The USDA LCA Commons has added additional functionality and new Life Cycle Inventory (LCI) datasets. We have implemented the "product system" feature of the openLCA API. This feature allows users to navigate through and download entire product systems which have been submitted to the LCA Commons.
The new datasets include:
Swine production in the U.S. states of Iowa, Illinois, and North Carolina
Forest-based bioenergy processes developed as part of USDA Biomass Research and Development Initiative grants
Work processes for field operations and farm implements involved in field crop production
The swine production datasets are complete product systems representing swine production in Iowa, Illinois, and North Carolina. Collectively these datasets represent 86% of national pork production. This work is the product of a collaborative effort between the University of Arkansas Center for Agricultural and Rural Sustainability (CARS) , the United States Department of Agriculture, and the National Pork Board. In support of the National Pork Board's pork check-off program, swine production process models were developed for a Pork Production Environmental Footprint Calculator. CARS researchers then extended the process models into full life cycle inventories for publication in the USDA LCA Commons. Complete documentation can be found in the Life Cycle Assessment Collection of the Ag Data Commons.
The United States Forest Service Forest Products Laboratory (USFS-FPL) and North Carolina State University published forest-based bioenergy datasets developed through Biomass Research and Development Initiative (BRDI) grants. The USFS renewable syngas generation dataset characterizes the production of syngas via wood chip pyrolysis using the Tucker Renewable Natural Gas (RNG) thermochemical conversion process. North Carolina State University published datasets for southern bleached softwood kraft wood pulp processing and lignin extraction from the SBSK process. BRDI is a joint USDA-DOE research and development grant program to support an emerging bioeconomy.
The work processes represent gate-to-gate inventories for farm implements and field operations involved in the production of field crops in the contiguous U.S. The models cover 104 types of farm implements (e.g., operation of moldboard plows, broadcast sprayers) and 49 types of field operations (e.g., soil preparation and planting for conventional tillage; fertilizer application and incorporation) for 9 crops in 36 U.S. states resulting in almost 19,000 unit process datasets. The work processes are the latest additions to the field crop production data developed collaboratively by the University of Washington Design for Environment Lab and the National Agricultural Library. The addition of work processes permit the construction of product systems which consider work processes, farm implements, and agricultural equipment operation in the production of field crops. Field crop product systems can now be downloaded through the LCA Commons.