Leading researcher: Dr. Sándor Molnár
Collaborators: Dr. Károly Csupor, Dr. Sándor Fehér, Dr. Róbert Németh, Dr. Zoltán Börcsök, Ágnes Lakatos, József Ábrahám, Szabolcs Komán
In the renewable energy sources, the role of biomass, more specifically the wood is significant in Hungary. The rate of wood within biomass is 70%. It is to be regretted, however, that firing of wood has higher priority than generating wood products during the fight against global climate change. Nevertheless, carbon returns to the atmosphere as carbon dioxide while products are capable to store it. The basic aim of our research is to calculate the quantity of the yearly stored carbon based on the amount and life span of wood, wood products and paper products utilized in Hungary. During the first period, analysis and evaluation of the scientific literature and statistical data were performed and arrangements were made for the fieldwork.
Numerous international publications were found related to the stored carbon in wood and wood products.
The literature of wood chemistry presents the elementary content of different species. The carbon content of wood is between 46 and 55% (Francis 2000, Lamlom, Savidge 2003, Ragland, Aerts 1991). The carbon concentration in softwoods is higher (above 50%) than in hardwoods (below 50%). That is while 50% is usually used in carbon calculations (Barson 1989, Dias et al. 2005, Hassan et al 2005).
Valuable information was found for the ecological assessment timber and the life cycle analysis of products connected to product design. Remarkable efforts have been made for the ecological comparison of wood and paper materials and to prepare the ecological balance of products. Analysis of the literature helped significantly to develop our research methodology. The volume of wood and wood products used in Hungary was analyzed based on the data provided by the HCSO (Hungarian Central Statistical Office) and the CAO (Central Agricultural Office). It was found that the average wood yield was 5.65 million m3 during the past 10 years of which about 47% was industrial wood (the rest is firewood). The volume of the used round wood was calculated based on the correction effect of the export and import values.
Based on the round wood balance, the primary processing (saw industry, plate industry, pallet manufacturing, etc.) has been analyzed and the product balance has been set up. The statistical data of the further processing (finished product manufacturing) are difficult to use. On the one hand, today, there are about 20 thousand different types of wood products in Hungary and the life cycle differences within the product groups based on the statistical data are extremely high. On the other hand, the data are given in currencies (HUF, EUR) rather than in quantity units (m3 ton) making it difficult to calculate the amount of wood used.
Beside the statistical data collection, a significant direct data collection and industrial monitoring are necessary to determine the dry wood mass in products and to create correct life cycle analysis. Packaging and paper products are examined separately and special attention is paid to products containing hazardous substances. The quantity of carbon stored in various wood and paper products is not known in this period of the research.