ecoinvent Version 3.9

Version 3.9 of the ecoinvent database includes a wide range of updates, from bringing the latest available data in key economic sectors and expanding the sectoral and geographical coverage of the database to improving the user experience.

Oct 28th, 2023

It was replaced by ecoinvent v3.9.1 to correct issues that potentially influence the LCIA scores of certain methods or the usability of the data. 

ecoinvent v3.9 includes enhanced documentation and further updated emission factors, integrating the IPCC 2021, among other LCIA methods. Further, with ecoinvent v3.9 the ecoinvent database integrates around 1’099 new and 1’876 updated datasets, including around 271 new products. 

Sectors updated with version 3.9 include Agriculture, Batteries, Chemicals, Electricity, Metals, Pulp and Paper, Oil and Gas, and Waste.

Important Information 

We have identified some issues in version 3.9 of the ecoinvent database. They affected parts of the published data and can potentially influence the LCIA scores of certain methods or might affect the usability of the data. 

We published version 3.9.1 in December 2022 to correct these issues. For more information about which parts of the database are concerned and about the changes that we have made, please refer to the release page of version 3.9.1. 

We recommend ecoinvent users to work with ecoinvent v3.9.1 from its release onwards. However, for ecoinvent users working with data that are not affected by the changes, ecoinvent v3.9 will remain available. 

Features & Documentation 

Emission Factors (LCIA Methods) 

ecoinvent v3.9 integrates IPCC 2021, updates the EF method by the European Platform on Life Cycle Assessment to v3.1, and implements the latest versions of Ecological Scarcity (2021), ReCiPe (2016), TRACI v2.1, EPS (2020). With ecoinvent v3.9, Crustal Scarcity Indicator (2020) is now offered to ecoinvent users for the first time. With these new and updated methods, ecoinvent v3.9 offers more up-to-date emission scores on climate change, mineral resources, land use, water depletion, ozone depletion, and freshwater ecotoxicity, as well as impact scores expressed in monetary values, among other things. Find out more information on the methods .

Product Information 

Since ecoinvent v3.8, all products and services included in the database include a description that supports users in identifying them. The information includes a definition of the product or service as seen in the database. At the same time, the documentation of the services incorporates supporting information on how to use them. With ecoinvent v3.9, the database-wide update and expansion of the information on products and services is now complete, including enhanced product characteristics. This feature is also implemented in various LCA software tools, offering enhanced transparency to LCA practitioners. Please contact your software provider for more information. 

Nomenclature and Identifiers of Elementary Exchanges 

Following ecoinvent’s participation in the GLAD project, ecoinvent v3.9 updates the nomenclature and identifiers of the complete list of elementary exchanges (environmental flows). Specifically, ecoinvent v3.9 updates names, CAS numbers, formulas, and synonyms of the exchanges. The result of this update is an improved list of elementary exchanges that is now more aligned with the respective lists of other databases. This helps modelers using the ecoinvent database to easier identify and choose the data needed for their assessments. This update also improves the interoperability of the ecoinvent database with other databases around the world and enhances collaboration in assessing environmental impacts. 

New and Updated Data 


The sector features updates introducing data on new crops produced in Canada and Brazil. Specifically, ecoinvent v3.9 includes data on the production of new crops from Canada, such as pinto bean, red kidney bean, fava bean, and navy bean. Further, it introduces data on the production of new products (peanut) and updates data on the production of major products from Brazil, including coffee, sugar cane, soybean, and maize. Data for these updates were provided by the University of British Columbia (Canada) and Embrapa (Brazil). ecoinvent 3.9 also features new and updated data on pesticides, which may affect the results of assessments for agricultural processes and products. 


ecoinvent v3.9 continues the improvement of the representation of batteries in the ecoinvent database. This year’s update includes new datasets on the ‘Lithium, Iron, and Phosphate’ battery technology, thus, expanding the coverage of battery chemistries now including 5 important technologies. These datasets were created by the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology (EMPA) and include battery components specifically for this type of battery as well as the production of lithium iron phosphate. Complementary, the datasets for battery separator and electrolyte were updated. 

Building and Construction 

In ecoinvent v3.9, the sector is enhanced with new data for cement and concrete using recycled and waste mixed aggregates. Furthermore, new nomenclature rules have been introduced for the cement and concrete supply chains. The goal of these new rules is consistency across all geographies, alignment with the nomenclature used in industry standards and a clear structure that can facilitate the users understanding of the different cement and concrete types and the selection of the product with the right properties for their study. Along with the change in nomenclature, the global datasets for cement and concrete production have also been restructured and only the most representative datasets for the global geography have been maintained. 

