Carbon Sequestration Tool Background and User Guide

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1 Carbon Sequestration Tool Background and User Guide

2 Table of Contents Quick Start Methodology Content of Worksheets Frequently Asked Questions

3 Quick Start 1. Determine which of the two carbon tools you should be using. Use the business-to-business (B2B) tool if you have completed a cradle-to-gate LCA Use the business-to-consumer (B2C) tool if you have completed a cradle-to-grave LCA See diagram on next page for relationship of two tools to cradle-to-gate and cradleto-grave LCA. 2. Open the applicable tool and go to the worksheet User Inputs and Summary Results 3. Enter values for user input fields highlighted in yellow (default values have been provided where applicable). 4. Review and export results noted in red text, under instructions in User Inputs and Summary Results tab

4 The interactive graphic below shows the life cycle of a wood product. Place your cursor over the cradle-to-gate or cradle-to-grave button to show the portions of the life cycle and biogenic carbon flows that are the basis for the two tools. Greenhouse Gas Credit Scope of LCA Scope of LCA Transportation Planting including site preparation Transportation Forest Management thinning, fertilizing Logging felling, transport to landing Resource Extraction Log Yard manufacturing facility Commodity Manufactuing Lumber, OSB, Plywood, etc. Transportation Manufacturing End Use Transportation Gate-to-Grave Click here for Cradle-to-Grave LCA Click here for Cradle-to-GateLCA Roundwood logs on truck Secondary Manufacturing Flooring, Siding, Framing, etc. End-of-life Life Treatment Business-to-Consumer Business-to-Business tool includes elements in red. Greenhouse Gas Emission

5 Methodology BACKGROUND FP Innovations commissioned the Athena Institute to develop a biogenic carbon calculation tool for use in Environmental Product Declarations, EPD s, developed under their Product Category Rules, PCR, for North American wood products. Athena has developed two such tools to supplement two types of LCA studies. Cradle-to-gate: Cradle-to-gate LCA refers to those that begin in the forest cradle and end with the packaged product at the manufacturing gate. Business-to-business, B2B, EPD s are developed form cradle-to-gate LCAs. Cradle-to-grave: Cradle-to-grave LCA includes the cradle-to-gate processes as well as the transportation to user, end-use, and end-of-life treatment or grave. Business to Consumer, B2C, EPD s are developed from cradle-to-grave LCAs. Biogenic carbon interactions occur at both the forest cradle, where a credit is granted, and at the end of life where emissions from combustion and decay cancel a portion of the credit. Best LCA and carbon footprinting practice limits the crediting of carbon sequestration against the global warming potential of a wood product to those studies that also account for the fate of that carbon at the end of life.

6 Methodology GENERAL CONVENTIONS In LCA, an implicit or explicit carbon dioxide credit is typically granted to bio-based resources that photosynthesize carbon as part of their natural growth cycle. An implicit credit is granted in the case of biomass fuel consumption by ignoring the biogenic carbon emissions in the calculation of global warming potential. An explicit credit may be granted if the material is tracked from the forest through the life cycle to its eventual emission or permanent sequestration. In the case of wood products, two accounting conventions have evolved to explicitly calculate the biogenic carbon credit; stock and flow accounting (See sidebar for more on Stock and Flow Accounting). Both tools presented here employ the flow accounting approach. The temporal dimension of forest growth, product use, and emissions at the end of life also requires consideration in biogenic carbon accounting. The 100 year method, developed by Georgia Pacific and documented in ISO 14047, is a widely accepted approach to assessing the carbon sequestration credit for wood products. The 100 year method, initially conceived as a stock accounting model, considers long term (100 year) carbon stock changes by assuming the forest as a static baseline from which a carbon credit is granted for products remaining in use 100 years after manufacture. The 100 year time horizon is longer than the harvest cycle for wood-producing forests which justifies the static baseline of the source forest. In the models presented here, the 100 year method is expanded to include end-of-life processes and is reinterpreted as a flow accounting model to facilitate the global warming calculation of the methane component of landfill gas, which is 25 times that of carbon dioxide. Flow vs stock accounting This tool adopts a flow accounting model to account for the carbon into and out of the system. This type of model is most commonly used in product-level carbon footprinting, while stock accounting is more suited to national level inventories. The two methodologies employ the same logic as changes to carbon stocks are caused by flows, while the flow model is a more direct method of accounting for changes to atmospheric carbon. Forest Δ C Stock Forest In Use Δ C Stock Stock Accounting Method In Use Landfill Δ C Stock CH 4 Flow Accounting Method Landfill

