Document 10913536

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Life Cycle Analysis of Waste Management Options for EBI in
Quebec
by
Jaclyn D. Wilson
Bachelor of Science in Environmental Engineering
Massachusetts Institute of Technology 2013
Submitted to the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering Partial Fulfillment of
the Requirements for the Degree of
Master of Engineering in Civil and Environmental Engineering
at the
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
ARCM"RIE
June 2014
LBR
@ 2014 Jaclyn D. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.
The author hereby grants to MIT permission to reproduce and distribute publicly paper
and electronic copies of this thesis document in whole or in part in any medium now
known or hereafter created.
Signature of Author:
Signature redacted
Departy nt of Ofll and Environmental Engineering
May 21, 2014
Signature redacted
Certified by:
E. Eric Adams
Senior Research Engineer and Lecturer of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Thesis Supervisor
gu
A
Signature redacted
Accepted by :
Heidi 1A: Nepf
Chair, Departmental Committee for Graduate Students
R
IE
Life Cycle Analysis of Waste Management Options for EBI in Quebec
by
Jaclyn D. Wilson
Submitted to the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering on May 21, 2014 In
Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Engineering in Civil and
Environmental Engineering
Abstract
Quebec has issued a mandate requiring all waste management facilities to ban the
landfilling of organic waste by 2020. EBI is considering Anaerobic Digestion as one of its
alternative options, but is uncertain if it is the correct choice given its high costs. This thesis
compares four alternative waste management options for EBI (Composting, Anaerobic
Digestion, Incineration, and Microbial Fuel Cells) against the current Landfill situation.
Environmental considerations are examined through GaBi Life Cycle Analysis software
with a functional unit of 1 kg of organic waste, social considerations are assessed with the
EPA/SETAC Social LCA Guidelines, and economic considerations are calculated on an
annual basis. Anaerobic Digestion, while having a higher upfront investment of $770,000,
has higher social and environmental benefits, with only one impressionable environmental
impact, Eutrophication Potential. This cost also falls within EBI's constraint of the project
costing under one million dollars. Composting is the second recommended option, with no
initial investment due to its inclusion in the current infrastructure at EBI, and Global
Warming Potential on a 100-year scale, Acidification Potential, and Eutrophication
Potential as environmental impacts.
Thesis Supervisor: E. Eric Adams
Title: Senior Research Engineer and Lecturer of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Table of Contents
A bstract ................................................................................................................................................... 3
List of Figures ........................................................................................................................................ 7
List of T ables .......................................................................................................................................... 8
1 Introduction .................................................................................................................................... 9
2 Life Cycle A nalysis O verview ................................................................................................... 11
2.1 Environm ental Life Cycle Analysis .............................................................................................. 11
