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Title: Life-cycle based system optimisation : the identification of more sustainable options for the potable spirits industry
Author: Bell, Gordon
ISNI:       0000 0001 3454 7408
Awarding Body: University of Surrey
Current Institution: University of Surrey
Date of Award: 2000
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As a major player in the global human economy, industry must play a prominent role in identifying and implementing practices that promote sustainable development. Within this context, the objective of this research has been to identify more sustainable options for one major traditional and highly resource-intensive sector of industry, the potable (alcoholic) spirits industry. To help identify those practices that would benefit the environment as a 'whole' and promote a more sustainable development of the industry, a system optimisation approach, combining Environmental Life Cyle Assessment (LCA) and Non-Linear Programming, has been used. This approach has been developed and applied to a real case study of a system producing Scotch whisky, representing the more traditional form of spirits production. It has been shown that there are few environmental benefits to be gained by implementing short-term process changes; instead, it is medium- to long-term changes that are required to effect major improvements. Guided by the precautionary principle embedded in the philosophy of sustainable development, 'six such options have been investigated. Furthermore, to determine which of the industry's products can deliver the equivalent 'social' function demanded of potable spirits in more environmentally-acceptable ways, two extreme ends of the industry have been compared: traditional whisky production and an alternative process utilising liquid whey, a waste material from dairy processing, to manufacture neutral spirit. It has been shown that with the current operations in the whisky system, the alternative system has significant environmental advantages over the traditional system. However, if the six improvement options are effected in the whisky system, then, in some respects, the more traditional system can be improved to be as good as, if not better, than the alternative type of system utilising waste materials. Finally, the wider social and economic consequences of introducing options to improve the environmental performance of this industry sector are identified and discussed.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Alcoholic; Production; Whisky; Neutral spirit