The need to reduce the environmental impacts of the food industry is increasing together with the dramatic increment of global food demand. Circulation strategies such as the exploitation of self-produced renewable energy sources can improve ecological performances of industrial processes. However, evidence is needed to demonstrate and characterize such environmental benefits. This study assessed the environmental performances of industrial processing of maize edible oil, whose energy provision is guaranteed by residues biomasses. A gate-to-gate Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) approach was applied for a large-size factory of Northern Italy to describe: (i) the environmental impacts related to industrial processing and (ii) the contribution of residue-based bioenergy to their mitigation, through the comparison with a reference system based on conventional energy. The results showed that oil refinement is the most impacting phase for almost all the considered impact categories. The use of residue-based bioenergy was found to drastically reduce the emissions for all the impact categories. Moreover, Cumulative Energy Demand analysis revealed that the use of biomass residues increased energy efficiency through a reduction of the total energy demand of the industrial process. The study demonstrates that the exploitation of residue-based bioenergy can be a sustainable solution to improve environmental performances of the food industry, while supporting circular economy.

Life cycle assessment of maize-germ oil production and the use of bioenergy to mitigate environmental impacts: A gate-to-gate case study

Gaglio M.
Primo
;
Tamburini E.
Secondo
;
Lucchesi F.;Aschonitis V.;Castaldelli G.
Penultimo
;
Fano E. A.
Ultimo
2019

Abstract

The need to reduce the environmental impacts of the food industry is increasing together with the dramatic increment of global food demand. Circulation strategies such as the exploitation of self-produced renewable energy sources can improve ecological performances of industrial processes. However, evidence is needed to demonstrate and characterize such environmental benefits. This study assessed the environmental performances of industrial processing of maize edible oil, whose energy provision is guaranteed by residues biomasses. A gate-to-gate Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) approach was applied for a large-size factory of Northern Italy to describe: (i) the environmental impacts related to industrial processing and (ii) the contribution of residue-based bioenergy to their mitigation, through the comparison with a reference system based on conventional energy. The results showed that oil refinement is the most impacting phase for almost all the considered impact categories. The use of residue-based bioenergy was found to drastically reduce the emissions for all the impact categories. Moreover, Cumulative Energy Demand analysis revealed that the use of biomass residues increased energy efficiency through a reduction of the total energy demand of the industrial process. The study demonstrates that the exploitation of residue-based bioenergy can be a sustainable solution to improve environmental performances of the food industry, while supporting circular economy.
2019
Gaglio, M.; Tamburini, E.; Lucchesi, F.; Aschonitis, V.; Atti, A.; Castaldelli, G.; Fano, E. A.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11392/2406120
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