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Life cycle assessment of energy from waste via anaerobic digestion: A UK case study.

Evangelisti, S, Lettieri, P, Borello, D and Clift, R (2014) Life cycle assessment of energy from waste via anaerobic digestion: A UK case study. Waste Management, 34 (1). pp. 226-237.

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Particularly in the UK, there is potential for use of large-scale anaerobic digestion (AD) plants to treat food waste, possibly along with other organic wastes, to produce biogas. This paper presents the results of a life cycle assessment to compare the environmental impacts of AD with energy and organic fertiliser production against two alternative approaches: incineration with energy production by CHP and landfill with electricity production. In particular the paper investigates the dependency of the results on some specific assumptions and key process parameters. The input Life Cycle Inventory data are specific to the Greater London area, UK. Anaerobic digestion emerges as the best treatment option in terms of total CO2 and total SO2 saved, when energy and organic fertiliser substitute non-renewable electricity, heat and inorganic fertiliser. For photochemical ozone and nutrient enrichment potentials, AD is the second option while incineration is shown to be the most environmentally friendly solution. The robustness of the model is investigated with a sensitivity analysis. The most critical assumption concerns the quantity and quality of the energy substituted by the biogas production. Two key issues affect the development and deployment of future anaerobic digestion plants: maximising the electricity produced by the CHP unit fuelled by biogas and to defining the future energy scenario in which the plant will be embedded.

Item Type: Article
Authors :
Evangelisti, S
Lettieri, P
Borello, D
Clift, R
Date : January 2014
DOI : 10.1016/j.wasman.2013.09.013
Uncontrolled Keywords : Anaerobic digestion, Digestate use, Life cycle assessment, Organic waste, Sensitivity analysis, System expansion
Related URLs :
Depositing User : Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited : 28 Mar 2017 13:26
Last Modified : 28 Mar 2017 13:26

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