Life cycle assessment of liquid inverted sugar and high-fructose corn syrup
The aim of this study is to compare the environmental impact of liquid inverted sugar (77°Bx) produced with enzymatic hydrolysis of beet sugar and HFCS (75% DM) produced from corn in a wet milling process. Given the different sweetness equivalents of liquid inverted sugar (77°Bx) and HFCS (75% DM), the reference flows were defined as 900 kg of liquid inverted sugar or 1000 kg HFCS. The analysis was performed with the life cycle assessment (LCA) method focusing on the cradle-to-gate stage. The inventory data of liquid inverted sugar processing were supplied by a producer while the LCA of HFCS relies on secondary data (literature) which describes the material and energy flows associated with glucose production. Life cycle inventory of relevant inputs and outputs were available from the Ecoinvent 3.4 database. Environmental impacts were calculated with the ReCiPe 2016 (H) life cycle impact assessment (LCIA) method. LCA results have revealed that inverted liquid sugar has a lower impact in 14 out of the 18 analysed impact categories. Consumption of inverted liquid sugar (>77°Bx) instead of HFCS (75% DM) could lead to significant reduction in GHG emissions (by 38%), fossil energy (by 31%) and water (by 95%) consumption, and reduces the required land area by 67%.
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