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Plastic releases to nature have a high risk of causing impacts on ecosystems and humans. The potential replacement of traditional fossil-based plastics with PHA is 100 % for mulch film, 100% for control-release fertilizer, approximately 50% for geotextiles and 100% for dolly ropes. Microplastics from PHA are degraded by bacteria, fungi and other biological processes and thus the risk of damage to organisms over time is much lower than for traditional plastics.

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NORSUS has examined the literature about PHA and considered the microplastics issues related to its use as a replacement for conventional plastics for mulch film, geotextiles, control-release fertilizer and dolly ropes. This report summarizes the findings based on the literature and a rough MFA performed for these products.

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As a part of the SYLFEED project, Ingunn Saur Modahl og Andreas Brekke at NORSUS have published a study on insect proteins. In this article, life cycle assessments for six insect protein cases are examined. The studies are on mealworms and black soldier fly larvae used for fish feed, farmed and fed in different countries and with different diets. As this study combines inventories found in literature, special attention is paid to obtain consistent system boundaries, method choices, background data, and indicators. The results show that the insect diet is heavily affecting the environmental results if the insects are fed a diet of high economic value vegetables. Protein from insects fed on ‘waste’ (as is most often the case), has a climate change burden which is equal to or much lower than the most common crop-based fish feed protein ingredients. This difference in environmental burdens for the insects’ diet is caused by the economic allocation of burdens in LCAs of farmed crops. Insect proteins can cover 10 to 15% of the volumes of feed crude protein currently imported to the EU. The study also shows that transport of insect protein from countries such as The Netherlands, France and Germany to the west coast of Norway makes only a marginal contribution to the environmental burdens of the proteins. Read the full paper here. here.

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As part of the work in the LIVESTOCK project a new paper has now been published. It is a life cycle study of the environmental impacts of pig production when the soybean meal in the feed is replaced by yeast protein produced from wood sugar. 

The raw material for the yeast protein is hydrolysed wood sugar that can be produced from wood through a biorefining process. In this study, two processes were analysed: wood sugar (Excello) from Borregaard and wood molasses that can be hydrolysed to wood sugar from Glommen Technology. These processes are not yet in commercial operation in Norway, so the data in the study is based on test production and technical calculations.

The wood sugar is further used as the main component for fermentation of yeast, which in turn can be used as a protein source in feed for pigs. The results show that when this is compared with standard feed that contain soybean meal, the feed with yeast from wood sugar will have lower environmental impacts, especially reduced loss of biodiversity. It will also reduce the feed-food competition for arable land. Although the area requirement per kg of carcass weight is greater if wood sugar is used in the feed compared to soybean meal, the forest area cannot be used for food production. The use of wood sugar can also increase resource utilization because the refinery processes can use residual wood that does not meet the fibre length requirements for the cellulose and paper industry, e.g. sawdust.

Read the article here:

Photo: Håkon Sperre, NMBU

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On the final day of the SYLFEED project, one of our research managers, Andreas Brekke, presented the environmental performance of a protein fish feed ingredient made from beech. The project is managed and owned by the French technology company Arbiom and has included partners from Iceland, Sweden, Belgium, and the Netherlands, in addition to France and Norway. NORSUS has scrutinised the environmental performance of the life cycle of the protein, SylPro®, from the harvesting of wood in the forest to the feeding of the fish in the water. Results from this life cycle has been compared to other protein sources, like soy protein concentrate, fish meal, rape seed meal, and more novel sources like insect meal and bacterial protein meal. The compilation and analyses of data and models for the other protein sources have been an important part of the project. The LCA work in the project has used the newest methods for characterising impacts connected to land and water use and NORSUS has contributed to increased knowledge on how they can be used and results interpreted. The final webinar will soon be published on the project website

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An update has been performed on the Borregaard Sarpsborg LCA model. This has led to more products being analysed and updates of the Borregaard EPDs. This report documents the preconditions and environmental results for eight of Borregaard’s products. The work has been performed from March 2020 to June 2021, and the model is now based on specific Boorregaard data from 2019.

For most indicators and products, the burdens have decreased compared with 2014. Steam, chemicals and direct emissions are the most important explanations for changed burdens for Borregaard’s products. Reduced direct emissions from the ethanol factory have contributed to reduced eutrophication burdens for several products.

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Senior research scientist Ingunn Saur Modahl has accepted to be part of the board for the newly established CCUS Norge / CCUS Norway.

CCUS Norway is a non-commercial member association, and the goal is to build competence and share experiences regarding environmental and resource issues connected to capture, use and storage of CO2. CCUS Norway is scientific oriented, and aims at contributing to a better climate and establishing green jobs. CCUS Norway will implement projects and act as a national center for CCS/CCUS competence. Membership is open for all, and is especially targeted towards industrial companies, technology suppliers, consultants, researchers and academia. The founders of CCU Norway are Borregaard, FREVAR, Kvitebjørn Bio-El, IFE, Østfold Energi, NORSUS, Sarpsborg Avfallsenergi, Biobe, Borg Havn and Stormkast Utvikling, and the first board meeting was held Monday 16th August 2021.

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The project SYLFEED, sponsored by the Horizon 2020 programme in the EU, where the French technology company develops a process for producing proteins from wood, and where NORSUS is investigating and documenting the process‘ environmental performance, is reaching its final stage. Three webinars are planned to summarise the findings from the project and they are avaliable to all who want to learn about: 1) the scale up of Arbiom‘s production process; 2) the performance of the protein for aquaculture; and 3) the environmental performance of the protein compared to other protein sources. Read more on the webinars and sign up on the project website or through social media: Twitter and Linkedin.

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NORSUS has started the process of updating the environmental product declarations (EPDs) for six of Borregaard’s products from its biorefinery in Sarpsborg. During this work, the life cycle model of the biorefinery and the upstream value chain will be restructured and modelled in more detail, and the report will contain historical development of the results. The products under scrutiny are speciality cellulose, lignin-based biopolymers, bioethanol, biovanillin and hydrochloric acid. NORSUS will also develop EPDs for lignin-based biopolymers at Borregaard’s plant in Florida, and here a new life cycle model will be made from scratch.


For fjerde år på rad skal Østfoldforskning beregne Borregaards klimagassutslipp i henhold til GHG-protokollen. GHG-protokollen er en internasjonal anerkjent metode for beregning og rapportering av klimagassregnskap for bedrifter og organisasjoner.

Rapportering i henhold til GHG-protokollen skjer i tre ulike omfang, og de refereres til som Scope 1, Scope 2 og Scope 3. Scope 1 omfatter direkteutslipp av klimagasser innenfor egen virksomhet; Scope 2 omfatter indirekte utslipp av klimagasser fra innkjøpt elektrisitet, varme, kjøling og damp; mens Scope 3 omfatter andre indirekte utslipp av klimagasser som skjer andre steder i verdikjeden, f.eks produksjon av innkjøpte materialer. For å få en komplett beregning, rapporterer Borregaard inn sitt forbruk av materialer, kjemikalier og energibærere. Dette danner grunnlaget for beregningen av klimagassutslipp til Scope 3.