The paper assesses the life cycle of biodiesel from used cooking oil (UCO). Such life cycle involves 4 stages: 1) collection, 2) pre-treatment, 3) delivery and 4) transesterification of UCO. Generally, UCO is collected from restaurants, food industries and recycling centres by authorised companies. Then, UCO is pre-treated to remove solid particles and water to increase its quality. After that, it is charged in cistern trucks and delivered to the biodiesel facility to be then transesterified with methanol to biodiesel. The production of 1 ton of biodiesel is evaluated by a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) to assess the environmental impact and by an Exergetic Life Cycle Assessment (ELCA) to account for the exergy input to the system. A detailed list of material and energy inputs is done using data from local companies and completed using Ecoinvent 1.2 database. The results show that the transesterification stage causes 68% of the total environmental impact. The major exergy inputs are uranium and natural gas. If targets set by the Spanish Renewable Energy Plan are achieved, the exergy input for producing biodiesel would be reduced by 8% in the present system and consequently environmental impacts and exergy input reduced up to 36% in 2010. © 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
- Exergetic Life Cycle Assessment
- Life Cycle Assessment
- Used cooking oil