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Techno-Economic Study of a Biodiesel Production from Palm Fatty


Acid Distillate
Hyun Jun Cho, Jin-Kuk Kim, Hyun-Jea Cho, and Yeong-Koo Yeo*
Department of Chemical Engineering, Hanyang University, Haengdang-dong, Sungdong-gu, Seoul, Republic of Korea
S Supporting Information
*

ABSTRACT: Techno-economic analysis has been carried out for a single-step noncatalytic esterication process which produces
biodiesel from palm fatty acid distillate (PFAD). A simulation model for this biodiesel production process has been developed,
which provided the basis for the estimation of capital expenditure and operating cost. Although the process considered in this
work has been observed as nonprotable even at considerably large-plant capacity, the net cash ow becomes surplus at the
capacity of 100 kty1. Eects of raw material cost and biodiesel product price on the economic feasibility of the process have also
been evaluated. With techno-economic analysis, it was found that the current biodiesel process would be economically viable
with favorable changes in the economic parameters, i.e. $50t1 reduction for raw material purchase cost or $50t1 increase for
biodiesel sales price.

1. INTRODUCTION
Biodiesel, a renewable and sustainable substitute of the diesel
fuel traditionally obtained from petroleum, is dened by the
American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) as
monoalkyl esters of long-chain fatty acids derived from a
renewable lipid feedstock such as vegetable oil or animal fats.1
In general, biodiesel, fatty acid methyl ester (FAME), is
eciently produced from the transesterication of vegetable oil
or animal fats or from esterication of fatty acids with shortchain alcohols in the presence of homogeneous or heterogeneous alkali- and/or acid-based catalysts.2 Among catalytic
processes,the alkali-catalyzed transesterication reaction is
much faster than the acid-catalyzed transesterication and is
popular in commercial production.3,4 However, alkali-catalyzed
transesterication is suitable only for biodiesel production from
feedstock containing low levels of free fatty acid (e.g., FFA < 1
wt %) such as rened vegetable oils. However, volatile and
unpredictable price changes for rened vegetable oils is
regarded as a main barrier for the further development of
biodiesel industry, and it is not widely accepted in society as a
sustainable and ethical way to utilize food feedstock for the
production of fuels.
Recently, heterogeneous acid catalysts have been more
widely favored over homogeneous ones for adopting some lowquality feedstock which is unrened and much cheaper than the
rened oil, such as used cooking oils (27% FFA), animal fats
(530%), palm fatty acid distillate (PFAD, 8095%) and trap
grease (100%).512 However, research on the direct use of a
solid acid catalyst for biodiesel production has not been widely
explored because of a slow reaction rate and a lack of
knowledge in fundamental studies relating to reaction pathways
of triglyceride on solid acids.13
There have been only a few studies on noncatalytic
esterication and/or transesterication reactions which led to
much simpler purication and environmentally friendly
processes.1420 Most of these studies were conducted under
pressurized conditions, i.e., supercritical or subcritical con XXXX American Chemical Society

ditions of methanol. However, the processes mentioned above


are not easily applicable to the actual production of biodiesel
due to the signicantly high production and capital costs
required. In addition, these processes are operated under severe
operating conditions such as high pressure, high temperature,
and high molar ratio of methanol, in which uncertain safety and
potential hazard issues should be carefully managed.
Therefore, signicant eorts have been made in the academic
and industrial community to develop the new biodiesel
production process operating under nonsevere operating
conditions with high economic potentials. Among these
developments, a new method for biodiesel production from
fatty acids, especially PFAD, has been proposed recently by
Cho et al.21 As PFAD is the byproduct being inevitably
generated in the purication process at the palm oil renery,
the price of PFAD is much cheaper than other rened oils
which are major feed stocks for most of the current biodiesel
plants. The process for the noncatalytic single-step esterication of PFAD proposed in the work is readily applicable to
actual biodiesel production and can be one of the most
competitive processes due to its simplicity, excellent reaction
yield, and use of low-priced feedstock.
Besides these technical aspects, economic feasibility is also of
great importance to access process viability. A number of
studies have been conducted to evaluate economics of various
technologies available for biodiesel production in which a wide
range of economic criteria have been employed and dierent
design options and feedstocks have been considered. Several
studies were conducted to analyze process economics of the
alkali-catalyzed transesterication process based on rened or
degummed vegetable oil, and it was concluded that biodiesel
sale cost, prot gained from the sale of glycerol, and plant
Received: June 21, 2012
Revised: September 27, 2012
Accepted: November 19, 2012