2.1.1 Goal and Scope ......................................................
11
2.1.2 Inventory Analysis ....................................................
12
2.1.3 Im pact Assessm ent ....................................................
12
2.1.4 Interpretation ......................................................
12
2.2 Social Life Cycle Analysis ................................................................................................................ 13
2.3 Econom ic A nalysis ............................................................................................................................. 13
3 Landfi ll ............................................................................................................................................ is
3.1 Overview of Process ......................................................................................................................... 15
3.2 ProofofConcept ................................................................................................................................. 15
3.3 Environm ental LCA ........................................................................................................................... 16
3.4 Social LCA ............................................................................................................................................. 17
3.5 Econom ic Cost ..................................................................................................................................... 19
4 Aerobic D igestion (Com posting) ............................................................................................ 19
4.1 Overview of Processes ..................................................................................................................... 19
4.2 Proof of Concept ................................................................................................................................. 20
4.3 Environm ental LCA ........................................................................................................................... 22
4.4 Social LCA ............................................................................................................................................. 23
4.5 Econom ic Costs ................................................................................................................................... 24
5 Anaerobic D igestion ................................................................................................................... 24
5.1 Overview of Processes ..................................................................................................................... 24
5.2 ProofofConcept ................................................................................................................................. 25
5.3 Environm ental LCA ........................................................................................................................... 26
5.4 Social LCA ............................................................................................................................................. 27
S.5 Econom ic Costs ................................................................................................................................... 27
6 Incineration .................................................................................................................................. 28
6.1 Overview of Processes ..................................................................................................................... 28
6.2 Environm ental LCA ........................................................................................................................... 30
6.3 Social LCA ............................................................................................................................................. 31
6.4 Econom ic Costs ................................................................................................................................... 32
7 M icrobial Fuel Cells (M FC) ....................................................................................................... 33
7.1 Overview of Processes ..................................................................................................................... 33
7.2 Proof of Concept ................................................................................................................................. 33
7.3 Environm ental LCA ........................................................................................................................... 33
7.4 Social LCA ............................................................................................................................................. 35
5
7.5
Econom ic Costs ................................................................................................................................... 35
8
Options Comparison ................................................................................................................... 37
9
Conclusion ..................................................................................................................................... 39
10
Bibliography ............................................................................................................................... 40
6
List of Figures
Figu re 1. E B I's logo..................................................................................................................................................9
Figure 2. Schematic diagram of the projected anaerobic digester in the existing
infrastructure. Developed by Olivier Sylvestre .........................................................................
Figure 3. Inputs and outputs of a Life Cycle Assessment.................................................................
Figure 4. Process flow for a landfill that has leachate treatment and biogas collection........
Figure 5. Plan for Landfill, done in GaBi................................................................................................
Figure 6. Composting processes for a LCA. At EBI, natural gas is used instead of diesel.......
Figure 7. Plan for Composting, done in GaBi........................................................................................
Figure 8. Process flow for anaerobic digestion LCA. FF is the fixed fraction with 30% dry
matter, UF the ultra filtration, and RO indicates reverse osmosis....................................
Figure 9. Plan for Anaerobic Digestion, done in GaBi.......................................................................
Figure 10. Anaerobic Digester Costs.........................................................................................................
Figure 11. Process flow for incineration waste management, that presorts the waste,
recovers energy, and treats the gas and ash...............................................................................
Figure 12. Plan for Incineration, done in GaBi.....................................................................................
Figure 13. Incinerator Costs.............................................................................................................................
Figure 14. Process flow for a microbial fuel cell LCA.......................................................................
Figure 15. Plan for Microbial Fuel Cell, made in GaBi......................................................................
Figu re 16. M FC C osts............................................................................................................................................
7
10
11
16
17
20
22
25
26
28
29
30
32
34
34
36
List of Tables
Table 1.EPA/SETAC 2009's breakdown of subcategories to assess social impacts of a
p rodu ct's life cycle.......................................................................................................................................
14
Table 2. Social LCA for Landfill, where one + is very bad, five +'s is very good, and N/A is
not app licab le................................................................................................................................................
19
Table 3. Social LCA for Composting, where one + is very bad, five +'s is very good, and N/A
is n ot applicable...........................................................................................................................................
23
Table 4. Social LCA for Anaerobic Digestion, where one + is very bad, five +'s is very good,
and N/A is not applicable.........................................................................................................................
27
Table 5. Social LCA for Incineration, where one + is very bad, five +'s is very good, and N/A
is not ap plicable...........................................................................................................................................
31
Table 6. Social LCA for MFC, where one + is very bad, five +'s is very good, and N/A is not
ap plicab le........................................................................................................................................................
35
Table 7. Compiled environmental effects of each option, as done in GaBi............................... 37
Table 8. Average number of stars per social comparison for each waste management
o ptio n ................................................................................................................................................................
38
Table 9. Compiled economic information for each of the options...............................................
38
Table 10.Comparison of the different options, where one + is the worst option, five +'s is
th e b est option ..............................................................................................................................................
39
8
1
Introduction
This thesis is part of a three-person project regarding waste management at EBI. EBI
is a family business with the mission of integrated waste management, their logo shown in
Figure 1. The company collects and transports all the waste of municipal, commercial and
industrial sectors, sorts them and disposes of them in the best possible manner using upto-date infrastructure.1
Figure 1. EBIs logo.
