BioenergieDat: Open source platform on the environmental impact of bioenergy opened

The climate footprints of the individual bioenergy paths are not without controversy. While proponents of biogas, Biofuels and wood energy emphasize the climate-neutral properties of energy crops and organic residues, the critics mainly focus on the additional emissions that are released during the production of bioenergy (grassland change, transport, methane hatching, etc.). Despite all justified criticism, it should not be forgotten that the value creation processes of bioenergy are always compared with the production pathways of fossil fuels. In order to better understand the environmental impacts of bioenergy production and use, a free platform is now available that looks at bioenergy from the perspective of its environmental impacts. The database does not only consider the effects of bioenergy on the climate, but also includes ecological and economic effects in the assessment of bioenergy.

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BioenergieDat: A data platform for bioenergy in Germany

Communication of the BMU funding program "Energetic Use of Biomass" from the 11.04.2013.

The research project supported as part of the BMU funding program "Energetic Use of Biomass" BioEnergyDat presents its results from the two-year term: a consistent methodology, a modern IT infrastructure and a database for the ecological evaluation of various options for bioenergy use.

From 03 to 039, the BioEnergieDat (FKZ: 2010KB2012) project developed a methodologically harmonized, validated and modular database for process chains of energetic biomass use in Germany. This is now freely accessible together with an open source software developed in the project and an open source database for the preparation of life cycle assessments. A top-class research consortium from:

  • the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)
  • the German Aerospace Center
  • the GreenDelta GmbH
  • the Zittau / Görlitz University of Applied Sciences
  • the Ruhr University Bochum
  • the University of Stuttgart
  • the Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment Energy GmbH

Life cycle assessments are an indispensable tool today to assess products and processes with regard to their environmental impact and to support the optimization of environmental performance. The database and software developed in BioEnergieDat make life cycle assessments for bioenergy faster and easier and support the consistent accounting and evaluation of individual technologies. They can be used by anyone who uses life cycle assessments and similar methods (carbon footprint, etc.).

The database was developed taking into account representative German framework conditions. “BioEnergieDat provides data sets for complete process chains of bioenergy. In contrast to similar databases, the user can also access all unlinked data records for the individual processes (modules). As a result, as well as the parameterization of important input variables, data sets can now be combined easily and flexibly and adapted to different application situations, ”says Prof. Liselotte Schebek, head of the project.

The open source tool "openLCA" was further developed into a professionally usable LCA / life cycle assessment software and has an interface to the LCA database soda4LCA (Service Oriented Database Application for LCA data), which was also developed in the project. Soda4LCA enables a preview of the data on the Internet and direct access to the data records via openLCA or via a browser for use with any LCA software. At the same time, local databases can be created and used offline. In this way, decentralized processing and lossless data exchange of complete life cycle assessment models is possible - which opens up completely new technical possibilities for working in spatially distributed project teams, but also for cooperation between different data holders.

The BioEnergieDat documentation fully describes the modeling techniques used and contains procedures for using the data sets in different application contexts (e.g. Renewable Energy Directive, European ELCD System or in the Greenhouse Gas Protocol). The results of BioEnergieDat enable diverse and novel applications for the ecological evaluation of bioenergy. They also correspond to the general framework of the method manual "Material flow-oriented balancing of climate gas effects" developed in the BMU funding program "Energetic Use of Biomass".

The database, software and documentation of the project are now freely accessible at and can be used free of charge. The non-profit “German Society for Life Cycle Data”, DGLZD, is founded to continue and expand the project results.

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