Authors: Alejandra Gomez Campos, Caroline Sablayrolles, Antoine Rouilly, Philippe Evon, Lorie Hamelin, Claire Vialle
Published in: CSBE-SCGAB Technical Conferences » 5th CIGR and AGM Quebec City 2021 » 9th Concrete for sustainable agriculture International Symposium
In 2015, with around 615 000 ha of cultivated land, France represented almost 17% of the European production of sunflower seeds (Terres Ol?oPro 2016). Since sunflower is grown for the production of oil, the seeds are the only valorized product as stems are left on the field; which provide nutrients for the soil. The insulating properties of the pith of the sunflower?s stems have been demonstrated. In particular, its acoustic properties allow its valorization as a source of material for the production of acoustic insulation panels. Moreover, this type of material has the advantage of contributing to climate change mitigation thanks to its carbon storage potential. Nevertheless, the diversion of stems is likely to affect the quality of the soil, its environmental advantages depend on the lifespan of the finished product, and its end-of-life management becomes critical. For this reason, a Life Cycle Assessment of sunflower-based panels evaluates their environmental performance by comparing them with panels made with other commonly used materials. The LCA carried out follows a consequential approach, meaning that the fate of the possible by-products is included in the system through system expansion. The results from this work answers to the questions of: how much stem should be left in the field to avoid affecting soil quality? What is the performance of the panel compared to the competition and not necessarily just the "worst"? And what should be the ideal life of the panel for the stem harvest to make sense from an environmental point of view?