ecoinvent Version 3.5

ecoinvent v3.5 was released in 2018. It featured updates in waste treatment, hard coal and aluminum supply, pulp, and containerboard production and introduced data on aquaculture and fish capture for the first time.

Oct 27th, 2023

Further, the representation of supply chains was revised. Over a thousand links between demanding and supplying activities were updated and hundreds of new, regional market datasets for various products were introduced. 

As we wish to ensure clarity and transparency, we openly document the changes made between the latest update and the previous version of the database. Therefore, we offer various files that document and clarify the changes that have been made with each version of the database. These include detailed reports of changes, correspondence files, as well as files that include all activities of each version. Further, we document all known issues of each version to alert database users and to support their understanding and use of the database. 

New and Updated Data

Aquaculture and Fish Capture 

For the first time, datasets on aquaculture and fish capture are published in ecoinvent. Datasets related to anchovy, hake and tuna capture as well as trout and tilapia aquaculture, were added to the database. Processing into fish meal and oil, as well as fish processing activities, such as canning, curing and freezing, are also included. 

Pulp Production and Containerboard 

The pulp sector represents the latest primary data on sulfate pulp production, collected by the European Pulp Industry Sector Association. This new data provides a higher level of granularity in the sulfate pulp supply chains. Similarly, the European corrugated board supply chain features the latest data from the Federation of Corrugated Board Manufacturers. 

Metals - Aluminium 

The update of the aluminium supply chain features the latest data, provided by the International Aluminium Institute. This includes electricity production as well as primary and secondary aluminium production for most regions of the world. New regional datasets for some activities provide an even higher resolution and more transparency in this sector. 

Waste Treatment 

The expansion of the waste sector offers 150 new treatment and disposal activities, including unsanitary landfill, open burning and open dumping. Additionally, 500 new, country specific disposal mixes for common municipal waste fractions are available in 37 European countries, Brazil, Colombia, Peru, India and South Africa. 

Hard Coal 

Version 3.5 covers more than 95% of the global hard coal supply chains. Import and market datasets depict global trade flows and regional hard coal mixes. New data on coal mining in India and South Africa include different types of mines. Key emissions from mines were updated and consistently implemented for all geographies. 

Continuously Updated Electricity Sector 

Version 3.5 covers close to 100% of (statistically represented) global electricity generation, comprising 142 countries. Current and projected future electricity mixes are available on a country or even more granular, region-specific level. Moreover, new data on concentrated solar power from parabolic troughs and solar towers was added. 

Relevant Documents and Files

Report of Changes

This report covers all changes made in the ecoinvent database between version 3.4 (2018) and version 3.5 (2019). It reflects both the database-wide changes, as well as the sector-specific changes. 

Report of Changes

This automatically generated excel file provides an overview of changes made on the undefined unit process datasets between versions 3.4 and 3.5 of the ecoinvent database. The Report of Changes XLS can be found in the «Files» section of ecoQuery, the online version of the ecoinvent database version 3. It is available to licensees of the ecoinvent database. 

Correspondence File 

The correspondence file is a spreadsheet that lists all datasets in versions 3.4 and 3.5 and matches corresponding datasets between versions. 

Activity Overview for ecoinvent v3.5, Undefined 

An excel file listing all the activities and products present in the ecoinvent version 3.5 database including most of the metadata (geography, ISIC classification, activity type, technology level, product type, unit, etc.). This file also includes a list of all geographies, elementary and intermediate exchanges present in the database. 

Activity Overview for ecoinvent v3.5, APOS 

An excel file listing all the activities present in the ecoinvent version 3.5 database including metadata related specifically to the Allocation at the point of substitution. 

Activity Overview for ecoinvent v3.5, Consequential 

An excel file listing all the activities present in the database including metadata related specifically to the Substitution, consequential, long-term system model. 

Activity Overview for ecoinvent v3.5, Cut-Off 

An excel file which lists all the activities present in the database including metadata related specifically to the Allocation, cut-off by classification system model. 

LCIA Methods in ecoinvent v3.5 

List of all LCIA methods including all the impact categories as well as list of selected LCI cumulative results provided by ecoinvent. 

Known Issues

This section lists all known data errors in version 3.5 of the ecoinvent database. While the ecoinvent team focuses on eliminating such errors for upcoming updates, this section of known issues exists to alert database users and to support their understanding and use of the database. 

Data Issues 

  • The air transport datasets currently include an exchange of “ethylene oxide”. This emission is incorrect. ecoinvent is preparing an update of air transport which will be available in the next release. 
  • During the creation of new regionalized datasets for existing activities, the wrong ISIC was attributed to some datasets. It is therefore possible to find the same activity name associated with two different ISIC. Please find here the list of such datasets and their correct ISIC. 
    Please note that this error does not influence any numerical aspects of the database: after the correction, all exchange amounts, LCI and LCIA will remain the same. 
  • The production of phosphorus oxychloride is represented in two different activities “phosphoryl chloride production” and “phosphorus oxychloride production”. The two activities represent the production of the same product from different processes. We recommend users to consult the general and technology comment fields of the datasets to pick the most relevant technology for their study. 
  • In the dataset “styrene production”, the benzene emissions to water and to air are too high. With support of PlasticsEurope, it could be established that the benzene emissions to water can be removed completely from the dataset and the benzene emissions to air were decreased to 2.0E-07 kg. A corrected inventory was introduced in version 3.8 
  • The dataset “methylene diphenyl diisocyanate production” (GLO and RER) treats the formed hydrochloric acid as a waste, this does not reflect reality. Hydrochloric acid is a valuable by-product which is used or sold by the MDI producer.The ecoinvent association advices users to either use the LCIA scores from the current ecoProfile available on the PlasticsEurope website or to correct the unit process in ecoinvent by removing the waste neutralisation and treating HCl as a by-product. 
    To correct the ecoinvent dataset, we would advise user to use the undefined dataset available through ecoQuery and remove the exchanges of the input of sodium hydroxide and the outputs of sodium and chloride. 

APOS System Model Issues 

  • The APOS system model handles the product classification (mft vs. non-mft) with a local perspective. With the introduction of a large quantity of local markets and local supply chains, this has created distortions of some supply chains which affects the LCIA results in certain cases. To download a full evaluation of the distortion, please consult the file “ecoinvent 3.5_APOS_known issues.xlsx” accessible in the file section of ecoQuery version 3.5. In the cases of the RoW “heat production, untreated waste wood, at furnace 1000-5000 kW”, and “heat production, untreated waste wood, at furnace 1000-5000 kW, state-of-the-art 2014” we advise to check the cut-off system model, when those activities are important contributors to your process. 

Consequential System Model Issues 

Three elementary exchanges are found in the compartment “social”. These exchanges can be ignored, both at the unit process and the inventory level, as ecoinvent does not yet account for social impacts.