Economic and Sustainability of Biodiesel Production—A Systematic Literature Review

As Earth’s fossil energy resources are limited, there is a growing need for renewable resources such as biodiesel. That is the reason why the social, economic and environmental impacts of biofuels became an important research topic in the last decade. Depleted stocks of crude oil and the significant level of environmental pollution encourage researchers and professionals to seek and find solutions. The study aims to analyze the economic and sustainability issues of biodiesel production by a systematic literature review. During this process, 53 relevant studies were analyzed out of 13,069 identified articles. Every study agrees that there are several concerns about the first-generation technology; however, further generations cannot be price-competitive at this moment due to the immature technology and high production costs. However, there are promising alternatives, such as wastewater-based microalgae with up to 70% oil content, fat, oils and grease (FOG), when production cost is below 799 USD/gallon, and municipal solid waste-volatile fatty acids technology, where the raw material is free. Proper management of the co-products (mainly glycerol) is essential, especially at the currently low petroleum prices (0.29 USD/L), which can only be handled by the biorefineries. Sustainability is sometimes translated as cost efficiency, but the complex interpretation is becoming more common. Common elements of sustainability are environmental and social, as well as economic, issues.

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Social sustainability in the age of digitalization: a systematic literature review on the social implications of industry 4.0, techno-economic analysis of biodiesel production from microbial oil using cardoon stalks as carbon source.

Today one of the most interesting ways to produce biodiesel is based on the use of oleaginous microorganisms, which can accumulate microbial oil with a composition similar to vegetable oils. In this paper, we present a thermo-chemical numerical model of the yeast biodiesel production process, considering cardoon stalks as raw material. The simulation is performed subdividing the process into the following sections: steam explosion pre-treatment, enzymatic hydrolysis, lipid production, lipid extraction, and alkali-catalyzed transesterification. Numerical results show that 406.4 t of biodiesel can be produced starting from 10,000 t of lignocellulosic biomass. An economic analysis indicates a biodiesel production cost of 12.8 USD/kg, thus suggesting the need to increase the capacity plant and the lipid yield to make the project economically attractive. In this regard, a sensitivity analysis is also performed considering an ideal lipid yield of 22% and 100,000 t of lignocellulosic biomass. The biodiesel production costs related to these new scenarios are 7.88 and 5.91 USD/kg, respectively. The large capacity plant combined with a great lipid yield in the fermentation stage shows a biodiesel production cost of 3.63 USD/kg making the product competitive on the current market of biofuels by microbial oil.

Determinants of Energy Efficient Innovation: A Systematic Literature Review

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PROGRAMA NACIONAL DE PRODUÇÃO E USO DO BIODIESEL: divergências sobre os resultados sociais da política de biocombustíveis

Um dos principais objetivos do Programa Nacional de Produção e Uso do Biodiesel (PNPB) tem sido desenvolver aagricultura familiar, através de incentivos fiscais às usinas produtoras de biodiesel que adquirem matérias-primas desse segmento. Este trabalho faz um breve levantamento das principais discussões em torno dos resultados sociais que o programa vem apresentando e conclui que mesmo o Estado mobilizando diversos agentes para atuarem em favor do eixo social, não há consenso em relação aos ganhos efetivos do programa no tocante a esse aspecto, tampouco desenvolvimento das regiões Norte e Nordeste como resultadoda implantação da política de biodiesel.Palavras-chave: PNPB, biodiesel, eixo social, agricultura familiar.NATIONAL PROGRAM OF BIODIESEL PRODUCTION AND USE: divergences on the social results of the biodiesel policyAbstract: One of the major objectives of the National Program of Biodiesel Production and Use has been the development of the family farm, through tax incentives for the biodiesel producers, which acquire raw material from this segment. This paper makes a survey of the main debates about the social results that have been presented by the program, concluding that even the State using their means in favor of the social side, there is no consensus on the program achievements at this point, nor the development of the North and Northeast regions as a result of the biodiesel policy.Key words: PNPB, biodiesel, social axis, family farming.

