Just the tonic! Legume biorefining for alcohol has the potential to reduce Europe’s protein deficit and mitigate climate change

Theophile Lienhardt, Kirsty Black, Sophie Saget, Marcela Costa, David Chadwick, RM Rees, Michael Williams, Charles Spillane, Pietro Iannetta, Graeme Walker, David Styles*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Abstract

Industrialised agriculture is heavily reliant upon synthetic nitrogen fertilisers and imported protein feeds, posing environmental and food security challenges. Increasing the cultivation of leguminous crops that biologically fix nitrogen and provide high protein feed and food could help to address these challenges. We report on the innovative use of an important leguminous crop, pea (Pisum sativum L.), as a source of starch for alcohol (gin) production, yielding protein rich animal feed as a co-product. We undertook life cycle assessment (LCA) to compare the environmental footprint of one litre of packaged gin produced from either 1.43 kg of wheat grain or 2.42 kg of peas via fermentation and distillation into neutral spirit. Allocated environmental footprints for pea-gin were smaller than for wheat-gin across 12 of 14 environmental impact categories considered. Global warming, resource depletion, human toxicity, acidification and terrestrial eutrophication footprints were, respectively, 12%, 15%, 15%, 48% and 68% smaller, but direct land occupation was 112% greater, for pea-gin versus wheat-gin. Expansion of LCA boundaries indicated that co-products arising from the production of one litre of wheat- or pea-gin could substitute up to 0.33 or 0.66 kg soybean animal feed, respectively, mitigating considerable greenhouse gas emissions associated with land clearing, cultivation, processing and transport of such feed. For pea-gin, this mitigation effect exceeds emissions from gin production and packaging, so that each L of bottled pea gin avoids 2.2 kg CO2 eq. There is great potential to scale the use of legume starches in production of alcoholic beverages and biofuels, reducing dependence on Latin American soybean associated with deforestation and offering considerable global mitigation potential in terms of climate change and nutrient leakage ¬–
estimated at circa 439 Tg CO2 eq. and 8.45 Tg N eq. annually.
Original languageEnglish
Article number104870
Number of pages11
JournalEnvironment International
Volume130
Early online date18 Jun 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPrint publication - Sep 2019

Fingerprint

alcohol
wheat
footprint
climate change
protein
starch
soybean
mitigation
life cycle
resource depletion
crop
animal
nitrogen
food security
distillation
biofuel
deforestation
fermentation
leakage
acidification

Keywords

  • Pea
  • Legumes
  • Life Cycle Assessment

Cite this

Lienhardt, Theophile ; Black, Kirsty ; Saget, Sophie ; Costa, Marcela ; Chadwick, David ; Rees, RM ; Williams, Michael ; Spillane, Charles ; Iannetta, Pietro ; Walker, Graeme ; Styles, David. / Just the tonic! Legume biorefining for alcohol has the potential to reduce Europe’s protein deficit and mitigate climate change. In: Environment International. 2019 ; Vol. 130.
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abstract = "Industrialised agriculture is heavily reliant upon synthetic nitrogen fertilisers and imported protein feeds, posing environmental and food security challenges. Increasing the cultivation of leguminous crops that biologically fix nitrogen and provide high protein feed and food could help to address these challenges. We report on the innovative use of an important leguminous crop, pea (Pisum sativum L.), as a source of starch for alcohol (gin) production, yielding protein rich animal feed as a co-product. We undertook life cycle assessment (LCA) to compare the environmental footprint of one litre of packaged gin produced from either 1.43 kg of wheat grain or 2.42 kg of peas via fermentation and distillation into neutral spirit. Allocated environmental footprints for pea-gin were smaller than for wheat-gin across 12 of 14 environmental impact categories considered. Global warming, resource depletion, human toxicity, acidification and terrestrial eutrophication footprints were, respectively, 12{\%}, 15{\%}, 15{\%}, 48{\%} and 68{\%} smaller, but direct land occupation was 112{\%} greater, for pea-gin versus wheat-gin. Expansion of LCA boundaries indicated that co-products arising from the production of one litre of wheat- or pea-gin could substitute up to 0.33 or 0.66 kg soybean animal feed, respectively, mitigating considerable greenhouse gas emissions associated with land clearing, cultivation, processing and transport of such feed. For pea-gin, this mitigation effect exceeds emissions from gin production and packaging, so that each L of bottled pea gin avoids 2.2 kg CO2 eq. There is great potential to scale the use of legume starches in production of alcoholic beverages and biofuels, reducing dependence on Latin American soybean associated with deforestation and offering considerable global mitigation potential in terms of climate change and nutrient leakage ¬–estimated at circa 439 Tg CO2 eq. and 8.45 Tg N eq. annually.",
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Lienhardt, T, Black, K, Saget, S, Costa, M, Chadwick, D, Rees, RM, Williams, M, Spillane, C, Iannetta, P, Walker, G & Styles, D 2019, 'Just the tonic! Legume biorefining for alcohol has the potential to reduce Europe’s protein deficit and mitigate climate change', Environment International, vol. 130, 104870. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envint.2019.05.064

Just the tonic! Legume biorefining for alcohol has the potential to reduce Europe’s protein deficit and mitigate climate change. / Lienhardt, Theophile; Black, Kirsty; Saget, Sophie; Costa, Marcela; Chadwick, David; Rees, RM; Williams, Michael; Spillane, Charles ; Iannetta, Pietro; Walker, Graeme; Styles, David.

