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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2017

Threefold sustainability impact assessment method comparison for renewable energy value chains

Tuomasjukka, Diana; Athanassiadis, Dimitris; Vis, Martijn


There is a variety of different methods for carrying out sustainability impact assessments of energy value chains. The different methods can use the same, or similarly named, indicators, but the methods make different assumptions about the system boundaries and differ in the purpose of the assessment, and this can lead to confusion when communicating the results of different studies. A method expansion of Sustainability Impact Assessment (SIA) was developed and tested to allow comparison of environmental indicators of energy use and generation, energy balance and greenhouse gas emission as calculated according to three different methods. (1) direct value chain environmental impacts; (referred to as SIA in this paper), (2) direct plus indirect impacts following a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) approach, and (3) a method based on European Sustainability Criteria (ESC) for solid biomass. The Tool for Sustainability Impact Assessment (ToSIA 2.0) was used for this method expansion. Indicator values following the three different approaches were calculated for a typical Nordic bioenergy harvesting chain producing forest wood chips. The indicator values for SIA, LCA and ESC are made comparable side by side, and give thus more insight on the difference and purpose of the three different methods when applied to the same harvesting chain.


ToSIA; lifecycle assessment; obligatory European sustainability criteria; solid biomass; value chain; indicator

Published in

International Journal of Forest Engineering
2017, Volume: 28, number: 2, pages: 116-122

    Sustainable Development Goals

    SDG7 Affordable and clean energy

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Forest Science

    Publication identifier


    Permanent link to this page (URI)