Press release

The climate impact of domestic barley starch has reduced by more than 30% since 2008

The carbon footprint of barley starch produced at Altia’s Koskenkorva plant is 1,140 kg CO2-eq/ton. The carbon footprint has significantly decreased in just over ten years, mainly due to the development of fertiliser manufacture used in barley cultivation and the use of renewable energy at the Koskenkorva plant. Barley starch is used as a raw material in, for example, the paper and paperboard industries, brewing industry and food industry.

The carbon footprint study of barley starch is part of a study commissioned by Tärkkelysteollisuusyhdistys (Starch Manufacturers’ Association) to determine the climate impacts of domestic starch products. The study conducted by Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke) covered the entire life cycle of a product, from raw material cultivation to a final product. Before this, the last time that the carbon footprint of starch products was measured was in Luke’s study in 2008.

The comparable climate impact of domestic barley starch has decreased by 31% compared to the previous study.

Emissions from barley production decreased significantly

Most of the climate load of barley starch comes from barley production, in other words, from cultivation and agricultural inputs. such as fertilisers and plant protectants. However, the emissions caused by grain cultivation have decreased substantially as the fertiliser manufacturing has developed.

In addition to the raw material, climate load is generated by starch extraction and drying. The Koskenkorva biopower plant commissioned in late 2014 has significantly reduced (74%) emissions from starch drying compared to the 2008 survey.

Effects of various factors on the carbon footprint of Altia's barley starch:

 

% of total emissions

Barley cultivation

69%

Agricultural production inputs

9.5%

Starch extraction

9%

Drying of starch

8%

Transportation

2.5%

Waste and wastewater

0.5%

Chemicals

0.5%

Domestic barley starch replaces oil-based raw materials in the paper industry

In this study, the by-products of starch production such as grain spirit or raw material for animal feed are not included in the calculation as compensating for the carbon footprint. If that approach had been applied, the carbon footprint of starch would have decreased further.

Domestic barley starch is used in the paper and paperboard industries to replace imported starches such as tapioca and corn. The most important applications are surface sizing and usage as a bonding agent and other paper and paperboard coating components. The native barley starch produced by Altia can be used either as such or enzymatically modified, depending on the use. The utilisation of barley starch can also reduce the use of oil-based binders such as latex. At the moment, the main user of Finnish starch is the forest industry because paper manufacturers, for instance, are endeavouring to reduce their dependence on fossil raw materials.

Barley starch is also a raw material used by the food industry. Barley starch can also be made gluten-free at the Koskenkorva plant. This allows it to be more widely used in a variety of applications. Barley starch can be used in beer making to replace both barley malt and other sources of sugar.

Towards a carbon-neutral production by 2025

Altia produces barley starch at the Koskenkorva distillery as part of the grain spirit production process. The Koskenkorva distillery is based on bioeconomy and circular economy, and thanks to many products it can make use of all of the Finnish barley it uses as a raw ingredient. In addition to grain spirit and barley starch, the plant produces feed raw materials. Furthermore, the carbon dioxide generated by the fermentation process is captured and reused, for example, in greenhouse cultivation.

Barley husks, which would not otherwise be used in the production at the Koskenkorva plant, are incinerated at their own biopower plant, which produces steam for the mill's needs.

Altia’s objective is to reach carbon-neutral production by 2025. Altia does not use offsets as a means of reducing emissions. Instead, the steps towards carbon neutrality are based on the development of its own production facilities, such as the Koskenkorva distillery biopower plant, and the transition to renewable energy sources. Altia has also started surveying the carbon footprints of its beverage products. The work began in the summer of 2019 with calculating the carbon footprint of Koskenkorva Vodka.

The study on the carbon footprint of starch products was carried out by the Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke). The study was coordinated by Tärkkelysteollisuusyhdistys (Starch Manufacturers’ Association), which operates under the Finnish Food and Drink Industries’ Federation of which Altia is a member. The goal was to measure how far the starch industry has proceeded in its work to reduce its carbon footprint and which measures should be taken next. The analysis used the best methods available in the field and it is based, as applicable, on the actual details collected from the production chain.

Additional information: Jukka Sala, Sales Director, Industrial Products, Altia, t. +358 (0)40 501 7489, jukka.sala [at] altiagroup.com

Altia Industrial is the leading manufacturer of barley-based products in the Nordic countries, producing barley starch, barley alcohol, technical ethanol and feed raw materials. Altia Industrial also offers contract manufacturing solutions for the beverage industry as well as other industries. Altia Industrial is part of the wine and spirits company Altia.

More information and contact:
Group Communications
Petra Gräsbeck
Director, Corporate Relations and Communications
petra.grasbeck [at] altiagroup.com