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GREET Model User Guide

Well to Wheels
Well to Wheel results account for all the energy and emissions necessary to produce the fuel
used in the car (Well to Pump) and the operation energy and emissions associated with the
vehicle technology (tail pipe emissions, other emissions and energy efficiency of the vehicle)

Well to Wheel : Well to Pump and Vehicle Technology

The diagram above represents the idea behind GREET: Perform the life cycle analysis on fuel
production, perform the life cycle analysis on materials production, and combined the two in
order to estimate the cradle to grave impact of different transportation technologies. The
Well to Wheel analysis represents therefore a subset of the cradle to grave as the energy
and emission associated with the manufacturing and recycling of the vehicles are not
accounted for in WTW.
Well to Wheels results explorer - Grid
Independent Vehicle
In GREET the well to wheels explorer allows the user to select a vehicle technology and see
results associated with the operation of the vehicle itself and the well to wheel results
including the operation and the production of the fuel.
In order to see the results associated with a vehicle, you must select a vehicle into the tree
on the left. Vehicle are categorized per fuel type, so to select a conventional gasoline spark
ignition engine car, double click on "Reformulated Gasoline E10" then select the desired

Well to Wheel Explorer : Conventional gasoline car results

The energy and emission results are displayed on the right and classified in two main

- Vehicle Operation
These results are calculated based on the vehicle parameters only. The energy efficiency and
emission factors for that car are taken into account, but no upstream is added there.
- Total
Represents the Well to Wheels results for that car: includes the operation energy and
emissions as well as the upstream energy and emissions necessary for the production of the

On the top of the results we can see a couple of interesting items:

- The vehicle name

This name can be clicked in order to access the vehicle parameters
- The fuel blend in the tank of that vehicle
By clicking the name of the pathways or mixes used, the user can navigate to these
pathways and mixes
- The functional unit
Allows the user to see results per distance travelled (mile or 100km) or per energy used by
the power plant of the vehicle (ICE or other technology). Showing the results per energy
uses thus "ignores" the vehicle efficiency from the results.
- Target Year for Simulation
The target year used for the Well to Product: All parameters in the processes that have time
series available will be using the value for the target simulation year
- Model Year for Vehicle Simulation
The average model year of vehicles on the road. We usually assume that the average age of
the vehicles on the road is 5 years. Thus the simulations for the vehicle technologies (engine
efficiency and emission factors) are 5 years "older" than the assumptions used for the fuel
production. This parameter is adjustable in the Simulation Parameters.

Well to Wheels results explorer - Grid

Connected Vehicle
For GREET connected vehicle the approach is similar, the only difference is that grid
connected vehicle will be calculated for two distinct operation modes: Charge Depletion (CD)
and Charge Sustaining (CS)
The results will be shown for:

- The operation energy and emissions

Does not includes any upstream
- The Charge Depleting mode
Uses some electric energy charged from the grid into the battery as well as some fuel for the
- The Charge Sustaining mode
The vehicle operates as a regular hybrid with no energy from the grid used.
Well to Wheel Explorer : Gasoline PHEV Car


WTP Analysis
Well to Product Explorer
The well to product explorer is the place to start if you want to look at life cycle upstream
associated with the production of a product (usually products are fuels).
Well to Product : Accounting Well to Product for a very simplified pathway representation

The example above is a very simplified version of a pathway with two processes. They both
require resources as inputs, have a single product as an output, and generate emissions. As
we talk about Well to Product, keep in mind the boundaries of the system shown above.

Electricity production pathway

As a first example, we're going to explore the results associated with the production of
Electricity. Electricity is produced in different ways in different parts of the world. The
GREET database is focused on United States production, but some other pathways are also
available. For this example, we're going to focus on Electricity Produced in the U.S., in the
central and southern plains region. Then we'll compare the results with the electricity
produced in average in the United States.

