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Selected Publication:

Hesser, F; Wohner, B; Meints, T; Stern, T; Windsperger, A.
(2017): Integration of LCA in R***D by applying the concept of payback period: case study of a modified multilayer wood parquet
INT J LIFE CYCLE ASS. 2017; 22(3): 307-316. FullText FullText_BOKU

Improving technical properties and the durability of wood-based products by modification in various processing technologies is subject to recent research and development activities. This study aimed at integrating environmental considerations during the research and development phase of a novel modification process for a multilayer wood parquet. Due to expected challenges when applying Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) in this phase, the eco-profile of the modified multilayer wood parquet was referred to the original multilayer parquet by estimating payback period and identifying other payback options. An LCA was conducted during the research and development phase of the modification process at laboratory scale and is characterized as ex ante environmental screening of a newly developed technology. The environmental assessment of new products and manufacturing processes during the research and development phase, however, faces multifarious challenges, such as the definition of a functional unit and the service life length. In order to overcome these challenges, the idea was to answer the question under which circumstances the modification process pays back from the perspective of non-renewable energy use and global-warming potential. Aside from investigation of payback period, the feasibility of other payback options was systematically searched. The extra resource input and the resulting increase in environmental burden of the modification of the multilayer parquet can be justified with the extension of service life length by 10 to 20 %, referring to global warming potential and non-renewable energy use, respectively. Other payback options found were adjusting chemical loading during modification, making renovations superfluous, or reducing transport effort. Other than transportation and renovation, which are user-dependent, only the modification lies within the scope of the parquet producer. The payback concept is found suitable for comparative estimations on the magnitude of change in environmental performance of product variants during research and development. By investigating on multiple payback options, it was enabled to frame the change in environmental performance, which is essential in order to define the scope of further research and development in a target-oriented way. The possibility of using LCA for an environmental technology valuation at an early stage in product and process development is demonstrated in this study.
Authors BOKU Wien:
Hesser Franziska
Meints Tillmann
Stern Tobias
Wohner Bernhard

Find related publications in this database (Keywords)
Prospective LCA
Wood modification

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