Advanced IO and Hybrid Life Cycle Assessment – Constructing and Improving IO Databases in Hybrid Units

This course begins by providing a thorough background for understanding both monetary and physical input-output models, and how the quality of an IO-table depends on the way it is made. The course gives an introduction to the most advanced and detailed hybrid IO-database: Exiobase v3 – and how it is used in an LCA software.
The second part of the course provides the practical skills for building and improving IO LCA databases. The course uses hands-on exercises on the procedures for constructing IO databases in hybrid units and hybridising with more detailed data on physical and monetary flows. It also introduces to the current challenges and developments in IO modelling and social accounting.

The course


Environmentally Extended Input-Output (IO) Analysis, using data from national statistics, to provide completeness to life cycle assessment (LCA). Limitations and how to avoid pit-falls. The practical use of the Exiobase v3 hybrid database, implemented in an LCA software. Tools and skills to build both monetary and physical supply-use tables, combining them in input-output models in hybrid units, and trade-linking into multi-regional models. Techniques for further disaggregation with external data sources, using the embedded hybrid approach. Current challenges and developments in IO modelling and social accounting.

Course outline (lectures and exercises on):

  • The basic math of LCA-modelling and parallels between input-output modelling and process-based modelling
  • Monetary supply and use tables and how they are constructed from raw data. Time series and currency conversion. Basic prices, producer’s prices and purchaser’s prices. Valuation tables and markets. Dealing with incompleteness and inconsistency in the raw data.
  • Creating a physical mirror of economy: Physical supply use tables, focussing on fundamental balancing requirements for materials and energy. Sources of data for inputs of natural resources and outputs of emissions.
  • Constructing physical supply use tables in practice
  • Physical modelling of waste treatment and by-product utilisation in the supply-use framework
  • Advanced procedures for handling IO tables in hybrid units
  • Implementing indirect land use change in the supply-use framework
  • Detailing the final consumption / household use stage / time usage
  • Different ways to integrate fixed capital formation and use into the core supply-use table
  • Different models for creating IO-models – and their pros and cons. Consequential and attributional modelling in the IO-framework. Validating monetary IO-models.
  • Dealing with imports and exports. Closed-country models versus trade-linking of IO tables for different countries/regions, i.e. creating multi-regional IO models. Where is the international transport in supply-use tables? International trade in hybrid units and the creation of multi-regional IO models. Attributional and consequential trade-linking.
  • Sources of uncertainty and ways of addressing these
  • Databases: Differences within and across IO and LCI databases. Description of EXIOBASE monetary and hybrid, with environmental, social, and economic extensions.
  • Tiered and embedded approaches for hybridization: Combining external data sources with the IO framework. Disaggregating/detailing supply-use tables and IO models
  • Applying the embedded approach for hybridisation:
    • Step 1: Disaggregating IO-activities by embedding external data
    • Step 2: Re-balancing the disaggregated activities
    • Step 3: Constructing the residual activity
    • Step 4: Handling flows between the new activities and the residual
    • Step 5: Specifying and rebalancing users of the new activities and the residual
  • Different activity and product classifications and how data are converted between them
  • Applying fixed or flexible activity detail across countries/regions. Advantages and challenges
  • Examples of using disaggregations in and from more detailed Supply-Use Tables
  • Current challenges: Regional disaggregation
  • Beyond current LCA: Social Accounting Matrices and stock-flow consistency
  • Group work on topics from the previous days as determined by interest of the participants

Form and academic recognition:

Form: 19 hours lectures, 21 hours workshops/exercises.
Academic recognition: 3 ECTS points. This includes reading a mandatory list of literature.

Learning outcomes:

  • Ability to create and modify extended input-output models in hybrid (physical and monetary) units
  • Ability to disaggregate hybrid IO models using external data sources.
  • Understanding of the difference between different modelling approaches and their implications for the modelled system.
  • Knowing the current challenges and development perspectives in IO modelling and social accounting.