Determination of the energy and environmental burdens associated with the biological treatment of source-separated Municipal Solid Wastes

Joan Colón, Erasmo Cadena, Michele Pognani, Raquel Barrena, Antoni Sánchez, Xavier Font, Adriana Artola

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81 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Environmental burdens of four different full-scale facilities treating source-separated organic fraction of Municipal Solid Wastes (OFMSW) have been experimentally evaluated. The studied facilities include different composting technologies and also anaerobic digestion plus composting. Home composting, as an alternative to OFMSW management, was also included in the study. Energy (electricity and diesel), water consumption and emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOC), ammonia, methane and nitrous oxide have been measured for each process. Energy consumption ranged between 235 and 870 MJ Mg OFMSW -1 while the emissions of the different contaminants considered per Mg OFMSW were in the range of 0.36-8.9 kg VOC, 0.23-8.63 kg NH 3, 0.34-4.37 kg CH 4 and 0.035-0.251 kg N 2O, respectively. Environmental burdens of each facility are also analyzed from the point of view of process efficiency (i.e. organic matter stabilization degree achieved, calculated as the reduction of the Dynamic Respiration Index (DRI) of the waste treated). This study is performed through two new indices: Respiration Index Efficiency (RIE), which includes the reduction in the DRI achieved by the treatment process and Quality and Respiration Index Efficiency (QRIE), which also includes the quality of the end product. Finally, a Life Cycle Assessment is performed using the Respiration Index Efficiency (RIE) as the novel functional unit instead of the classical LCA approach based on the total mass treated. © The Royal Society of Chemistry 2012.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5731-5741
JournalEnergy and Environmental Science
Volume5
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2012

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