dx.doi.org/10.1021/ie301651b | Ind. Eng. Chem. Res. XXXX, XXX, XXXXXX

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Figure 1. AspenPlus model for biodiesel production by noncatalytic esterication of PFAD (Cho et al.21).

for realistic judgment in condence for evaluating economic


feasibility of the developed process.
Economic evaluations described so far have been carried out
on the basis of process modeling with the aid of a process
simulator, for example, AspenPlus, HYSYS, or SuperPro
Designer. Most of the studies conducted so far were based
on a bare module concept,33 but Lee31 used Icarus Process
Evaluator (IPE, AspenTech), which has been eld tested for
more than 30 years in commercial plants and is widely used by
various engineering design rms. The advantage of using IPE is
that it provides the necessary specications for detailed design,
estimation, and economic data. The detailed design allows
detailed modications of the process equipment, which is not
possible in the Lang factor technique or the bare-module
method.33 In addition, a more accurate estimation of a total
capital investment can be achieved by the builtin database of
the eld-tested industrial standard design, as well as cost
models used by project evaluators (Lee31).
In the present study, an economic analysis has been
performed for the single-step noncatalytic esterication method
using PFAD proposed by Cho et al21 which is expected to be
easily commercialized as an attractive alternative process to the
conventional biodiesel production due to the usage of cheap
raw material. The process model has been developed by using
AspenPlus. The proposed model provides heat and material
balances from which evaluation of the manufacturing cost was
conducted. IPE has been used to obtain the detailed capital
cost. In this study, much eort was focused to identify the key
economic parameters in the estimation of capital and
manufacturing costs and to understand their characteristics
and impacts on the costs of the plant when processing capacity
is varied. Net present value (NPV) and payback period (PBP)
are evaluated at various values of raw material and product sale
costs to provide economic insights into the process considered
in the present study.

capacity are key parameters for protability of the process, and


their impacts related to the change of these parameters on the
overall economics have been forecasted.2325
On the other hand, some investigations had been made to
utilize relatively cheap waste or used cooking oil, rather than
expensive, rened vegetable oil, as the usage of used or waste
cooking oil is limited in the alkali-transesterication process due
to high concentration of free fatty acid in the feedstock. Also
the manufacturing cost for these processes based on used or
waste cooking oil had been evaluated, which was then
compared with that of the alkali-catalyzed transesterication
process.1,26,27 From the studies presented above, biodiesel
production using heterogeneous acid catalysis seems to be the
most promising technology.
Other considerations were made to the development of
biodiesel production from low-cost feedstock at supercritical or
subcritical conditions of methanol, and its economic performance was evaluated and compared with that of the alkalitransesterication process.2831 A few studies among them
concluded that, while the supercritical process requires
considerable capital investment, it is economically advantageous, compared to the alkali-transesterication process.2931
Recently, key economic factors of the noncatalytic
esterication of PFAD, compared to other production methods,
have been studied (Cho et al.32), as the process considered in
the work is cost-eective at the 8 kty1 capacity of biodiesel
product, because about 25% of manufacturing cost for the
process considered is cheaper than the supercritical process and
the transesterication process. Cho et al.32 concluded that quick
economic return for the current process is possible, as relative
payback time is less than 0.33 year, although the proposed
process requires about 21% more capital investment, compared
to the transesterication process. However, processing capacity
studied was too small to justify economic viability of the
proposed process for industrial-scale applications, which was
one of main drawbacks of the previous economic costing
studies. And the study by Cho et al.32 was not able to explore
the detailed economic costing with rigorous equipment sizing