First, to see results associated with Electricity we have to look for the product "Electricity" in
the database.
Well to Product Explorer : Searching for Electriticy

By typing "Electricity" in the WTP (well to product) search box, the list below only shows
pathways and mixes that contain "Electricity" in their name. We know that we're not
interested in the production of Dimethyl Ether, nor Gaseous Hydrogen, but we are going to
double click on Electricity to expand the product and see all available pathways and mixes
that produce electricity. The naming convention of the electricity production pathway is
described as: The pathways that are "Distributed" include the transmission and distribution
losses to the consumers, the "Non-Distributed" are not accounting for these losses.

We're now going to click on "Distributed - U.S. Central and Southern Plans Mix". By doing
this, the representation of the pathway will be displayed on the right side, and the results
associated with the main output on the bottom left side:
Well to Product Explorer : Selection of a Pathway

On the right side we can see that the only difference between the Non-Distributed and
Distributed versions is that an extra process is added to the pathway. The "Electric
Transmission and Distribution" process is there to simulate the losses in transformers and
transmission lines.

The results shown on the bottom right are by default representing how much energy and
emissions is associated with the production of 1mmBtu of electricity. We're first going to see
how this functional unit can be modified. In order to modify the functional unit click on the
button showing currently "1mmBtu", then in the new window, enter 1 MJ as a functional
Well to Product Explorer : Changing the functional unit of the results

Now the results are expressed per 1MJ of electricity. The results are organized into

- Emissions - Well To Product

All emissions released into the atmosphere for the production of electricity, including
emissions released at the power plants, but also all upstream emissions associated with the
the recovery, processing and transport of all necessary resources. These are the life cycle
emissions associated with the production of electricity per 1MJ of electricity in Central and
Southern Plains in the U.S.
- Resources - Well To Product
All natural resources used for the production of electricity, including resources needed
directly by the power plants, but also all upstream necessary to recover, process and
transport them. These are the life cycle natural resources used for the production of
electricity per 1MJ of electricity in Central and Southern Plains in the U.S.
- Urban Emissions - Well To Product
All emissions released in urban areas for the production of electricity, including emissions
released at the power plants, but also all upstream emissions associated with the the
recovery, processing and transport of all necessary resources. These are the life cycle
emissions released in urban areas associated with the production of electricity per 1MJ of
electricity in Central and Southern Plains in the U.S.

Electricity production mix

Besides pathways and processes. GREET has the notion of a mix. Basically a mix is an
instance capable only to aggregate and weight average the upstream of different pathways
or other mixes. To illustrate this we're going to explore the results for the mix called "Non
Distributed - U.S. Central and Southern Plains Mix"

Well to Product Explorer : Representation of a mix

The representation above is the electricity generation mix for central and southern plain in
the U.S. This is the mix that is used in the pathway we described before. This mix was used
in the pathway as to "feed" the transportation and distribution losses process.

In the case of a mix, the representation on the right shows the shares for all the different
pathways combined in the mix. The results on the bottom left respect the same logic as
before: The functional unit can be changed as well, and the "Well to Product" results still
account for all emissions and energy necessary in the production of electricity up to that
point when we aggregate multiple pathways.

By comparing the results of this mix with the results of the pathway described above (and
by keeping the same functional unit) you should observe that the mix results are slightly
lower than the pathway results. In that case the relative difference should be equal to the
efficiency of the "Electric Transmission and Distribution" efficiency.
Data Editors
The data editors are essential to modify the content of the database and add new instances
of entities that the database does not already contain. For example, the user can add a new
pathway or edit an existing resource.

The GREET model is built around essential entities that are Resources, Emissions,
Technologies, Processes, Pathways and Mixes: these constitute the Well to Product (or well
to pump) part of the calculations. Then other entities such as Vehicles, Planes, and Ships
are modelled to re-use the upstream results from the model.

Building blocks of the GREET model

We assume resources to be elements used in flows between processes and pathways. They
can be energy types (electricity), natural resources (crude oil), products (ethanol) or
chemicals (fertilizers). There is basically no limit to how many or what resources can be, but
we assume that each of the resource can be quantified into one of the following dimensions:
Resources have physical properties for a given temperature, pressure and state. However
physical properties are not calculated throughout the model, therefore the user could create
multiple resources called "natural gas" at different temperatures and pressure.
We also create resources for "Electricity", "Solar Energy", and "Hydro Energy", whatever we
need to "track" as a flow in the model is created as a resource.

