Abstract– Aside from reducing the environmental problem of food service businesses uncontrolled disposal of waste oil, Waste Frying Oils (WFOs) based biodiesel also cuts the economy’s dependence on limited resources and petroleum-based diesel imports. In this study, a method for evaluating the costs of biodiesel production from WFOs was proposed with the aim of developing an economic evaluation of this alternative. A logistics aspect is seldom explored in the calculation of such feasibilities. This study addresses this cost by determining optimal vehicle routing systems to incorporate in the total biodiesel cost. The capital of Lebanon, Beirut, was selected as the survey zone as it holds a great number of restaurants and hotels. The only biodiesel production plant in Lebanon was surveyed to determine the production, chemicals, labor and tax costs in addition to glycerin and fatty acids’ esters (FAEs) credits. Ultimately, a comparison between eightyone scenarios of the biodiesel costs and the information on the commercialization of diesel in Lebanon was realized. The results confirm the economic feasibility of WFOs’ biodiesel production in the studied area, and can help sustain a healthy development of the biodiesel industry in Lebanon.
Renewable energies are considered significant resources in many countries around the world. Multiple studies have shown that reduced carbon emission could be achieved through an increased use of intermittent renewable energy sources [1-2]. Biomass is the most frequent form of renewable energy [3-4] and can be converted to other utilizable forms of energy like biofuels. Among biofuels, biodiesel is one of the potential alternatives to petroleum [5-6]. The American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) defines biodiesel as monoalkyl esters of long chain fatty acids derived from a renewable lipid feedstock, such as vegetable oil or animal fat .
Biodiesel has similar characteristics to fossil diesel fuel with the different advantages of being non-toxic, readily biodegradable, and cleaner burning than petroleum diesel [8- 9]. It significantly diminishes the emission of harmful air pollutants including carbon monoxide, unburned hydrocarbons, particulate matter, and sulfur dioxide . However, the high cost of biodiesel is the major obstruction for its commercialization. Biodiesel produced from vegetable oil or animal fat is usually more expensive than petroleumbased diesel fuel by 10 to 50% . Compared to raw vegetable oils, waste frying oils (WFOs) are considered as cheaper biodiesel feedstock that can efficiently reduce raw material charge . Even though the trade price of waste oils has been raised recently in developing countries, WFOs are still lower cost feedstocks making biodiesel production more competitive to the production of petroleum-based diesel fuel . Besides its economic appeal for decreasing reliance on imports of petroleum-based diesel and limited fuel resources, the use of WFOs in biodiesel production also contributes to reducing the amounts of WFOs being dumped into landfills and sewers .