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Royal Society of Chemistry

Sustainable biodiesel generation through catalytic transesterification of waste sources: a literature review and bibliometric survey

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First published on 10th January 2022

Sustainable renewable energy production is being intensely disputed worldwide because fossil fuel resources are declining gradually. One solution is biodiesel production via the transesterification process, which is environmentally feasible due to its low-emission diesel substitute. Significant issues arising with biodiesel production are the cost of the processes, which has stuck its sustainability and the applicability of different resources. In this article, the common biodiesel feedstock such as edible and non-edible vegetable oils, waste oil and animal fats and their advantages and disadvantages were reviewed according to the Web of Science (WOS) database over the timeframe of 1970–2020. The biodiesel feedstock has water or free fatty acid, but it will produce soap by reacting free fatty acids with an alkali catalyst when they present in high portion. This reaction is unfavourable and decreases the biodiesel product yield. This issue can be solved by designing multiple transesterification stages or by employing acidic catalysts to prevent saponification. The second solution is cheaper than the first one and even more applicable because of the abundant source of catalytic materials from a waste product such as rice husk ash, chicken eggshells, fly ash, red mud, steel slag, and coconut shell and lime mud. The overview of the advantages and disadvantages of different homogeneous and heterogeneous catalysts is summarized, and the catalyst promoters and prospects of biodiesel production are also suggested. This research provides beneficial ideas for catalyst synthesis from waste for the transesterification process economically, environmentally and industrially.

1 Introduction

Biodiesel is a renewable and clean energy source and a mixture of alkyl esters got through the transesterification of several renewable resources such as animal fats and edible vegetable oils such as palm oil, sunflower oil, rapeseed oil, cottonseed oil, soybean oil and algal oil. It has qualities that are almost identical to petro-derived diesel and may thus be used in diesel engines with minor modifications. It's also biodegradable, non-toxic, and emits fewer hazardous pollutants than traditional petro-diesel. Nevertheless, the high cost of resources accounts for about 88% of the total biodiesel generation cost. 4 Hence, non-edible oil feedstock for biodiesel generation, such as waste cooking oil, natural fat, jatropha oil, waste grease and micro-algae, has gained a significant interest in recent years. 5 These feedstocks are difficult to handle because they mainly have water and high free fatty acid (FFA) contents, which require pretreatment for commercially acceptable conversion efficiency 6 in the presence of a suitable catalyst. 7 Another vital phase in the transesterification process is the selection of the catalyst that defines the cost of production, leading to the economic obstacle. The catalyst is the kingpin in the transesterification reaction and as seen in Fig. 1 , from 1970 to 2021, there were 2260 articles published in the WoS journals using biodiesel and catalyst in the title search. The number of publications and citations is growing rapidly from 2003, and the total link strength, which specifies the total strength of the co-authorship links of a given country with other countries, was also provided. It can be seen that the top ten most active countries with the highest total link strength in sequence are Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, India, Pakistan, China, Australia, Vietnam, Nigeria, Taiwan, and Thailand.

Alcoholysis or transesterification reactions with a base, acid, enzyme, and other catalysts were used for biodiesel production. 8 Biocatalysts and chemical catalysts are being examined, and both have their benefits and drawbacks. These catalysts are reported to be environmentally friendly and budget-friendly materials in industrial uses. 9 Chemical catalysts comprise homogeneous factors (acid or alkali), heterogeneous agents (solid alkali or acid catalyst), supercritical fluids (SCFs) and heterogeneous nanostructured catalysts. 9 Homogeneous catalysts can cause complications in biodiesel production, such as saponification of the feedstock by which vast quantity of by-products such as undesirable soap was produced by the reaction of the catalyst with the FFA, which then prevents the splitting of the FAME and glycerol and reduces the catalyst. 7 Although transesterification with homogeneous catalysts is easy and quick, it has drawbacks in catalyst separation, reusability, and renewable resources. 10

The context knowledge shows the growing significance of biodiesel processing, and the literature review below reveals the scarcity of scientometric research in this exciting field (see Table 1 ). The current research aims to summarize the feasibility and the challenges of biodiesel production using various heterogeneous and homogeneous catalytic processes from different waste feedstocks. The Web of Science (WOS) database was used to conduct the bibliometric study. Catalyst promoters' importance and contribution to biodiesel generation have not been adequately examined yet. There was no match for the four words of biodiesel, catalyst, promoter and review at the topic search of the WOS website. Built upon the favorable properties of catalysts and the importance of non-noble metal promoters in the transesterification process, this study also aims to gather information on synthesizing non-noble promoters supported on various organic and inorganic metal oxides to get a high biodiesel yield.

