; usually only 10 processes really matter Anything strange???? Use common sense Many LCI results are not recognised in impact assessment methods. Have important LCI results been missed? You should not use an impact assessment method without land-use in an LCA on bio-plastic.... Subjective choice cannot be avoided. Check if your conclusions are dependent on these choices by recalculating, using different assumptions Monte Carlo analysis (next slides) CA.3i.v1.2006.2

Copyright PRé Consultants B.V

V CA. estimated) Library Sample size Process Completeness/ • Choice of impact assessment methods Representativity • Missing data • Geographical.3 • • • .3i. technical and temporal deviations Calculate two or more different scenarios Indicate uncertainty range and distribution and calculate uncertainty Copyright PRé Consultants B.2006.v1.Sensitivity versus Uncertainty Sensitivity • Choice of data – – Uncertainty Reliability (measured.

– – – • On allocation – – Copyright PRé Consultants B. and the new iron produced can be seen as a benefit The recycling process is part of a next lifecycle National grids European average Marginal electricity Have I choosen a proper alternative in system boundary expansion What if I use mass in stead of economic value in multi output allocation CA.4 In an LCA on steel cans: – – • On electricity in Europe.Sensitivity for subjective choices • • In an LCA on paper or wood products.v1. – Is the net-uptake of CO2 in forests included yes/no Recycling process belong to the end of life.2006.V .3i.

but I only have a generic average I use a truck.V . CA.3i.Uncertainty • There are many sources for data uncertainty – – Uncertainty in measurements and estimates Representatives of a process • • I would have liked to used data on a specific truck with a specific load factor.v1. but maybe some transport is by train also – – – – Uncertainty of consumer behaviour in use and disposal phase Uncertainty on future disposal scenario’s Uncertainty in impact assessment factors etc. • Define uncertainty ranges.2006.5 Copyright PRé Consultants B. and apply Monte Carlo.

V .3i.2006. no extra work Add uncertainty in your own data.Benefits of using uncertainty • • • • Eco-invent unit process database has specified uncertainty for all LCI parameters. that is often very uncertain Run Monte Carlo simulation on your first screening and determine how much certainty you need to add. not less. like: – – Estimated data Use phase and EOL data.v1.6 Copyright PRé Consultants B. not more. What is the minimum we need to know for decision support CA.

V CA.3i.v1. Randomly select a series of values according to the distribution Recalculate the LCA for every parameter Store each result.Monte Carlo analysis • Define a distribution and standard deviation on (every) input parameter.7 . and plot the distribution of results • • • Copyright PRé Consultants B.2006.

V CA.3i.v1.2006. Chromium emission to air Copyright PRé Consultants B.8 .Result of a single LCI parameter.

2006.V CA.v1.Results of an analysis Copyright PRé Consultants B.9 .3i.

2006.V CA. single score Copyright PRé Consultants B.3i.v1.10 .Result of an analysis.

3i.V CA.Correlated uncertainties • Component A and B use the same electricity.11 . the uncertainty per run is the same Correlation must be taken into account. Only Unit processes can be used component A component A Component B • • metal electricity plastic Copyright PRé Consultants B.v1.2006.

v1.3i. 10 kg steel Copyright PRé Consultants B.V Product B.12 .2006. 11 kg steel CA.Comparison without correlation: Misleading • Comparison of product A made of 10 kg of steel and product B made out of 11 kg of the same steel Product A.

however uncertain the impact of steel production is. SimaPro presents the difference in impact (A-B).3i. the difference is a kg of steel. all outcomes have a negative value.v1.V CA. In this result.13 .The difference between A and B • • The previous result cannot be correct.2006. so we are 100% sure that there is indeed a difference between A and B Copyright PRé Consultants B.

2006. EI99 H/A) Land use Fossil fuels Converter steel Copyright PRé Consultants B.V Electro steel CA.Case: Comparing Converter and Electro steel (Eco-invent.v1.3i.14 .

Case: Comparing Converter and Electro steel (Eco-invent.2006. EI99 H/A) F o s si l f u e ls Number of times converter > electro L a n d u s e N u m b er of ti m es c o n v er te r < el e ct ro Copyright PRé Consultants B.V CA.v1.15 .3i.

Difference between Converter and Electro steel (EI99 H/A) Difference between Electro steel and converter steel is negative.3i.V CA.2006. this is the case in 30% of the runs Copyright PRé Consultants B.16 .v1.

17 .3i. Further work is needed to solve the A/B problem Uncertainty on impact assessment must be further developed. No need to collect additional data if the results are significant • • • Without taking into account correlations. as you can determine if your uncertainties need to be reduced.2006.Conclusions • • With Monte Carlo. we can finally understand if differences between products are real Monte Carlo simplifies LCA. Monte Carlo results can be very misleading.V CA.v1. – – Screening data may already be enough to get significant results. Copyright PRé Consultants B.

v1.V CA.3i.Defining uncertainty ranges in practice • • • • Uncertainties have a distribution Range is usually defined as standard deviation (SD) Highest probability is often used as the “best guess” value Results also have a standard deviation.2006. – – – Medium is the middle value. and a medium or average. so if you made 100 samples.18 . the 50th sample is the medium Average is the weighted average of all samples Average can be heavily influenced by “outliers Copyright PRé Consultants B.