In: Environment International, Vol. 130, 104870, 09.2019.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

TY - JOUR

T1 - Just the tonic! Legume biorefining for alcohol has the potential to reduce Europe’s protein deficit and mitigate climate change

AU - Lienhardt, Theophile

AU - Black, Kirsty

AU - Saget, Sophie

AU - Costa, Marcela

AU - Chadwick, David

AU - Rees, RM

AU - Williams, Michael

AU - Spillane, Charles

AU - Iannetta, Pietro

AU - Walker, Graeme

AU - Styles, David

PY - 2019/9

Y1 - 2019/9

N2 - Industrialised agriculture is heavily reliant upon synthetic nitrogen fertilisers and imported protein feeds, posing environmental and food security challenges. Increasing the cultivation of leguminous crops that biologically fix nitrogen and provide high protein feed and food could help to address these challenges. We report on the innovative use of an important leguminous crop, pea (Pisum sativum L.), as a source of starch for alcohol (gin) production, yielding protein rich animal feed as a co-product. We undertook life cycle assessment (LCA) to compare the environmental footprint of one litre of packaged gin produced from either 1.43 kg of wheat grain or 2.42 kg of peas via fermentation and distillation into neutral spirit. Allocated environmental footprints for pea-gin were smaller than for wheat-gin across 12 of 14 environmental impact categories considered. Global warming, resource depletion, human toxicity, acidification and terrestrial eutrophication footprints were, respectively, 12%, 15%, 15%, 48% and 68% smaller, but direct land occupation was 112% greater, for pea-gin versus wheat-gin. Expansion of LCA boundaries indicated that co-products arising from the production of one litre of wheat- or pea-gin could substitute up to 0.33 or 0.66 kg soybean animal feed, respectively, mitigating considerable greenhouse gas emissions associated with land clearing, cultivation, processing and transport of such feed. For pea-gin, this mitigation effect exceeds emissions from gin production and packaging, so that each L of bottled pea gin avoids 2.2 kg CO2 eq. There is great potential to scale the use of legume starches in production of alcoholic beverages and biofuels, reducing dependence on Latin American soybean associated with deforestation and offering considerable global mitigation potential in terms of climate change and nutrient leakage ¬–estimated at circa 439 Tg CO2 eq. and 8.45 Tg N eq. annually.

AB - Industrialised agriculture is heavily reliant upon synthetic nitrogen fertilisers and imported protein feeds, posing environmental and food security challenges. Increasing the cultivation of leguminous crops that biologically fix nitrogen and provide high protein feed and food could help to address these challenges. We report on the innovative use of an important leguminous crop, pea (Pisum sativum L.), as a source of starch for alcohol (gin) production, yielding protein rich animal feed as a co-product. We undertook life cycle assessment (LCA) to compare the environmental footprint of one litre of packaged gin produced from either 1.43 kg of wheat grain or 2.42 kg of peas via fermentation and distillation into neutral spirit. Allocated environmental footprints for pea-gin were smaller than for wheat-gin across 12 of 14 environmental impact categories considered. Global warming, resource depletion, human toxicity, acidification and terrestrial eutrophication footprints were, respectively, 12%, 15%, 15%, 48% and 68% smaller, but direct land occupation was 112% greater, for pea-gin versus wheat-gin. Expansion of LCA boundaries indicated that co-products arising from the production of one litre of wheat- or pea-gin could substitute up to 0.33 or 0.66 kg soybean animal feed, respectively, mitigating considerable greenhouse gas emissions associated with land clearing, cultivation, processing and transport of such feed. For pea-gin, this mitigation effect exceeds emissions from gin production and packaging, so that each L of bottled pea gin avoids 2.2 kg CO2 eq. There is great potential to scale the use of legume starches in production of alcoholic beverages and biofuels, reducing dependence on Latin American soybean associated with deforestation and offering considerable global mitigation potential in terms of climate change and nutrient leakage ¬–estimated at circa 439 Tg CO2 eq. and 8.45 Tg N eq. annually.

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KW - Legumes

KW - Life Cycle Assessment

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DO - 10.1016/j.envint.2019.05.064

M3 - Article

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VL - 130

JO - Environmental International

JF - Environmental International

SN - 0160-4120

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