Rubber seed oil: Potential feedstock for aviation biofuel production

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Scientific African, Elsevier
The aviation industry is responsible for 12% of transport-related GHG emissions and 2–3% of the global GHG emissions, thus raising concerns for sustainable alternatives such as aviation biofuels. This study sought to analyze the potential of producing aviation fuel from rubber seed oil. Rubber seed oil (RSO) was extracted and the physicochemical properties investigated as well as the fatty acid composition. This result was simulated in ASPEN plus to determine the potential aviation biofuel produced using the UOP HEFA process. The study shows that the golden yellowish oil derived from rubber seed possessed a density 0.9 g/cm3 and pH of 6, refractive index of 1.48, heating value of 23.75 MJ/kg and composed of 75% area of FFA with Oleic and Linoleic acid been the most dominant. The HEFA process on ASPEN Plus showed 81% of feedstock was converted to hydrocarbons with aviation biofuel yield of 46%. It was estimated that the installation of the plant for aviation biofuel production has a total capital cost of $ 8,650,480 and a total operation cost of $ 328,728. The economic analysis shows that at a cost of USD 4/kg (USD 3.01/liter) of aviation biofuel has an Internal rate of return of 18.62% profitability of 1.18 and payback period of 14.9 years of the plant operating. This study established that rubber seed oil shows suitability and potential for sustainable aviation biofuel production.