Waste cooking oil to biodiesel conversion efficiency depends on the recycling mode that is being practiced. The recycling modes in China, the US and Japan can be placed in two categories: third party take-back (TPT) and the biodiesel enterprise take-back (BET). We review the operation mechanisms of theses modes, their advantages and disadvantages in three countries and compare them using recycling costs and profits of biodiesel enterprises, subsidies for manufacturers, recycling rates, degree of administrative control, technical support and incentive mechanisms provided for the restaurants. We find that the TPT mode practiced in Japan and the US is superior to the BET mode due to the subsidies provided for biodiesel enterprises and the implementation of strict regulation policies in place for the restaurants. In China, Suzhou and Ningbo cases may have better resource recovery effect than the TPT mode practiced elsewhere, if further enhanced. Finally, we provide suggestions for improving waste oil to biodiesel conversion in China. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.
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