Economic and environmental impacts of collecting waste cooking oil for use as biodiesel under a localized strategy

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Title: Economic and environmental impacts of collecting waste cooking oil for use as biodiesel under a localized strategy
Author: Wood, Christopher
Abstract: Some of the vital aspects in the diffusion of renewable energies are the cost of producing the energy, as well as the environmental impacts associated with its lifecycle. As petroleum based energy becomes increasingly costly, alternatives will be relied upon to meet the ever increasing energy demand. Biofuels, and biodiesel in particular, could be a near term solution for providing a transitional fuel to meet the energy demand of the transportation sector. However, the costs of biodiesel, as well as perceptions of a negative energy balance are hindering its widespread adoption. Using waste cooking oil (WCO) can reduce the cost of raw materials necessary for producing biodiesel, when compared to traditional sources, and by collecting and using biodiesel locally, its cost can be further reduced. This research involves the design and development of a simulation model to analyze the costs and emissions associated with waste cooking oil collection for the local, or decentralized, production and use of biodiesel. A case study for the food and beverage industry is investigated. A series of simulation experiments was used to evaluate different scenarios for utilizing the unexploited capacity of a local food and beverage distribution network for the collection of waste cooking oils. The economic and environmental costs associated with collecting WCO were compared to the economic and environmental savings from using biodiesel, the impacts of such operation upon service level are also investigated. Based on the local food and beverage network used to construct the model parameters, biodiesel production from WCO on a localized scale has positive impacts to both cost and emissions without sacrificing customer service.
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Date: 2007-10

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