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Dallemand J.F.,European Commission - Joint Research Center Ispra | Wani S.P.,Indian International Crops Research Institute for the Semi Arid Tropics | Leip A.,European Commission - Joint Research Center Ispra | Rettenmaier N.,Ifeu Institute fur Energie und Umweltforschung Heidelberg GmbH | And 4 more authors.
Annals of Arid Zone | Year: 2010

The objective of this paper is to discuss some scientific challenges related to the sustainability of the production and use of biomass for transport with specific focus on liquid biofuels. Specific attention is paid to the interaction between the European Union and tropical countries (examples of Brazil, Malaysia and India) in relation to biofuels and bioenergy. This work is performed within the context of the preparation of the implementation of the European Union Renewable Energy Directive, with perspectives of increased imports by the European Union Member States. This assessment is also performed considering at longer term International Energy Agency 2050 scenarios (Energy Technology Perspectives), the expected development of international trade of biofuels as well as the development of biofuels programmes mainly for rural development and internal use as in the case of India. Some considerations are related not only to liquid biofuels for transport, but also to other uses of biomass for bioenergy (such as bio-heat and bio-electricity) since they are directly or indirectly interconnected. Five main topics are taken as examples in order to illustrate the complexity of the sustainability assessment of biofuels and the difficulty to reduce uncertainties: (1) agro-environmental impact of bioethanol from Brazil and biodiesel from Malaysia and India. (2) N2O (Nitrous oxide) emissions related to the feedstock production for biofuels and possible land use change, (3) GHG emissions and Life Cycle Assessment LCA of biodiesel from palm oil in Malaysia, (4) water footprint of biofuels, (5) biomass and competition of uses (based on the example of Germany). These five topics are discussed and complemented by considerations about biomass conversion issues. Perspectives in the field of biorefineries for second generation biofuels from ligno-cellulosic material are discussed. Recommendations are formulated in order to reduce scientific uncertainty and to improve biofuels sustainability. Source

Markwardt S.,Ifeu Institute fur Energie und Umweltforschung Heidelberg GmbH | Wellenreuther F.,Ifeu Institute fur Energie und Umweltforschung Heidelberg GmbH
International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment | Year: 2016

Purpose: Life cycle assessment (LCA) results are often used to communicate the environmental impacts of products and measure environmental performance for comparison between different options on the market. Sensitivity analyses are a routine part of LCA but often used with a narrow focus. In a case study on foodstuff packaging, the environmental performance of two food cartons in comparison with competing packaging solutions, i.e. food cartons, glass jars, steel cans, plastic pots and retortable pouches, was examined. Furthermore, the benefits of additional sensitivity analyses as a tool to model country-specific conditions to extend the applicability of LCA findings across a number of systems were evaluated. Methods: A cradle-to-grave LCA in compliance with ISO standards 14040 and 14044 for the European market (EU27 + 2) was performed. The study was accompanied by a critical review process. The choice of the analysed packaging systems was made according to the European market share. Relevant processes were modelled with primary input data wherever possible; otherwise, average data from public LCI databases were applied. A wide range of environmental impact categories were covered: Climate Change, Ozone Depletion Potential, Summer Smog, Acidification, Eutrophication, Human Toxicity: PM10 and Abiotic Resource Depletion. To comply with ISO standards, a sensitivity analysis on allocation was performed. In addition, sensitivity analyses on recycling rates were included. Results and discussion: The primary environmental impacts for both food cartons arose from base material production for primary packaging. The environmental performance of the food cartons compared favourably with all competing systems for virtually all examined impact categories, primarily due to the fact that primary packaging materials for food cartons are derived from renewable resources. The additional sensitivity analyses quantifying the influence of end-of-life management did not change overall results yet revealed trajectories that could be indicative of trends in a range of different settings from no to complete recycling. Thus, the additional sensitivity analyses revealed a robust result that may be informative in circumstances that depart from European settings. Conclusions: Both food cartons show a superior performance in comparison with alternatives. The sensitivity analyses on recycling rates confirm this result even with very low or high quotas applied. These analyses provide valuable information on how different parameters depending on different geographic scopes may influence the overall results. Future LCA work would benefit from low-effort additional sensitivity analyses to broaden applicability of results and examine the robustness of findings. © 2016 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg Source

