Clean Technologies and Environmental Policy

, Volume 15, Issue 3, pp 525–536 | Cite as

Comparison of ecological footprint for biobased PHA production from animal residues utilizing different energy resources

  • Khurram ShahzadEmail author
  • Karl-Heinz Kettl
  • Michaela Titz
  • Martin Koller
  • Hans Schnitzer
  • Michael Narodoslawsky
Original Paper


Realizing a sustainable development of our planet requires a reduction of waste production, harmful emissions, and higher energy efficiency as well as utilization of renewable energy sources. One pathway to this end is the design of sustainable biorefinery concepts. Utilizing waste streams as raw material is gaining great importance in this respect. This reduces environmental burden and may at the same time contribute to economic performance of biorefineries. This paper investigates the utilization of slaughtering waste to produce biodegradable polyesters, polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA), via bioconversion. PHA are the target product while production of high quality biodiesel along with meat and bone meal (MBM) as by-products improves the economic performance of the process. The paper focuses on ecological comparison of different production scenarios and the effect of geographical location of production plants taking different energy production technologies and resources into account; ecological footprint evaluation using Sustainable Process Index methodology was applied. Keeping in mind that the carbon source for PHA production is produced from waste by energy intensive rendering process, the effect of available energy mixes in different countries becomes significant. Ecological footprint results from the current study show a bandwidth from 372,950 to 956,060 m2/t PHA production, depending on the energy mix used in the process which is compared to 2,508,409 m2/t for low density polyethylene.


PHA Biopolymers Animal residues Energy resources Sustainable Process Index Ecological footprint 

List of Symbols




Area for resources


Area for energy consumption


Area for installations


Area for services


Area for dissipation


Total area

atot = Atot/NP

Total area per service unit
















United States of America



The authors gratefully acknowledge the financial support provided by the European Commission by granting the project “Biotechnological conversion of carbon containing wastes for eco-efficient production of high added value products”, Acronym ANIMPOL (Contract No: 245084).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Khurram Shahzad
    • 1
    Email author
  • Karl-Heinz Kettl
    • 1
  • Michaela Titz
    • 1
  • Martin Koller
    • 2
  • Hans Schnitzer
    • 1
  • Michael Narodoslawsky
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute for Process and Particle EngineeringGraz University of TechnologyGrazAustria
  2. 2.Institute of Biotechnology and Biochemical EngineeringGraz University of TechnologyGrazAustria

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