Normalization in EDIP97 and EDIP2003: updated European inventory for 2004 and guidance towards a consistent use in practice

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    Abstract

    Purpose: When performing a life cycle assessment (LCA), the LCA practitioner faces the need to express the characterized results in a form suitable for the final interpretation. This can be done using normalization against some common reference impact—the normalization references—which require regular updates. The study presents updated sets of normalization inventories, normalization references for the EDIP97/EDIP2003 methodology and guidance on their consistent use in practice. Materials and methods: The base year of the inventory is 2004; the geographical scope for the non-global impacts is limited to Europe. The emission inventory was collected from different publicly available databases and monitoring bodies. Where necessary, gaps were filled using extrapolations. A new approach for inventorizing specific groups of substances—non-methane volatile organic compounds and pesticides—was also developed. The resulting inventory was combined with the most updated sets of characterization factors for each impact category in the EDIP methodologies. Results and discussion: Normalization references are provided for global and non-global impact categories for the year 2004, and causes of variations compared to previous versions are identified. For the non-toxic impact categories, they mainly reflect demographic evolution or change in emission intensities. For the toxic impact categories, they are strongly dependent on improvements in the characterization models as well as on the inventory analysis. Differentiation of substance groups into individual substance emissions is an important source, which leads to identification of inconsistencies in the current practice and guidance to ensure compatibility between LCI and LCIA. Uncertainties are not quantified but are mainly expected to lie in the toxic substance inventories, which are known not to encompass all potentially harmful chemicals released in Europe, e.g. omitting some toxic metals. Conclusions: The present study provides the most updated set of publicly available normalization references for the EDIP methodology and emission inventories for Europe that may also serve for the calculation of normalization references for other impact categories. It is believed to be the best estimate available for Europe and is thus recommended for use along with the guidance provided in this study.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalInternational Journal of Life Cycle Assessment
    Volume16
    Issue number5
    Pages (from-to)401-409
    ISSN0948-3349
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2011

    Keywords

    • LCI
    • European inventory
    • Life cycle inventory
    • Normalisation reference
    • Normalisation
    • EDIP
    • LCIA

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