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Why are the impact factors for water (AWARE) so different from Ecoinvent 3.5 to 3.6 in EF Methods (adapted)? This results in Ecoinvent 3.6 having an extremely high water scarcity burden due to electricity use in AWARE. 

Ecoinvent 3.6:

 

Whereas in Ecoinvent 3.5, the impact factors even out (it would be 42.95 m3 depriv/m3 and -42.95 m3 depriv/m3)

Many thanks in advance

Sophie

in openLCA by (590 points)
edited by

1 Answer

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by (660 points)

Hi Sophie,

Take a look at the elementary flows in the processes for hydropower generation and how they're included in the impact assessment method as you have it installed in openLCA. For a hydro-power process (see pic), In this example, if there were no regional specificity to the characterisation factors, then the IA method should be set up so that the water emitted has negative characterisation factor of -1 to balance the +1 CF associated with the incoming water. If there is a net impact for this process, then something's awry. Perhaps because of the regonal-weighting now applied to some flows and not others? 

Good luck,

Chris Foster

by (590 points)
edited by
Hi Chris,

Many thanks for your response. I checked Ecoinvent 3.6 cut off, and I believe there is a missing link between EF method (adapted) for the output water flow, giving solely the +X impact factor for the input flow ad nothing for the output flow.
In Ecoinvent 3.6 cut off regionalised, there is the +X impact factor for the input flow, but only around -0.5X for the output flow (BG). Is there a report I can refer to to understand this? As it implies such high water scarcity burdens for everything that involves electricity production in BG. And in Ecoinvent 3.5 cut off regionalised, there were the +X and -X factors, ie water scarcity burdens were very low.
Many thanks
by (630 points)
Just wanted to chime in to let you know that the "EF method adapted" does not really work together with Ecoinvent. The method does not include a lot of flows so the impact assessment is seriously wrong
by (590 points)
Hi Bernhard, thank you for your comment. What methods package do you use for the PEF methods?
by (660 points)
Hi Sophie,
It's a good idea to check the implementation of the IA method against the original and the nomenclature of flows in the database / tool you're using. Both imperfections and slightly differing interpretations occur (e.g. see my answer about ADPE here: https://ask.openlca.org/2736/transfer-impact-assessment-methods-from-database-another). If you want to apply the EF methods v3, then the reference method is (AWARE) in UNEP, 2016 (see Fazio, S. Biganzioli, et al. "Supporting information to the characterisation factors of recommended EF Life Cycle Impact Assessment methods" version 2, from ILCD to EF 3.0.
So you might check against the AWARE method in the method pack (export both to Excel and compare etc.). You can also get an almost complete list  of all the flownames used in ecoinvent by calculating an LCI for a complex product that exists in the database. Then you can check that all the CF you need are in the method you're applying. Sadly, nothing's perfect - even the EF methods Excel file published by JRC has some flaws - but it's too big to check manually...
by (590 points)
edited by
Hi Chris, a thousand thanks for your messages. I checked the excel sheet of AWARE, and the CF of Bulgaria is the same as the one in OpenLCA (for the output flow). But, as far as I am aware, the electricity generation from the hudro pump process (not specific to BG) does not displace any water -from wherever it is- to BG, so I will just put the same CF in the output flow as the unspecified hydro pump process to adjust the balance between the input and output CF. I hope this makes sense. Many thanks for your support. Best, Sophie
by (630 points)
I use ILCD 2.0
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