Waste is one of the most significant challenges of our time, and the lack of digitalization remains a major obstacle. The goal of ReWaCC is to provide digital twins of waste containers with near-live waste characteristics. Waste containers are transformed from merely being means of waste disposal into “decentralized material warehouses”.

The project owner is Sensorita, a Norwegian company deploying radar sensors for waste containers at construction and demolition sites and developing platforms for real-time analysis of sensor data. At present, their in-container sensors monitor location and fill-level. ReWaCC is aiming to further develop the use of this technology, using near-live data from their existing sensors, along with other relevant data sources, to characterize waste composition and quality when the waste is disposed into the containers. Such data will provide stakeholders with valuable insight to make well-informed operational and strategic choices. The result is a seamless integration that enables containers to play a pivotal role in the recycling process, revolutionizing waste management practices.

ReWaCC is an IPN: Innovation Projects for the Industrial Sector, running from January 2024 to December 2026. Project partners are Sensorita, Ragn-Sells and Veidekke Sirkulær. R&D providers are NORSUS, Norsk Regnesentral and Acconeer.

At NORSUS, the researchers John Baxter, Sigrid Møyner Hohle, Kari-Anne Lyng and Pieter Callewaert are working on the project. NORSUS’ main task is to identify important waste types and characteristics which will improve material utilization and to assess the environmental benefits in-container monitoring can deliver.

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Recently, a closing seminar was held for the LIVESTOCK project, focusing on the role of livestock in future food production.

Professor Imke de Boer from Wageningen University gave the keynote lecture, "Rerooting the Dutch Food System," which provided perspectives on the challenges of the food system. Additionally, the seminar presented results from the project, based on the scientific articles developed in the project. Hanne Fjerdingby Olsen from NMBU, who was the project leader for the LIVESTOCK project, discussed the overall project idea of a circular livestock system, emphasizing increased utilization of Norwegian resources. NORSUS researchers Stine Samsonstuen and Hanne Møller presented case studies on pigs and cattle, focusing on environmental and social sustainability. Ivar Pettersen (formerly NIBIO) introduced economic measures in food production, and Kari-Anne Lyng (NORSUS) concluded with a presentation on the comprehensive sustainability assessment of livestock production and the need for measures to achieve circular livestock production.

Read more about the project here:

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Our researcher Bojana Petrovic successfully defended her PhD thesis yesterday, June 3rd 2024. The title of her thesis was Whole life carbon assessment and life cycle cost analysis of a single-family building.

Bojana Petrovic
Bojana presents her work.

Bojana was employed at Dalarna University and defended her thesis at the doctoral programme at University of Gävle. The main aim of the project was to investigate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and costs that occurred in all life cycle stages using the whole life carbon assessment and life cycle cost analysis for a single-family building in a Nordic climate – including building materials and installations.

Her main supervisor was associate professor Marita Wallhagen from University of Gävle and co-supervisor professor Xingxing Zhang from Dalarna University. Her opponent was Freja Nygaard Rasmussen, associate professor, The Norwegian University of Science and Technology, department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.  

Bojana defended her thesis in a convincing way and the committee unanimously accepted her work for the degree. Congratulations to Bojana!

Bojana Petrovic og Freja Nygaard Rasmussen
Bojana discusses with the opponent Freja Nygaard Rasmussen.
The building case study, Dalarnas Villa, assessed in the thesis.

Links to her articles:

Life cycle assessment of a wooden single-family house in Sweden

Life cycle assessment of building materials for a single-family house in Sweden

Carbon assessment of a wooden single-family building–A novel deep green design and elaborating on assessment parameters

Carbon Assessment of a Wooden Single-Family Building—Focusing on Re-Used Building Products

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På SETAC – Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry – Europeisk årsmøte i Sevilla deltar seniorforsker Cecilia Askham. På mandag presenterte hun arbeidet hun har gjort i forbindelse med hennes “co-chair”-rolle i “Weighting subtask of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Life Cycle Initiative’s Global Guidance for Life Cycle Impact Assessment Indicators and Methods” (GLAM). Dette omhandler hvordan man kan vekte forskjellige typer skader på mennesker og miljøet basert på å spørre folk i hele verden om sine meninger. Hun presenterte faktorene som ble forsket frem og hvordan de er sammenlignet med andre vektingsfaktorer som allerede eksisterer.

