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Nobel LCA-based methods for supporting the development of bioeconomy regions
The transformation towards a bio-based economy will need the support of all relevant actors in the society. Indeed, the estimated intensification of local biomass production and harvesting as well as of novel processing facilities for producing healthy foods, high value added materials and chemicals and clean energy will affect the environment as well as communities living near to biomass catchment areas and production sites. Within this new context, the current decision making tools cannot cover all aspects that should be considered in the implementation of new bio-based technologies and/or the fostering of new bio-based products in the markets. In addition, as social acceptance will continue gaining importance as a central element for decision-making besides environmental and economic impacts, the assessment of these impacts at a regional level is an important challenge in the definition of knowledge management and monitoring tools. Within the framework of a five-year project, a wood-based bioeconomy cluster was established in Central Germany with the aim of accelerating technological development and innovation in the regional industrial sectors. A unique aspect of this project was the implementation of an accompanying research of the project, whose goal was to develop a series of methodologies and tools to support the governance and management of the cluster. One development line in this accompanying research, was the establishment of management tools based in life cycle assessment, for helping the assessment and monitoring of the material streams resulting from the implementation of the developed technologies in the region. Goal of this work is to present the advances achieved in the development of the different LCA-based methods, and to show examples on how the implementation of these tools can support the knowledge and information management within the region.