EBI is located in Quebec, the largest province of Canada located in the eastern part
of the country and covering almost 1.4 billion square kilometers. 2 Its land area is the
equivalent of about seventy times the size of Massachusetts, 3 but the population is only
over 8 million people. 4 Quebec faces similar challenges as North America in its
consumption lifestyle, resulting in high production of waste per capita - 746 kilograms per
capita and a total of 5.4 million tonnes of waste to be eliminated from the entire province in
2011.s The provincial government is aware of the problem and has set up regulations to
reduce the quantity of eliminated material.
One of the objectives is relatively ambitious: landfill of putrescible organic matter
will be prohibited by 2020.6 As of 2012, only about 5 % of the households have access to
organic waste collection, and very small services exist for institutional, commercial and
industrial sectors.7 The two main solutions envisioned to respect the future regulation are
composting and anaerobic digestion, though incineration and microbial-fuel cells are also
options.
Given the facilities already owned by the company, constructing an anaerobic
digester is of high interest. 8 As illustrated in Figure 2, the site contains many
interconnected plants such as a landfill, a wastewater treatment plant, a composting
platform and a natural gas plant. Constructing an anaerobic digester enables the company
to push integration of waste management further, and produce additional biogas for its
natural gas plant.
1Groupe EBI, 2010
Canada, 2012a
3World Atlas, "Population, World Atlas, United States."
4 Statistics Canada, 2009
5Recyc-Quebec, Bilan 2010-2011 de la gestion des matieres residuellesau Quebec, p. 14-15
6
Direction des matieres residuelles et des lieux contaminds, Service des matieres rdsiduelles, p.
VII
' Ibid., p. VIII-IX
8 Groupe EBI, 2010
2 Statistics
9
Biogas Purification Plant
---
Bio as
A Natural Gasl
Eft.- icit
LandfilCogeneration Plantfor
Heat
LeachatL
Wastewater
Treatment Plant
Solid Waste
Septic System
Treatment Plant
Liquid Waste
Digestate
Anaerobic
Diiester
(pro)ectr
igs
s
Compost
Composting Platform
and en fFertilizere
+ Limestone
Figure2. Schematic diagram of the projectedanaerobicdigester in the existing
infrastructure.Developed by Olivier Sylvestre.
Fulfilling the new regulation and increasing the usage of its existing facilities is a
great advantage for EBI. With the present infrastructure and the electricity situation in
Quebec, the digester has the potential to run on green energy and to produce energy, heat,
and even fertilizer. Furthermore, the company currently receives sludge from food
industries that it thickens with wood chips to produce compost, a costly and ineffective
process. It is relevant for the company to explore if anaerobic digestion is more suitable
and profitable to treat this kind of material.
The anaerobic digester represents a potential source of revenue for the company.
The investment has to be as low as possible combined with the highest potential income in
order for the project to be considered by EBI. The three parts of this project, Feedstock
Analysis, Anaerobic Digester Design, and Life Cycle Analysis aim to determine if an
anaerobic digester is the most profitable option. This thesis focuses on the third of these
topics, Life Cycle Analysis. If interested in the first two topics, please see Sylvestre (2014)
or Bouaziz (2014).
10
2
Life Cycle Analysis Overview
2.1
Environmental Life Cycle Analysis
A Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) is done to determine the environmental impact of a
process, usually from cradle to grave.9 Many might be motivated to do a LCA in order to
comply with certain regulations during the design process, though a LCA can also be done
after the operation is already running to prove the process is environmentally friendly, or
to improve on the process' environmental impact. There are four major phases of a LCA, "a)
the goal and scope definition phase, b) the inventory analysis phase, c) the impact
assessment phase, and d) the interpretation phase." There are a number of inputs and
outputs that are taken from the inventory analysis phase and used in the impact
assessment and interpretation phases, split into Economic and Environmental Flows for
each stage of the process, as shown in Figure 3.
