The Relationship between the Sugar Production and Global Warming: A Life Cycle Assessment Perspective

Takalani M. Nemarumane and Charles Mbohwa

Keywords

Carbon Emissions, Baggasse, Sugar Cane, Life cycle assessment, Climate change

Abstract

South Africa faces global warming and climate change concerns due to increased levels of carbon emissions into the atmosphere. The production of sugar from sugarcane contributes to these carbon emissions. For example, bagasse, a by-product of sugar production is burnt, and the heat is used to turn water into steam. Some of the steam is used in the sugar process - the rest is used to generate electricity. The burnt bagasse releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, which contributes to climate change. Likewise, transportation of sugarcane from the plantation to the mill by road or rail generates carbon dioxide emissions. In this study a life cycle assessment (LCA) method is to assess the environmental burden of sugar production from sugarcane. The production of sugar leads to an increase in emissions which is due to the bagasse burnt, and also from cane transportation.

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