The pulp and paper industry (“paper industry”) as well as the wood processing industry are actually two major turntables in the use of biomass in a public economy, so also in Austria.
Two production lines for products of biogenic origin were investigated:
- Austrian wood processing industry
- Austrian pulp and paper mills
Object oriented process models describing the entire production system including the life cycle of their products have been created. Each of them consists of the single processes of the production chain, but also includes the use phase and the end of life in form of waste. The in- and outputs of the processes were combined to material and energy flow balances. Taking the carbon content of the respective flows the carbon flow balance of the total life cycle of the considered product lines will be derived. The flows are grouped in fossil and renewable carbon, to distinguish the transfer of fossil carbon into atmosphere from the renewable carbon cycle.
The model allows to change the characteristics of the single processes, the process line structure and the framework conditions in scenarios for improving the situation regarding the resource and energy efficiency.
The effects of improvements on the needed resources and on the carbon flow balances are presented and discussed. Parameters in form of a comprehensive key data for evaluating the overall performance are suggested. Problematic issues for the results like long term storage of carbon in products, export and import of products and intermediates etc. are addressed and discussed.