UNIT
PROCESSI
INPUTS
products
PRODUCT
SYSTEM
goods
services
materials
energy
economic
flows
waste * (for treatment)
environmental
interventions
abloticr esource
biotic resources
-
OUTPUTS
-4
goods
--
services
materials
--
energy
--
waste (for treatment)
-+
chemicals to the air I
chemicals to water
chemicals to Vie sat
-+
---
4
land transformation
---
4
-4radionucldes
liand occupation
-+
functionalflows
waste
economic
flows
_environmental
jitervenions
-~sound
*
prOducts'
--
heat
--
casualtes
-+
etc.
Figure3. Inputs and outputs of a Life Cycle Assessment. 0
2.1.1
Goal and Scope
As Canada will soon see the end of landfilling organic waste, EBI needs an alternative
to the landfill." The option of greatest interest is an anaerobic digester, but as aerobic
9ISO 14040,2006
10 Castelo Branco et al., 2013
11
digestion (composting), incineration, and microbial-fuel-cells are also options for the
organic waste, it's important to compare the environmental, economic, and social impacts
of each of these options. A life cycle analysis of each of these options will therefore be done,
as well as one of the site as it currently runs with the landfill as a base comparison.
The scope of this study is the land that EBI owns, taking the waste from collection
and running it through the processes that would be associated with each option. As
collection is a common process for all five analyses, it will not be needed for comparison.
The functional unit will be taken as 1 kg of waste processed, such that all analyses will
examine the impacts per kg of waste.
2.1.2
Inventory Analysis
The first step towards completing a LCA once the goal and scope are known is to
collect data from the different options. This includes determining what processes each
option has, as well as what flows each of those processes have, both for inflow and outflow.
Each LCA will use data that is either acquired from EBI itself, or from literature that will
simulate the conditions of the site based on the current infrastructure.
2.1.3
Impact Assessment
In order to assess the impact of each of the steps, software called GaBi Educational
Software is used. 12 Like other LCA software, GaBi comes ready with environmental data,
though data can also be imported from any available data set. GaBi allows for creation of
flows, which are the basic units that make up the inputs and outputs to each step of the
product's life cycle. These steps are ultimately connected in a plan and produce a "balance"
to assess their combined environmental impact. The balance shows results for 100-year
Global Warming Potential (GWP-100) in kg C02-equivalence, Acidification Potential (AP) in
kg S02-equivalence, Eutrophication potential (EP) in kg P04-equivalence, and Ozone-Layer
Depletion Potential (ODP) in kg R11-equivalence.
2.1.4
Interpretation
The most common method of comparison in a LCA is to compare the GWP, in terms of
C02-equivalent measurements. This is only applicable for emissions that have a global
warming potential, and so other potential comparisons include AP in S02-equivalence,
Photochemical Oxidant Creation Potential (POCP), and EP in P04-equivalence. 13 This
analysis will focus on GWP-100, AP, and EP, as they are computed by GaBi, and there is no
ODP calculated for any of the options.
" Direction des matibres residuelles et des lieux contamines, Service des matibres residuelles, p.
VII
12 GaBi Software,
2014
" GHK, 2006
12
2.2
Social Life Cycle Analysis
As part of the UNEP/SETAC Life Cycle Initiative, The United Nations Environmental
Programme (UNEP) and the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC)
have developed a Social Life Cycle Analysis (S-LCA) that examines the social impacts of a
product's life cycle, and their economic costs where applicable.14 A social Life Cycle
Analysis (S-LCA) aims to examine the same parts of the life cycle as an Environmental LCA
(E-LCA), but with a focus on the social implications on the "stakeholders" of the process.
These stakeholders are divided into five groups- workers, local community, society,
consumers, and value chain actors as shown in Table 1. Although the S-LCA follows the
same general process of the E-LCA, it is more difficult to quantify the impacts per functional
unit in a S-LCA. Thus, the impacts will be qualitatively determined, on a scale from "very
bad" to "very good" for each process step and stakeholder.
There are some clear subcategories of stakeholders that we can take into account for
our assessment. Working hours and health and safety can be applied to all steps for
workers, and health and safety and end of life responsibility can be applied to a few steps
for consumers. Safe and healthy living conditions and local employment are of importance
for local community, and public commitment to sustainability issues, contribution to
economic development, and technology development are pertinent for society. Promoting
social responsibility is applicable all around for value chain actors.
