Integrated Life Cycle Sustainability Analysis

Research output: NRELPresentation


This project provides the Department of Energy's Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) with strategic decision-support for the evaluation of its R&D portfolio by developing, validating, and applying a coherent methodology and consistent model framework to quantify the net effects of an expanding US bioeconomy. The framework fills an analysis gap previously identified by Peer Review and supports a related milestone in BETO's Multi-Year Program Plan. The framework was scoped with inputs from practitioners in academia, national laboratories, and federal agencies. The model is a top-down, economy-wide framework using a coherent methodology to compute environmental and socio-economic metrics. It is purposefully complementary to existing bottom-up, process-based techno-economic and life cycle assessment BETO tools and uses their data as inputs. Presently, the model covers several commercial and near-commercial biofuel routes and an emerging pathway for plastics upcycling. It covers temporal detail across four time-steps and is currently being expanded with a prospective modeling capability. The model has provided analyses for the Third Triennial Report to Congress (RtC3) on the environmental impacts of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS2), among others. As part of this project, NREL also provides scientific support to BETO in the International Energy Agency's Technology Collaboration Program on Bioenergy (IEA Bioenergy) Task 45 on Sustainability. Here, NREL evaluates and synthesizes activities that develop, compare, or apply metrics, methods, and tools to quantify sustainability effects of bioeconomy products. NREL also coordinates related national lab involvement and a BETO Working Group on Sustainable Land Management.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages28
StatePublished - 2021

Publication series

NamePresented at the U.S. Department of Energy's Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) 2021 Project Peer Review, 8-12, 15-16, and 22-26 March 2021

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/PR-6A20-79185


  • bioeconomy
  • environmental and social equity
  • environmentally-extended input-output
  • IEA Bioenergy
  • life cycle assessment
  • multilateral activity
  • sustainability


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