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Resources 2019, 8(2), 60; https://doi.org/10.3390/resources8020060

Life Cycle Assessment of Maize-Germ Oil Production and The Use of Bioenergy to Mitigate Environmental Impacts: A Gate-To-Gate Case Study

1
Department of Life Sciences and Biotechnology, University of Ferrara, Via Borsari 46, 44121 Ferrara, Italy
2
Soil and Water Resources Institute, Hellenic Agricultural Organization Demeter, Thermi, 57001 Thessaloniki, Greece
3
e3 Studio Associato di Consulenza, via Rossetti 40, 25128 Brescia, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 30 January 2019 / Revised: 21 March 2019 / Accepted: 28 March 2019 / Published: 2 April 2019
PDF [554 KB, uploaded 2 April 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.
Keywords: LCA; bioenergy; maize oil; food industry; residue biomasses; vegetable oils LCA; bioenergy; maize oil; food industry; residue biomasses; vegetable oils
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Gaglio, M.; Tamburini, E.; Lucchesi, F.; Aschonitis, V.; Atti, A.; Castaldelli, G.; Fano, E.A. Life Cycle Assessment of Maize-Germ Oil Production and The Use of Bioenergy to Mitigate Environmental Impacts: A Gate-To-Gate Case Study. Resources 2019, 8, 60.

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