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About path to drinking the best spirits for the environment: factors assessment under a NEXUS Energy-Water approach

Abstract: The concept of "nexus" implies that the action in one of the systems has impacts on the others. In particular, the energy-water nexus is a concept widely established to assess the nexus in at city level, however, is rarely applied to food and beverage products, which have a great influence on greenhouse gases emissions. In fact, the beverage sector accounts for around 2% of the global CO2 emissions of the industrial sector and for 0.42% of the global CO2 emissions produced by all human activities. According to these data, it is necessary to contribute to the sustainable development of the beverages sector boosting the rational and sustainable use of natural resources using a life-cycle approach. This work develops a nexus model (energy-water) to assess the natural resources energy and water embedded in a beverage company dedicated to the artisanal elaboration of premium spirit drinks such as gin and vodka. A material flow analysis is developed to first estimate the mass and energy consumption along the supply chain under a life cycle thinking approach. Then, the related consumed energy is estimated based on direct and indirect energy requirements. Virtual water content is also calculated according to direct and indirect consumptions. Finally, it is proposed an integrated index which combines life cycle assessment (LCA) and linear programming (LP) that assesses and balances energetic and virtual water value of the proposed scenario, enabling the identification of those scenarios with minors energetic and virtual water intensity and those stages where larger efforts are required, helping the decision-making process. Results indicated that the distillation step consumed the highest amount of direct energy while the production and transportation of the glass bottle was the step with the greatest contribution to the indirect energy consumption. On the other hand, the total consumption of direct water was due to the water required in the maceration step, whereas the indirect consumption of water presented a negative value due to avoided burdens in the waste management step. The use of the WEN index as an environmental management tool is extendable to any scenario system with the aim of facilitating the decision-making process in the development of more sustainable products, so a sensitivity analysis was performed to check the robustness of the method proposed. This index could facilitates the eco-labelling in terms of resources consumption and can be combined with the carbon footprint, informing consumers about natural resources consumption and environmental burdens.

Otras comunicaciones del congreso o articulos relacionados con autores/as de la Universidad de Cantabria

 Congreso: Conference on Sustainable Development of Energy, Water and Environment Systems: SDEWES (14º : 2019 : Dubrovnik, Croacia)

Editorial: Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and Naval Architecture, Zagreb

 Fecha de publicación: 01/10/2019

Nº de páginas: 11

Tipo de publicación: Comunicación a Congreso

ISSN: 1847-7178