2006.v1. – Enter “best guess” plus min and max value Uniform – No preference for an average – Enter min and max value Best guess SD Best guess SD • • SD SD Best guess Min Max • Min Max Copyright PRé Consultants B.3i.Distributions • Log Normal distribution – Industrial Processes & Nature – Enter “best guess” and (standard deviation)2 to cover 95% interval Normal distribution – Random samples – Enter “best guess” and 2*(standard deviation) to cover 95% interval Triangular – Simple version of normal distribution. has no extreme values.V CA.19 .

20 .4.3i.1.2006.V CA.2) Basic uncertainty uB is emission specific Copyright PRé Consultants B.How uncertainties are defined in Ecoinvent • • • • • All distributions are lognormal Seven factors determine the uncertainty SDg 95 = σ = exp 2 g [ln(U1 )]2 +[ln(U 2 )]2 +[ln(U 3 )]2 +[ln(U 4 )]2 +[ln(U 5 )]2 +[ln(U 6 )]2 +[ln(U b )]2 Six of these (U1-U6) are determined by Pedigree matrix (next slide) Eco-invented always document scoring in pedigree matrix (1.1.v1.2.

enthalpy.05 Less than 10 years of difference to our reference year (2000) 1.V CA.10 Less than 15 years of difference to our reference year (2000) 1.10 Data from smaller area than area under study.00 1.00 unknown >20 Sample size > 10.02 Data on related processes or materials but same technology.50 >=3 Further technological correlation Data on related processes or materials but on laboratory scale of different technology U5 2.g. aggregated figure in env.20 Age of data unknown or more than 15 years of difference to our reference year (2000) 1. data derived from theoretical information (stoichiometry. OECD -Europe instead of Russia) 1.20 Data on related processes or materials but d ifferent technology.Pedigree matrix Score: Reliability 1 Verified data based on measurements 2 Verified data partly based on assumptions OR non -verified data based on measurements 1.v1. continous measurement.20 Copyright PRé Consultants B.00 Representative data from all sites relevant for the market considered over an adequate period to even out norma l fluctuations 1.50 Data from unknown OR distinctly different area (north america instead of middle east.00 >100.05 U6 1.10 Representative data from only some sites (<<50%) relevant for the market considered OR >50% of sites but fr om shorter periods 1.03 Average data from larger area in which the area under study is included 1.01 1.10 1. identical technology) 1.00 Data from area under study 1. report 1.20 Representative data from only one site relevant for the market considered OR some sites but from shorter periods 1. by industrial expert) .05 Representative data from >50% of the sites relevant for the market considered over an adequate period to even out normal fluctuations 1.e.02 Less than 6 years of difference to our reference year (2000) 3 Non-verified data partly based on qualified estimates 4 Qualified estimate (e.21 .20 5 Non-qualified estimate U1 1.2006. OR Data from processes and materials under study but from different technology 1. OR data on laboratory scale processes and same technology 1.3i. etc. balance of purchased p roducts 1.10 Temporal correlation U3 Completenes s U2 1. or from similar area Geographical correlation U4 1.00 Less than 3 years of difference to our reference year (2000) 1.50 Representativeness unknown or data from a small number of sites AND from shorter periods 1. processes and materials under study (i.) 1.00 Data from enter prises.02 1.

50 Ub Copyright PRé Consultants B.50 1.Basic uncertainty input / output group demand of: thermal energy electricity semi-finished products working materials transport services waste treatment services Infrastructure resources: primary energy carriers metals.50 2. from agriculture: heavy metals from agriculture: pesticides radionucleides 1.00 5.) 4. PAH heavy metals from agriculture: NO PO4 3.05 1.3i. Cl.v1.00 1. NMVOC total.05 1. from agriculture: N2O.40 3. Radon -222) process emissions: other inorganic emissions Emission to soil of: oil. COD. TSM Combustion: PM10 Combustion: PM2. N and NH3 2O Combustion: CO Combustion: individual hydrocarbons.50 3. individual hydrocarbons. methane.22 . TOC inorganic compounds (NH PO4.00 1.20 1. salts land use.00 1.50 3.05 1.00 1.5 combustion: polycyclic aromatichydrocarbons (PAH) Combustion: heavy metals process emissions: individual VOCs process emissions: CO 2 process emissions: TSM process emissions: PM10 process emissions: PM2.V CA.05 1.5 from agriculture: CH NH3 4. NOX radionucleides (e.05 1.00 3.00 3. and soil emission to water of: BOD.50 3..05 1.20 1. hydrocarbon total Pesticides heavy metals radionucleides 1. transformation waste heat: emission to air.05 1.05 2.00 5.05 3.00 1.00 1.00 3.50 1.50 1. DOC. water.00 Ub input / output group emission to air of: CO2 SO2 combustion: NOX.50 2.50 5.50 2.00 1.05 1.g.00 2.80 1. occupation land use.05 1. NO3.00 1. Na etc.2006.00 1.

23 Copyright PRé Consultants B. – – Screening data may already be enough to get significant results.V .Wrap up • • With Monte Carlo. as you can determine if your uncertainties need to be reduced.v1. CA. Monte Carlo results can be very misleading. we can finally understand if differences between products are real Monte Carlo simplifies LCA.3i. No need to collect additional data if the results are significant • • Without taking into account correlations.2006. Uncertainty on impact assessment must be further developed.

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