281215 Well-to-Wheel Life Cycle Assessment for the Production of Biodiesel From Trap Grease

Thursday, November 1, 2012: 9:20 AM
334 (Convention Center )
Megan Hums1, Colin J. Stacy1, Richard A. Cairncross1 and Sabrina Spatari2, (1)Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA, (2)Department of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering, Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA

Biodiesel is a renewable fuel that can be produced from a variety of vegetable oils, animal fats, and waste greases.  A bubble column reactor has been developed at Drexel University that efficiently converts brown grease (high acid number lipids extracted from trap grease) into biodiesel.  The use of waste grease as a feedstock has lower cost and potentially lower environmental impacts than agricultural oils but requires additional pre-treatment and product purification.  This paper uses Life Cycle Assessment techniques to compare the energy requirements and environmental impacts of biodiesel produced from trap grease to low-sulfur petroleum diesel.  Well-to-wheel impacts are calculated using GREET, SimaPro7, and GaBi in conjunction with an ASPEN model of the biodiesel production process. Predicted environmental impacts are compared through greenhouse gas, nitrous oxide, and particulate emissions. The life cycle impacts of waste grease biodiesel are compared to traditional processes producing biodiesel from refined vegetable oils and waste cooking oils.

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