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Contribution of Fobawi to PRO-BIOPA

The Institute of Forest Utilisation and Work Science (Fobawi) of the University of Freiburg is involved in PRO-BIOPA´s third working package ‘Profitability of Poplar SRC’.
Fobawi Freiburg

Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c Gero Becker and his team are responsible for several tasks within the working package: cost-effectiveness (in cooperation with project partners), wood properties, product properties and product added value as well as the CO2-wicket balance (in cooperation with project partners). Aims of the team are to analyze the full life cycle of possible woody end products from SRC. This task includes all material- and energy flows from the production of raw materials, the processing and the transport of the products as well as its delivery, use and waste management.

The work of the institute could be divided into the following parts:

Analysis of wood- characteristic parameters

In principle, the substantial structure from lignocellulose allows the direct production of heat energy from burning. This practice seems to be the most energy-efficient way of using biomass. However, different methods are used to turn various raw materials into liquid, solid or gaseous energy sources to ensure a huge continuously demand of heat quantity all over the year. Often there are several potential ways to transform a raw material into energy (BtL, pellets, etc.). The conditions of material properties differ for those possible recovery paths. It includes e.g. moisture content, fractionation, energy concentration, ash content, bark content, cellulose- and lignin content etc. Those performance indicators are partially known, but in this context they are analysed beyond the background of new recovery paths.

Compilation of a life-cycle-analysis for the project fields

The so called 'dish or tank?' dilemma is in the focus of the public discussions since the multifarious products from renewable energies are produced and funded more and more. The agency for renewable resources (FNR) in Germany reported for instance that already in 2008 about 17% of the agricultural crop land was used predominantly for plants with energetic purposes. That information was picked up to put the moral defensibleness of the cultivation from renewable resources upon areas where food could be produced into question. If a decision should be taken about the question which resources should be used in a special system and which recovery paths are the optimum for products and aims, a collection and comparison of all system relevant impacts is necessary. The ecological impacts in the life cycle from possible end products of biomass from short rotation coppice are analysed in the framework of a life-cycle-analysis. Thereby, all steps from the cultivation to the later use as chips for energy production, biofuel or e.g. pellets for heat production are taken into account. This includes all material- and energy flows from primary production, processing, transport of the product as well as to the use and possibly recycling of the product. The input of raw materials, energy and equipments are compared to the outputs of the system as e.g. products, emissions, waste etc. to analyze all impacts on the environment in terms of CO2 and energy for the different recovery paths. Thereupon, the impacts of single products to the environment are analyzed with the help of useful eco-factors and relevant methods (Eco-Indicator, Sustainable Process Index etc.). Data from other tasks and partners are integrated into this analysis.

For the life-cycle-analysis the software “Umberto” and the database “Ecoinvent vs. 2.1” are used. They allow accounting all impacts between land use change to the end of life time of the products.


umberto software


Development and evaluation of harvesting- and logistic-systems as well as economical analysis including the development of an utilisation concept (product added value)

The development and evaluation of the harvesting- and logistic-systems follows the concept of the event-driven process chain under the use of the software ARIS Business Architect, Aris Business Optimizer and comprehensive software for life-cycle-analysis. Specific values from the literature are used to discover the required input-data for the modelling of the process chains. There, those harvesting- and logistic-systems are analysed which differ a lot especially in the level of mechanisation (motormanual felling/ harvester-thresher) and the location of chipping the biomass (at the field, edge or at the purchaser). Typically, in practise used systems are analysed and assessed in cooperation with the involved industry partners. To compile a cost-benefit-analysis the cost calculations are included in the evaluation as well.


Contact: Janine Fischbach (Institute of Forest Utilization and Work Science, Werthmannstraße 6, D-79085 Freiburg, Germany)

Tel.: +49 (0) 761 203-3754, Fax.: +49 (0) 761 203-3763

More info about the institute and its projects.....

Logo Fobawi


The institute is member in a nation-wide network for the efficient generation of renewable energy obtained from SRC in order to promote its benefits and encourage the implementation of SRC concepts in the bioenergy sector. More information about short rotation coppice: For detailed information please visit: http://www.ttz-bremerhaven.de/de/dienstleistungen/wassermanagement-energiemanagement-und-landschaftsmanagement/projekte-wassermanagement-energiemanagement-und-landschaftsmanagement/351-kup-netzwerk.html