Database Ecoinvent

Cut-off model, markets, locations... All you need to know about using Ecoinvent in Mobius

With around 17,000 Life Cycle Inventory (LCI) datasets in many areas such as energy supply, agriculture, transport, biofuels and biomaterials, bulk and specialty chemicals, construction materials, wood, and waste treatment, ecoinvent is the most comprehensive, transparent, international LCI database.


In the Mobius application the Ecoinvent database is available to link to your products, materials, energy and wastes to obtain the environmental impact. More about linking and searching in the database can be found in Step 1.

Finding a good product reference from the database is important for creating correct environmental footprints but can be challenging. With the tips and tricks below we hope to get you started!


The product results of Ecoinvent currently look like this:

And contains the following information:


Activity/Process name | Product name | Cutoff, U

Amount unit and property


Location | Database name | Category


Process name

When selecting a product from the database always check if the product is produced by the correct process. In the example the product “foam glass” is the same but the process producing it is different, one is without glass cullet, one with and the latter comes from a market activity.



A market dataset collects all activities with the same reference product in a certain geographical region. Furthermore, it includes average transports of that product within the geography, as well as inputs of the product itself to cover losses in trade and transport. In other words, they are consumption mixes of a certain product in a certain geographical region. There are either global or local markets, depending on real-life conditions and on the availability of local transforming activities for specific products. More about Markets here.



The location is also important in choosing a product from the database. Try to find one that closely resembles the production location of your product. If that specific location is not available you can try a neighboring country, the continent or just the Global or Rest of World average.


List of products

A complete list of all Ecoinvent activities and products can be found here, Ecoinvent activity overview.

The tab “Activity overview” contains the activity/process name in column B and the product name in column K. The ISIC class is listed in column F and corresponds with the Categories in Mobius. The tab “Intermediate exchanges” lists all products and services and, if available, a CAS number.


Recommended data sets in The Netherlands

Based on the SBK Bepalingsmethode v 3.0


market for electricity, low voltage | electricity, low voltage | Cutoff, U


Natural gas, burned in industrial furnace

With 31,7 MJ per m3 natural gas

heat production, natural gas, at industrial furnace >100kW | heat, district or industrial, natural gas | Cutoff, U

Europe without Switzerland

Diesel, burned in building machine

With 35,8 MJ per liter diesel

diesel, burned in building machine | diesel, burned in building machine | Cutoff, U



market for tap water | tap water | Cutoff, U


Transport by lorry

market for transport, freight, lorry, unspecified | transport, freight, lorry, unspecified | Cutoff, U


Transport by barge

market for transport, freight, inland waterways, barge | transport, freight, inland waterways, barge | Cutoff, U


Transport by transoceanic ship

market for transport, freight, sea, transoceanic ship | transport, freight, sea, transoceanic ship | Cutoff, U






System models

All system models are based on the same underlying data of real-world processes, but different types studies may benefit from different modelling choices.

In Mobius the recommended system model “Allocation, cut-off by classification” is available. This system model in short, is based on the Recycled Content, or Cut-off, approach.  

The underlying philosophy is that a producer is fully responsible for the disposal of its wastes, and that he does not receive any credit for the provision of any recyclable materials.

The cut-off system model has, broadly speaking, the effect that recyclable materials are cut off at the beginning of the treatment processes, becoming available burden-free for following uses. The treatment of wastes is completely allocated to the waste producer and all valuable by-products of waste treatment are cut off in the waste treatment, and become available burden-free. Ordinary by-products are handled by allocating between the products if an activity produces more than one of them.

More information on the cut-off model can be found here Ecoinvent Cut-off model.