IO and Hybrid Life Cycle Assessment – An Introduction for LCA Practitioners

This course gives 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 course


Environmentally Extended Input-Output (IO) Analysis, using data from national statistics, to provide completeness to life cycle assessment (LCA). Advantages and disadvantages relative to LCA based on process-data. Integration of process-data and IO-data in hybrid modelling to obtain the advantages of both approaches. The course will provide the background for understanding IO and hybrid modelling, including trade-linking in multi-regional models, and how the quality of the model depends on how it is constructed. The course will introduce to the practical use of the Exiobase v3 hybrid database, implemented in an LCA software.

Course outline (lectures and exercises on):

  • The basic math of LCA-modelling and parallels between input-output modelling and process-based modelling. Monetary balancing and life cycle costing.
  • 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.
  • Integrating final consumption into the core supply-use tableIntegrating 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.
  • What do we mean by “hybrid”? IO-tables in hybrid units, hybrids between consequential and attributional models, linking LCA data with IO-data?
  • 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? Attributional and consequential trade-linking.
  • Databases: Differences within and across IO and LCI databases. Description of EXIOBASE monetary and hybrid, with environmental, social, and economic extensions.
  • Application example: Modelling of waste treatment and by-product utilisation in the supply-use framework.
  • Tiered and embedded approaches for hybridization: Combining external data sources with the IO framework. Reducing uncertainty in LCA.
  • Disaggregating/detailing supply-use tables and IO models

Form and academic recognition:

Form: 9 hours lectures, 7 hours workshops/exercises.
Academic recognition: 1,5 ECTS points. This includes reading a mandatory list of literature.

Learning outcomes:

  • Ability to extract information from national accounts and input-output models. Understanding the limitations and ability to avoid pit-falls.
  • Understanding of the difference between different modelling approaches and their implications for the results.
  • Ability to use existing input-output models for LCA purposes and be critical towards the interpretation of the results.