Fuel Life Cycle Assessment Model

The Government of Canada's Fuel Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) Model (the Model) is a tool to calculate the life cycle carbon intensity (CI) of fuels and energy sources used and produced in Canada. The Model helps to support the delivery of regulations and programs as part of Canada's actions on climate change. For example, the Clean Fuel Regulations uses the Model to determine the CI of fuels, material inputs and energy sources for credit creation.

The Model is designed to:

The Model consists of the following 3 documents:

Users of the Model include:

Access the Model

To use the Model:

  1. download and install the most recent stable version of the openLCA software
    • this free and open source software is required in order to use the Model, supported for Windows, Mac, and Linux
  2. download the Fuel LCA Model Database
  3. consult the Fuel LCA Model User Manual for instructions on setting up the Fuel LCA Model Database in the openLCA software

Recorded training sessions

In addition to the Fuel LCA Model User Manual, the following videos provide a walk-through of the Model and an example of calculating a CI. These videos are recordings of training sessions that use the December 2021 pre-published version of the Model.

Ongoing development of the Model

Ongoing development and maintenance activities to the Model are prioritized based on engagement with the Stakeholder Technical Advisory Committee (STAC), comments received from stakeholders and other governmental departments as well as issues identified by ECCC.

To increase transparency and offer an opportunity for stakeholder feedback on the proposed changes to the Model in advance of the next formal version of the Model (expected in 2026), ECCC will proceed with multiple pre-publications of proposed changes by topic as they are ready.

In addition, predefined fuel pathways (PFPs) are being developed to allow calculation of a CI representative of a Canadian context for a given fuel pathway without facility or supply chain data.

Pre-publications of Proposed Changes to the Model

Pre-publications of proposed changes to the Model

Pre-publications generally include documents that explain the proposed changes to the Model and modules that can be uploaded in openLCA.

Pre-publications are not to be used for compliance with the Clean Fuel Regulations, or other programs or regulations, unless otherwise specified.

Stakeholders will be invited to review the pre-publications and provide comments to ECCC within 30 days following the publication date at modeleacvcarburant-fuellcamodel@ec.gc.ca.

Comments submitted will be considered for the development of the next formal version of the Model.

Stakeholders on the Fuel LCA Model Distribution list will be notified by email the day of each pre-publication. If you want to have your name added to the distribution list, please send a request to modeleacvcarburant-fuellcamodel@ec.gc.ca.

List of 2023-2024 pre-publications used for the June 2024 Model
Formal publications of the Model

Formal publications of the Model

A new version of the Model is expected to be published every two years (the next formal publication is planned for 2026).

While the intent is to provide certainty and stability to stakeholders, unplanned publications of the Model may occur under certain circumstances (for example, if important new information becomes available). The following factors will guide recommendations for unplanned publication:

  1. the degree to which CI values are changed and the implications to programs that use the Model (i.e. GHG reductions, Clean Fuel Regulations credits)
  2. the number of affected stakeholders who would have to update their data
  3. the complexity of the required solution and the proximity to the next planned formal publication

An overview of the main changes made to the Model in June 2024 since the January 2023 publication is provided here:

Predefined Fuel Pathways

Predefined Fuel Pathways

The PFPs allow for the calculation of a CI that is representative of a Canadian context for a given fuel pathway without facility or supply chain data. The PFPs can be used for various purposes including policy analysis, environmental performance optimization and benchmarking of fuels, scientific research, or as a set of default values by Government of Canada programs requiring a CI assessment. They also provide users with access to a more transparent life cycle modelling of low CI fuels produced in Canada.

The PFPs include a data workbook (Excel file) and an openLCA module. They are developed based on the fuel pathways currently available in the Model but are pre-populated with predefined (default) parameters representative of technologies and processes in Canada. The PFPs also offer the option to use specific values from the user when available (more information is provided in the data workbook).

Stakeholders will be invited to review the preliminary version of the PFPs and provide comments to ECCC within 30 days following the publication date at modeleacvcarburant-fuellcamodel@ec.gc.ca.

Final PFPs will be consistent with Model datasets or pre-published datasets but could include modelling options not available in the Model. The module is available in the form of an add-on module which the user can import into their existing Fuel LCA Model database in openLCA.

