Engineering for sustainable development for bio-diesel production
Engineering for Sustainable Development (ESD) is an integrated systems approach, which aims at developing a balance between the requirements of the current stakeholders without compromising the ability of the future generations to meet their needs. This is a multi-criteria decision-making process that involves the identification of the most optimal sustainable process, which satisfies economic, ecological and social criteria as well as safety and health requirements. Certain difficulties are encountered when ESD is applied, such as ill-defined criteria, scarcity of information, lack of process-specific data, metrics, and the need to satisfy multiple decision makers. To overcome these difficulties, ESD can be broken down into three major steps, starting with the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) of the process, followed by generation of non-dominating alternatives, and finally selecting the most sustainable process by employing an analytic hierarchical selection process. This methodology starts with the prioritization of the sustainability metrics (health and safety, economic, ecological and social components). The alternatives are then subjected to a pair-wise comparison with respect to each Sustainable Development (SD) indicator and prioritized depending on their performance. The SD indicator priority score and each individual alternative?s performance score together are used to determine the most sustainable alternative. The proposed methodology for ESD is applied for bio-diesel production in this thesis. The results obtained for bio-diesel production using the proposed methodology are similar to the alternatives that are considered to be economically and environmentally favorable by both researchers and commercial manufacturers; hence the proposed methodology can be considered to be accurate. The proposed methodology will also find wide range of application as it is flexible and can be used for the sustainable development of a number of systems similar to the bio-diesel production system; it is also user friendly and can be customized with ease. Due to these benefits, the proposed methodology can be considered to be a useful tool for decision making for sustainable development of chemical processes.