Circular Economy - What does sustainable raw alcohol procurement look like at BrüggemannAlcohol?

Printing on recycled paper, reusable cups in the coffee kitchen and busi­ness car sharing for employees - companies imple­ment a wide variety of meas­ures to make their processes sustain­able. So does Brüggemann­Alcohol. The ethanol manu­fac­turer takes care to procure raw alcohol for further processing in the most sustain­able way possible. What is important here: the concept of circu­larity! According to the German Council for Sustain­able Devel­op­ment mater­ials and substances should be used in the circular economy in such a way that they can be used in products for as long as possible, recovered for future produc­tion processes and thus cannot be irre­triev­ably lost as waste (German Council for Sustain­able Devel­op­ment, 2021).

In the produc­tion of bioeth­anol, bioeth­anol is often referred to as first, second or third gener­a­tion - depending on which raw mater­ials were used in the produc­tion. The first gener­a­tion describes those biofuels that are made only from edible parts of plants. Because only a small part of the plant can be used, the result is that the land required for the cultiv­a­tion of food and feed crops for biofuels is in compet­i­tion with the cultiv­a­tion of these for use as food. Because of this, the contro­ver­sial tank-plate discus­sion arose over 10 years ago. This debate deals crit­ic­ally with the use of bioen­ergy within the ecolo­gical cycle system. In order to coun­teract the disad­vant­ages of the first gener­a­tion, global research is being carried out on the use of second and third gener­a­tion raw mater­ials. Above all, the goal is almost complete util­iz­a­tion of a plant. 

For this reason, the second gener­a­tion is primarily concerned with breaking down cellu­lose. Previ­ously the ligno­cel­lu­lose-containing biomass contained in a food crop could not be broken down due to its chem­ical compos­i­tion. The third gener­a­tion cannot always be clearly distin­guished from the second but is primarily concerned with a biomass from algae. In addi­tion, it should be possible to use CO2 as a raw material in the future.

Brüggemann­Alcohol applies this gener­a­tion concept and seeks to obtain raw mater­ials that do not compete with food produc­tion, such as those related to indus­trial waste products which would no longer be used anywhere else. By processing this waste, Brüggemann­Alcohol supports the main­ten­ance of the sustain­able cycle concept.

Brew­eries are also a valu­able source of raw alcohol for the Heil­bronn alcohol manu­fac­turer. In the produc­tion of non-alco­holic beer, the alcohol produced in the beer is removed after ferment­a­tion. What is considered a waste product that cannot be further processed by brew­eries, becomes an important raw material for Brüggemann­Alcohol.

The sugar and starch industry has numerous side streams. These are by-products that arise during produc­tion and are already converted into ethanol today. This alcohol is refined to neutral alcohol in the Brügge­mann factories.

Another example are re-distil­lates that Brüggemann­Alcohol uses to make extracts. For phyto­phar­ma­ceut­icals, for example, medi­cinal plants are dissolved in alcohol. The alcohol used for the extrac­tion is then distilled off and discharged from the process. Brüggemann­Alcohol takes over these re-distil­lates from extrac­tion manu­fac­turers and, after various puri­fic­a­tion processes, uses them as raw alcohol for suit­able purposes in order to produce alcohol of proven quality.

Brüggemann­Alcohol obtains its raw mater­ials mainly from Germany and to a lesser extent from neighbor EU coun­tries. The latter are ideal suppliers because the short trans­port routes, with a low energy balance and reduced CO2 emis­sions, are part of the alcohol manu­fac­turer's sustain­ab­ility concept. 

Due to the current pandemic, there has been a signi­fic­antly higher need for disin­fect­ants and this has increased the demand for alcohol enorm­ously. Consequently, it is out of the ques­tion for Brüggemann­Alcohol to obtain raw mater­ials exclus­ively from the EU and not from third coun­tries.

At Brüggemann­Alcohol the long-term goal is to continu­ously improve the strategies and processes in terms of sustain­ab­ility. What you always have to consider: Every single step counts in order to achieve great things!

 

Sources:

Brüggemann­Alcohol

Frank­furter Allge­meine “Abfall für Alle“ (https://www.faz.net/aktuell/wissen/klima/biokraft­stoffe-abfall-fuer-alle-1304365.html) (April, 2021)

Komm ins Beet (https://www.komm-ins-beet.mpg.de/wissenswertes/nachwach­sende-rohstoffe/biokraft­stoffe-der-1.-gener­a­tion-1) (Mai, 2021)

Oxford Academic (https://academic.oup.com/af/article/3/2/6/4638639) (April, 2021)

Pflanzen. Forschung. Ethik. (https://www.pflanzen-forschung-ethik.de/kontexte/1613.ener­giep­flanzen-flaechen­konkur­renz-versuche-ents­chaer­fung-teller-tank-konf­likts.html) (April, 2021)

German Council for Sustain­able Devel­op­ment - Rat für Nach­haltige Entwicklung (https://www.nach­haltigkeit­srat.de/nach­haltige-entwicklung/ressourcenschonung-und-kreis­laufwirtschaft/?cn-reloaded=1) (April, 2021)

RP-Energie-Lexikon (https://www.energie-lexikon.info/ethanol.html)(April, 2021)

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