Trying to get a decent shelf life of the sauce. Considering lime powder or asorbic acid. Don't know much about preserving stuff.
Adding the question: Making a hot sauce with limes, peppers, salt, sugar. How long will it last in a bottle at room temperature?
For peppers, you will need to use a pressure cooker to can (preserve it). It's the only safe method of preservation for peppers. The hot sauce will need to have a pH below 4.
Your original question is a bit tricky. To have a shelf stable hot sauce, you can process it, using the pressure canner method. Unopened, it is shelf-stable for about 12 months. Once opened, you'll need to refrigerate it. It's probably best used within 3 weeks after opening. Quality and flavor tends to degrade over time (whether it is opened or not) and it does so faster once the bottle is opened.
Ascorbic acid is often used as color stabilizer. I can't seem to find it's use as a preservative to extend shelf life (i.e. as antimicrobial). You'll have to be careful with ascorbic acid if you have a sensitivity to corn.
Lime powder can give you the acidity to lower the pH without adding organic matter like juice.
Extension of shelf life appears to be governed by pH. As long as the pH is below 4, theoretically, the sauce is safe to consume. Light and air will affect the quality of the sauce.
My advice is to thoroughly read instructions for food preservation whether from Ball (the mason jar manufacturer) or your local Extension office.
If you have never canned vegetables or fruit, I suggest reading some how-to manuals or books. Canning has become trendy again--so there is a lot out there. Domenica Marchetti has just published “Preserving Italy,” which is a good place to start.
As long as you do water bath canning for 15 minutes at 0-1000 feet, 20 at 1001-6000, and 25 above you will be fine. This link is from University of Utah all about canning salsa http://extension.usu.edu/utah/files/uploads/recipes-cooking-canning/salsa%20recipes%20for%20canning.pdf
You might consider fermenting the peppers before adding the other ingredients. I've made homemade hot sauce in small batches using fermented peppers left on my counter for over 9 months. This way you can buy peppers when they are in season and experiment with spices and seasonings. If you're interested in fermented foods, I suggest reading this website written by Sandor Katz, here's the link: http://www.wildfermentation.com/
I both water bath and pressure can constantly. Without knowing amounts or what precisely you've got, I'd take the safest route and advise against trying to preserve this at all until you have a stronger grasp of preserving basics. Botulism is invisible and scary, and a real killer.I don't mean to be killjoy....but...Eugenia Bone's books are accessible reading. If you really wanna preserve these peppers, use white vinegar with at least 5% acetic acid. But, really, this is serious. Canning is fun, but be careful.
Thanks all for taking the time to share your knowledge. Looks like I have some more reading to do before playing with the ingredients.