PFPs are not to be used for compliance with the Clean Fuel Regulations, or other programs or regulations, unless otherwise specified.

List of predefined fuel pathways released for consultation (each with a 30-day comment period)

List of predefined fuel pathways released for consultation (each with a 30-day comment period)

List of upcoming predefined fuel pathways

List of upcoming predefined fuel pathways

  • New predefined fuel pathways for Hydrogen from polymer electrolyte membrane electrolysis (PEM)
  • Updated predefined fuel pathways for Hydrogen from steam methane reforming with carbon capture and storage
  • New predefined fuel pathways for Hydrogen from autothermal reforming with carbon capture and storage
  • New predefined fuel pathways for Renewable Natural Gas from landfill gas – with avoided emissions
  • New predefined fuel pathways for Renewable Natural Gas from anaerobic digestion of manure – with avoided emissions
  • New predefined fuel pathways for hydrogen gasification
Stakeholder Technical Advisory Committee

Stakeholder Technical Advisory Committee

The Stakeholder Technical Advisory Committee (STAC) includes representatives from the following sectors (industry or associations): fossil fuel, low carbon fuel, electricity, agriculture, forestry and hydrogen. It also includes representatives from environmental non-governmental organizations, academia, and independent LCA experts. All members of the STAC have expertise in life cycle assessment, GHG quantification or GHG credits trading schemes. 

The STAC is one of the main venues to ensure that the Model constantly evolves, is representative of current practices and technologies, and that various perspectives are considered through the ongoing development of the Model. The STAC contributes to ensure that openness and transparency remain key aspects of future iterations of the Model.

STAC members

STAC members

  • Environment and Climate Change Canada (chair)
  • Canadian fossil fuel association or industry:
    • Canadian Fuels Association
    • Canadian Gas Association
    • Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers
  • Canadian low carbon fuel association or industry:
    • Advanced Biofuels Canada
    • Renewable Industries Canada
    • Canadian Biogas Association
  • Canadian electricity sector:
    • Electricity Canada
  • Canadian agricultural sector:
    • Canada Grains Council
  • Canadian forestry sector:
    • Forest Products Association of Canada
  • Canadian hydrogen sector:
    • Canadian Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Association
  • Environmental non-governmental organization:
    • Pembina Institute
  • Academics and life cycle independent experts:
    • University of Toronto
    • University of British Columbia
    • University of Alberta
    • US Argonne National Laboratory
    • (S&T)2 Consultants Inc.
Terms of reference

Terms of reference

1. Purpose

The purpose of the Stakeholder Technical Advisory Committee (STAC) is to provide technical advice to Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) on the ongoing development and maintenance of the government of Canada's Fuel Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) Model (the Model).

As Government of Canada policies and regulations are anchored in the transition to a low carbon and net-zero emissions economy, the Model developed by ECCC has the potential to ensure consistency in how federal departments account for greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reductions, and removed or avoided emissions across the life cycle of products and resources. The Model includes GHG emissions along the fuel production chain, from upstream oil and gas production or crop growth, to end-use combustion of the fuel. The Model contains life cycle GHG emissions for both fossil and low carbon intensity fuel pathways.

The STAC is one of the main venues to ensure that the Model constantly evolves, is representative of current practices and technologies, and that various perspectives are considered through the ongoing development of the Model. The STAC contributes to ensure that openness and transparency remain key aspects of future iterations of Model.

2. Objective

The main objective of the STAC is to provide advice and support to ECCC via technical recommendations pertaining to the ongoing advancement and maintenance of the Model. The scope of the STAC's work is on the technical aspects of the Model, mindful that other program-related interests (e.g. Clean Fuel Regulations) can be raised through other channels.

Specific duties of the STAC include:

  • advising ECCC on the ongoing development of the Model
  • advising ECCC on the expansion of the Model's scope, including on the integration of new fuel pathways
  • providing feedback on how the Model can be improved from a user-experience perspective
  • supporting ECCC in keeping the Model up to date including through the identification of appropriate knowledge transfer and data sharing mechanisms, if available

Other duties may be identified over time.

