Soybeans are one of the main sources of oil crops around the world. Soybean oil is the most common product of soybean refinery. It is a resource of edible oil and has other food and industrial applications.
Techno-economic analysis (TEA) is applied to estimate the economic feasibility of the soybean oil extraction process. The mechanical extruding-expelling process, hexane extraction, and enzyme assisted aqueous extraction process (EAEP) are analyzed. Total capital investment, operating costs, and revenues are the three basic indices for evaluating gross profit and net profit; which are general indicators of economic feasibility of a manufacturing venture.
Additionally, cash flow analysis and sensitivity analysis are used to evaluate profitability while considering the net present value (NPV) and the driving force of manufacturing individually.
According to the analysis, the extruding-expelling process is a profitable and productleading process as the scale of oil production is over 12 million kg of annual soybean production. In addition to soybean oil, soybean meal provides over 70% of total revenues, due to its proper nutrient content for livestock feed applications. Hexane extraction is also a profitable process when the scale is over 173 million kg of annual soybean oil production.
Before EAEP can start to earn profits, the capacity must be scaled up to over 40 million kg of annual soybean oil production. Additionally, the enzyme recycling and moderate strategy of co-product handling are required. The co-product handling includes selling aqueous fraction and insoluble fibers derived from EAEP, as these materials can be used for further cornsoybean based bioethanol production.