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Systems Analysis of the competing energetic and material use of wood in Germany

Systems Analysis of the competing energetic and material use of wood in Germany
Project team:

Feifel, Silke (Project leader)

Start date:

2006

End date:

2012

Research area:

Sustainability and environment

Project description

In the beginning of the century, an increasing competition over the use of wood was noticed in Germany. The increased importance of the resource wood was – against the background of the climate change that is taking place as well as the wish for an improved availability of domestic raw materials as energy carriers – politically intended and a declared objective of a long-term oriented energy and environmental policy.

Through the development of new technologies like, e.g., biomass to liquid processes (BtL) and new burner technologies for domestic coal which allowed a more efficient use of wood as an energy carrier, the technological conditions for a broader use of wood were improved. In contrast to this, due to the long rotation cycles of wood and limited forest areas, the wood supply remained constant in short and medium terms, and its use by the wood industry, using the wood mainly as a raw material, continued.

So far, the effects of the variable competition over the use of wood had not been examined in a coherent technology-based model with respect to Germany. A model of this type had to take into account all types of demand.

The project identified and quantified the ecological and economical medium- and long-term effects of an intensified use of wood and the corresponding changes of the material flow within the forest-wood-use chain using a scenario approach, encompassing technical innovations in selected branches of the forest-wood use chain.

The results show, that the technical innovations under survey do not have significant influence on the ecological impacts. By the technical improvements no noteworthy amounts of wooden resources can be set free, optional to be used for energetic purposes, followed by ecological advantages.

Publications

Contact

Dipl.-Ing. Silke Feifel
Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)
Institute for Technology Assessment and Systems Analysis (ITAS)
P.O. Box 3640
76021 Karlsruhe
Germany