Life Cycle Assessment of Cane-Sugar on the Island of Mauritius
Ramjeawon T (2004). Life Cycle Assessment of Cane-Sugar on the Island of Mauritius
Ramjeawon T (2004). Life Cycle Assessment of Cane-Sugar on the Island of Mauritius The goal of this case study was to identify and review the significant areas of potential environmental impacts across the whole life cycle of cane sugar on the island of Mauritius. The functional unit was one tonne of exported raw sugar from the island. The life cycle investigated includes the stage of cane cultivation and harvest, cane burning, transport, fertilizer and herbicide manufacture, cane sugar manufacture and electricity generation from bagasse. Data was gathered from companies, factories, sugar statistics, databases and literature. Energy depletion, climate change, acidification, oxidant formation, nutrification, aquatic ecotoxicity and human toxicity were assessed. The inventory of the current sugar production system revealed that the production of one tonne of sugar requires, on average, a land area of 0.12 ha, the application of 0.84 kg of herbicides and 16.5 kg of N-fertilizer, use of 553 tons of water and 170 tonne-km of transport services. With regard to greenhouse gas emissions, 160 kg of CO2 per tonne of sugar is released from fossil fuel energy use and the net avoided emissions of CO2 on the island due to the use of bagasse as an energy source is 932,000 tonnes. Agriculture (cane cultivation, and fertilizer and herbicide manufacture) contributed to about 80% of GHG emissions. Options for improvements across all environmental impacta areas include: better irrigation systems, precision farming, optimal use of herbicides, centralisation of sugar factories, implementation of co-generation projects and pollution control during manufacturing and bagasse burning are measures that would considerably decrease resource use and environmental impacts.
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