PRospective EnvironMental Impact asSEment (premise): a streamlined approach to producing databases for prospective Life Cycle Assessment using Integrated Assessment Models

07 February 2022, Version 1
This content is a preprint and has not undergone peer review at the time of posting.


Prospective Life Cycle Assessment (pLCA) is useful to evaluate the environmental performance of current and emerging technologies in the future. Yet, as energy systems and industries are rapidly shifting towards cleaner means of production, pLCA requires an inventory database that encapsulates the expected changes in technologies and the environment at a given point in time, following specific socio-techno-economic pathways. To this end, this study introduces premise, a tool to streamline the generation of prospective inventory databases for pLCA by integrating scenarios generated by Integrated Assessment Models (IAM). More precisely, premise applies a number of transformations on energy-intensive activities found in the inventory database ecoinvent according to projections provided by the IAM. Unsurprisingly, the study shows that, within a given socio-economic narrative, the climate change mitigation target chosen affects the performance of nearly all activities in the database. This is illustrated by focusing on the effects observed on a few activities, such as systems for direct air capture of CO2, lithium-ion batteries, electricity and clinker production as well as freight transport by road, in relation to the applied sector-based transformation and the chosen climate change mitigation target. This work also discusses the limitations and challenges faced when coupling IAM and LCA databases and what improvements are to be brought in to further facilitate the development of pLCA.


Life Cycle Assessment
Integrated Assessment model

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