More than 40 degrees of temperature in many of our countries already seems to be common news every summer. These rising temperatures are just one of the many effects of environmental damage caused by greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from human activities. A reminder that governments, industries, and individuals must do something to stop the damage to the planet. A reminder also for us, as a brand in the tequila industry, to continue looking for options to reduce our carbon footprint at every stage of our production and distribution process.
On average, Tequila at 40% alcohol volume produces 3 kg of carbon dioxide emissions per liter. The raw material (agave crops) does not play an important role here as it only contributes 1/10 of the total GHG emissions. On the other hand, the processing of raw materials and packaging is the main contributor, representing approximately 2/5 and 1/5 respectively. The use of fossil fuels (mainly fuel oil) and heavy glass bottles are the causes of these high contributions.
As our commitment is to drive change in the tequila industry, Buen Vato has worked to find lighter packaging options. Our next step is to start a project to reduce carbon emissions from the main source of tequila production, fossil fuels for the cooking and distillation process, and we believe biofuels are a great option.
But… what are biofuels?
Biofuels have become an environmentally friendly alternative to fossil fuels, since they are produced from renewable biomass sources, such as plants, animals, and food waste, have lower pollutant emissions, and are fully biodegradable. Biofuels also release carbon dioxide; however, a higher amount of carbon dioxide is typically captured during the cultivation of renewable biomass and/or during biofuel production, making them “carbon-negative fuels.” The challenge is the production capacity to meet current demand.
There are mainly two categories of biofuels, first and second generation. First-generation biofuels are produced from edible biomass, such as corn, sugarcane, and oilseeds. Hence, crop production for first-generation biofuels competes with land use for food production, limiting availability. Second-generation biofuels were developed to overcome this limitation, using non-edible biomass available in greater amounts (for example wood and waste) as feedstock. One of these feedstocks is “used cooking oil”, which can be used to produce biodiesel to reduce carbon emissions by up to 90% compared to conventional diesel.
We know that it is not an easy process, but once again we are willing to work on it. That is why we are in the phase of searching for experts in the biofuels field, ranging from suppliers, consultants, and researchers, who can guide us to face the challenges of implementing a plan to reduce the impact of the fossil fuels at the distillery by up to 90% using biofuels that come from used cooking oil. So, we hope in a while to announce this great news.
Pleanjai, S. Gheewala, S. Garivait, S. “Greenhouse gas emissions from production and use of used cooking oil methyl ester as transport fuel in Thailand”, Journal of Cleaner Production, vol. 17, pp. 873-876, 2009.
Buen Vato. Carbon emission in the Tequila industry: something we have to think about. 2022.