Industrial production of biodiesel fuel in Egypt by the transesterification of vegetable oils is being faced with the problem of feedstock shortage. Egypt imports annually about 90% of its needs as edible oils for human consumption. The production of biodiesel by direct esterification of fatty acids that can be obtained from the oil and soap industrial sector in huge quantities each year (around 16 thousand tons) may be a proper solution to this problem. According to results of a previous study , the biodiesel produced following this approach and using methyl alcohol was quite efficient as an alternative fuel for diesel engines. However, the process should be economically feasible for application on an industrial scale. The present study assessed the economic feasibility of biodiesel production by direct fatty acid esterification. Complete process simulation was first carried out using the process simulation software, Aspen HYSYS V7.0. The process was then designed comprising four main steps being esterification, solvent recovery, catalyst removal and water removal. The main processing units include the reactor, distillation column, heat exchangers, pumps and separators. Assuming that the rate of fatty acids esterified was 2 ton/h, all process units required have been sized. Total capital investment, total manufacturing cost and return on investment were all estimated. The latter was found to be 117.1% which means that the production process is quite economically feasible.
El-Galad, M. I., El-Khatib, K. M., & Zaher, F. A. (2015). Economic feasibility study of biodiesel production by direct esterification of fatty acids from the oil and soap industrial sector. Egyptian Journal of Petroleum, 24(4), 455–460. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ejpe.2015.06.002