Cleaner production implementation through process modifications for selected SMEs in Turkish olive oil production

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  • Journal of Cleaner Production 12 (2004)

    Cleaner production implementation through process modificationsfor selected SMEs in Turkish olive oil production

    S. Gurbuz, N. Kiran-Ciliz , O. YenigunInstitute of Environmental Sciences, Bogazici University, 34342 Bebek, Istanbul, Turkey

    Received 14 April 2003; accepted 17 July 2003


    Turkey as a Mediterranean country has suitable conditions for olive oil production. However, by-products of olive oil production(pomace and vegetation water) require specific management with the goal of pollution prevention. This paper explores the applica-bility of Cleaner Production (CP) methodology for fifteen crude olive oil extraction Small and Medium sized Enterprises (SMEs),one olive oil refining plant and one pomace oil extraction plant operating on the Aegean Sea coast of Turkey. It has been deductedthat; if the recommended CP options comprising water, energy saving issues, and pomace management options regarding energyproduction and raw material recovery via thermal conversion processes will be implemented, the need for end-of-pipe treatment(EOP) facilities will decline and power generation from pomace will be environmentally, technically and economically feasible. 2003 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

    Keywords: Olive oil process; Energy; Vegetation water; Olive pomace

    1. Introduction

    Olive oil is a typical Mediterranean product, in termsof production and consumption [1,2]. There are about805 million olive trees in the world, covering approxi-mately 24 million acres. Almost 98% of these trees growin the Mediterranean area which provides for 97% of thetotal olive production and 91% of world consumption[2]. Turkey is in the top rank of fourth amongst the Med-iterranean countries as olive fruit production shows fluc-tuations on a yearly basis. Turkish olive oil productionreaches up to around 200,000 t/year during on yearsand around 80,000 t/year during off years [3]. Turkeyplays an important role in the export market of olive oil,which forms a great majority of her production (90,000100,000 t/year). According to the International Olive OilCouncil (IOOC), Turkish exports account for 10% of thetotal world exports.

    In Turkey, olive is both processed in small andmedium size enterprises (SMEs) and modern facilities

    Corresponding author: Tel.: +90 212 358 1540; Fax: +90 212257 5033.

    E-mail address: (N. Kiran-Ciliz).

    0959-6526/$ - see front matter 2003 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.doi:10.1016/S0959-6526(03)00121-5

    to produce edible olive oil. Although olive oil productionhas an important economic contribution for the Europeanand Mediterranean part, it has considerably adverseeffects to the environmental welfare due to high amountsof vegetation water; and pomace; which are wastewaterand olive cake produced from olive oil extractionrespectively. Due to their high economic and environ-mental value the vegetation water and pomace obtainedfrom olive oil production processes are considered as by-products. However, The Olive Oil Producers Associationin Turkey is unable to manage these valuable by-pro-ducts. As a result of this, most of these valuable by-products are disposed without any control. Within thisframe, the maximum recovery of the by-products duringolive oil production process with the successfulimplementation of Cleaner Production (CP) method-ology for olive oil industry.

    Cleaner Production (CP) is a protective and prevent-ative approach. As opposed to conventional pollutioncontrol approaches, which are known, as end of pipetreatment facilities (EOP) CP strategies aim to deal withthe problems at their source, trying to avoid their occur-rence [4]. Regarding this concept, the paper focuses onthe application of CP methodology, for the selected oliveoil producing enterprises operating in the town Edremit

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    located on the Aegean coast of Turkey. Seventeen SMEswere selected to carry out this study. The first fifteenSMEs are responsible from crude olive oil production.Later on the produced crude olive oil was sent to anotherSME for refining applications and finally the extractionof olive oil from pomace the solid residue producedby the first fifteen SMEs and its final managementwere carried out in the last SME. Location of theenterprises are illustrated in Fig. 1.

    Within the scope of CP methodology; the commitmentof the enterprises were obtained during planning andorganisation phase, the CP focus points were generatedat the end of the pre-assessment phase and they wereevaluated and prioritized in assessment phase. Finallythe CP options were screened during the feasibility phasetaking into account the economic and environmentalissues.

