It is well known that the transport sector causes significant environmental impacts worldwide and as a consequence influences the results of Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) studies. Today's fuels are dominated by crude oil derived fuels. In Europe currently 98 % of the road transportation is based on such crude oil derived fuels. Similar ratios can be observed e.g. in the US and other countries. In addition to the environmental impacts, the high dependency on the imports of fossil fuels motivates most European countries to investigate in other than fossil fuel based transport systems. Therefore the European Commission presented an action plan including a strategy with the objective to substitute 20% of crude oil derived fuels by alternative fuel until 2020. To achieve these goals, actions to reduce the import dependency of fuels, the usage of non renewable (fossil) resources and the environmental burdens connected to the use of fuel / propulsion systems have to be addressed. Besides, the energy carrier mix has to be broadened. Especially alternative fuels from renewable resources, BtL (Biomass to Liquid) are supposed to have a high potential.
Recent developments show, that there is a variety of options for fuels available as well as for propulsion technologies that utilize fuels based on renewable resources. It is therefore of key importance to select and promote the fuel/ propulsion system technology which is most beneficiary for a country or region from an environmental but also from an economic and social perspective. For such a sustainability evaluation it is essential to consider the local/regional boundary conditions such as availability of fuel resources, major pollution issues which need to be addressed, supply of secondary energy (e.g. power) etc. LCA is therefore a suitable approach to evaluate and compare different options, due to its transparent consideration of all life cycle stages.
Besides the environmental impacts and resource consumption which are addressed in LCA considerations the needed land is another important aspect when talking about biomass as a resource. As land is a scarce resource that is used for all industry sectors there is a need to address this issue also in LCA. Up to now, no commonly agreed upon methods exist which allow the integration of land use aspects in a consistent way into LCA Software and Database. Currently at LBP-GaBi, University of Stuttgart together with PE International, a method is developed to integrate land use aspects into LCA. Backward processes are now implemented in an applicable way into a LCA database system.
This Paper describes the main approach of the developed methodology for land use consideration within LCA.