Using the product environmental footprint to strengthen the green market for sustainable feed ingredients: Lessons from a green biomass biorefinery in Denmark

Benyamin Khoshnevisan*, Erik Fog, Samin Baladi, Shealtiel William S. Chan, Morten Birkved

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

4 Downloads (Pure)


Finding new and sustainable proteinaceous feed ingredients, especially those produced from locally available resources, is at the top of the agenda of many countries, including Denmark, to become feed protein self-sufficient. Protein concentrate (PC) production via the biorefining of green biomass has attracted considerable interest in recent years since they are more land efficient and productive than soybeans. The biorefining of clover-grass into protein concentrate (GPC) is a promising substitute for soybean and soybean meal with noticeable environmental impacts. The Product Environmental Footprint (PEF) method, developed by EU Joint Research Centre for the “Single Market for Green Products Initiative” was employed to assess the environmental footprints of organic GPC. The instructions, methodology, and guidelines detailed in Product Environmental Footprint Category Rules (PEFCR) Feed for Food-Producing Animals were followed to implement this PEF study. The results were intended for in-house management, process improvement, early guidance on the environmental footprint (EF) of compound feeds containing GPC, and the EF of livestock and animal production whose feed ration contains GPC. Our results showed that GPC would have a climate change impact of 1091.47 kg CO2,eq/t GPC. We found that farming/cultivation, more specifically direct emissions from manure slurry, dominated most impact categories, including acidification and eutrophication. The results were found sensitive to the choice of allocation method and very case-specific. For instance, the climate change impact of GPC was higher under economic allocation than direct substation, but the acidification impact was lower in economic allocation than direct substitution. However, the direct substitution method, showed that treating the process residues in biogas plants could result in GPC with lower EFs. The sensitivity analysis confirmed that increasing the clover-grass productivity and decreasing either manure slurry application or nitrogenous emissions from its application are the keys to further decreasing the overall environmental impacts.
Original languageEnglish
Article number162858
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Number of pages18
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 20. Mar 2023


  • Biomass biorefining
  • Eco-labelling
  • Feed protein
  • Grass protein concentrate
  • Product environmental footprint


Dive into the research topics of 'Using the product environmental footprint to strengthen the green market for sustainable feed ingredients: Lessons from a green biomass biorefinery in Denmark'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this