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Flax fiber for technical textile: A life cycle inventory

Abstract : Flax fiber appears as a suitable feedstock in the endeavor of deploying a sustainable biobased economy. Its environmental performance as reinforcement in composite materials has been studied in previous Life Cycle Assessments (LCAs). However, these studies only present a coarse Life cycle Inventory (LCI) and often fail to detail all processes of the supply chain or to represent the co-products. This paper aims to bridge this gap and provide data for future LCAs on flax fiber production and transformation. The study focuses on the impacts of producing a bio-based reinforcement material (a fabric product for non-aesthetic purposes) with a system expansion perspective. The functional unit is defined as the production of 2400 m2 flax-based technical textile per year, this corresponds to 1 ha of cultivated land. The geographical scope considers that the production occurs in France and that some manufacturing process are outsourced in China. A Sensitivity Analysis was carried out to assess the influence of the electricity mix in the various countries involved in the manufacturing cycle. A detailed life cycle inventory for flax fiber production and transformation was built and the environmental performance of a flax technical textile was assessed as a cradle-to-gate LCA. The fate of co-products was documented and was shown to contribute to the reduction of the generated environmental impacts. Through a cradle-to-gate LCA, a broader understanding of the environmental performance of a flax-based technical textile was presented by including the valorization of co-products and a wider set of analyzed impact categories, going therefore beyond the existing state-of-the-art. Results show agricultural activities and electricity production to be the biggest contributors to the environmental impacts of flax technical textile; contributions due to land use changes were minor in comparison. Very specifically for this case study, a sensibility analysis showed the influence of an all-French production to be more efficient from an environmental point of view.
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https://hal.inrae.fr/hal-03100886
Contributor : Hélène Lesur <>
Submitted on : Wednesday, January 6, 2021 - 7:01:42 PM
Last modification on : Wednesday, May 12, 2021 - 8:16:55 AM

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Alejandra Gomez-Campos, Claire Vialle, Antoine Rouilly, Caroline Sablayrolles, Lorie Hamelin. Flax fiber for technical textile: A life cycle inventory. Journal of Cleaner Production, Elsevier, 2021, 281, pp.125177. ⟨10.1016/j.jclepro.2020.125177⟩. ⟨hal-03100886⟩

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