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Upgrading wineries to biorefineries within a Circular Economy perspective: An Italian case study

TitleUpgrading wineries to biorefineries within a Circular Economy perspective: An Italian case study
Publication TypeArticolo su Rivista peer-reviewed
Year of Publication2021
AuthorsNcube, A., Fiorentino Gabriella, Colella M., and Ulgiati S.
JournalScience of the Total Environment

In the challenge of transforming waste into useful products that can be re-used in a circular perspective, Italian wine industry can represent a suitable model for the application of the bioeconomy principles, including the valorisation of the agricultural and food waste. In the present study, a comprehensive environmental assessment of the traditional production of wine was performed and the potentiality of a biorefinery system, based on winery waste and aimed at recovering useful bio-based products, such as grapeseed oil and calcium tartrate, was examined through Life Cycle Assessment (LCA). The wine company “I Borboni”, producing Asprinio wine in the Campania Region (Italy), was proposed as a case study. The hotspots of the linear production system were identified and the bottling phase, in particular the production of packaging glass, resulted to contribute to the generation of impacts at 63%, on average, versus 14.3% of the agricultural phase and 22.7% of the vinification phase. The LCA results indicated human carcinogenic toxicity, freshwater eutrophication and fossil resource scarcity impact categories as the most affected ones, with normalized impacts amounting to 9.22E−03, 3.89E−04 and 2.64E−04, respectively. Two side production chains (grapeseed oil and tartrate production) were included and circular patterns were designed and introduced in the traditional production chain with the aim of valorising the winery residues and improving the overall environmental performance. By implementing the circular approach, environmental impacts in the global warming, freshwater eutrophication and mineral resource scarcity impact categories, in particular, resulted three times lower than in the linear system. The results achieved demonstrated that closing the loops in the wine industry, through the reuse of bio-based residues alternatively to fossil-based inputs within the production process, and integrating the traditional production system with new side production chains led to an upgrade of the wineries to biorefineries, towards more sustainable production patterns. © 2021 Elsevier B.V.


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Citation KeyNcube2021