openLCA 1.7, released March 2018

What´s new in 1.7?

The new point release of openLCA includes new features and major improvements e.g., among others, improved modelling of waste treatment and reuse, a comprehensive collaboration feature for simultaneous work on LCA studies and enhancements for the import and export of data.

With openLCA 1.7 we give a powerful boost to our mission of providing a full-featured, free and open source modelling suite for Life Cycle Assessments and other sustainability modelling approaches.

Fewer modelling restrictions and improved modelling of waste treatment and reuse

One of the most progressive features of openLCA 1.7 is the possibility to use waste flows as an input for waste treatment processes. This may sound trivial but previous versions of openLCA and other LCA software require little tricks for accurate representation of waste in LCA models.

Moreover, when applying system expansion, input waste flows can now be marked as avoided waste. Since avoided flows are considered as an output, this means an expense in the cost column (highlighted in grey). Of course, it is still possible to model waste flows as in previous versions of openLCA. For this, waste treatment must be considered as a “service” for the process to eliminate the product. In this case, the waste flow is an output in the waste treatment process and the waste treatment process is an input in the considered process (pay attention to the positive or negative values to be inserted in the amount column).

Upgraded Sankey Diagrams

The visualisation of a product system’s impact per category in Sankey Diagram has been revamped:

  • Upon right-clicking a process, other connected processes are highlighted in colour to visualise connections between processes of a product system
  • We’ve previously introduced rerouting to Sankey Diagrams to tide things up. However, for large product systems routing sometimes disguises the connection between processes. Therefore, routing is now an optional feature that can be disabled

Enhanced import and export of data

To continue making openLCA the most compatible and flexible LCA software, we further enhanced openLCA import and export capabilities for ILCD, SimaPro CSV and EcoSpold 1 formats.

During import of e.g. JSON-LD data sets, openLCA now offers the user full control over how existing data sets are updated:

Improved user experience for Mac OS

Over time, we have received a lot of feedback from Mac users on how to improve the openLCA user experience on Mac OS. We have worked hard on openLCA 1.7 taking Mac users’ feedback into account. This pertains for instance a simplified installation of openLCA and other important improvements.

Additional improvements

We’ve added numerous minor improvements which will smoothen your daily openLCA experience e.g.

Users can now directly navigate from an impact assessment method’s impact factor overview to specific flows:

Entire child categories (sub groups) of projects, product systems, processes and flows can now be deleted with ease:

Full support for the openLCA collaboration server

olca_cs_150openLCA 1.7 accommodates full integration of the openLCA Collaboration Server which will be released soon. The openLCA Collaboration Server facilitates developing LCA studies in teams through a cloud computing-like user experience. Users will be able to work simultaneously with the same database and track each other’s changes to assure the quality of outputs (find more information about it here).

All software changes mentioned here were carried out by the GreenDelta Team in Berlin; support from sponsors, including the US Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) is gratefully acknowledged.

How to get the latest version?

Version 1.7 is available at the openLCA Downloads website. You can use either the installer or the .exe file included in the zip file also provided in the downloads page (no need to de-install your older version). In both cases, when you open a database, the update manager will be opened and you will need to install the required updates. By clicking OK, you accept the conversion. The content of the database will not be affected by the required updates, only the structure. Have in mind that this process cannot be reversed. Once your database has the new database structure it cannot be opened with earlier openLCA versions (e.g. 1.5.0, 1.4.2).