NORSUS presenterer også bidraget, «The Importance of Material Flow Analysis (MFA) for Life Cycle Assessment of Microplastics” av Simon Saxegård, Cecilia Askham, Valentina Pauna og Mafalda Silva. Dette omhandler hvordan man kan bruke MFA for å få med makro- og mikroplast i data som skal ligge til grunn for en LCA. Arbeidet har fokusert på landbruksplast som brukes på åkere på gårder i Europa og viser hvordan data og informasjon som er tilgjengelig kan brukes i dag for å inkludere plastlekkasjer til naturen i LCA studier. Viktige områder for videre forskning er identifisert, bl.a. må flere effekter av plast på avveie inkluderes. MFA bør være med i utvikling av bedre modeller for hvordan plast på avveie kan bevege seg i naturen og utsette flere organismer for fare i jord, ferskvann og havet, der flere organismer eksponeres flere ganger over tid, siden plast er et material med lang levetid i naturen.

Both contributions to the conference include important methodological inputs to the Dsolve centre for research-based innovation

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We are very proud of Anne's award! Here is the jury's reasoning:

This year's sustainability hero has a strong professional focus that is recognized and respected in the field both nationally and internationally. The commitment to making the construction industry more environmentally friendly is contagious, and this year's sustainability hero has shown invaluable effort in this area. As a researcher with a background in life cycle analyses she has contributed to developing the field through standardization. Getting international experts with different backgrounds to understand each other is challenging, but the candidate's professional confidence contributes to excellent cooperation in the working groups and committees she participates in.

Chairman of Standard Norway, Jon Sandnes, elaborates, – Her positive demeanor brings joy and a good atmosphere to otherwise sometimes heavy and tense professional discussions. She is also a clear advocate for Standard Norway in the industry and at various events where she has spoken about her field and standardization.

Congratulations to Anne!

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NORSUS is part of the groundbreaking PROTEUS project, an initiative set to revolutionize sustainable bio-based ingredient production, advancing both environmental goals and European climate objectives. PROTEUS aims to redefine the standards for harvesting, biorefining, and utilizing brown seaweeds across diverse markets, including food, feed, personal care, and bio-based industrial sectors.

Backed by a €9.6 million grant from the Circular Bio-Based Europe Joint Undertaking* (CBE JU), and with a €14.4 million budget over four years (2024-2028), the PROTEUS consortium is on a mission to establish the very first industrial-scale biorefinery dedicated to brown seaweeds. This cutting-edge facility will boost the sustainable production of bio-based ingredients from Laminaria hyperborea, a largely untapped European renewable resource, catering to the increasing global demand.

Coordinated by Alginor ASA, the PROTEUS consortium has an impressive lineup of 11 international partners: NORSUS; Alginor Biorefinery, Hypomar, Borregaard, Vaess, Olmix, Essity, Institute of Marine Research, Steinbeis, and CLIC Innovation, covering 6 European countries.

NORSUS, researchers will be working on the task of conducting comprehensive sustainability assessments to ensure that every value chain and newly developed product meets the highest sustainability standards. Environmental LCA, Life Cycle Costing and Social LCA will be performed by NORSUS researchers in collaboration with the other project partners. "Assessing all three dimensions of sustainability is incredibly exciting," says senior researcher Anna Woodhouse, WP leader of the sustainability assessments in the project.

Life Cycle Sustainability Assessment (LCSA) will be conducted to assess sustainability of the newly developed products and their value chains in the PROEUS project.

