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Ariane S.S. Pinto
Lewis J. McDonald
Rhys Jon Jones
University of Bath
University of South Wales
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.