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Gate-to-gate life cycle assessment of biosurfactants and bioplasticizers production via biotechnological exploitation of fats and waste oils

Kopsahelis, A., Kourmentza, C., Zafiri, C. and Kornaros, M. (2018) Gate-to-gate life cycle assessment of biosurfactants and bioplasticizers production via biotechnological exploitation of fats and waste oils. Journal of Chemical Technology and Biotechnology, 93 (10). pp. 2833-2841. ISSN 0268-2575

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1002/jctb.5633

Abstract/Summary

BACKGROUND: This study investigated the biotransformation of fats and waste oils towards glycolipid biosurfactants and bioplasticizers. The ecological performance and environmental impacts of the bioprocesses were evaluated aiming to assess their present environmental status and thus suggest future improvements using LCA methodology. RESULTS: Biosurfactants, namely rhamnolipids and sophorolipids were obtained via fermentation. Bioplasticizers, Fatty Acid Ethyl Esters (FAEE) and Monoglycerides (MAG), were developed via enzymatic catalysis with selected enzymes in mesophilic temperatures via ethanolysis and glycerolysis, respectively. The study revealed that air emissions, electricity and thermal energy requirements are the key contributors to the potential environmental impacts in the LCIA. More specifically, rhamnolipids production has less energetic needs compared to sophorolipids manufacturing, resulting thus to lower environmental impacts. The increased thermal requirements of MAG production phase is the main contributor to their negative environmental performance, with the overall energy consumption for MAG production being 3-fold higher than the FAEE formation phase. CONCLUSIONS: The assessment identified that among the biosurfactant production processes, the sophorolipids production resulted to 22.7% higher environmental impact compared to rhamnolipids. Similarly, FAEE production can be classified as a more environmental friendly process compared to MAG, resulting to 67% lower environmental impact based on the environmental indicators assessed.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:No Reading authors. Back catalogue items
Faculty of Life Sciences > School of Chemistry, Food and Pharmacy > Department of Food and Nutritional Sciences > Food Research Group
ID Code:75991
Publisher:Wiley

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