Life Cycle Analysis

According to the World Resource Foundation:

A Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) allows manufacturers to quantify how much energy and raw materials are used in the production of their products, and how much solid, liquid and gaseous waste is generated, at each stage of the product's life.

Since all products have some impact on the environment, the goal is to determine which products use the least amount of resources, cause less pollution or generate less waste than others.

Even for those products whose environmental burdens are relatively low, the LCA should help to identify those stages in the production processes (and in use) which cause or have the potential to cause pollution, or have a high material or energy demand.

Breaking down the manufacturing process into such fine detail can also assist in identifying the use of scarce resources, showing where a more sustainable product could be substituted.

ADM has estimated the life cycle greenhouse gas emission (GHG) impacts for production of bio-based propylene glycol (bio-PG) from soybean-derived and canola-derived glycerol.

Here is a summary of the findings:

  • When comparing the bio-based process to the petroleum route, there is a 61% reduction in GHG emissions. Therefore, the bio-PG offers better environmental performance than petroleum based PG in terms of carbon emissions.
  • The greenhouse gas emissions evaluated in this study are CO2, CH4 and N2O. The overall lifecycle GHG emissions for bio-PG are 3.24 kg CO2eq per kg PG using energy content allocation.
  • The environmental performance of bio-PG was benchmarked against the petroleum process. The petroleum route for PG production was provided by GaBi lifecycle software database and has an overall lifecycle GHG emission of 8.23 kg CO2eq per kg PG.

ADM uses renewable and sustainable glycerol as the feedstock for producing propylene glycol to help customers differentiate their products in the marketplace and to help them develop products that will meet the standards of Bio-preferred purchasing programs.

Advantages include:

  • Glycerin and propylene glycol meet ASTM standard for 100% bio-based renewable carbon content
  • Meets U.S. Government bio-preferred specifications for ingredients
  • Reduces dependency on petrochemical feedstocks