2. METHODOLOGY
2.1. Modeling. To assess the technological feasibility and to
obtain material and energy balances for a preliminary economic
B

dx.doi.org/10.1021/ie301651b | Ind. Eng. Chem. Res. XXXX, XXX, XXXXXX

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where CFA is concentration of fatty acid (oleic acid) and the


frequency factor, A, and the activation energy, Ea, are 2.12
min1 and 17.74 kJ/mol, respectively. The reboiler (HEATER2) is employed to provide the heat required for endothermic
reaction. The top vapor product from the reactor includes
unreacted methanol, water produced from the reaction and part
of FAME component. FAME is recovered from the column
(REC-COL) and returned to the reactor, while the light
components (i.e., methanol and water) are further processed in
the column to recover methanol. Five theoretical stages are
taken for REC-COL (RadFrac). FAME-rich bottom liquid
product from the reactor is puried in the distillation column
(BDCOL). The RadFrac column simulation module is applied
for the rigorous simulation of MEOH-COL, under atmospheric
pressure and with 20 theoretical stages. The reux ratio is
adjusted to meet the required purity of methanol which is pure
enough to be recycled to the reactor. The bottom product from
MEOH-COL, mainly water, is discharged as wastewater. Also,
the RadFrac is employed to simulate the distillation column
(BDCOL) which puries crude FAME bottom product from
the reactor. Due to the high boiling point of FAME, the column
is operated at a very low operating pressure, less than 1.5 kPa,
and 20 theoretical stages are used. The reux ratio is adjusted
to satisfy the specication of biodiesel set by the European
Standard EN14105. The nal product is obtained from the top
distillate stream of the column, and residue (most of which
consists of triglyceride) is discharged from the bottom of the
column. Stream information of feed and product ows and
energy requirements of unit operations for the biodiesel
production process based on the noncatalytic esterication
are given in Tables S1 and S2 of the Supporting Information,
respectively.
2.2. Economic Analysis. In the present study, economic
analysis refers to the evaluation of capital cost and
manufacturing cost for the process, and the sensitivity analysis
on the protability of the process based on nondiscounted
criteria, payback period (PBP), and a discounted criteria, net
present value (NPV) according to changes in feed and product
prices.
Basically, estimation of the capital cost for the biodiesel
production by noncatalytic esterication was performed by
mapping modeling results from AspenPlus into IPE and
relating each unit in simulation to a specic type of process
equipment. Purchase cost of various equipment, CEQ, including
towers, heat exchangers, vessels, pumps, etc., was determined
from the default method of IPE, which allows sizing and costing
of unit operations. No prototype for the counter-current type
reactor is available within IPE, and therefore, the cost of a
counter-current reactor was estimated from the column with
bubble cap tray. The size of the column was taken as being
equivalent to 3-h residence time. Table S3 of the Supporting
Information shows size and specication for the major
equipment, including towers and heat exchangers when the
processing capacity is 120 kty1 of biodiesel product. It should
be noted that unit height per theoretical stage of column is
dierent according to the type of column. For example,
MEOHCOL is valve tray type, while BDCOL is packing type.
Therefore, the height of BDCOL and MEOHCOL is dierent
although the numbers of theoretical stages for both columns are
the same. CBM, cost for bulk materials, including piping, steel
structure, electrical, instrumentation, insulation etc. and CID,
indirect cost for engineering and construction indirect cost for
engineering and construction were also estimated from IPE.

