Reducing uncertainty at minimal cost: a method to identify important input parameters and prioritize data collection

U.A. Uwizeye, E.A. Groen, P.J. Gerber, Rogier P.O. Schulte, I.J.M. de Boer

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference paper

Abstract

The study aims to illustrate a method to identify important input parameters that explain most of the output variance ofenvironmental assessment models. The method is tested for the computation of life-cycle nitrogen (N) use efficiencyindicators among mixed dairy production systems in Rwanda. We performed a global sensitivity analysis, and ranked theimportance of parameters based on the squared standardized regression coefficients (SRC). First the probability distributionsof 126 input parameters were defined, based on primary and secondary data, which were collected from feed processors,dairy farms, dairy processing plants and slaughterhouses, and literature. Second, squared SRCs were calculated to explainthe output variance of the life-cycle nitrogen use efficiency, life-cycle net nitrogen balance, and nitrogen hotspot indexindicators. Results show that input parameters considered can be classified into three categories. The first category (I)includes 115 input parameters with low squared SRCs (<0.01), which are less important and can be established with defaultor regional averages. The second category (II) includes 5 important input parameters, with squared SRCs between 0.01 and0.1; that can be established with country specific data. The third category (III) includes 6 input parameters with squaredSRCs >0.1; that contribute most to the output variance of at least one of the life-cycle nitrogen use efficiency indicators.These most important parameters need to be established with accuracy thus require high data quality. The input parametersof category II and III include emission factors and coefficients that are specific for a region as well as activity data that arespecific to the livestock production system. By carrying out such analysis during the scoping analysis, any LCA study infood sector can cut on the cost of data collection phase by focusing on input parameters that can be fixed through goodpractices in data collection. Further work on global life-cycle nutrient use performance will benefit from these results togenerate analysis at lesser data collection cost.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBook of Abstracts of the 10th international conference on Life Cycle Assessment of Food
Number of pages5
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Event10th international conference on Life Cycle Assessment of Food - Dublin, Ireland
Duration: 19 Oct 201621 Oct 2016

Conference

Conference10th international conference on Life Cycle Assessment of Food
CountryIreland
CityDublin
Period19/10/1621/10/16

Keywords

  • Sensitivity analysis, uncertainty analysis, minimum data, data quality

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    Uwizeye, U. A., Groen, E. A., Gerber, P. J., Schulte, R. P. O., & de Boer, I. J. M. (2016). Reducing uncertainty at minimal cost: a method to identify important input parameters and prioritize data collection. In Book of Abstracts of the 10th international conference on Life Cycle Assessment of Food [147]