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Quantifying the impact of cascading use

A comparative integrated assessment of the European pine chemicals industry
: Aryan, Venkat; Maga, Daniel; Kraft, Axel


Journal of cleaner production 224 (2019), pp.766-778
ISSN: 0959-6526
Journal Article
Fraunhofer UMSICHT Oberhausen ()
crude tall oil; pine chemical; renewable diesel; cascading use; integrated sustainability assessment

In recent years, following the amendment to the European renewable energy directive (RED), there is an increasing interest to exploit Crude Tall Oil (CTO) for energetic purposes. This study conducted an integrated assessment to quantify the environmental, economic and social impact of these two competing material and energetic routes that consume CTO as a feedstock. The integrated assessment follows a cradle-to-grave approach to compare the impact on climate change from the production of bio-chemicals to that generated from the production of renewable diesel from CTO. In addition, the economic and social impact assessment estimates the total economic added value as well as the total number of direct, indirect and induced jobs generated by the two respective routes utilising CTO. The environmental assessment showed that the application of CTO for bio-chemicals has 23% lower greenhouse gas emissions than its application for renewable diesel. The economic assessment showed that the European pine chemicals industry generated at least 4 times higher added value than that generated from renewable diesel. Finally, when analysing the social impact, the utilisation of 650,000 of CTO to produce bio-chemicals generated around 9100 jobs. On the other hand, the renewable diesel production route was estimated to generate only 400 jobs. Therefore, the integrated assessment concludes that, diverting and utilising CTO to produce biofuels does not present a sustainable case when compared to its established use in the production of bio-chemicals.