Keywords: eco-efficiency, bleaching, pollution prevention, vegetable oil production, waste minimisation, small firms, Turkey, industrial ecology, production cost, environmental impact, hexane loss
Identification of eco-efficiency opportunities in a small enterprise producing vegetable oil in Eskisehir, Turkey
In this study, the current processes and technologies in a small enterprise, Demircanlar Oil Industry (Eskisehir, Turkey), were audited and improved from the eco-efficiency point of view. The eco-efficient management of the vegetable oil production processes has been performed on the units of physical processes, extraction and purification. The results obtained indicated that the loss in raw material can be reduced simply by increasing the height of the sieves used to separate foreign materials (leaves, sand, stones, etc.) from sunflower seeds. Results also indicated that production costs and negative environmental impacts can be decreased by minimising the loss of hexane during the extraction process, and the product quality can be improved and product loss can be prevented by adjusting the amounts of bleaching clay and TriSyl in the bleaching process. Although the reduction in environmental impacts of the factory could not be valuated, the study showed that the factory can be managed more eco-efficiently without undergoing major process changes with an immediate benefit of approximately 12,000 USD.