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Method development for Life Cycle Sustainability Assessment (LCSA) of New Norwegian Biorefinery

This report is part of task number 8 in the Ethanol and lignin performance chemicals co-produced from Norwegian biomass – the "New Norwegian Biorefinery project" (NNB). Ostfold Research’s task has been to develop a framework for sustainability life cycle assessment of lignocellulosic products from the BALI process plant at the Borregaard biorefinery, more specifically bioethanol and bio-chemical products (lignosulfonates).

The report presents the concepts, the methodologies and the challenges for developing the sustainability method based on life cycle thinking. Firstly, we describe the concept of sustainability, its history and its controversy. The so-called three pillars of sustainability, i.e. the environmental, economic and social dimensions are also described. Secondly, we illustrate the main methodologies available for sustainability assessment, and for product life cycle assessment specifically, including a description of a new method called Life Cycle Sustainability Assessment (LCSA).

In chapter 5, we introduce the concept of indicators in respects to sustainability. Indicators for all dimensions of sustainability are listed extensively and in a more restrict way adapted to the purpose of our study and the limitations in time and space. We also report part of a questionnaire developed for interviewing and testing indicators related to forest management and forest operations at Viken Skog, one of the project partners of the NNB project.

We conclude with the limitations and challenges of LCSA, stating that it is possible to adapt and modify this method to our study, using environmental, economical and social indicators for assessing a product such as lignocellulosic products along the value chain.

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