Chemicals and Plastics 

The Chemicals sector is updated to include 36 new chemical products developed for the EF initiative, mainly pesticides and plasticizers, including ethephon, triclopyr, and dioctyl adipate. The data is integrated following the ecoinvent approach

Moreover, ecoinvent v3.9 takes the first step to gradually improve the representation of hydrogen in the ecoinvent database. Specifically, ecoinvent v3.9 introduces data on the main production technology for hydrogen (steam reforming) in Europe and the World. 


ecoinvent v3.9 updates the electricity market mixes to reflect the situation in 2019. In the case of the US, Canada, and Switzerland the electricity mixes are updated to reflect the situation in 2020. The update of the Swiss data is based on Swiss national data, while the rest of this update is based on data from the International Energy Agency (IEA). 

This year, the electricity mixes for China, India, and Brazil are also updated to reflect the situation in the countries in 2020, 2019, and 2020 respectively. These updates are performed, based on national statistics, while in the case of Brazil the data was provided by ACV Brasil. Moreover, all submarkets in these countries are updated, thus better representing the electricity situation in the various regions. The electricity mix for State Grid Corporation of China (SGCC) was split into its six subregions, now better reflecting the local conditions. At the same time, all electricity markets in the ecoinvent database are adjusted to include these updates. 

ecoinvent v3.9 also updates the data on electricity transmission networks. Specifically, this version updates the data on the infrastructure used for electricity transmission, which is also reflected in the electricity market datasets. For the countries where data is available, this update also introduces separate data for aerial, underground, and subsea cables. 

ecoinvent v3.9 further introduces residual mixes, based on data provided by the Association of Issuing Bodies (AIB). 


This update expands the data coverage of the Metals sector with new and updated data. Specifically, ecoinvent v3.9 introduces data on new metal products, including antimony, borates, germanium, zirconium and hafnium. New and updated datasets were provided by the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology, EMPA (sponsored by the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment, BAFU). 

Pulp and Paper 

The Pulp and Paper sector has been updated with new and updated on products used to produce packaging materials and paper, including data from industry associations. This update expands the geographical coverage of the data. Find more information here

Oil and Gas 

ecoinvent v3.9 introduces an extensive overhaul of the data on natural gas and crude petroleum oil supply. 

Specifically, this version includes an update on the natural gas and crude petroleum oil supply chains (production, long-distance transport, and regional distribution) in the ecoinvent database to reflect the global supply situation in 2019. The geographical coverage in the database is expanded with data on the production of natural gas and crude petroleum oil in different countries and regions. When combined, the ecoinvent database now covers 90% of the global production of crude oil and nearly 80% of natural gas. In addition, the update introduces regional consumption mixes for crude petroleum oil to North America and Europe, alongside new or updated natural gas supply to 44 countries, based on the situation in 2019. 

The update integrates data on the flaring of natural gas from the Global Gas Flaring Reduction Partnership (GGFR) of the World Bank and on methane emissions from gas venting and fugitive emission source from the International Energy Agency’s Methane Tracker 2022. Building on earlier studies commissioned by the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN), the Swiss Federal Office for Energy (SFOE), the Swiss Gas Industry Association (Verband der Schweizerischen Gasindustrie, VSG), and Avenergy Suisse (previously Erdöl-Vereinigung), this update was commissioned by the ecoinvent Association and prepared by ESU-services Ltd. 


ecoinvent v3.9 introduces the first part of the Waste sector overhaul. Specifically, this update disaggregates the wastewater treatment chains, allowing visibility of the by-products of waste-water treatment and its subsequent treatments. 

Relevant Documents and Files

Report of Changes

This report covers all changes made in the ecoinvent database between version 3.8 (2021) and version 3.9 (2022). 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 3.8 and 3.9 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 3.8 and 3.9 and matches corresponding datasets between versions. 

LCIA Implementation Report

The LCIA implementation report documents the implementation of LCIA methods for versions 3.9. 

Database Overview File 

The database overview file describes the contents of the database. The following information is contained in the file: 

Activity Overview(s) 

The lists of datasets contained in each of the three system models, as well as the list of unlinked and unallocated datasets. For version 3.9, each dataset has been assigned to one or more sectors, which helps filter for datasets that can belong to different sectors. 

ecoinvent Geographies 

The geographies used in the ecoinvent database. Each geography is assigned a classification, and the geographies that are contained in each geography are indicated. 

LCIA Methods 

The list of the LCIA methods for which ecoinvent calculates impact scores. The version of the methods is indicated, and the original source used for defining the characterization factors is provided. 

Known Issues

This section lists all known data errors in version 3.9 of the ecoinvent database. 

