Assessing an industrial bio-based network in Central Germany with an integrated life cycle approach

Main Presenter: Alberto Bezama 

Co-Authors: Jakob Hildebrandt Walther Zeug Daniela Thrän

Over the last five years, the Department of Bioenergy at UFZ has developed a series of life-cycle-based for assessing the bioeconomy system, establishing a toolbox for systems analysis that combines traditional life cycle methodologies with life cycle methods for evaluating bioeconomy systems from a regional perspective.

In this work, we will use the toolbox by providing a traditional life cycle assessment combined with a regional social life cycle assessment, using for this matter the model RESPONSA, which has been developed for the analysis of bioeconomy clusters and regions. Goal of this work is to assess a bioeconomy integrated value chain in order to provide the potential environmental and socio-economic impacts of their implementation in Central Germany.

The first step of the work was to carry out a life cycle assessment of the individual value chains within the product basket. Once the individual value chains were merged in the product basket in order to assess the overall environmental impacts. In order to assess the socio-economic impacts of the basket case in the regional where the value chains are located we selected the use of the RESPONSA model, which considers a series of indicators that have been selected to specifically assess the bieconomy field in Germany.

The preliminary results of this work show that the two scales introduced by the methods applied in this study provided a wider spectrum of indicators has allowed to understand the case study in a much better way. There is therefore certainly a value added for introducing such modelling integration. However, such application is still a work in progress and thus far only applicable to case studies that are confined to a geographical region smaller than a country. It is still needed to determine the feasibility of introducing the regionalized tools in the case studies that are highly characterized by commodities.

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