Sensitivity analysis of greenhouse gas emissions of a pork production system

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingAbstractAcademic

Abstract

Environmental impact of the agrifood industry has been of increasing concern, and in particular international awareness about the impact of animal production systems has been rising. Pork production, for example, is one of the largest producers of meat in Europe, and contributes considerably to the total N2O emissions. Life cycle assessment (LCA) is a commonly applied framework that quantifies the environmental impact of a product over the entire chain. Emission factors that quantify e.g. volatilization of nitrogen and enteric fermentation, however, contain large ranges according to the IPCC framework. Analysing the effect of uncertainty in emission factors, can be done by means of a sensitivity analysis. Although many LCA studies have been performed, few applied a systematic and consistent sensitivity analysis to address the effect of uncertainty in emission factors on the total greenhouse gas emissions. In this study, we applied two types of sensitivity analyses: (1) based on the point values, a local sensitivity analysis (multiplier method) determines SETAC Europe 21st LCA Case Study Symposium 4 the effect of a small change in the emission factors; (2) based on the error ranges of the IPCC emission factors, a screening analysis (method of elementary effects) determines the effect of change within the actual
ranges. The two methods were applied to a case study of a Dutch pork production system. Preliminary results show that based on the local sensitivity analysis, the CH4 emissions of pig manure, followed by the N2O emissions of the production of N-fertilizer were most sensitive. Based on the screening analysis, direct and indirect N2O emissions during production of corn influenced the total greenhouse gas emissions most, followed by CH4 and N2O emissions of pig manure. The results show that based on the assumption that all emission factors can vary with the same amount (e.g. plus or minus 10%), as is assumed during a local sensitivity analysis, a different set of sensitivity parameters is found than when considering the actual ranges of the emission factors. The local sensitivity analysis can be used to develop mitigation strategies. The screening analysis indicates which emission factors have the most influence on the total greenhouse gas emissions within existing ranges, which is useful when comparing production system or assessing the reliability of the LCA results.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAbstracts SETAC Europe 21st LCA Case Study Symposium
PublisherSETAC
Pages8-8
Publication statusPublished - 2015
EventSETAC Europe 21st LCA case study symposium -
Duration: 12 Jul 201514 Jul 2016

Conference

ConferenceSETAC Europe 21st LCA case study symposium
Period12/07/1514/07/16

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