Scientific article

Carbon use for synthetic materials in Germany – current situation and saving potentials for energy and CO2

Published inResources, conservation and recycling, vol. 31, no. 1, p. 9-50
Publication date2000

This study deals with the use of fossil carbon (oil, natural gas, coal) to manufacture materials (‘products of non-energy use') and with the potential to reduce the inputs of fossil resources and the emissions of fossil CO2 in Germany. An overview of the material flows is given for Germany in 1995. Recycled and re-used products still accounted for less than 10% of the end products consumed domestically. The energy requirements and CO2 emissions from the production and waste management processes related to non-energy use have been calculated: it is estimated that approximately 1700 PJ of finite primary energy are consumed and 57 Mt of fossil CO2 emissions are released (1995). Compared with the total German industry (without non-energy use) this represents 44% of the energy use and 20% of the fossil CO2 emissions. Detailed analyses are performed in order to determine the extent to which the energy consumed by and the CO2 emissions released from this system could be reduced. This is done by estimating the possible effects of (a) using waste as a resource, and (b) using biomass as a feedstock. In the first group recycling, re-use and enhanced energy recovery are investigated for plastics, discarded tyres, technical rubber products, asphalt, industrial bitumen and waste lubricants. The second group, i.e. the analysed bio-based materials, comprises of oleochemical surfactants, lubricants from vegetable oils, starch polymers and selected bulk chemicals. The total potential savings related to waste use and biomass use (see above (a) and (b)) are estimated at 220 PJ of gross finite energy and 14 Mt of gross fossil CO2. This is the equivalent of a 13% saving in energy and a 24% reduction in CO2 emissions. Hence, the saving potential identified on the non-energy side is comparable with the saving potential discussed and negotiated for CO2 mitigation through energy efficiency improvements.

  • Fossil carbon
  • Production
  • Waste management
Affiliation Not a UNIGE publication
Citation (ISO format)
PATEL, Martin et al. Carbon use for synthetic materials in Germany – current situation and saving potentials for energy and CO<sub>2</sub>. In: Resources, conservation and recycling, 2000, vol. 31, n° 1, p. 9–50.
Main files (1)
Article (Published version)
  • PID : unige:43281
ISSN of the journal0921-3449

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