Just the tonic! Legume biorefining for alcohol has potential


In the United Kingdom, researchers from Abertay University and other UK universities found that the leguminous crop, pea (Pisum sativum L.), could be a source of starch for alcohol (gin) production, yielding protein-rich animal feed as a co-product.

The researchers conducted a life cycle assessment to compare the environmental footprint of 1 L of packaged gin produced from either 1.43 kg of wheat grain or 2.42 kg of peas via fermentation and distillation into neutral spirit and found that pea-gin had a smaller environmental footprint than wheat-gin across 12 of 14 environmental impact categories considered.

They found that there is great potential to scale the use of legume starches in production of alcoholic beverages and biofuels, reducing dependence on Latin American soybean associated with deforestation and offering considerable global mitigation potential in terms of climate change and nutrient leakage — estimated at circa 439 Tg CO2 eq. and 8.45 Tg N eq. annually.