2.3
Economic Analysis
In order to compare the five waste management costs, instead of a per kg scale a yearly
scale is now used. As in Manesh et al. (2012), annualized cost can be determined by
summing the operating cost per year and the initial investment scaled to a yearly cost.'s
Since some of the options include the benefit of selling electricity produced from biogas,
the amount of money made from that will also be included. In order to determine the
annualized capital cost I, we use the capital recovery factor times the capital cost
I
i(1+ i)"
(+ i)" -
where i is the discount rate, n is the lifetime of the option, and C is the capital cost. A
discount rate of 8% will be used for all cases, consistent with an average of real discount
rates in Canada, and similar to the US EPA's real discount rate of 7%.1617
14
UNEP and SETAC, 2009
Manesh et al., 2012
16 Treasury Board of Canada Secreteriat, 2007
17 U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and U.S. EPA, 2000
15
13
Table 1.EPA/SE TAC 2009's breakdown of subcategories to assess social impacts of a
product's life cycle.' 8
Freedorr of Asuxcaatcn " Co cwve Bwrgainnrg
Chea Labour
Far
"WhWWodung
Saiary
or
Forced Labou
Eowal opportuntes/D,
Hema an dSatety
Soca, Bon
ernatwo
)Caj Socurty
HFeaftm &8aty
Fedack Machansn
Shinahokr wo-MUM9r
C~aOxnrw Prvacy
TraspWrMncy
Eno of ife responmbiiy
Access to mratera resrces
Access to nmatona resurcos
Dotoca zat cn and Migraton
CUIUraf 40rlag
Safe & realty wig concItons
Respect of oogenous rghls
Cornunity engaemet
Local emoyment
Sectro ivng condktons
cornm ms to sustanabty 4ssm
Ucrtiaon to ocannt
evelopmn
Pubic
Staboh ma~ e
VA*Ii-* i acW nr
Prievwtu anbgaon of arm= confts
TOChNIOI9Y dOwelopent
Comptnn
Far compeiton
Prornot ng socal respons t> ty
Suppior reationshops
Respect of ritolctuae property r gts
The following equation is used to calculate total annualized cost, Ca
Ca = I +C, - PE* E
where C. is the yearly operating cost, PE is the price of energy sold ($0.07 per kWh), and E
is the amount of energy produced in a year for the option (using a conversion rate of
3.6MJ/kWh).
8 UNEP
and SETAC, 2009
14
Average investment costs are taken from literature to determine the initial capital
needed, and it is assumed in all cases that the company would want to pay off this
investment in 10 years. Operating costs are also taken from averages in the literature. The
amount of organic waste we want to process per year is assumed equivalent to that of
Sylvestre's (2014) assessment for EBI, 1400 Mt, and the amount of energy produced per kg
is determined by the GaBi projections.19 This analysis does not take into account other
means of income including fees for waste collection that are assumed consistent across all
five options. It also assumes that EBI can sell as much electricity as they produce.
3
3.1
Landfill
Overview of Process
Landfills can be used as the sole waste treatment option, or used in conjunction with
other options as will be discussed. Anaerobic processes, a result of the depletion of oxygen
in pockets of the waste, are the primary form of waste degradation in landfills. 20 Organic
waste will break down to release methane and carbon dioxide, while inorganic waste will
vary in how it will break down. For instance, sulfate will produce a metal sulfide, which can
then produce hydrogen sulfide under acidic conditions, a hazardous material.
Liners, both natural and synthetic are used in landfills to prevent the escape of
hazardous materials from the landfill. 2 1Leachate that is collected via these liners must be
treated. Landfill gas that is produced from the anaerobic processes must be controlled, to
avoid health and environmental risks.22 The gas can either be controlled in the landfill itself
through impermeable barriers, or collected for energy production, as done at EBI's site and
shown in Figure 4.