analysis, complete process modeling of the biodiesel process


adopting noncatalytic esterication of PFAD (Cho et al.21) was
performed. Despite some expected dierences between the
process model and actual operation, process simulators are
commonly used to provide reliable information on a process
operation owing to their vast component libraries, comprehensive thermodynamic packages, and advanced computational
methods. In this work, AspenPlus (ASPEN Tech, Inc.) was
used to conduct the modeling.
The rst step in developing the process model was selecting
the chemical components for the process, as well as related
thermodynamic models. Additionally, unit operations and
operating conditions and input conditions must all be selected
and specied. AspenPlus library includes a physical property
database for the following components used in the modeling:
methanol, water, oleic acid, methyl oleate, and triolein. PFAD
was simply represented by the mixture of triolein (11.7%), oleic
acid (87.3%), and water (1.0%), based on the composition of
PFAD in the experimental work of Cho et al..21 Accordingly,
methyl-oleate, also available in the AspenPlus component
library, was taken as the product of the esterication reaction. A
considerable dierence was observed between the value of the
vapor pressure of triolein from the physical property library of
AspenPlus and that of triolein estimated from experiments.
Therefore, the equation for the calculation of vapor pressure of
triolein provided by Appostolakou et al.24 was adopted in the
present study. Owing to the presence of polar compounds such
as methanol and water in the process, the Wilson
thermodynamic/activity model with the RedlichKwong
equation of state was selected for use as the property package
in the modeling. Since some binary interaction parameters for
vaporliquid equilibrium were not available in the software
databanks, they were estimated using the UNIFAC group
method in AspenPlus.
Figure 1 shows the owsheet for a biodiesel production
process which is composed of a noncatalytic esterication of
PFAD, fatty acid methyl ester(FAME) recovery (distillation),
product purication (distillation) and methanol recovery
(distillation) using AspenPlus. PFAD (FEED-P1, -P2, -P3)
and methanol (FEED-M1, -M2, -M3, -M4) were used as raw
materials. PFAD was pumped up to overpass the reaction
pressure using a pump (PUMP1) and preheated to the reaction
temperature through a heat exchanger (HEATER1). Recovered
unreacted methanol was mixed with fresh methanol at
MIXER1, which was evaporated (EVAPORAT) and transferred
back to the reactor. The modeling of a reactor is based on the
reaction condition in the experiment of Cho et al.21 (290 C,
0.85 MPa, methanol to feed molar ratio 4.8), and the
continuous reactor employed takes liquid PFAD (FEED-P2)
feed from the upper part of the reactor, which is countercurrently in contact with vapor methanol (FEED-M4) supplied
from the lower part of the reactor. The RadFrac simulation
module available in AspenPlus was used to model and simulate
reactive distillation, by assuming 10 stages and 3 h of reaction
duration for the column and using kinetic parameters for a
noncatalytic esterication of PFAD veried from the
experimental study of Cho et al.21,22 as shown in eqs 1 and 2,

dC FA
= k fC FA
dt

k f = A eEa / RT

(1)
(2)
C

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Table 1. Total Capital Cost for the Biodiesel Process Considered in the Present Study
plant capacity (kty1)
(MM$)

20

40

60

80

100

120

equipment, CEQ
bulk material, CBM
direct cost, CD= CEQ + CBM
indirect cost, CID
IBL cost, CIBL = CD + CID
auxiliary facility cost, CAUX = 0.5CIBL
xed capital cost, CFC = CIBL + CAUX
working capital cost, CWC = 0.15CFC
total capital cost, CTC = CFC + CWC

