For efficient life cycle assessment calculation, we need a database that provides life cycle inventories for the most important inputs, outputs and processes in agriculture. A life cycle inventory quantifies the extraction of resources and the emissions into the environment of the system under consideration. The LCA Research Group collects and documents such data in the SALCA database and makes it available as part of the ecoinvent database.
The SALCA (Swiss Agricultural Life Cycle Assessment) Database contains over 700 agriculture-related modules with agricultural and non-agricultural inputs, outputs and processes. The data come from our own calculations, and were either linked with the ecoinvent database in order to incorporate underlying processes (energy, transport, disposal, infrastructure, chemicals, etc.), or were adopted from inventories of other LCA studies.
SALCA resides in a database for the LCA software SimaPro. Use of the SALCA database may be arranged within the framework of a collaborative project with Agroscope. Agroscope also creates calculation tools for life cycle assessment of farms (SALCAfarm) or field crops (SALCAcrop).
Ecoinvent: Swiss Centre for Life Cycle Inventories
The ecoinvent Association is run jointly by the ETH Zurich and Lausanne, EMPA, PSI and Agroscope. The aim of the Association is the creation, operation and maintenance of the ecoinvent database, as well as its updating and expansion. The ecoinvent database contains several thousand life cycle inventories from the areas of agriculture, foods, energy supply, transport, biofuels and biomaterials, chemicals, construction materials, packaging materials, metals, electronics and waste treatment. Agroscope is responsible for the domain of agriculture, and supplies most of the data in this field. The latest version, 3.1, was published in July 2014.