Environmental Impact Evaluation for Heterogeneously Catalysed Starch Oxidation

Hoogstad, Tim M.; Timmer, Stijn M.; Boxtel, Anton J.B. van; Buwalda, Pieter L.; Bitter, Johannes H.; Kiewidt, Lars


Oxidised starch is currently produced from native starch using sodium hypochlorite as an oxidising agent. The use of hypochlorite has undesired side reactions and produces stoichiometric amounts of waste (salt), thus alternative oxidation methods are desired. In this study, the potential of two catalysed starch oxidation methods to reduce the environmental impact (EI) of oxidised starch production are assessed. We compared the EI of oxidation with molecular oxygen (heterogeneously catalysed) and hydrogen peroxide (homogeneously catalysed) to hypochlorite oxidation through life cycle assessment (LCA). The results confirm that hypochlorite oxidation is the main environmental hotspot in the current process of oxidised starch production, and that both hydroperoxide oxidation and molecular oxygen oxidation can significantly lower the EI of the process. The impact reduction is most significant in the categories of freshwater eutrophication (∼67 %), ozone depletion (∼66 %), climate change (35–60 %) and resource use (40 %–78 %) for peroxide and molecular oxygen oxidation, respectively.