2 Biodiesel and its application

The application of biodiesel has been noticeably increasing during the last decades. As seen in Fig. 2 , biodiesel applications had risen from 7.3 million tonnes of oil equivalent (mtoe) in 1990 to 87.1 mtoe in 2020. The Renewable Fuel Standard, which was included in the Energy Policy Act of 2005, was the first to mandate the use of specific biofuel amounts. The goal was to use 4 billion gallons of renewables in transportation fuels in 2006 to increase their percentage over time. The lessening of the country's reliance on oil has been the driving concept of biofuel programmes. The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 set a goal of reducing gasoline usage by 20% over the following ten years. The 2008 Biomass Program has two essential purposes. The first is, by 2030, to reduce gasoline use by 30% as compared to 2004 levels. Second, corn-derived ethanol is used to generate cellulosic ethanol. 23 Algal biomass has been used as food and feed supplements for humans and animals, fertilisers in agriculture, nutritional supplements and medication in the pharmaceutical industry, and phycocolloids in the phycocolloid industry. 24,25 Higher prices for animal feeds have resulted from the growing use of agricultural commodities for biofuels; nevertheless, the more significant substitution of co-products for conventional feedstuffs in feed rations mitigates the input cost increases experienced by livestock and poultry farmers. In the next ten years, growth in agricultural commodities for biofuels is likely to continue. However, at a slower pace in major producing nations, government-imposed grain usage restrictions for biofuels are achieved, and new non-agricultural feedstocks are commercialised. 26 A previous work, 27 which examines renewable portfolio standards in the electricity sector and can be extended to transportation fuels, provides a detailed explanation of how such factors affect energy price. As a result, domestic fuel consumption may fall, offsetting the rise in global fuel consumption. The presence of biofuel subsidies mitigates the impact of any increases in domestic fuel prices. 28 The replacement of feedstocks should be explored to reduce biofuel synthesis or operating costs. Waste cooking oil and waste animal fat, for example, are viewed as preferable feedstocks for biodiesel production compared to edible vegetable oil since they are both inexpensive and plentiful. Furthermore, as seen in Fig. 3 , biodiesel has been used in an inclusive variety of applications such as bus 29,30 and rail 31,32 transportations, commercial steamships, 33–35 heavy trucks, 36,37 power systems such as generators, 38–40 agricultural machinery, 41–43 heating oil in domestic 44–46 and commercial 47–49 boilers, and aircraft. 50–52 Thus, biodiesel has been gaining more attention as a resource for the growing demand from several industrial sections because of its numerous advantages over fossil fuels.

3 Sources of biodiesel

3.1 edible vegetable oil, 3.2 non-edible vegetable oil, 3.3 animal fat, 3.4 waste oil, 4 catalysts for biodiesel production, 4.1 homogeneous catalysts.

Homogeneous chemical catalysts have some merits, such as easy activity optimization, high turnover frequency and selectivity, and a high reaction rate. 141,142 The most usual homogeneous catalysts used for transesterification reactions are sodium methoxide (CH 3 ONa), sodium (NaOH) and potassium (KOH) hydroxides. Using CH 3 ONa as catalysts is expensive but more applicable than KOH and NaOH compounds. CH 3 ONa was reported to be the best active basic catalyst, which prompted noble phase separation. 143 Further, CH 3 ONa will help to avoid the water and soap formation. 144 Two mechanisms are convoluted in the transesterification process, dependent on whether acid catalysts or basic catalysts are applied, which are discussed below.

