Environmental Impact Analysis of Flax Fibre Cultivation for Composite Reinforcement
Sammanfattning: Searching for environmentally sustainable alternatives for reinforcement of composite materials, flax fibre has one of the most promising potentials due to its desired mechanical properties. The fact that flax is a bio-material, in contrast to conventional synthetic fibres, does not ensure a less environmental impact. One of the major source of environmental impact related to flax fibre as a reinforcement material is the cultivation of flax fibre. In this study the environmental impact of flax fibre cultivation was studied by performing an environmental impact analysis with a life cycle assessment inspired approach. The result showed that the quantification of the environmental impacts varied to a large extent depending on several parameters such as allocation method and whether carbon sequestration was included in the calculations. One striking example is the results for global warming potential, ranging from 10 000 kg CO2-equivivalents to a negative value per 1 tonne of flax fibre. The study showed the production and use of fertilizers to be the major contribution to the environmental impact by as much as 70-90 %. In order to limit the environmental impact from flax fibre cultivation suggested environmental improvements are to optimise the fertiliser use according to the flax type and soil conditions, improving nitrogen fixation as well as using organic fertilizers.
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