3.2
Proof of Concept
Though disposal via landfill has been the primary waste management since humans'
beginnings, formal landfills have come into play in the past two-hundred years. 23 Until the
1970s, the perspective of "dilute and attenuate," allowing the leachate to be diluted by
groundwater and attenuated as it travels down the layers of the landfill. 24 Containment has
become the objective after this time, in which leachate is collected and treated, unless it is
stored until better technology is developed for the treatment. 25
Sylvestre, 2014
Harrison, 1995,
21 Harrison, 1995,
22 Harrison, 1995,
23 Harrison, 1995,
24 Ibid., p.
45
21 Ibid., p.
48
19
20
p. 51
p. 57
p. 60
p. 43
15
I kS Restwaste
00W
DislLA
016M
0.03m,"
li
-W
ENERGY
0.MRECOVERY
P]
NDFI LL
001
3 '
Collecd BCogas
SYST EM
~~0.011,b Biogv, releawd it,
almosphvc
4444a (1)$$.CH.
*
l
ae
ohr
0.0001 m
0.0003m
LEACHATE
Collected Leachat
TREATMENT
bIclt
BOD -40mg dn
(01) Itig dm
Ucctnc cnergp
0.0036M)
Figure 4. Process flow for a landfill that has leachate treatment and biogas
collection. 2 6
In the 1980s, sustainable landfills became more common, with the idea of pretreating the leachate before storage increasingly put into practice. 27 "Fail-safe" landfills
encompass this idea, by anticipating the eventual failure of the landfill, and putting
measure into place to limit the risk of the leachate that would be released upon this failure.
More and more landfills are now becoming more sustainable by being integrated with
other types of waste management, as well as being linked with energy recovery.
There are landfills in operation worldwide, being the oldest and most common
method of waste management The US alone has over 2,000 landfills in operation, with
waste to landfills consisting of over 50% of the waste generated, at least from 2008 and
before. 28 EBI itself has multiple cells of landfills, with four different cells used to date. BFI
Canada has been in operation in Quebec as well for the past 25 years. 29 Their landfills
operate with energy recovery, much like EBI's.
3.3
Environmental LCA
The environmental LCA of the landfill has five processes- Compaction, Landfill,
Leachate Treatment, Biogas Purification (or Natural Gas Plant), and Cogeneration, as
shown in Figure 5.30 Since the landfill takes in all waste, organic or inorganic, sorting is not
included in this LCA, though the distinction needs to be made for the other waste options.
As in all LCAs in this thesis, the functional unit of the Landfill is 1kg of organic waste.
Arena, Mastellone, and Perugini, 2003
Ibid., p. 49
28 EPA, 2009
29 BFI Canada,
n.d.
30 Arena, Mastellone, and Perugini, 2003
26
27
16
U
4fpjion
m>
LNan
0a
X
<JJ>
1kg
Leachate Treabt
4
Water (waste
0.44gwa1tetat)
Xi
0. 12 m3
ioga(vokane)
0.03 m3
NaM GasMPant
0,Mm3
XA
CogenratbnM ut
XA
Figure 5. Planfor Landfill, done in GaBL
The second process, Landfill, takes in 2.6*10-2 MJ of natural gas and 3.8*10-2 MJ of
electricity to process the input of 1 kg of organic waste. 3 1 The landfill outputs 0.12m 3 of
biogas, 2.2*10-2 kg of C0 2, 2.75*10-2 kg of pure methane, and 4.0*104 m 3 of wastewater, or
leachate.
The wastewater goes on to Leachate Treatment, which uses 3.6*10-3 MJ of electricity
to process the 4.0*104 M3.32 The output of Leachate Treatment for this amount of leachate
is 3*10-4 m 3 of treated water with a BOD of less than 40 mg/dm 3 and a COD of less than 160
mg/dM3 , and 1*10-4 M3 of concentrated liquid being sent back to the landfill.
