Techno-economic Assessment of Utilization of Food Processing Waste for Production of Energy and Chemicals

  • Author / Creator
    Ullah, Mohammad
  • Alberta’s food processing industry is the second largest food waste producer after the household sector. Most of the waste currently produced by the food processing industry is landfilled. Decomposing landfill waste emits greenhouse gases (GHG), which contribute to global warming. We estimated the amount of food waste produced by Alberta’s food processing industry by developing a geographical information system (GIS)-based model with data from food processing companies in the province. The companies were selected such that all sizes, types, and geographic locations were considered. We gathered information on the amount and characteristics of food waste, the location of the processing facilities, and the food waste disposal method and then estimated the total amount of food waste generated in Alberta. In addition, with the help of ArcGIS software, we created GIS maps to show the distribution of food waste throughout the province and the availability intensity. Finally, we estimated the potential energy that could be produced in the form of biogas and electricity using Alberta’s food processing waste and mapped it as well. There is a potential to generate 852 million kWh electricity per year from Alberta’s food processing waste, which is about 1% of the province’s total electricity generation. This capacity could help in the development of waste-to-value-added facilities in Alberta and Canada. Alberta's food processing industry produces 500,000 tonnes of food waste every year. As mentioned above, a large portion of this waste is currently landfilled. The cost to transport the waste to the landfill, along with associated disposal fees, make landfilling a costly means of handling food processing waste. Food processing waste can, instead, be converted to energy through anaerobic digestion (AD) technology. A detailed techno-economic analysis model was developed to study the economics associated with anaerobic digestion facilities processing food wastes. The model was afterwards applied to study a food processing facility in Red Deer County, Alberta. For the base case scenario, a techno-economic analysis was carried out for a proposed facility that would process 100,000 t/yr of food processing wastes. Economic analyses were carried out for three more proposed scenarios as well. In all cases, the gate fee was calculated based on Alberta’s current electricity price and a 10% IRR with and without considering carbon credit. The economic viability of each plant was justified by comparing the calculated gate fee with the landfill disposal fee. Finally, a sensitivity analysis was performed to assess the influence of key parameters on the results. Composting is another means of managing wastes. We developed a techno-economic model to analyze composting of food processing wastes as well. Later, a case in Alberta was studied and the techno-economic model was used for small-, medium-, and large-scale facilities that compost less than 1,000 t/yr, 1,000 to 10,000 t/yr, and 10,000 to 20,000 t/yr food processing waste, respectively. Gate fees and internal rates of return (IRRs) were calculated for all the case scenarios with and without considering carbon credit. The minimum size below which a facility is no longer economically attractive was determined. Finally, we performed a sensitivity analysis to assess the influence of key parameters. We also compared composting with anaerobic digestion technology in converting food processing wastes.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Spring 2017
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Master of Science
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  • Language
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
  • Department
  • Specialization
    • Engineering Management
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Rajender Gupta (Chemical Engineering)
    • Rafiq Ahmad (Mechanical Engineering)
    • Amit Kumar (Mechanical Engineering)