1.64
1.96
3.60
4.42
8.02
4.01
12.03
1.80
13.83

2.66
2.22
4.88
4.97
9.84
4.92
14.77
2.21
16.98

3.47
2.47
5.94
5.36
11.29
5.65
16.94
2.54
19.48

4.37
2.40
6.77
5.33
12.10
6.05
18.15
2.72
20.87

5.57
2.55
8.12
5.65
13.78
6.89
20.66
3.10
23.76

6.35
2.68
9.03
5.90
14.93
7.47
22.40
3.36
25.76

IPE does not have a functionality to estimate CAUX, cost


incurred for site development, auxiliary buildings and o-sites
and utilities, including storage tanks, utility systems, central
environmental control facilities and re protecting systems. It is
dicult to perform accurate costing for CAUX as it is strongly
dependent on the location and characteristics of the plant. In
this study, CAUX is taken as 50% of CIBL33 which is overall cost
required for the plant within inside battery limit and is given by
sum of CEQ, CBM, and CID. Working capital cost, CWC, is usually
a fraction of the xed capital cost, CFC(=CIBL + CAUX), and 15%
of CFC is taken by previous works.25,26,30,34
In the present work, the total manufacturing cost was
estimated from the heat and mass balances, prices of raw
material, chemicals, and utilities as well as operating labor cost.
As mentioned earlier by some researchers,1,2326,30 total
manufacturing cost and prot are heavily inuenced by raw
material cost and product cost. To reect actual market trend in
this study, prices for raw material and product are averaged over
the past ve years between 2007 and 2011 (Table S4 of the
Supporting Information) to be used in the economic analysis.
Other prices for chemicals and utilities used in the process are
also shown in Table S4. Cost of operating labor, COL, was
estimated from the correlation by Alkhayat and Gerrard35 and
the method described in Turton et al.33 Depreciation cost was
calculated using a straight-line method over 9.5 years with no
salvage value.33 All the other individual items of manufacturing
cost were estimated by the method presented in Turton et al.33
based on xed capital cost, CFC, and cost of operating labor,
COL; the federal tax rate33 was applied to compute Prot after
Tax, PAT.
To assess the protability of the process in the present study,
two economic indicators, payback period (PBP) and net
present value (NPV), were calculated from the total capital cost
and the total manufacturing cost. Payback period, PBP is
dened as eq 3.
PBP =

fixed capital cost (C FC)


profit after tax (PAT) + depreciation (CDP)

capital cost decreases with plant capacity. This pattern agrees


well with typical trends observed in chemical industries. These
results are plotted in Figure 2, which shows the relative

Figure 2. Ratios of equipment cost, bulk material cost, direct cost, and
indirect cost to total xed capital cost.

contribution of each cost item to the overall capital cost. The


direct cost becomes dominant in the overall capital cost when
the plant capacity increases. For example, when the capacity is
120 kty1, direct cost contributes more than 40% of capital
cost.
Table 2 shows details of manufacturing cost and values of
PBP and NPV for dierent plant capacities for the biodiesel
production process by noncatalytic esterication. Changes of
the ratio of individual cost item with plant capacity are shown
in Figure 3. Although the noncatalytic esterication process
considered in this work is based on the utilization of cheap raw
material, the cost of which is 2030% cheaper than feedstock
used in other conventional processes, the dominant cost item in
the manufacturing cost is related to the purchase of PFAD,
which keeps increasing and reaches around 66% of overall
manufacturing cost. With prices of raw materials ($608t1) and
product ($1005t 1 ) chosen for this study, it is not
economically viable to produce biodiesel. This strongly
indicates that considerable governmental support (such as tax
benets) is needed for the commercial implementation of the
proposed process. Meanwhile, the eect of economy of scale
can be observed from Table 2 and Figure 3. As the plant
capacity increases, the decit decreases, and better cash ow is
achieved. Negative cash ow switches to surplus at more than
100 kty1 capacity.
It should be noted that the selling price of biodiesel is not
steady over time because the price of biodiesel in the market is
signicantly dependent on that of petro-diesel produced from
petroleum-based reneries, and the price of raw material for the
biodiesel production, PFAD in the current work, is highly

(3)

Discount rate and project life for evaluation of NPV, used in


this work, is 10% and 10 years, respectively.