7 CARBON CREDIT FOR FOREST GROWTH In both the B2B and B2C carbon tools, a negative emission of carbon dioxide is assigned for forest growth. As dictated by the PCR, the credit may be granted only when sustainable forestry practice is documented. This credit is only applied to the carbon present in the product at the manufacturing gate as opposed to the source forest. The sequestration credit was limited to the carbon in the product for three reasons: Consistent: excluding sequestration in coproducts is based on the same logic as mass allocation which is used throughout the rest of life cycle inventory accounting Conservative: excluding the fate of coproducts is the same as accounting for the sequestration credit and then assuming that 100% of co-products are emitted as carbon dioxide Precedence: WRI GHG Protocol for Products and PAS 2050 both base carbon sequestration on the initial carbon credit equal to the carbon in product In both the B2B and B2C carbon tools the user is prompted to enter the oven dry mass of the wood product under consideration. The tools apply a common 50% carbon content to this mass, which is then scaled by the molar mass ratio of carbon dioxide to carbon, 44/12. USE PHASE AND END-OF-LIFE In both the B2B and B2C carbon tools the emissions of the initial carbon sequestration are tracked through the use phase and end-oflife treatment. A more detailed description of this modeling is provided in the interactive graphic on the following page. Flow vs stock accounting Con t. Forest Stock: The stock accounting method assumes that over a 100 year assessment period the forest completely regenerates to its pre-harvest carbon level. This means that any sequestration in the in-use and landfill pools are in addition to this baseline and are accounted as a carbon credit. Flow: The flow accounting method similarly assumes complete regeneration of the forest over a 100 year assessment period. This regeneration is accounted as an atmospheric carbon dioxide reduction which in flow accounting is denoted as a negative emission. This convention in flow accounting is used as a converse to to assigning positive values to flows to the atmosphere. In Use Stock: The carbon stock in use has previously been estimated using the 100 year method which is based on the statistical half-life of wood products in typical applications. The amount of carbon remaining in use at year 100 is accounted as a carbon credit in this approach. Flow: The flow accounting model estimates the amount of carbon that exits this life stage and enters the end-of-life stage based on the same statistical half life estimations (B2B Tool) or discrete end-of-life events (B2C Tool). End of Life Stock: The 100 year method may be extended to account for long term sequestration in landfills in addition to the product remaining in-use. In this approach, the amount of carbon remaining in the landfill at year 100 would be accounted as a carbon credit. Unfortunately, this approach does not differentiate between methane and carbon dioxide. Flow: The flow model accounts for the individual greenhouse gasses, carbon dioxide and methane, as they exit the end-of-life pool. This allows for the correct forcing factors to be applied to calculate the global warming potential.

8 End of Life Emissions The carbon sequestered in the product at the manufacturing gate is tracked through the rest of the life cycle. The interactive diagram below shows this modeling. Place your cursor over each end-of-life process for a description and illustration of the flows. CH 4 CH 4 Recycling Direct Combustion Aerobic Landfill No Landfill Gas Capture Fugitive Landfill Gas Landfill Gas Combustion Product in use End-of-Life Landfill Anaerobic Landfill Landfill Gas Capture in Place Anaerobic No Aerobic Recycling Landfill Fugitive Direct Product End-of-Life Landfill Combustion Gas Landfill Use Gas Capture Combustion Capture Gas in Place Business to Consumer Business (B2B): (B2C) The and B2B Business tool estimates applies to Business a typical/average service (B2B): life Both In based both array tools on tools, of the apply end-of-life 90% 82% 18% the recycled 87% 13% combusted half-life a aerobic typical/average landfilled the specific material treatment to is a wood breakdown gas assumed is range processes accounted generated enters of typical to which of leave anaerobic as aerobic in uses a include first 100% the anaerobic for system order landfills. conversion various combustion, anaerobic landfills decay boundary landfill wood The with to landfill. anaerobic recycling, commodities. carbon occurs a capture landfill 4% is The annual dioxide. conservatively gas landfill those wells business-to-business capture landfilling. decay The that is place accounted have business-to-business rate wells accounted is (k/yr) landfill no captured landfill as place applied version a gas first is and gas a capture not order 100% of is the captured version burned the decay conversion 23% wells tool wells of for also in and with the wood place. in is ac-counts place that carbon energy thus also annual decomposes. accounts directly and for dioxide. flared is the decay thus emitted TRACI for without emitted the rate The as TRACI impacts, (k/yr) carbon 55% energy entirely applied impacts, carbon in cumulative recovery. the to the to dioxide decayed cumulative the atmosphere energy In 23% and both wood of 45% energy demand, cases, wood is methane. 100% 55% that demand, 100% converted decomposes. carbon of LCI the and elements dioxide landfill LCI to carbon The elements and gas from 45% carbon dioxide. decomposition of methane. in biomass is the emitted de- tool 4% cayed and as combustion Business Landfilling: carbon landfill wood to dioxide. handling as Consumer is 80% converted required Neither as (B2C): required by to the model both The PCR. by methane accounts B2C the PCR. tool and for requests carbon any energy from dioxide the substitution in user equal the portions effects. discrete (50% The service business-to- life each). as A portion business determined Recycling: of version the methane 10% the of cradle-to-grave the that tool is also generated accounts LCA. (10%) for the is TRACI oxidized impacts, before it cumulative reaches the energy landfill demand, surface. and LCI Combustion: elements from 10% landfill gas combustion as required by the PCR. Business to Consumer (B2C): The B2C tool requests from the user the breakdown of end-of-life treatment as determined in the cradle-to-grave LCA.

