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Conceptual Design and Development of a web-based Tool for Sustainability Assessment of Biofuels

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Shaker Verlag


The paper deals with the conception and technical development of the “Sustainability Quick Check for Biofuels” (hereafter SQCB). The SQCB is a tool to evaluate the impacts of biofuel production on environment. Against the background of mineral oil tax remission in Switzerland providers or dealers of energy crops or biofuels in developing countries can perform a legally non-binding check if their products qualify for this remission. For this purpose a web-based calculation model is developed that does a lightweight material flow analysis. The data needed for the evaluation process consists of two parts. The first part is provided by the user in the webbased questionnaire. The second part contains LCI material and energy flow data and impact factors from the ecoinvent database and other data from literature and scientific studies. The LCI data is imported into the database via an XML interface. To ensure easy and worldwide accessibility the SQCB is implemented as a web-based, data-baseassisted application. It was developed as a module for the web content management system Drupal. The evaluation process covers the whole lifecycle of the biofuel including cultivation, further processing, transport and usage. The user has to provide information about the crop type, the country, the climatic circumstances, the used fertilizers and pesticides and energy and material data for further processing. In the first calculation step the emissions and material flows for the given scenario are calculated for each phase. In the next step these amounts are rated for different methodologies. The results of each phase are cumulated, related to reference data and visualized.


Ziep, Tobias; Wohlgemuth, Volker; Weichbrodt, René (2009): Conceptual Design and Development of a web-based Tool for Sustainability Assessment of Biofuels. Environmental Informatics and Industrial Environmental Protection: Concepts, Methods and Tools. Aachen: Shaker Verlag. Environmental Web Applications. Berlin. 2009