3. RESULTS AND DISCUSSION


Overall capital cost of the plant with each cost item is tabulated
in Table 1 when plant capacity is varied for the biodiesel
production process by noncatalytic esterication. The ratio of
direct cost, CD, representing the purchasing cost of equipment
and bulk materials, to total xed capital cost increases with
plant capacity, while the ratio of indirect cost, CID, to total xed
D

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Table 2. Estimated Total Manufacturing Cost and Protability


plant capacity (kty1)
cost items (MM$)
Direct Cost
Raw Material
PFAD
methanol
Utility and Waste treatment
steam and fuel
electricity
cooling water
waste disposal
Labor
oprating labor, COL
supervisory and clerical labor, 0.18COL
Miscellaneous
maintenance and repair, 0.06CFC
operating supplies, 0.009CFC
lab charges, 0.15COL
patents and royalties, 0.03CMF
Fixed Cost
depreciation, CDP
local taxes and insurance, 0.032CFC
plant overhead, 0.708COL + 0.036CFC
General Expenses
admin. costs, 0.177COL + 0.009CFC
dist. and selling cost, 0.11CMF
res. and dev., 0.05CMF
Total Manufacturing Cost, CMF
Revenue
Prot before Tax, PBT
income tax
Prot after Tax, PAT
After-Tax Cash Flow, CFAT = PAT + CDP
PBP (payback period, y), CFC / CFAT
NPV (net present value)

20

40

60

80

100

120

13.33
0.95

26.67
1.89

40.00
2.84

53.33
3.78

66.67
4.73

80.00
5.67

0.67
0.0012
0.08
0.10

1.34
0.0025
0.16
0.19

2.00
0.0037
0.24
0.29

2.67
0.0050
0.31
0.39

3.34
0.0062
0.39
0.48

4.01
0.0074
0.47
0.58

0.74
0.13

0.74
0.13

0.74
0.13

0.74
0.13

0.74
0.13

0.74
0.13

0.72
0.11
0.11
0.73

0.89
0.13
0.11
1.32

1.02
0.15
0.11
1.90

1.09
0.16
0.11
2.47

1.24
0.19
0.11
3.05

1.34
0.20
0.11
3.63

1.27
0.38
0.96

1.55
0.47
1.06

1.78
0.54
1.13

1.91
0.58
1.18

2.18
0.66
1.27

2.36
0.72
1.33

0.24
2.69
1.22
24.43
20.10
4.33
0.00
4.33
3.06

32.64

0.26
4.83
2.20
43.95
40.20
3.75
0.00
3.75
2.19

30.45

0.28
6.96
3.16
63.29
60.30
2.99
0.00
2.99
1.21

26.90

0.29
9.06
4.12
82.34
80.40
1.94
0.00
1.94
0.03

21.04

0.32
11.20
5.09
101.79
100.50
1.29
0.00
1.29
0.89
23.29
18.31

0.33
13.31
6.05
121.00
120.60
0.40
0.00
0.40
1.96
11.42
13.71

Figure 3. Ratios of direct cost, xed cost, general expenses, and


feedstock cost to total manufacturing cost.

Figure 4. Yearly changes in the price dierence of PFAD and PBD and
their impact on the protability of the biodiesel process for 120 kty1
plant.

uctuating according to the productivity of crop and demand in


the market. Care must be taken to interpret the outcome of
economic analysis carried out in this work, as uncertainties in
the prices of raw material and biodiesel product denitely aect
the calculation of manufacturing cost and prot. By taking into
account the uctuating nature of prices of palm biodiesel, PBD,
and PFAD over the past ve years (20072011), prot before
tax, PBT, was calculated for the biodiesel process with a capacity
of 120 kty1. As shown in Figure 4, surplus occurred for the
years 2008 and 2011, while decits were observed for the years
2007, 2009, and 2010. Especially, the trend of the change in

prot before tax, PBT, is similar to that of price dierence


between PBD and PFAD, which implies that this price
dierence is the dominant factor for the protability of the
process.
On the other hand, it has been analyzed how the prices of
raw material and biodiesel product inuence overall economics
of the processes considered in this work. Two factors, price of
PFAD and biodiesel product, with ve dierent levels per each
factor were investigated in the sensitivity analysis for the
process of 120 kty1 capacity, as given in Table 3. The results
E

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Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research

