Comparative environmental assessment of wood transport models: a case study of a Swedish pulp mill.Sci Total Environ. 2009 May 15; 407(11):3530-9.ST
Wood transportation from forest landing to forest-based industries uses large amounts of energy. In the case of Sweden, where forest operations are highly and efficiently mechanized, this stage consumes more fossil fuels than other elements of the wood supply chain (such as silviculture and logging operations). This paper intends to compare the environmental burdens associated to different wood transport models considering a Swedish pulp mill as a case study by using Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) as an analytical tool. Five scenarios (the current one and four alternative reliable scenarios) were proposed and analysed taking into account two variables. On the one hand, the influence of imported pulpwood share from Baltic countries and on the other hand, the use of rail transportation for wood transport. In particular, the following impact categories were assessed: Eutrophication, Global Warming, Photochemical Oxidant Formation, Acidification and Fossil fuel extraction. The environmental results indicate that transport alternatives including electric and diesel trains, as well as the reduction in Baltic wood imports should present better environmental performance than the current scenario in terms of all the impact categories under study. Remarkable differences were identified with regard to energy requirements. This divergence is related to different long-distance transport strategies (lorry, boat and/or train) as well as the relative import of wood selected. The combination of lorry and train in wood transportation from Southern Sweden plus the reduction of wood imports from 25% to 15% seems to be more favourable from an environmental perspective. The results obtained allow forecasting the importance of the wood transport strategy in the wood supply chain in LCA of forest products and the influence of energy requirements in the results.