A study of the biogeochemical cycle of the biogenic carbon to assess the circularity of bio-based products

Briani, Cristiana (2019) A study of the biogeochemical cycle of the biogenic carbon to assess the circularity of bio-based products. [Laurea magistrale], Università di Bologna, Corso di Studio in Analisi e gestione dell'ambiente [LM-DM270] - Ravenna, Documento ad accesso riservato.
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The level of circularity of a product or a process is an emerging characteristic in international labelling; however, only fossil-derived materials are evaluated through circularity indices, e.g. the Material Circularity Indicator, MCI, developed by Ellen MacArthur Foundation. This work proposes a complementary index which can serve as Correction Factor (CF) to the MCI, designed specifically for biologically based and renewable materials, such as bio-based products. This index, named MCICFbio, which focuses on the timings of the carbon’s biogeochemical cycle and the effects of human actions on its duration. The bio-based materials can store carbon for a period of time, determined by the lifespan of the bio-product itself. Therefore, MCICFbio quantifies the ‘carbon net savings’ as a function of the effect of the incorporation of Carbon (C) in bio-products on the C cycle duration, compared to a reference system with no bio-based materials production. MCICFbio ranges from 0 to 1, where 0 represents a total carbon loss, 1 total carbon conservation and 0.5 equilibrium, all values being referred to the duration of a cycle of the reference system. Thus, values above 0.5 indicate a gain with respect to the reference system in a given period. The chosen case study (AIB) is the production of bio-based mulch films, tested against two reference systems: a natural prairie (NPR) and a business-as-usual agro-industrial system (AIR). The mulch film life cycle is roughly one year, with a rapid manufacturing process, a short storage and a degradation period in situ assumed equal to five months. The modelling of carbon flows, stocks and feedbacks in different scenarios is conducted through a System Dynamics (SD) approach. Results show that the accumulation of carbon into mulch films delays the carbon release and results in MCICFbio = 0.66 for AIB against NPR and 0.85 for AIB against AIR. Assumptions and limitations of the index are discussed for future research.

Tipologia del documento
Tesi di laurea (Laurea magistrale)
Autore della tesi
Briani, Cristiana
Relatore della tesi
Correlatore della tesi
Corso di studio
Ordinamento Cds
Parole chiave
circularity index, bio-based products, carbon storage, mulch films, System Dynamics
Data di discussione della Tesi
15 Febbraio 2019

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