How do you research this?
To research the carbon footprint and the emissions that could be toxic for humans we use the life cycle assessment (LCA) methodology. The LCA methodology is used to determine the impact of a product or service on the environment throughout the entire life cycle, and has been standardised in ISO 14040 and 14044 (ISO, 2006a) (ISO, 2006b). It can be used to compare the environmental impact of different products or services that fulfil the same function. An LCA study consist of four phases:
- Goal and scope definition: Defining the research question and the boundaries of the study.
- Life cycle inventory (LCI): Inventory of all the elementary flows to and from the production system within the system boundaries, e.g. extraction of water and emission of CO2.
- Life cycle impact assessment (LCIA): Translation of all elementary flows to environmental impacts by means of an environmental impact assessment methodology. E.g. methane emissions to climate change impact.
- Interpretation: Interpretation of the results of the LCIA, a critical evaluation of the results and drawing of conclusions.
The SUSBIND consortium aims to develop an adhesive system for two types of board products, particle board (PB) of Type P2 and medium density fibreboard (MDF). For each of these boards a functional unit is defined:
- Functional unit for PB: An adhesive system for P2 PB measuring 450 by 550 by 14 mm, meeting the performance requirements.
- Functional unit for MDF: An adhesive system for MDF measuring 450 by 550 by 12 mm, meeting the performance requirements.
What are the results so far?
For further carbon footprint assessments in SUSBIND we recommend comparing the bio-based to conventional adhesives using the lowest carbon footprint of current state-of-the art production. These are 490 g CO2 eq. for PB (based on UF-adhesive) and 650 g CO2 eq. for MDF (also based on UF-adhesive) per piece of board as defined in the functional unit. These represent comparatively ambitious benchmarks for the SUSBIND project. This environmental impact (carbon footprint, human toxicity potential) will be used as a baseline with which to compare the new SUSBIND adhesive.
Senior consultant/researcher CE Delft