9 BUSINESS TO CONSUMER TOOL The Business to Consumer Tool applies average statistics for the biogenic carbon flows from the end-of-life processes that were modeled in the cradle-to-grave LCA. The cradle-to-grave LCA is assumed to have previously defined the service life as a discrete value. This discrete service life is then applied as a variation on the 100 year model in place of a statistical distribution of products leaving the in-use pool. After the service life, the end-of life processes are modeled based on North American average statistics adapted from the USEPA s WARM model. These parameters include the breakdown of waste wood to aerobic and anaerobic landfills, the prevalence and efficiency of landfill gas capture systems, and the makeup of the landfill gas itself. In the B2C Tool, the user also enters the following parameters as determined in the cradle-to-grave LCA. These inputs include: Product Oven-dry wood mass of wood in product % of delivered product that becomes waste at year 0 Service life % of waste that is recycled, combusted and landfilled The tool then calculates and reports for the user the following outputs: Sequestration Credit (kg C02) Total Methane Emissions (kg CH4 and kg C02 eq.) Total Carbon Dioxide (kg C02) Sequestration Credit Net of Methane and Carbon Dioxide Emissions (kg C02 eq.) BUSINESS TO BUSINESS TOOL The Business to Business Tool applies average statistics for the gate-to-grave processes not included in the cradle to-gate LCA. These processes include transportation to end-user, end use, transportation to end-of-life treatment, and end-of-life treatment. The tool calculates the life cycle impacts for these processes based on the TRACI and Cumulative Energy Demand characterization models as required by the PCR for the rest of the life cycle. The end-of-life modeling begins, as in the B2C tool, with the products as they reach the end of their service life. Average halflives for the most common uses of wood commodities were used to complete the 100 year methodology for calculating products in-use. Similar to the B2C tool, the end-of life processes are modeled based on North American average statistics adapted from the USEPA s WARM model. In the B2B Tool, the user enters: Product Oven-dry mass of wood in product The tool then calculates and reports for the user the following outputs: Sequestration Credit (kg C02) Total Methane Emissions (kg CH4 and kg C02 eq.) Total Carbon Dioxide (kg C02) Sequestration Credit Net of Methane and Carbon Dioxide Emissions (kg C02 eq.) Gate-to-Grave LCIA results for TRACI and CED impact categories

10 Contents of Excel Worksheets 1. User Inputs and Summary Results. This worksheet contains the user interface and summary results that are ready to export for inclusion in the EPD. 2. Carbon Pool Calculations. This worksheet tracks flows between end of life carbon pools including use, recycling, combustion, and landfill. Landfill modelling includes simulation of year-to-year decomposition. 3. Emissions Calculations. This worksheet calculates greenhouse gas emissions based on inputs from the carbon pool calculations worksheet and the various end-of-life modeling parameters. 4. Gate-to-Grave Impacts. (Only in B2B) This worksheet includes life cycle impact assessment and resource use results for gate-to-grave processes not included in cradle-to-gate LCA. 5. Parameters. This worksheet includes data tables and references for all parameters used in the carbon sequestration tools. 6. Documentation. This worksheet provides descriptions of the general approach to the analysis, user inputs, and calculations.

11 Frequently Asked Questions Question: Do I need any special software or other requirements to use the carbon tools? Reply: No, the carbon tools were developed in Microsoft Excel and do not include macros or any programming layers on top of basic Excel functions. Question: Why does this tool employ a flow accounting model while international reporting protocols for forest carbon are typically based on the levels of carbon stocks in various pools? Reply: The carbon tools are meant to accompany LCA research which typically model the flows of various emissions into the atmosphere as opposed to estimating flows based on changes to various stock levels. The flow model also allows the direct accounting of the global warming potential of methane and carbon dioxide which are both generated in the endof-life processes of wood products. Question: Why does the tool ignore logging and manufacturing carbon emissions, both biogenic and fossil? Question: Does the B2B carbon tool allow me to customize specific gate-to-grave processes such as transportation by ship to overseas customers? Reply: The B2B tool is intentionally based on average uses, transportation distances, and North American end-of-life treatment. This was done to ensure the tool s compatibility with FP Innovations wood PCR which is specific to North American EPD s. FP Innovations would be happy to work with you to adapt the tool to model specific scenarios that are not covered in the generic average cases. Question: Why does the B2C tool use discrete service lives while the B2B tool bases service life on statstical half lives? Reply: The B2C tool must synch up with previously completed cradle-to-grave LCA studies that typically model life phases as discrete events occuring at specific times. The B2B tool is based on statistical half-life data to represent the probabalistic nature of the data that is available for end-uses of wood commodities. Reply: The tool is meant to accompany LCA that already includes cradle-to-gate emissions. The product carbon content was chosen as a conservative basesline for the sequestration credit so that biogenic carbon emissions from manufacturing may be excluded from the analysis (excluding them is the same as including the credit and then assuming 100% aerobic emission). This product-level baseline is in accordance with PAS 2050 and the WRI GHG Protocol for Products.

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