Von Falkenstein E.,Ifeu Institute fur Energie und Umweltforschung Heidelberg GmbH | Wellenreuther F.,Ifeu Institute fur Energie und Umweltforschung Heidelberg GmbH | Detzel A.,Ifeu Institute fur Energie und Umweltforschung Heidelberg GmbH
International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment | Year: 2010

Background and purpose: Numerous life cycle assessments (LCAs) have been conducted on the environmental impacts of beverage packaging systems. With such a potentially rich source of knowledge available, it seemed worthwhile to conduct a comprehensive evaluation of those existing studies. This paper describes a recent 'meta analysis', whose goal it was to provide a structured overview of LCAs on beverage cartons and other packaging systems from past years in order to answer two key questions: (1) Is it possible to draw general conclusions regarding the environmental performance (in terms of strengths and weaknesses) of beverage cartons in comparison to alternative packaging systems from these existing LCAs? (2) If certain trends arise across these LCA studies regarding the environmental performance of beverage cartons compared to other packaging systems for beverages, what can be said on their validity and limitations? Methods: The meta analysis presented covers 22 LCA studies, all of which fulfil three criteria: (1) full life cycle approach, (2) beverage carton must be among the products evaluated in study, and (3) comparative approach. Each of these studies was categorised either as a core study (if focussed on Europe, conducted in 2000 or later, and peer reviewed) or as a basic study. Next to providing detailed comparisons of the analysed studies, the full report on the meta analysis was designed to allow a quick understanding of their main characteristics (or 'profiles'). Similarities and differences were highlighted both in terms of results and the applied methodologies (e.g., key settings) and the validity and limitations of the findings were stated. Additionally, further environment-related topics of special interest to stakeholders in the beverage packaging industry were addressed. Results, discussion, and conclusions: For certain environmental impact indicators/inventory categories, the LCA studies covered in this meta analysis indicate general trends regarding the performance of beverage cartons versus alternative packaging systems. For climate change, cumulated energy demand/fossil resource consumption, and acidification, all regarded by the majority of all studies, beverage cartons mostly have the most favourable results, while in terms of land use for forestry, they clearly require the largest area. For summer smog and terrestrial eutrophication, the result 'pattern' points towards a favourable picture for beverage cartons; however, fewer LCA studies provide results for these impact categories. For other environmental aspects, where the results of the analysed studies vary strongly, no clear pattern can be made out. Several aspects were covered in too few LCA studies in order for an overall trend or lack thereof to become visible, and still others-which in part have been receiving increased attention in the past years-are not addressed in any of the analysed core or basic studies. © 2010 Springer-Verlag. Source

Reinhardt G.A.,Ifeu Institute fur Energie und Umweltforschung Heidelberg GmbH | Paulsch D.,Ifeu Institute fur Energie und Umweltforschung Heidelberg GmbH | Keller H.,Ifeu Institute fur Energie und Umweltforschung Heidelberg GmbH
Chemie-Ingenieur-Technik | Year: 2013

Glycerol that originates as a by-product from the production of biodiesel is a bio-based feedstock, which neither has the disadvantages of fossil resources nor can be used as food. It was studied in a life cycle assessment whether a use in the chemical industry leads to environmental advantages. The life cycle assessment of options of use of glycerol from the biodiesel production shows that a conventional material use without conversion is the environmentally most advantageous option. However, it is to be expected that not all glycerol can be used this way if the biodiesel production increases. In this case, innovative biotechnological conversions of glycerol to n-butanol or 1,3-propanediol as well as the use for energy production can be environmentally advantageous if especially the energy and resource efficiencies are further optimized. Copyright © 2013 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim. Source

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