Methodology of ecoinvent 3

Methodology of ecoinvent 3

What is an activity in ecoinvent version 3?

An ecoinvent activity dataset represents a unit process of a human activity and its exchanges with the environment and with other human activities. There are several activity types in the ecoinvent version 3 database; transforming activities, treatment activities, market activities, import and export activities, production and supply mixes, etc.

The ecoinvent version 3 contains two basic types of activities:

  • transforming activity; is a human activity that transforms inputs into outputs that are different from the inputs. This is the most common type of activity in the ecoinvent database, e.g. a hard coal mine that transforms hard coal in ground to the product hard coal, or an automobile plant that turns metals, plastics and energy into cars.
  • market activity; is an activity that does not transform inputs, but simply transfers the intermediate output of one or more transforming activities to the activities that consume this intermediate exchange as an input, e.g. hard coal at the supplier to hard coal at the consumer. The market activity provides the average consumption mix of a product for a given region, and the marginal consumption mix in system models that use marginal suppliers. Market activities also include transport inputs to reflect the transport from the supplier to the consumer, and losses during transport.