    The recommended CP options include; water andenergy saving issues through technology modification incrude olive oil extraction SMEs, and optimum pomacemanagement options via incineration, gasification andpyrolysis processes regarding energy and raw materialrecovery issues. Within this frame, in Section two of thispaper, types of crude olive oil production processes areexplained and compared briefly. Information on by-pro-ducts of olive oil production is given quantitatively. Theinputs and outputs including their costs for the wholeolive oil production chain are illustrated.

    In Section three, CP assessment is realized in detail,material and energy balances at each stage of olive oilproduction are derived and evaluated. A comprehensiveset of cleaner production options are generated and listedin the order of priority.

    Section four comprises the results and discussion part,which cover the feasibility phase of the CP methodology

    Fig. 1. Location of enterprises

    considering economic and environmental evaluation ofgenerated CP options. Pomace management options tak-ing into account the utilization of pomace as a fuel incombined heat and power (CHP) plants for in situ powergeneration in the refining plant is described.

    Finally, Section five deals with the conclusionsobtained from the study.

    2. Cleaner production in Turkish olive oil industry

    The Mediterranean is the center of almost all inter-national olive oil marketing activities. Turkish olive oiltrees cover 4% of the overall agricultural areas in Tur-key. The olive oil production in the regions of Turkeyare 7580% in the Aegean area, 10% in the Mediter-ranean area and around 10% in the areas of Marmaraand South East Anatolia. As the Aegean coast is Tur-keys leading olive oil producer, the enterprises selectedfor the implementation of CP were in this region [5].

    In the areas mentioned above with the exception ofTurkey the production of olive oil and the exploitationof its by-products have been properly done. For this rea-son the main goal of this study was to promote the com-mitment of the management of those firms that willinglyparticipated in this study. It was believed that by show-ing the benefits of cleaner production, firms would bemore willing to engage in innovation in cleaner pro-duction.

    Gaining the commitment of firms represents a greatchallenge. This results from the fact that the productionof olive oil encompasses several firms and the adoptionof the new processes implies planning of activities inorganisational and administrative dimensions.

    Olive oil in general is obtained by means of three prin-

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    cipal procedures: the pressing system, the three-phasecontinuous system and the two-phase continuous system.The oldest olive oil production method, the pressing sys-tem with its low quality olive oil generation capacity,is not preferred anymore. In the three-phase continuoussystem, a horizontal centrifuge is used where processwater addition is required for the separation of the threeproducts: oil, vegetation water and pomace. In this sys-tem, due to the addition of process water into thedecanter, the amount of vegetation water generation isvery high. For instance, from 1 t of olives, 1.21.6 t ofvegetation water and also 0.5 t of pomace are generated.The pomace generated has approximately 46.5% drymatter and is very valuable from the point of energycontent, with a calorific value of between 38004500kcal/kg. In the two-phase continuous system, only theoil and pomace containing vegetation water are the out-puts of the process. Here, the vegetation water isaccumulated in pomace, it is not generated separately.Moreover, as there is no water addition in the process,the amount of vegetation water existing in the pomaceis quite low. From 1 t of olives, only 0.0500.060 t ofvegetation water is determined in the pomace which isaround 0.8 t.

    The moisture content of pomace generated throughtwo-phase continuous system is about 6065% [6,7,8].In Spain, the leading country in olive oil production,approximately 90% of the oil mills use the two-phasecontinuous system whereas in Italy (the second olive oilproducer of the world) half of the production is stillobtained by the traditional pressing method [6,9].

    In Turkey, extraction of the olives, refining and fil-tration of the olive oil and processing of its solid by-products (pomace) are utilized by different enterprisesseparately from each other. Amongst the seventeenindustries selected for the study, fifteen of them wereolive oil extraction SMEs in which the extraction ofolives were obtained by three-phase continuous system.There also existed a refining plant and also there was apomace oil extraction plant in which the residual oil leftin the pomace coming from the first fifteen SMEs wasextracted. These enterprises are related to each other inthe overall production chain. The product of one is rawmaterial of the other. Within this frame, pollution pre-v