A novel industrial biotechnology approach to valorize fatty acids to bioplastics: scope for scale-up and process efficiency using an integrated approach
P. Vasilakis, K. Pyrgakis, M. Psycha, A. Biundo, A. Kokossis
Computer Aided Chemical Engineering Volume 52, pp 2563-2568, 2023
WCO; FFABio-catalysis; Fermentation; E.Coli
Waste Cooking Oils (WCO) are considered a harmful waste, though also constitute a valuable carbon source if treated correctly. This paper illustrates a novel WCO valorization chemistry to produce added-valued bioplastics. The core process is based on bio-based catalysis, in which E.Coli is fermented to produce oleate hydratase enzyme, which catalyzes FFAs conversion into the key building block of 10-Hydroxystearic-Acid (10-HA). The process is further integrated with upstream saponification-acidification stages for the pre-treatment of mixed WCOs, while downstream chemical processes (hydrogenation, esterification, polymerization) are upgrading the 10-HA building block into bio-based poly-10-HAME polymer. As upstream and downstream stages involve different scales, the paper addresses the scope to scale-up using a systems approach that builds efficiency and optimizes interactions. Overall, 3 tn of WCO yield in 1.5 tn of poly-10-HAME, CAPEX and OPEX are estimated to 141 M€ and 65 M€/yr, while emissions are estimated to 2.4 kg CO2_eq/kg biopolymer.