Life Cycle Assessment (LCA)

Background: Bioeconomy needs often to decide between different alternatives. To find out what is the best alternative, requires to consider energy balance and sustainability through the entire life cycle. If one is ignoring certain aspects, this will lead to a distorted decision.

Task: Energy plants are now discussed again in the context of energy autarcy to escape Putin's weaponising of gas and oil. The different aspects to be considered are discussed in the slides and recording of this special task. Imagine, you are in the Baden-Württemberg Ministry of Agriculture and have to decide on the allocation of financial resources for research and development projects targeted to decrease the dependency of Baden-Württemberg from Russian gas. The Biogas association suggests to increase the area of maize fields in the Upper Rhine valley and to use the biomass for biogas. In contrast, some researchers from a technical university propose that instead, one should use their newly bred variety of Sorghum to produce sugar for bioethanol. Inform yourselves about both approaches and list, what factors need to estimated with respect to their carbon imprint.


  • The slides for this task, along with a recorded lecture on this task are available on Ilias. Note: The lecture slides can be found on Ilias (log in with your KIT credentials, if you are outside the KIT, make sure that you are linked through vpn). Path: Fakultät für Chemie und Biowissenschaften - current semester - BIO_MA_FOR_1201_Plant_Evolution)

  • our work on the resilience of sorghum against phosphate starvation - Kanbar et al. 2021
  • information on Energy Maize for Biogas production