The management of waste cooking oil (WCO) often poses significant challenges. The improper disposal of WCO results in negative environmental impacts and economic losses. However, from a circular economy perspective, WCO can be recycled and used as a sustainable feedstock for numerous industrial products, replacing virgin vegetable oils. This approach enables the recovery of resources while simultaneously addressing the problem of WCO disposal. By employing a multi-criteria decision analysis (MCDA) approach, the study assesses three alternative recycling pathways for WCO used as a feedstock in the production of (A1) biodiesel, (A2) biolubricant, and (A3) biosurfactant. The aim is to identify the optimal alternative, taking into account environmental, economic, and technical factors. The procedure involved a team of chemical engineers working in the WCO recycling sector who were selected as decision makers. The ‘priority scale’ combined with the Paired Comparison Technique was employed as a weighting method to evaluate the selected criteria. The results revealed that the decision makers considered environmental sustainability as the most crucial evaluation criterion, followed by the economic criterion. In contrast, the aspect of process management was deemed less significant. Among the compared alternatives, utilizing WCO as a feedstock for biosurfactant production was assessed as the optimal WCO recycling solution. This alternative not only demonstrated the lowest coefficient variation but was also deemed the most favourable option. Biolubricant production was determined to be the second-best alternative. The adopted MCDA approach proved to be a reliable and effective tool, enabling the clear identification of the preferred WCO recycling alternative among those assessed. This was achieved through the utilization of the decision makers’ expertise and knowledge.

Assessment of Three Recycling Pathways for Waste Cooking Oil as Feedstock in the Production of Biodiesel, Biolubricant, and Biosurfactant: A Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis Approach

De Feo G.
;
Ferrara C.;Libero Sesti Osseo
2023-01-01

Abstract

The management of waste cooking oil (WCO) often poses significant challenges. The improper disposal of WCO results in negative environmental impacts and economic losses. However, from a circular economy perspective, WCO can be recycled and used as a sustainable feedstock for numerous industrial products, replacing virgin vegetable oils. This approach enables the recovery of resources while simultaneously addressing the problem of WCO disposal. By employing a multi-criteria decision analysis (MCDA) approach, the study assesses three alternative recycling pathways for WCO used as a feedstock in the production of (A1) biodiesel, (A2) biolubricant, and (A3) biosurfactant. The aim is to identify the optimal alternative, taking into account environmental, economic, and technical factors. The procedure involved a team of chemical engineers working in the WCO recycling sector who were selected as decision makers. The ‘priority scale’ combined with the Paired Comparison Technique was employed as a weighting method to evaluate the selected criteria. The results revealed that the decision makers considered environmental sustainability as the most crucial evaluation criterion, followed by the economic criterion. In contrast, the aspect of process management was deemed less significant. Among the compared alternatives, utilizing WCO as a feedstock for biosurfactant production was assessed as the optimal WCO recycling solution. This alternative not only demonstrated the lowest coefficient variation but was also deemed the most favourable option. Biolubricant production was determined to be the second-best alternative. The adopted MCDA approach proved to be a reliable and effective tool, enabling the clear identification of the preferred WCO recycling alternative among those assessed. This was achieved through the utilization of the decision makers’ expertise and knowledge.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11386/4840872
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