Techno-Economics of Biodiesel Production Process from High FFA Containing Animal Fat

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Techno-economic studies have been performed on biodiesel production process from animal fat containing high level of Free Fatty Acid (FFA), nearly 30%, [1]. The plant capacity is assumed 2.89 kg/s (250 metric tons per day) of animal fat. The process is divided into 4 sections: pretreatment and conditioning (Area-100), synthesis (Area-200), product purification (Area-300), and byproduct recovery (Area-400). In Area-100, mineral acid is used to catalytically convert FFA and methanol to methyl esters known as biodiesel. The acid is then recovered and recycled. The residual mineral acid and FFA are neutralized with sodium hydroxide in neutralizing reactors. In synthesis area, triglycerides are converted with methanol to methylesters, and glycerin (a byproduct). Biodiesel and glycerin are separated and recovered in product purification and byproduct recovery sections respectively. The produced biodiesel quality meets biodiesel standard. Glycerin with 80% consistency is recovered and sold as crude glycerin at a price of $0.20/kg [2]. The material and energy balances data are generated by simulating the process in Aspen plus process simulator. The economic analysis is performed on excel spreadsheet. All technical and economic data are obtained from public domain. A discounted cash flow analysis has been performed to obtain the Biodiesel production product value including a 10% internal rate of return [3]. The Total Project Investment (TPI) and the Product Value (PV) are estimated as 17MM$ (million $) and $0.41/lit respectively. The animal fat is assumed available in Malaysia at a price of nearly $0.35/kg. All cost data are expressed in 2009US$ values. The analysis shows that 77% of PV is raw materials and catalyst costs, of which nearly 93% is the animal fat cost alone. Sensitivity analysis has been performed on the critical economic and technical parameters to study their effect on PV. Among the parameters, animal fat price shows a significant impact on the PV. When the fat price varied from 0.10 to $0.50/kg, the PV increased from $0.19/lit to $0.62/lit. The present analysis did not consider in-house utility plant, land prices, and local taxes. However, utility prices, waste treatment and disposal costs are included.
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Biodiesel; Animal Fat; Techno-Economics; Product Value; Sensitivity Analysis

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