Resources have physical properties that are important as they allow us to make automatic
conversions between mass, volume, energy, and market value. Without these properties it
is still possible to build pathways, but entering the data becomes less flexible.

Note: Resources are also used for the outputs of processes and pathways, thus we do not
make a technical distinction between "products" and "resources". However we do track
which resources are "Primary Resources", they are the ones we extract from our
environment and we want to keep track of. For example Crude Oil and Iron Ore are
considered Natural Resources.

Emissions are gases or other types of pollutants that can be released in nature as a results
of the production of some product. Emissions are most of the time emitted because of
combustion technologies, but non combustion emissions can also be defined in the

Emissions have physical properties that are important for emission calculations:
- Carbon Ratio
Necessary to perform the carbon balance, means that all the carbon that comes in, is
converted in VOC, CH4 and CO2 emission factors
- Sulfur Ratio
Necessary to perform the sulfur balance, means that SOx emission factors can be calculated
- Global Warming Potential
Expresses relatively to the CO2 GWP (GWP for CO2 is one), this allows for the calculation
the Greenhouse Gases Equivalent or CO2e for all the upstream.

Emissions are frequently used in technologies expressed in mass per amount of energy

Technologies can be seen as a matrix of emission factors organized per emission and per
year. We have probably as many emission factors defined every 5 years as we have
technologies defined for a default year (year 0 is considered default when no time series
data is available)

Technologies must define a resource combusted (or used as an input) and emission factors
relatively to that resource. For example the emission factors for a natural gas boiler are
going to be different than the emissions factors for a residual oil boiler. Most of the time
though, we leave the SOx and CO2 emission factors to be balanced automatically by the
software using the carbon and sulfur ratio of the emission, as well as the carbon and sulfur
ratio of the resource combusted and other emission factors already defined by the user.

Technologies are used whenever a resource is combusted: typically in the inputs of a

stationary process, but also in the transportation modes such as the engine of a train or
ocean tanker.

A important feature to know is that Technologies are able to know the ratio of biogenic
carbon in the burned resource by analyzing the upstream linked to the production of that
resource. For example Ethanol production is largely based on biofuels, therefore the
biongenic carbon content of the Ethanol produced in the US contains almost 100% of
biogenic carbon (a little less if we blend it with a denaturant such as gasoline). If emission
factors are defined for a technology using Ethanol (for example combusting ethanol in an
internal combustion engine) the CO2 emitted in the atmosphere will be a negative value due
to it's biogenic nature.

A process define a system boundary where flows of resources are coming in, and flows of
products and emissions are coming out. Overall in GREET we set the system boundaries at a
pretty high level. Plants usually define our system boundaries, and for these, we account all
the resources they use, and all the products and emissions they release. Some more
detailed level is achievable as well, for example steel production is detailed by sub-process
within the steel mill (Sinter, furnace, rolling, casting, extrusion...). The processes in GREET
are defined by:
- Inputs
Each input must define a resource and a quantity, and a source ("Well" if no upstream,
"Previous Process", "Pathway" or "Mix" if this input is coming from the output of another
- Outputs
Each output must define a resource and a quantity. Moreover one of the outputs must be
declared as "Main Output" and if other exists, the user can choose to allocate by mass,
energy, volume or market value, or choose displace an equivalent product. In that case we
declare these outputs as "Co-Products"
- Technologies
Technologies can only be used on Inputs. Multiple technologies can be used for the same
input, in which case an allocation share will be necessary. For example Natural Gas can be
used to run a boiler and a turbine within the same process
- Other Emissions
Emissions that are not calculated based on input quantities and technologies emission
factors. These emissions may be the results of a chemical reaction, or to balance measured
emission with the theoretical emissions of the technologies.
Processes are the main building blocks of a pathway, once the processes are created, they
can be inserted in pathway and the pathway editor can be used to define the flows between
inputs and outputs.

Pathways are a structure that we use to account for a series of processes that are used to
produce one or more final product from one or more feedstock. For example Ethanol can be
produced from different types of Sorghum, thus in GREET, a pathway Ethanol from
Sorghum allows the user to see the chain of processes and events in the manufacturing of
Ethanol from these types of feedstock.

