Brewing is quite an energy-intensive process, and its environmental impact has been the object of several life cycle assessment (LCA) studies. In this work, the potentialities of a series of options directed to mitigate the main hotspots of the beer life cycle were evaluated to minimize the cradle-to grave carbon footprint (CFC2G) of 1 hL of beer produced in three large- (LS), medium-(MS) and small-(SS) sized breweries and packed in 66-cL glass or polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles by using a previously developed LCA model. As the annual brewery capacity reduced from 3 × 106 to 600 hL/yr, the estimated CFC2G scores increased from ∼127 to 192, or 103–169 kg CO2e hL−1 for glass or PET bottles, respectively. Their main hotspots depended on the primary packaging material used, even in the case of PET bottles for the large-sized brewery only. By replacing progressively virgin materials with 100%-recycled glass or PET bottles, road transport with rail one, barley grown abroad using conventional agriculture methods with local organic one, fossil fuel energy with solar photovoltaic one, etc., CFC2G declined to 56–60, or 80 kg CO2e hL−1 in the case of LS and MS, or SS breweries, respectively, independently of the primary packaging material used. Such an approach appeared to be useful to identify how to reduce effectively CFC2G, as well as to decide to invest on the collection of selected primary data or assessment of other environmental impact categories to avoid burden shifting.
Journal of Food Engineering – Elsevier
Published: Nov 1, 2018
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