About the project

Life cycle analysis (LCA) is an important tool for many transport sector stakeholders. Here, three relevant frameworks with life cycle perspectives are applied to eight different fuels. The comparison highlights important differences in the methods.

The focus of the study is not the result of the life cycle analyzes of the fuels themselves, but the comparison between the rules in EU’s Renewable Energy Directive (RED), the Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) and the Product Environmental Footprint (PEF) methodology.

LCA calculations of eight fuels, such as ethanol from maize and HVO from used cooking oil, with detailed details in process data, methodological variations and assumptions, highlight several major differences between the three frameworks.

The differences appear in modeling of waste management, which can have great significance for the results when the biofuel is produced from waste. The frameworks also differ in what type of approaches they allow for modeling processes with several products. This is significant when the fuel is co-produced with other products. More differences can be seen in how the electricity supply is modeled and how system boundaries are handled.

The study emphasizes the importance of transparency and knowledge that LCA is not an individual method but a family of methods. Product-specific rules for renewable fuels in the form of Product Environmental Metal Footprint Category Rules (PEFCR) and Product Category Rules (PCR) could increase harmonization between the studied LCA methods.

The project was presented (in English) in a webinar on 14 December 2021. A recording is available here:


Tomas Rydberg, IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute


Sofia Poulikidou, IVL // Tomas Ekvall, TERRA // Sara Palander, Swedish Life Cycle Center (Chalmers) // Miguel Brandao, KTH // Katarina Lorentzon, RISE

Time plan
15 June 2020 - 31 December 2021

Total project cost
2 035 392 SEK

The Swedish Energy Agency, the f3 partner organisations, BASF, Fordonsgas Sverige, IVL, Lantmännen, NTM (Network for Transport and Measures), Scania, SEKAB, St1, Drivkraft Sverige (formerly SPBI) and Volvo Technology.

Swedish Energy Agency's project number within the collaborative research program