Sekar, Ananda

In context of heightened focus towards carbon neutrality, bio-based chemicals and polymer products has potential to play a central role in decarbonization of petrochemical industry. Standardization of biogenic carbon accounting in various methodological frameworks within and outside LCA framework becomes very crucial to ensure consistency in measurement and tracking. Key recent developments linked to methodological frameworks for accounting of biogenic carbon emissions include but not limited to EF Method 3.0 as part of PEF initiative, EN 15804+A2:2019 method that is used for EPD of construction products and PAS 2050. The shift towards bio-based feedstocks relies on a key value proposition: carbon dioxide emission reductions enabled by use of bio-based feedstocks. In such LCA studies, methodological considerations linked to multi-output allocation has potential to introduce imbalance of the biogenic carbon balance in a way that the net biogenic flows do not match with biogenic carbon content of the end products. Also, at “Cradle to gate”, studies involving bio-based polymers miss to capture the full sequestration benefit of bio-based feedstocks. When such polymers are either recycled or landfilled, the full credits linked to the biogenic carbon removals fail to be realized by the product system. The proposed work analyzes the potential variations caused by different methodological considerations via a sample case study on bio-based polymers that is assessed both at “Cradle to Gate” and “Cradle to Gate + EOL”. The work also provides recommendations that allows LCA studies to estimate carbon footprint of bio-based products that are consistent with actual biogenic flows throughout the life cycle. This work also presents recommendations for alignment of approaches used by LCA and Scope 3 reporting.