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Table 6 Recommendations for improving ELCD fuel datasets by DQI

From: Background qualitative analysis of the European Reference Life Cycle Database (ELCD) energy datasets – part I: fuel datasets

ELCD datasets DQI Potential improvements and recommendations
Diesel mix, Gasoline mix, Heavy fuel oil (1.0 wt.% S), and kerosene/jet A1 at refinery TeR and P • Score could improve by using the most updated version of the JEC (2011). However, it is necessary to highlight that the JEC project is not an LCA study, as the study recognizes itself, but a well to wheel study limited to energy and greenhouse gas emissions. Furthermore, since it focuses on future powertrains, some assumptions do not truly reflect current practices.
C • In order to meet the criterion in a 100% share the following flows have to be considered: CFC-11 and CFC-12 for ozone depletion; and Decane for freshwater ecotoxicity.
M • Allocation in ELCD datasets has been performed applying the so-called ‘Back-Pack principle’ methodology (PE 2012b). This is a non-usual allocation procedure to assign a ‘backpack’ of allocated crude oil, energy and electricity demand to each output of the refinery unit processes. This practice partially accomplishes the subdivision procedure highly recommended by ILCD Handbook (EC-JRC-IES 2010a), avoiding black box unit scenarios. The handbook suggests a partially/virtually subdivision of process chains to collect data exclusively for those included processes that have only the required functional outputs.
General • ELCD takes advantages of the well-recognized E-PRTR (, which produces key environmental data from industrial facilities in European Union Member States and in Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Serbia and Switzerland.
Natural gas mix TeR and TiR • Eurostat should be also reviewed, as an Authoritative Source, for updating future versions. The natural gas mix in Europe in 2011 can be consulted on the web-site (EUROSTAT 2012).
• Other Business Associations, like Eurogas (European Association of Gas Wholesale, Retail and Distribution Sectors, publishes public EU data facts and statistics of natural gas production and distribution that can be useful for achieving a more updated inventory.
• Other Authoritative Source that could be useful in future version is the Gas Infrastructure Europe (, a European association representing the infrastructure industry of natural gas, such as the Transmission System Operators, Storage Systems Operator and Terminal Operators. Technical data can be also reviewed from the Technical Association of the European Natural Gas Industry MARCOGAZ (
• Unconventional hydrocarbons exploitation such shale gas is a hot topic currently in Europe. Several Member States of the EU are discussing new regulations to allow the exploitation of these resources. Under this framework, the EC is already studying the potential environmental impacts and health risks that may arise from individual projects and cumulative developments of this technology. Taken into account this context, it is recommended to follow the development of this technology and the regulatory framework, so that the technology could be included in future versions, if necessary.
C • In order to achieve the criterion in a 100% share, CFC-11 and CFC-12 for ozone depletion impact category have to be considered
P • Providing documentation related to the data collection process and additional references to identify the origin of the data values could be useful to achieve a better rating. Although some references provided in the dataset are labeled as Authoritative Sources or Business Associations, it has not been possible to find them.
General • It has been modelled in a way that includes the most updated and precise natural gas supply mix in EU-27.
Rapeseed methyl ester (DE) TeR and GR • Dataset lacks the consideration of raw material imports –rapeseed and rapeseed oil- . Important differences can appear especially in the cropping systems of rapeseed in exporter countries such as Australia, Ukraine and Russia. Considering these systems would improve the TeR of the rapeseed biodiesel produced in Europe. GR criterion also scores lower due to the same reason.
TiR • Many of the references do not cover the reference period. The Ecoinvent dataset performs better in this criterion since its validity year is closer to the years of the references but not due to the use of more recent references.
C • In order to achieve the criterion in a 100%, the following flows should be considered: Halon 1211 and CFC-10 for ozone depletion; and iridium, cadmium and cypermethrin for resource depletion.
M • ELCD dataset is modelled following a methodological approach that shows important discrepancies with the proposal from the EU Directive 28/2009 (RED 2009). Most important differences are related to allocation procedures of co-products and electricity produced in CHP. Based on this, it would be advisable to harmonize the methodology used in the ELCD database with the methodology proposed by the EC in the framework of biofuels sustainability certification. In order to do that, the E3 dataset can be taken as a reference.
General • European Commission Energy Transparency Platform ( could be a source of relevant information.