The Coordinating Research Council, Inc. (CRC) is a non-profit corporation supported by the petroleum and automotive equipment industries. CRC operates through the committees made up of technical experts from industry and government who voluntarily participate. The four main areas of research within CRC are: air pollution (atmospheric and engineering studies); aviation fuels, lubricants, and equipment performance; heavy-duty vehicle fuels, lubricants, and equipment performance (e.g., diesel trucks); and light-duty vehicle fuels, lubricants, and equipment performance (e.g., passenger cars). CRC’s function is to provide the mechanism for joint research conducted by the two industries that will help in determining the optimum combination of petroleum products and automotive equipment. CRC’s work is limited to research that is mutually beneficial to the two industries involved. The final results of the research conducted by, or under the auspices of, CRC are available to the public.

This work for the Coordinating Research Council (CRC) was intended to better quantify sources of uncertainty and variability in selected LCA models that are being used to regulate fuels by conducting an in-depth evaluation of model inputs, and the uncertainties around those inputs for several specific fuel pathways. Validation of the inputs and resulting outputs from the models is discussed, pathway variability and overall model uncertainty for the different pathways is assessed.

The four models that are to be investigated are:

  1. BioGrace, used in the European Union (EU) Renewable Energy Directive (RED) program.
  2. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) modelling framework for RFS2. The EPA used a series of models to determine the direct and indirect emissions of renewable fuels and petroleum fuels. Not all of the models are publicly available but there is a significant amount of information available on the model inputs for many of the pathways.
  3. The GREET model and the variant of the model used in California for the California LCFS program.
  4. GHGenius, used in the British Columbia LCFS program and the Alberta RFS program.

The CRC has proposed six pathways (and eight fuels). They are:

  • Petroleum gasoline/diesel
  • Corn ethanol
  • Soy biodiesel/renewable diesel
  • Sugarcane ethanol
  • Cellulosic ethanol
  • Natural gas

Not all of the pathways are included in all of the models