Economic Evaluation of Different Fuels in the Production of La2NiO4 Particles using A Sol-Gel Combustion
Lanthanum nickelate (La2NiO4) is a precursor for producing lanthanum pentanickel (LaNi5) alloys for nickel–metal hydride battery (NiMH; a type of rechargeable battery), which has been developed quite rapidly for many applications, such as Hybrid Electric Vehicles. The purpose of this study was to evaluate economic feasibility on the production of La2NiO4 with different fuels (i.e., glycine fuel (F-G) and citric acid fuel (F-CA)) using a sol-gel combustion method. Several economic evaluation parameters were analyzed, such as gross profit margin, internal rate of return, payback period, cumulative net present value, and so on. The project was also evaluated from the ideal condition to the worst case conditions, including labor, sales, raw material, utility, as well as external condition (e.g., tax). The results showed that the production of La2NiO4 is prospective from engineering and economic perspectives. The engineering analysis for the production of La2NiO4 using F-G and F-CA is feasible, and the production can be done even in the small-scale production using commercially available apparatus. The economic analysis showed that the process using F-CA is better than that using F-G. From this economic evaluation analysis, the project is profitable and the recovery of the investment is less than seven years for F-G and four years for F-CA. Although this project is feasible to run and profitable, but it is not attractive to industrial investors due to the less values in some parameters. Thus, since this material is very important to reduce dependence on imports, additional further technology for improving process and support from Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and government are important for maintaining this project.