Data Issues 

  • The dataset “refrigerant R134a production” for the RER and GLO geography models two pathways, the hydrofluorination of trichloroethylene and tetrachloroethylene, although hydrofluorination of tetrachloroethylene is no longer industrially relevant. The datasets are currently under review. 
  • The datasets “polydimethylsiloxane production”, “dimethyldichlorosilane production” and “methylchloride production” for the Global geography are currently under review. Literature suggests that the hydrochloric acid, which is formed in the polydimethylsiloxane production, is recirculated to use as an input in the methylchloride production. In the current version of ecoinvent v3.9, the hydrochloric acid formed in the polydimethylsiloxane production is neutralised and disposed, whilst the methylchloride production uses virgin hydrochloric acid. 
  • The dataset “dimethyl sulfoxide production” for the GLO and RER geography is currently under investigation to ensure it properly represents the industrially applied technology. 
  • The hydrogen market is currently under review. The dataset “hydrogen production, steam reforming” is included in version 3.9. The new production technology for now does not contribute to the market for hydrogen, liquid, the improvement of production and consumption mixes are planned for the following releases. The work will include the revision of hydrogen in both gaseous and liquid form and its utilisation in different industries. 
  • Compared to the current hydrogen markets – liquid and gaseous – the newly introduced steam reforming dataset has a global warming potential (IPCC 2021) which is more than 5 times higher. This GWP is in accordance with literature (Antonini et al., 2020). 
  • “carbon dioxide, in chemical industry” is by-produced from ammonia production and directly supplies “urea production” with direct activity links. In the Consequential system model, “carbon dioxide, in chemical industry” has no alternative (marginal) supplier and thus it is dropped. Users are encouraged to check the undefined version of “urea production” in case the amount of CO2 (0.77112 kg of CO2 used per kg of Urea produced) needed to produce urea is needed for their study. 
  • The amount of ‘Mercury II’ to air/urban air close to ground is incorrect in the dataset “market for natural gas, high pressure” for JP. The correct amount is 4.0788E-13 kg. 
  • The field “End of Period” in the datasets of the system model “Allocation, cut-off, EN15804” displays an incorrect date. The correct “End of Period” date can be found in the Database overview file in the tab “EN15804 AO” 
  • The dataset “acrylic acid production” for the GLO and RER geography is currently under investigation. 
  • For the datasets listed below, the amount of the intermediate exchanges of “natural gas, high pressure” and “natural gas, low pressure” corresponds to the Lower Heating Value that was initially defined by the data provider and is indicated in the property ‘heating value, net’ of these exchanges. The amount of these heating values does not reflect the new Lower Heating Value of natural gas (36MJ/m3) implemented with the v3.9 update. 



clinker production 


electricity production, natural gas, combined cycle power plant 


electricity production, natural gas, conventional power plant 


evaporation of natural gas 


heat and power co-generation, natural gas, conventional power plant, 100MW electrical 


market for natural gas, high pressure 


natural gas, burned in gas turbine, for compressor station 


natural gas, high pressure, import from BO 


synthetic fuel production, from coal, high temperature Fisher-Tropsch operations 


  • For the following datasets, the user should consider as a LHV for “natural gas, high pressure” 36MJ/m3 instead of 39MJ/m3 that is currently the value of the property ‘heating value, net’:



hydrogen production, steam reforming 


kraft paper production 


liquid packaging board production 


steel production, electric, low-alloyed 



There are mistakes in sub-compartments, which affect scores. The concerned activities and exchanges are listed in this file. They include:
  • datasets that mistakenly have a sub-compartment with the label “long-term” for some emissions. “long-term” sub-compartments are meant to be reserved for emissions occurring after 100 years, in particular they are used for landfill sites (leaching, 100-60’000 years) and uranium mining and milling sites (radon emissions from tailings, 100-80’000 years). The correct sub-compartment would be “air/non-urban air or from high stacks” instead of “air/low population density, long-term” and “water/ground-“ instead of “water/ground-, long-term”. 
  • datasets that mistakenly have the sub-compartment “air/lower stratosphere + upper troposphere”, which is meant to be reserved for air transport. The correct sub-compartment would be “air/unspecified”. 

Please be careful with scores for the activities listed. 

Life Cycle Impact Assessment Issues 

  • There are issues with the scores for “total: …” categories in ReCiPe 2016. These totals don’t match the sum of the single “human health|…”, “ecosystem quality|…” and “natural resources|…” categories|indicators and should not be used or calculated manually as these sums. 
  • In the ReCiPe midpoint methods, the indicator names for the “climate change” impact category should be “global warming potential (GWP20)” for “ReCiPe 2016 v1.03, midpoint (I)” and “global warming potential (GWP100)” for “ReCiPe 2016 v1.03, midpoint (H)” (also for “no LT”). 
  • In the ReCiPe midpoint methods, the unit for the “ionising radiation” impact category should be “kBq Co-60-Eq” instead of “kg Co-60-Eq” (also for “no LT”). 
  • In the TRACI method, the unit for the “particulate matter formation” impact category should be “kg PM2.5-Eq” instead of “PM2.5-Eq” (also for “no LT”). 

System Model Issues 

  • Please note that, currently, ecoinvent 3.9 does not include the Allocation at the Point of Substitution (APOS) system model.