Performance and environmental accounting of nutrient cycling models to estimate nitrogen emissions in agriculture and their sensitivity in life cycle assessment
Andrade, Edilene Pereira
Jimenez Esteller, Laureano
Anton Vallejo, Assumpcio
Purpose Several models are available in the literature to estimate agricultural emissions. From life cycle assessment (LCA) perspective, there is no standardized procedure for estimating emissions of nitrogen or other nutrients. This article aims to compare four agricultural models (PEF, SALCA, Daisy and Animo) with different complexity levels and test their suitability and sensitivity in LCA. Methods Required input data, obtained outputs, and main characteristics of the models are presented. Then, the performance of the models was evaluated according to their potential feasibility to be used in estimating nitrogen emissions in LCA using an adapted version of the criteria proposed by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), and other relevant studies, to judge their suitability in LCA. Finally, nitrogen emissions from a case study of irrigated maize in Spain were estimated using the selected models and were tested in a full LCA to characterize the impacts. Results and discussion According to the set of criteria, the models scored, from best to worst: Daisy (77%), SALCA (74%), Animo (72%) and PEF (70%), being Daisy the most suitable model to LCA framework. Regarding the case study, the estimated emissions agreed to literature data for the irrigated corn crop in Spain and the Mediterranean, except N2O emissions. The impact characterization showed differences of up to 56% for the most relevant impact categories when considering nitrogen emissions. Additionally, an overview of the models used to estimate nitrogen emissions in LCA studies showed that many models have been used, but not always in a suitable or justified manner. Conclusions Although mechanistic models are more laborious, mainly due to the amount of input data required, this study shows that Daisy could be a suitable model to estimate emissions when fertilizer application is relevant for the environmental study. In addition, and due to LCA urgently needing a solid methodology to estimate nitrogen emissions, mechanistic models such as Daisy could be used to estimate default values for different archetype scenarios.
63 - Agricultura. Silvicultura. Zootècnia. Caça. Pesca
Is part of
International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment
Andrade, Edilene Pereira, August Bonmati, Laureano Jimenez Esteller, Erica Montemayor, and Assumpcio Anton Vallejo. 2021. "Performance And Environmental Accounting Of Nutrient Cycling Models To Estimate Nitrogen Emissions In Agriculture And Their Sensitivity In Life Cycle Assessment". The International Journal Of Life Cycle Assessment 26 (2): 371-387. doi:10.1007/s11367-021-01867-4.
Grant agreement number
EC/H2020/713679/EU/Martí i Franquès COFUND/MFP
Gestió Integral de Residus Orgànics
This item appears in the following Collection(s)
- ARTICLES CIENTÍFICS 
The following license files are associated with this item:
Except where otherwise noted, this item's license is described as http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/