It can be difficult for businesses to identify in which conditions a valorization option is economically feasible. Using a case study on a chicory processing by-product, this report presents a methodology for a well-underpinned assessment of practical economic feasibility.
A techno-economic analysis involves establishing all unit operations within a suitable industrial processing chain (process flow diagram) and combining them with an estimation of the related capital and operational expenses to indicate the prospective technical feasibility and profitability. End-product cost estimates can be derived from the resulting economic model. Through scaling factors, the effect of scale size on product cost price is also shown.
The analysis method is founded on recognised standards as formulated by, amongst others, Sinnot (2005) and Woods (2007), originally aimed at chemical processing industries. Engineering analysis estimates drafted this way have a typical accuracy of +/- 25 to 50% of the actual project capital costs (see e.g. Couper et al., 2010). We have extended these sets of practical cost price models for chemical processes with price models for typical food, feed and biobased processes based on newest business case data from practical projects and latest literature.
In this way costs of producing food waste derived product can be estimated and compared to prices of existing products in the market (replacement product). This gives an idea of the potential market position of the food waste derived product.
The case study – producing a food fibre from chicory extraction residues – shows that scale size is critical for producing the fibre at a competitive price compared to replacement product (dietary fibres) in the market. Actually at the volumes generated by a large chicory processing plant, Sensus in the Netherlands, sufficient volume is available to reach such scale.
Broeze, J., 2019: Scale up models and processes. REFRESH Deliverable D6.5