Renewable Resources and Food
Renewable resources are gaining more and more importance in terms of political and social interest. Especially due to the uptake of CO2 by plants, renewable resources occupy an exceptional position in the endeavor of reducing emissions. They are regarded to be almost neutral in carbon dioxide exposure and absorption, i.e. renewable resources release the same amount of carbon dioxide at the end-of-life as they fix during their growth.
Despite this attribute, products from renewable resources cannot be considered as basically positive and advantageous. The cultivation and processing of renewable resources can sometimes cause tremendous pollution. However, an overall statement on renewable resources seems to be difficult. Instead, individual case studies are required order to assess the ecological profile of renewable resources.
In order to meet these challenges, the department of Life Cycle Engineering, LBP University of Stuttgart, developed a generic model in 2003, which is capable to model renewable resources. This model has been deployed in several projects and also improved. Furthermore, in 2004 – in cooperation with PE International GmbH – an extension database for renewable resources has been developed which contains more than 100 agricultural processes from the following sections:
- Fertilizers & Pesticides
- Tractor and cultivation processes, agricultural equipment
- Cultivation of different plants like wheat, hemp, soybean, cane, palm oil etc.
- Processing of plants to (intermediate) goods like building material etc.
Therefore, the department of Life Cycle Engineering of the University of Stuttgart incorporates extensive and sophisticated knowledge as well as experience in dealing with Life Cycle Assessments of natural products in a life cycle perspective.