While the Global LCA Data Access (GLAD) was launched last June, work continues relentlessly behind the scenes to improve and assure the long-term interoperability of LCA datasets. The GLAD Nomenclature working group is one of the very active fronts and is progressing towards a framework to maintain elementary flow list mappings between nomenclature systems used in the LCA community. Crucially, the working group is supported by the in-kind work of key institutions and nomenclature systems (Japan’s IDEA; the European ILCD; the US Federal Elementary Flow List; ecoinvent…) working together towards the shared vision of LCA data interoperability.

Among other milestones, the work includes the definition of a standard GLAD format for elementary flow list files and mappings files, now used by four nomenclature systems (ILCD, ecoinvent, IDEA, FEDEFL); a GitHub repository to manage the mapping tasks; bi-directional mapping files between the four nomenclature systems, and the workflow to maintain this; a mapping tool (delivered in-kind by the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre) to deliver automatic “pre-mapping files”, which are then being refined (also in-kind) by the US Environment Protection Agency… and more!

Despite the great progress so far, we still foresee much work needed before we reach a decent quality bi-directional mapping between the major nomenclature systems. Any contributions to the Nomenclature WG are welcome (see how to Get Involved), and we look forward to any feedback to data that is already in the GitHub repository.

The JRC has developed an automatic mapping software tool that builds on the agreed GLAD CSV file format of elementary flow lists. The tool can generate mappings files between the flow lists provided by different nomenclature systems and different versions of the same nomenclature system. The mapping includes one source list and one target list and matches the single flows in a 1:1 comparison. In order to come to a bi-directional mapping between two flow lists, the tool needs to be executed both ways with the source list, and target list replaced, eventually generating two mapping files. The mapping tool utilizes a “context mapping file”, which intelligently maps contexts like “emissions/air/close-to-ground” to “emission/air/unspecified”. It is also possible to configure a name to name matching table within the context mapping file, where homogeneous groups of flows can be matched consistently (e.g. land use flows).

(Koichi Shobatake, Simone Fazio, Gregor Wernet, Carl Vadenbo, Wesley Ingwersen, on behalf of the GLAD Nomenclature Working Group team)