Economic analysis of a plant for biodiesel production from waste cooking oil via enzymatic transesterification using supercritical carbon dioxide

Pedro Lisboa, Ana Rita Rodrigues, Jose Luis Martin, Pedro Miguel Calado Simões, Susana Filipe Barreiros, Alexandre Paiva

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Enzymatic transesterification is becoming a commercially competitive route to biodiesel. Supercritical CO2 (scCO(2)) is well established as a solvent for extraction processes. Here we analyze the economy of a scCO(2)-based, enzymatic process, for the production of biodiesel from waste cooking sunflower oil (WCO). The conversion of WCO to fatty acid ethyl esters (FAEE) catalyzed by immobilized lipase from Thermomyces lanuginosus (Lipozyme TL IM), and downstream separation to recover biodiesel conforming to the EN14214 norm, were studied in a pilot plant unit. The data generated was used to design an envisaged industrial plant, for which an energy balance was carried out. Investment and production costs were estimated for the conversion of 8000 ton(wco)/year. This led to biodiesel costs of 1.64(sic)/L and 0.75(sic)/L (for a WCO price of 0.25(sic)/kg; enzyme prices of 800(sic)/kg and 8(sic)/kg, respectively), which already reflect the ca. 10% impact of glycerol sales.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31-40
JournalJournal of Supercritical Fluids
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014



  • Biodiesel
  • Economic analysis
  • Ethanol
  • Lipase
  • Supercritical CO2
  • Economic analysis

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