The general structure behind a pathway is an oriented graph that can be cyclic. Thus
complex pathways can be used to represent sub-processes within a large and complex
manufacturing process. For example one could imagine a pathway used to represent a
refinery. This pathway would include multiple processes such as Distillation, Hydrocracking,
Alkylation, Polymerization... and multiple outputs such as Gasoline, Solvants, Jet Fuel,
Residual Oil....

Pathways can also be reused as a feedstock in other pathways. For example "Corn
Production" is a pathway that is reused as a feed into "Ethanol Production from Corn". This
capability allows the user to gain a lot of time reusing existing entities. In order to do that,
simply drag and drop a pathway in the pathway editor instead of dragging a process. The
only difference is that a pathway will have no inputs represented visually, only outputs of a
pathways can be linked to other items, such as processes inputs.

In many cases, such as ethanol production, electricity production or others, there are
different ways of producing a very similar product. In this case, multiple pathways may
exists such as "Electricity from Natural Gas", "Electricity from Nuclear Plant",... We can then
decide to create regional mixes for electricity production: In the US we distinguish twelve
main regions, for each region electricity is produced using different shares for each of the

Mix were designed to perform a weighted average of multiple pathways, however mixes can
also be reused into other mixes. Basically there is not difference between weight averaging
the upstream results associated with a mix to weight averaging the results associated with a

As pathways are able to chain processes, and use other pathways as feedstock, mixes can
also be used as a feedstock in a pathway, and then, linked to the input of a process. This
allows for example to use "Distributed Electricity Produced in U.S." into other pathways that
may need this product. The difference between using a mix or a pathway as a feedstock for
another pathway is that mixes have only a single output.

Finally mixes can be used to create blends: If two resources are marked as "Compatible"
they can be blended together in a mix. However we try to discourage this practice and
perform the blends into a stationary process instead.

Vehicles are used in the model to calculate the WTW (well to wheels) analysis. They are
using the upstream calculated in the WTP (well to pump or well to product) as fuels and
considering the eneergy efficency of the vehicle and it's emissions, we then aggregate all
the results into a single WTW analysis. The vehicles are defined by:

- An energy efficiency
In MPG or l/100km
- Fuel used and their upstream by volumetric shares
Using the existing resources in the well to product
- Combustion and non-combustion emissions
Defined per mile accounting for the pollution control systems of the car

The results can then be observed in the WTW tab of the software where all vehicles are
categorized by fuel used.

Simulation Parameters
The simulation parameters section of GREET is the place to change a couple of input
parameters that are reused in multiple locations. For example this is the place to select
weather the higher heating values or lower heating values are used, or which is the target
simulation year for the simulations. The simulation parameter section also contains tabs and
tables that are containing some other parameters for the simulations, these can be edited
and reused across the model in a similar way as how excel cells are reused into formulas.

The simulation parameters section can be accessed by clicking the last large button in the
main GREET banner:
Simulation parameters section

As it can be seen on the picture above GREET is set by default to use the lower heating
values and performs simulation for the target year of 2014. This means that for all
resources when a conversion is needed in the model to convert to or from an energy value,
the lower heating value of the resources will be used. If the year 2014 is selected, the
values for time series will automatically select closest year available in the past in the time
series. For example if 2005, 2010, and 2015 values exists for a parameter: the model will
use 2010 as it is the closest value in the past.

On the right side we can see a table containing multiple parameters. The cells have different
backgrounds because we make the distinction between values that are calculated or not.
The cells with a blue background are calculated by a formula, the cells with a yellow
background are values entered without using any other cells or formulas.

Formulas can be entered for parameters by using conventional operators, but also by using
specific functions like if() or trigonometric functions (see detailed in the user guide)
Formula editor for a parameter

The formula editor allows the user to start typing a parameter name and use the auto-
completion feature or click another cell to add that reference to the formula.

All parameters have a unique name system wide. That means that formulas can be entered
between any of the parameters. However we do not recommend doing that as it adds a lots
of confusion and is against the ideology of the software that is to stay simple and efficient.