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The Environmental and Economic Viability of Chitosan Production in Guayas-Ecuador: A Robust Investment and Life Cycle Analysis
preprintsubmitted on 25.03.2021, 04:57 and posted on 29.03.2021, 04:25 by Ariel Riofrio, Tania Alcivar, Haci Baykara
Ecuador is a country where shrimp production is one of its primary industries. It generates annually about 72 thousand tons of wastes in the form of shrimp shells. Therefore, using this waste as a raw material resource to produce chitosan, a biopolymer, is established. An environmental and economic performance study is carried out as a possible investment report; where a conceptual design of the process is defined, a financial viability report is obtained. An environmental impact report establishes the degree of harm to the environment. The economic viability study considered costs related to capital and operation for the processing of 5000 tons of shrimp shells each year. On the other hand, a life cycle assessment was performed to obtain the environmental impact for 1 kg of chitosan produce, where a cradle-to-gate approach was established. Results showed that this new industry has a net present value of 10.38 million USD, a rate of return of 67.31%, and a payback period of 0.7 years. Additionally, it was calculated that the environmental impact with a higher normalized value was the human non-carcinogenic toxicity. It is concluded that the production of chitosan in Guayas-Ecuador is economically viable, cost-competitive in the market, and it represents an industrial activity with no considerable environmental impacts.