Institute for Technology Assessment and  Systems Analysis (ITAS)

Study of anthropogenic carbon stocks dynamics for evaluation of future waste resources and environmental impacts

  • Project team:

    Cote Alarcón, Mauricio (Dissertation)

  • Start date:


  • End date:


  • Research group:

    Energy – resources, technologies, systems

Project description

Carbon based materials (CBMs) for energetic and material purposes, combine biogenic and anthropogenic carbon cycles. In the latter cycle, numerous manufactured products with various in-use lifespans are purchased, consumed and discarded with potential accumulation, within the anthroposphere, building anthropogenic carbon stocks. In a world with increasing demands for secondary resources, understanding the behavior of these stocks (formation, composition, age and type) is an important requirement to enhance estimations of future waste volumes but also the impacts and effects of carbon emissions and carbon management. With an enhanced knowledge of stocks, potential waste treatment options (reuse, recycle or incineration) and their impacts (environment, emission flows) can be analyzed, considering the effects of changing forces, such as technological progress, lifestyles and policies. The prediction of future waste supply also provides valuable information about the future development of treating wastes infrastructure and capacity.

In the past several models have estimated material stock changes for various materials. However, these models focus on specific materials, like wood, and do not treat carbon stocks in a comprehensive way. Furthermore, often in-use lifespan estimation approaches were used which do not coincide with observed consumption and waste treatment patterns.

Following material flow analysis (MFA) methods, a carbon stock-flow model will be developed to analyze interrelationships between carbon flows and stocks from raw materials to waste treatment processes considering a consumer perspective, where the dynamics of anthropogenic carbon stocks are completely described. The study focuses on the region of Germany and analyses three types of anthropogenic carbon stocks: pulp and paper products, wood products and plastic products. Under a scenario approach the analysis of behavior, development and impacts of these stocks and flows from 2010 to 2050 will be performed.

Administrative data

Supervisor: Prof. Liselotte Schebek, TU Darmstadt
Advisor: Dr. Witold-Roger Poganietz
Related projects: CarboMoG
Doctoral students at ITAS: See Doctoral studies at ITAS


Mauricio Cote Alarcón
Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)
Institute for Technology Assessment and Systems Analysis (ITAS)
P.O. Box 3640
76021 Karlsruhe