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Preliminary economic assessment: a valuable tool to establish biocatalytic process feasibility with an in‐lab immobilized lipase

Serrano‐Arnaldos, Mar, Ortega‐Requena, Salvadora, Montiel, Maria Claudia, Máximo, Fuensanta, Bastida, Josefa, Murcia, Maria Dolores
Journal of chemical technology and biotechnology 2019 v.94 no.2 pp. 409-417
biocatalysis, biocatalysts, carboxylic ester hydrolases, economic analysis, esters, industrial applications, prices, value-added products
BACKGROUND: Despite the interest that commercial lipases arouse, the number of industrial applications is still very limited. Only high added value products such as cosmetic ingredients that can simultaneously benefit from ‘green chemistry’ and ‘natural’ labels of using biocatalysts can justify the final cost. In any case, process feasibility economic assessment in the first project stages must be done to take decisions about its industrial applicability. RESULTS: This work presents an economic study of the cetyl esters mixture production process similar to natural spermaceti catalyzed by different in‐lab immobilized lipase derivatives to determine if they can compete, not only in catalytic properties (activity and stability) but also in price, with the commercial ones. Results highlight that CALB lipase immobilized in Amberlite™ XAD™ 1180 whose direct total cost (1.20 € g⁻¹) is comparable with commercial lipases, is also effective in spermaceti biocatalytic synthesis achieving, under optimal conditions, 98% conversion in less than one hour. CONCLUSION: High conversion values and it reusability (at least 15 times), provides a product with a price (58 € kg⁻¹) similar to that of the well‐known Novozym® 435 (56.5 € kg⁻¹). Future scale‐up will allow better study the process and gives a more realistic product final price. © 2018 Society of Chemical Industry