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Correction published on 21 June 2017, see Sustainability 2017, 9(6), 1074.

Open AccessArticle
Sustainability 2016, 8(10), 1028; doi:10.3390/su8101028

CUDe—Carbon Utilization Degree as an Indicator for Sustainable Biomass Use

1
Leibniz Institute for Agricultural Engineering and Bioeconomy (ATB), Max–Eyth–Allee 100, 14469 Potsdam, Germany
2
Faculty of Life Sciences, Humboldt–Universität zu Berlin, Invalidenstraße 42, 10115 Berlin, Germany
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Vincenzo Torretta and Marc A. Rosen
Received: 19 July 2016 / Revised: 28 September 2016 / Accepted: 8 October 2016 / Published: 14 October 2016
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Use of the Environment and Resources)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [1509 KB, uploaded 23 June 2017]   |  

Abstract

Carbon (C) is a central element in organic compounds and is an indispensable resource for life. It is also an essential production factor in bio-based economies, where biomass serves many purposes, including energy generation and material production. Biomass conversion is a common case of transformation between different carbon-containing compounds. At each transformation step, C might be lost. To optimize the C use, the C flows from raw materials to end products must be understood. The estimation of how much of the initial C in the feedstock remains in consumable products and delivers services provides an indication of the C use efficiency. We define this concept as Carbon Utilization Degree (CUDe) and apply it to two biomass uses: biogas production and hemp insulation. CUDe increases when conversion processes are optimized, i.e., residues are harnessed and/or losses are minimized. We propose CUDe as a complementary approach for policy design to assess C as an asset for bio-based production. This may lead to a paradigm shift to see C as a resource that requires sustainable exploitation. It could complement the existing methods that focus solely on the climate impact of carbon. View Full-Text
Keywords: bio-economy; bioenergy; biogas; biomass; carbon efficiency; climate change; natural fibers; policy decision support; productivity; transformation bio-economy; bioenergy; biogas; biomass; carbon efficiency; climate change; natural fibers; policy decision support; productivity; transformation
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Hansen, A.; Budde, J.; Karatay, Y.N.; Prochnow, A. CUDe—Carbon Utilization Degree as an Indicator for Sustainable Biomass Use. Sustainability 2016, 8, 1028.

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