DOI: 10.3390/su152416550 ISSN: 2071-1050

Advancing Biodiesel Production System from Mixed Vegetable Oil Waste: A Life Cycle Assessment of Environmental and Economic Outcomes

Farayi Musharavati, Khadija Sajid, Izza Anwer, Abdul-Sattar Nizami, Muhammad Hassan Javed, Anees Ahmad, Muhammad Naqvi
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Building and Construction

This study aims to evaluate the environmental and economic performance of biodiesel production from mixed vegetable oil waste using the life cycle assessment (LCA) model. Due to its huge potential, Pakistan is taken as a case study. It produces 468,842 tons of vegetable oil waste annually. As no biodiesel production plant exists to process it, the environmental performance of biodiesel prototypes has not been investigated. Therefore, the current study is conducted to support the design of a plant to produce biodiesel from mixed oil waste. An attributional LCA was conducted using ReCiPe (H) and found that 400 kg of biodiesel can be produced from 1 t of mixed oil waste. The results, based on a functional unit of 1 ton, showed that biodiesel production from mixed vegetable oil waste is more eco-friendly than the existing landfilling practices with a global warming potential of 1.36 × 10−4 kg CO2 eq, human toxicity of 5.31 kg 1.4 DB eq, ozone depletion potential of 0.00271 kg CFC-11 eq, eutrophication potential of 0.0118 kg P eq, acidification potential of 123 kg SO2 eq, and photochemical ozone formation of 51.4 kg NOx eq. Scenario modelling was conducted using electricity from photovoltaic solar cells, which decrease fine particulate matter formation from 44.5 to 0.725 kg PM2.5 eq, instead of using electricity from a grid to the plant. Hotspot identification was carried out to highlight the effects of individual impact categories. An economic analysis showed that 638,839 USD/year revenue would be generated. Generating energy from discarded vegetable oils through biodiesel production presents a sustainable and economically viable approach. This process benefits the environment and contributes to cost savings by reducing waste disposal in landfills. Furthermore, it aligns with the principles of a circular economy, in which resources are reused and recycled. It also supports the pursuit of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly SDG-7, which focuses on affordable and clean energy, and SDG-12, which emphasizes responsible consumption and production.

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