3. Selection of members

The STAC is comprised of 17 members with equal voice, as follows:

  • (1) chair from Environment and Climate Change Canada
  • (3) three members from a Canadian fossil fuel association or industry
  • (3) three members from a Canadian low carbon fuel association or industry
  • (1) one member from the Canadian electricity sector
  • (1) one member from a Canadian agricultural association or industry
  • (1) one member from a Canadian forestry association or industry
  • (1) one member from a Canadian hydrogen association or industry
  • (1) one member from a Canadian environmental non-governmental organization (ENGO)
  • (5) five members from academia or life cycle independent experts

Expert representatives from sectors, industry, associations and organizations are invited to sit on the STAC for a period of between two and three years. After that period, ECCC may invite a member to extend their participation on the STAC, invite some of the same associations, industries and/or ENGOs to recommend a new technical expert to contribute to the work of the STAC for the next two to three years, and/or invite organizations with a different set of expertise to join the STAC.

  • ECCC will not restrict renewal of nomination for experts whose organizations wish to recommend their expertise for subsequent 2-3-year mandate
  • ECCC may, following each 2-3-year mandate, amend these Terms of Reference to adapt the STAC membership to reflect evolving technical expertise requirements

Academics and independent experts are asked to commit to the STAC for a period of between two and three years. Similarly, after that period, ECCC shall invite academics and independent experts whose expertise is most likely to fulfill the requirements of subsequent model updates.

Observers can be invited to attend STAC meeting, at the discretion of the Chair. Members can propose observers, but their invitation will remain at the discretion of the Chair.

4. Conditions of membership

The following conditions of membership must be met:

  • members of the STAC committee must have expertise related to life cycle inventory, life cycle impact assessment and/or GHG quantification
  • members are allowed to designate an alternate representative in their absence, with appropriate qualifications
  • a member who is absent from three consecutive scheduled meetings without just cause may be asked to resign by the Chair
  • members will adhere to the corresponding roles and responsibilities outlined in this document
5. Resignation or change in representative duties

In the case a Member ceases their duties as a representative of an association or organization, they shall notify ECCC within 14 calendar days of these changes being effective. The Member will be asked to resign from the STAC, and ECCC will invite the association or organization they represented to recommend a replacement. The same conditions of membership will be required.

In any case, ECCC will ensure that balanced stakeholder representation is respected.

6. Role of Chair

The STAC is chaired by an ECCC executive director of the Cross Sectoral Energy Division who is responsible for:

  • ensuring the Terms of Reference are applied
  • managing the meetings, including ensuring that all participants have an opportunity to speak;
  • reviewing agendas
  • reviewing meeting minutes
  • ensuring all relevant material is shared to members prior to the meeting
7. Role of Secretary

An ECCC official provides secretary services. These include:

  • drafting a work plan to guide the contribution of the STAC to ongoing updates of the Model
  • conducting an analysis of the feedback shared by stakeholders and structuring that feedback to optimize efficiency
  • working closely with the Fuel LCA Model team and the STAC to consider feedback from stakeholders and prioritize updates to the Model accordingly
  • drafting meeting minutes and distributing them to STAC members
  • preparing and distributing meeting agendas
  • keeping track of STAC member information (contact, scheduling, etc.)
8. Meeting process

Meetings of the STAC are held 3 to 4 times per year. Additional meetings may be called by the Chair, provided that:

  • an agenda stating the time, place, and discussion is distributed by the Secretary prior to each meeting;
  • reasonable notice has been given by email to all committee members
    • reasonable notice is considered to mean a minimum of (14) fourteen calendar days before the meeting

Meetings can be held via teleconference, videoconferencing, or in person.

9. Meeting minutes

Minutes are recorded in writing by a Secretary appointed by ECCC. A draft copy of the minutes of each STAC meeting are circulated to the members prior to the next meeting for the purpose of verification and adoption.

10. Confidentiality

Any STAC records, material and information obtained by a member of the committee will only be considered confidential if it is clearly identified as such.

11. Amendments

Amendments to the Terms of Reference can be recommended by the STAC for ECCC's consideration. ECCC will solicit input from the STAC members on any proposed changes to the TOR prior to implementation.

More information

For general questions on the Model, please contact the Fuel LCA Model team at modeleacvcarburant-fuellcamodel@ec.gc.ca.

Related resources

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