4.2 Acidic catalysts

Fig. 7 illustrates the mechanisms of transesterification reactions of oil with acid catalysts for monoglycerides, and it can be extended to di- and triglyceride. 163 The carbonyl group protonation of the ester results in carbocation II, which, after nucleophilic alcohol strike, creates the tetrahedral intermediate III, which reduces glycerol for the new ester IV formation and catalyst H + regeneration. Transesterification reaction via acid catalysts is more applicable for unrefined or waste oils, but the downside is that acidic catalytic samples are suggestively less active than alkali ones. 164 Moreover, the ratio of methanol to oil in the transesterification process with acid catalysts is high with a low reaction rate; therefore, these catalysts are not gaining much attention as basic catalysts. 165 Even though, because of the existence of FFAs in high quantity in such oils and fat, homogeneous alkaline catalysts are not recommended. To solve this issue, free fatty acids are firstly esterified to FAME ( Fig. 8 ) using an acid catalyst 127 and thereafter, the transesterification reaction is implemented, usually by employing alkaline catalysts. In the pre-esterification technique, it is required to separate the esterified oil and the homogeneous acid catalyst, which is the principal disadvantage of this technique. This issue can be handled with the application of a heterogeneous acid catalyst. 166

4.3 Basic catalyst

The strong base (NaOH or KOH) catalysed through a homogenous transesterification process has certain constraints, such as product separation, which leads to increased biodiesel production costs. 11 The method involved numbers of washings and purification stages to sustain the specified condition. It was reasonably challenging to eliminate the K/Na residues lasting in the product, and the split of glycerin also caused practical experiments. The whole process cost might be increased using a higher amount of water in the washing step. 199 These factors indicate that using basic or acid heterogeneous catalysts, or better yet, a heterogeneous catalyst with acid and basic characteristics, may result in a more environmentally friendly and less expensive biodiesel manufacturing process. The triglycerides are transesterified at the basic internal sites (–O − ), whereas the free fatty acids are esterified at the acid exterior sites (–H + ). 200

4.4 Organometallic catalysis

4.5 enzymatic catalysis.

The most common method of decreasing free fatty acid of feedstocks such as oil and fat is the pre-esterification of free fatty acid by homogeneous acid catalysts before utilizing base catalyst transesterification reaction. 127,129 In this technique, it is necessary to discrete the homogeneous acid catalyst from oil which is the key disadvantage of this method. 233 In general, all homogeneous catalysts are linked with some other drawbacks, which might escalate the production cost because of wastewater emission and separation steps. 234 The product of glycerin after transesterification reaction is low when a homogeneous catalyst is used. Then multi-stage purifications with the lengthy process are needed, 79,235 which negatively affects the total costs of the transesterification process. Furthermore, the transesterification reaction via homogeneous base catalysts is not suitable for several feedstocks. Homogeneous catalysts are environmentally harmful in comparison with heterogeneous ones because they are naturally hygroscopic. 236 Homogeneous catalysts are often highly selective but not particularly active or stable. On the other hand, heterogeneous catalysts are highly active (you can run them at higher temperatures because they are more robust), but they are not particularly selective.

4.6 Heterogeneous catalysts

4.7 rice husk ash, 4.8 eggshells, 4.9 fly ash, 4.10 red mud, 4.11 iron and steel slag, 4.12 coconut, 4.13 lime mud, 4.14 catalyst promoters, 4.15 biodiesel waste products, 4.16 prospects, 5. conclusions, author contributions, conflicts of interest, acknowledgements.

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Literature Review

  • First Online: 01 January 2014

Cite this chapter

literature review on biodiesel production

  • Pogaku Ravindra 3 &
  • Kenthorai Raman Jegannathan 4  

Part of the book series: SpringerBriefs in Bioengineering ((BRIEFSBIOENG))

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The literature review of biodiesel production is presented in this chapter. In the first part, the various catalysts which are being used for biodiesel production was reviewed in detail. In the second part the need for immobilized enzyme, the various immobilization techniques and immobilized enzyme used for biodiesel production were reviewed critically. The third part in the literature review was devoted to κ-carrageenan, the enzymes, the methods used for immobilization using κ-carrageenan and applications were reviewed. In the fourth part the factors effecting the biodiesel production using immobilized lipase was reviewed critically and various suggestions were given based on the literature. The latter parts were devoted to the immobilized bioreactors, enzyme kinetics, life cycle assessment, and economics assessment.

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Ravindra, P., Jegannathan, K.R. (2015). Literature Review. In: Production of biodiesel using lipase encapsulated in κ-carrageenan. SpringerBriefs in Bioengineering. Springer, Cham.

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