Moreover, NORSUS will implement the EU's groundbreaking Sustainable By Design directive for the products in development. "This new framework, not yet widely applied to these types of materials, presents an exciting challenge," notes senior researcher Andreas Brekke. "It’s a great opportunity to integrate health and safety, product function, and sustainability into a cohesive evaluation."

NORSUS team for the PROTEUS project

Together, the PROTEUS consortium is set to harnessing the power of brown seaweeds to transform industries and steer in a new era of sustainable innovation.

We acknowledge that the project is supported by the CBE-JU and its members under Grant Agreement No. 101156960

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Nadiia Piiter is a research assistant at NORSUS, where she started in April 2024 as a trainee.

Nadiia has a master's degree in materials engineering in Green Energy Technology from Østfold University College, which she completed in 2023. She wrote a master's thesis on the topic "Life Cycle Assessment of an Electric Quadricycle, Paxster AS". During her studies, she developed skills in research and analysis, renewable energy systems, energy efficiency, project management, sustainable development and communication.

She also has a master’s degree in petroleum engineering (MSc) from the Ukraine.

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In the preliminary study titled ‘Pyrolysis versus Waste Incineration – with Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS),’ our senior researchers, Hanne Lerche Raadal and Ingunn Saur Modahl, compared the climate impact and primary energy use for pyrolysis and waste incineration, both with and without CCS. The analyses were conducted using Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) methodology. 

The results indicate that pyrolysis of residual waste is an interesting treatment option compared to energy recovery through incineration. Specifically, pyrolysis can result in lower greenhouse gas emissions than incineration when the incineration plant does not utilize CCS. However, for incineration plants with CCS, waste incineration may achieve better results than pyrolysis, depending on the assumed storage stability of the char produced during the pyrolysis process. 

NORSUS recommends that the knowledge gained from this preliminary project should form the basis for a larger research project, where more comprehensive sustainability analyses are conducted. 

Read the full preliminary report here (in Norwegian)

This project was funded by the Regional Research Fund for Vestfold and Telemark.

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Authors: Clara Valente and Mehrdad Ghorbani Mooselu

It is crucial to propose and discuss digital solutions to make Social Life Cycle Assessment (S-LCA) easier for industries to implement. The increasing interest in social sustainability and the lack of accessible and time-saving digital solutions for companies to streamline and quantify S-LCA necessitates developing digital solutions for collecting, systematizing, and analyzing sustainability data.

The main goal of the SoBOS project is to facilitate achieving social sustainability goals for companies through easy and time-saving solutions that visualize the impact of implemented measures and include automatic data harvest, machine learning, the use of digital twins, and big data.

The indicators related to Workers and Local communities were prioritized for data collection, including quantitative and qualitative indicators. Our findings suggest that quantitative metrics are more likely to be integrated into the digital system. In contrast, qualitative indicators exhibit variations in definitions across industries, resulting in a broader spectrum of focal areas.

Social aspects given precedence in this study, such as work-life balance, the physical and psychological well-being of employees, and the promotion of diversity in various manifestations, are more challenging to integrate into a digital framework.

Limitations for different indicators and data collection possibilities were discussed with Grayn and involved industrial partners.

See more about the project here

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Last year, EPD Norway signed an agreement with the North American organisation Labeling Sustainability about the possibility to develop EPDs (Environmental Footprint Declarations) that satisfy both European and American requirements. The EPD for Carbon Crusher is the first to be developed through this agreement. The challenge was mainly related to the use of the TraCi method, which is required in the US, but which does not consider biogenic carbon. NORSUS researchers Mafalda Silva and Mehrdad Ghorbani Mooselu developed the EPD to EPD-Norway and contributed to the conversion of the results to the North American EPD framework.

Carbon Crusher is an innovative company who provides a greener method for road rehabilitation projects by using a bio-binder.

The published EPD may be found here

Read more about our research within the construction sector here