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Energies 2018, 11(6), 1551;

Increasing Profits in Food Waste Biorefinery—A Techno-Economic Analysis

Chemistry Department, Khalifa University of Science and Technology, Masdar Campus, P.O. Box 54224 Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 7 May 2018 / Revised: 20 May 2018 / Accepted: 21 May 2018 / Published: 13 June 2018
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The present manuscript highlights the economic profit increase when combining organic waste anaerobic digestion with other mixed culture anaerobic fermentation technologies, e.g., lactic acid fermentation and dark fermentation. Here we consider the conversion of 50 tonnes/day of food waste into methane, power generation (from CHP of biomethane), lactic acid, polylactic acid, hydrogen, acetic acid and butyric acid. The economic assessment shows that the basic alternative, i.e., anaerobic digestion with methane selling to the grid, generates 19 USD/t_VS (3 USD/t_foodwaste) of profit. The highest profit is obtained by dark fermentation with separation and purification of acetic and butyric acids, i.e., 296 USD/t_VS (47 USD/t_foodwaste). The only alternative that presented losses is the power generation alternative, needing tipping fees and/or subsidy of 176 USD/t_VS (29 USD/t_foodwaste). The rest of the alternatives generate profit. From the return on investment (ROI) and payback time, the best scenario is the production of polylactic acid, with 98% ROI, and 7.8 years payback time. Production of butyric acid ROI and payback time was 74% and 9.1 years. View Full-Text
Keywords: food waste; anaerobic digestion; lactic acid fermentation; dark fermentation; poly-lactic acid; butyric acid food waste; anaerobic digestion; lactic acid fermentation; dark fermentation; poly-lactic acid; butyric acid

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Bastidas-Oyanedel, J.-R.; Schmidt, J.E. Increasing Profits in Food Waste Biorefinery—A Techno-Economic Analysis. Energies 2018, 11, 1551.

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