Peer-reviewed articles

Identification of environmental hotspots in fishmeal and fish oil production towards the optimization of energy-related processes


Sigurjón Arason

Chief Engineer

Authors: Guðrún Svana Hilmarsdóttir, Ólafur Ögmundarson, Sigurjón Arason, María Guðjónsdóttir

Version: Journal of Cleaner Production

Publication year: 2022


This study assessed the environmental impacts of a pelagic fishmeal and fish oil production plant in Iceland with the life cycle assessment methodology. The study focused on assessing the effects of different energy sources for utility production due to the high energy intensity of fishmeal and fish oil production, as quality improved with lower cooking temperature. The environmental hotspots of three different processing scenarios were assessed, where the factory was run on hydropower (Scenario 0), heavy fuel (Scenario 1) and a composition of both (Scenario 2), from cradle-to-factory gate. Midpoint results showed that the raw material acquisition contributed the most to the environmental impact when the fishmeal factory was operating on hydropower. However, drying had the highest impact when heavy fuel oil was used for utility production. This study also demonstrated that lowering the cooking temperature from 90 to 85 °C, led to improved quality and simultaneously reduced environmental impacts during processing. This indicated that a small energy adjustment in the production can have an environmental gain, demonstrating the necessity to optimize each processing step in the fishmeal and fish oil production process both for increased product quality and minimizing environmental impacts.