In many, mostly Mediterranean, countries both solid and liquid waste produced during production of olive oil present a cost and environmental problem for producers.
Simultaneously, production and use of oil derived fuels are responsible for significant greenhouse gas emissions linked to climate change.
In response to these issues, and in an effort to demonstrate technical, economic and environmental feasibility, Exergy, along with a consortium of European partners assessed the viability of implementing a process for conversion of olive oil industry waste to fuels based around the Fischer-Tropsch process.
As part of the project, Exergy provided a range of process design including:
Olive oil industry waste represents a complex feedstock for processing. Whilst seasonal availability can make economics of a single feedstock type plant uneconomical, the variability and quality of feedstock can impact on design and implementation of conversion processes which already represent a challenge in terms of modelling and optimisation.
Production of syngas from a complex olive oil industry waste stream was successfully demonstrated at pilot scale and a responsive model incorporating key reactions sets using the simulation software Aspen PLUS a model for the gasification process was validated. This model was updated and incorporated into an industrial scale design which enabled the economic and environmental credentials to be assessed.
Base case: Gasification using air
( O2+ N2)
Pre-stage before the gasifier, separation of N2 from O2, gasification with pure (or almost pure) oxygen. The case study led to a decrease in the equipment size and subsequent reduction in CAPEX
Chemical Process Engineer