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Table 3. Description of Factors in Sensitivity Analysis


level
factor
X1
X2

description
price of PFAD ($/t)
palm biodiesel price
($/t)

100

50

50

100

508
905

558
955

608
1005

658
1055

708
1105

of the sensitivity analysis are shown in Figures 5 and 6, which


exhibit the changes of payback period, PBP, and net present

Figure 6. Impact of feedstock price (a), and product price (b) on the
net present value (NPV) for 120 kty1 plant.

the process utilizes PFAD which is around 2030% cheaper


than rened vegetable oil used in conventional biodiesel
production process. The detailed economic costing and
evaluation have been made from mass and energy balances
obtained from modeling and simulation of the process
owsheet. For the capital cost of the present process, the
portion of direct cost increases according to the plant capacity
as in the case of typical chemical processes. The purchasing cost
for the raw material, PFAD, is the largest contributor to
manufacturing cost, and it was found that about 66% of the
manufacturing cost consists of the raw material cost when the
plant capacity is 120 kty1. The eect of economy of scale for
the proposed process has been observed, and positive net cash
ow was obtained for a capacity larger than 100 kty1.
Sensitivity of the two most inuential factors on the
protability of the process, namely the purchase cost of
PFAD and the selling price of palm biodiesel, has been
examined, and a small favorable change of either of these two
factors, for example, $50t1 increase in the palm biodiesel
selling price or $50t1 decrease in PFAD price, enables turning
the prot from decit to surplus. This result supports the
signicance of the competitiveness of the proposed process in
the market, as the production of biodiesel from PFAD is
economically viable without relying on governmental support
or tax benets even under the current market trend of
considerable increases in the price of raw material. Also, if
cheaper feed than PFAD could be utilized in the proposed
process, it is expected that its protability could be further
improved, and industrial uptake could be signicantly increased.

Figure 5. Impact of feedstock price (a), and product price (b) on the
payback period (PBP) for 120 kty1 plant.

value, NPV, respectively, according to the changes of two


factors. With $50t1 reduction for the price of PFAD, X1, or
$50t1 increase for the price of palm biodiesel, X2, payback
period is signicantly improved from more than 11 years to less
than 2 years. The same trend is observed in Figure 6 in which
net cash ow becomes positive with $50t1 of favorable change
in X1 or X2. Meanwhile, the degree of negative eect caused by
an unfavorable change of X1 or X2 is more severe than that of
positive eect caused by a favorable change of X1 or X2, which
can be seen by comparing the slope of NPV proles in Figure 6
(|a| > |a|, b > b).

ASSOCIATED CONTENT

S Supporting Information
*

4. CONCLUSION
Techno-economic evaluation as well as sensitivity analysis of
key economic parameters for the single-step noncatalytic
esterication method proposed by Cho et al.21 was performed.
The process considered in this work showed promising
potential for further development and commercialization as

Tables on feed and product stream information for the


noncatalytic esterication process, energy requirements for
each unit process, summary of size and specication for major
equipment, and prices of raw materials, chemicals, utilities, and
products. This material is available free of charge via the
Internet at http://pubs.acs.org.
F

dx.doi.org/10.1021/ie301651b | Ind. Eng. Chem. Res. XXXX, XXX, XXXXXX

Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research

Article

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AUTHOR INFORMATION

Corresponding Author

*Telephone: +82 2 2220 0488. Fax: +82 2 2220 4007. E-mail:


ykyeo@hanyang.ac.kr.
Notes

The authors declare no competing nancial interest.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
This work was supported by Korea Research Foundation Grant
funded by the Korean Government (2010-0007152) and in
part by the Ministry of Knowledge Economy, Republic of
Korea, as a part of the research project titled Constitution of
Energy Network Using District Heating Energy (Project No:
2007-E-ID25-P-02-0-000). We thank them for their support.

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dx.doi.org/10.1021/ie301651b | Ind. Eng. Chem. Res. XXXX, XXX, XXXXXX