JOURNAL: Production of volatile fatty acids by anaerobic digestion of biowastes: techno-economic and life cycle assessments

Summary

Authors:

Ariane S.S. Pinto
Lewis J. McDonald
Rhys Jon Jones
Jaime Massanet-Nicolau
Alan Guwy
Marcelle McManus

University of Bath
University of South Wales

Production of volatile fatty acids by anaerobic digestion of biowastes: techno-economic and life cycle assessments

Bioresource Technology

November 2023

Volatile fatty acids are valuable feedstocks and producing them from food waste and lignocellulosic materials has the potential avoid emission from their production via petrochemicals. This study carried out techno-economic and life cycle assessments of using food waste and grass to produce volatile fatty acids through anaerobic digestion, covering pre-treatment, digestion, and purification.

The results show a reduction in the environmental impact of volatile fatty acid production compared to petrochemical routes, with food wastes as the most beneficial feedstock, showing the lowest global warming potential. From an economic perspective, food waste also demonstrates the greatest economic benefit, with a breakeven selling price ranging from £1.11 to £1.94 per kilogram, as determined through sensitivity analysis.

This research underscores the promising prospects of sustainable feedstock sources for volatile fatty acid production.