Thirty-three percent of the biogas is routed to the Cogeneration process. 3 3 The
processing of 4.0*10-2 M3 of biogas produces 0.3MJ of electricity and 0.42MJ of waste heat
(1.4 times the amount of electricity produced). 34
Twenty-five percent of the biogas goes through Biogas Purification, or Natural Gas
Plant (the remainder of the biogas is released to the atmosphere). 35 One m 3 of biogas, 1.1MJ
of electricity, and 0.18 MJ of heat produce 1.6 MJ of natural gas. 36
When balanced in GaBi, the entire Landfill option shows a GWP-100 of 0.63 kg C0 2 equivalent and an EP of 4.4*10-6 kg S02-equivalent, with no AP or ODP.
3.4
Social LCA
The major steps to look at for a landfill S-LCA are compaction, landfill, leachate
treatment, natural gas plant, and cogeneration.
3 Arena, Mastellone, and Perugini, 2003
32 Ibid.
3 Ibid.
34 B6rjesson and Berglund, 2006
35 Arena, Mastellone, and Perugini, 2003
36
P6schl, Ward, and Owende, 2010
17
Compaction requires truck operators, and thus would seem to provide more working
hours for employees. As far as health and safety is concerned, there would be normal safety
risks associated with driving, but additional concern can be seen in the stability of the
waste pile while it's being compacted.37 Consumer effect is not applicable to compaction,
though the local community is affected in the potential for greater employment.
Compaction reduces the volume of waste, and thus could be pertinent to all three
categories of society- it commits to the sustainability issue of reducing overall volume of
land used towards a landfill, contributes to economic development by providing jobs, and
promotes technology development to make compaction more efficient. Finally, there is
social responsibility associated with the above.
The landfill itself will create jobs in all of the associated processes mentioned already,
and those not mentioned such as closing up the landfill, though this is not as frequent a job
as others. Consumer effect is once again not applicable, and though local community is
positively affected by jobs for the community, there is also the potential negative impact if
leachate were to leak out of the site into the groundwater, as well as the smell from the
landfill. 38 This last factor can be mitigated by the sheer size of EBI's site, but should still be
considered. Once again, all three factors can be relevant for society, though technology
development perhaps less so due to landfills being a rather tried and true method. Social
responsibility is more negative than the other aspects in this respect, as there are other
methods that could be better used to dispose of waste, and the out of sight out of mind
philosophy of landfills tends to encourage more waste production in the first place.
Leachate treatment also creates jobs to handle the treatment, though exposure to
loud noises during the leachate treatment could have negative impacts on the workers,
even with protective ear gear seen in use at EBI. Consumers can include those who might
drink the water down the road, or swim in it, and in this way leachate treatment has a
positive impact, allowing the water to be released into a river for such eventual use. 3 9
Treating the leachate is positive for the local community's health, in line with the idea of its
positive impacts for consumers, and the idea of recycling the water is a great sustainability
impact for society and social responsibility for value chain actors.
The natural gas plant, where biogas is converted into natural gas, is a source of
working hours for workers and the local community. Health and safety for both workers
and the local community should be relatively straightforward, and thus not an issue.
Consumers are positively impacted with a cleaner burning energy source so long as the
conversion is done properly (methane loss is anticipated to occur 2-3% of the time on
average). 40 As it is a cleaner burning energy source than oil, it also shows a promotion of
sustainability and social responsibility, and contributes to economic development.
Waste Management World, 2014b
et al., 2014
39 Ibid., 2014
40 B6rjesson and Berglund,
2006
37
38 Butt
18
Finally, cogeneration provides working hours for workers and the local community,
with limited health and safety issues. Consumers include both EBI and those on the power
grid, as a portion of the electricity produced is sold to the grid, and so consumers benefit
from an energy that is produced from an otherwise wasted process. Since the local
community is the consumer population, they also benefit. Again, this is a socially and
sustainably responsible action, since otherwise the biogas would be released to the
atmosphere and cause negative impacts on society as a whole. The results for the overall
social analysis are shown in Table 2.
Table 2. Social LCA for Landfill, where one + is very bad, five +'s is very good, and N/A is not
applicable.
Compaction
Workers
Local
Landfill
Leachate
Natural
Treatment
Gas Plant
Cogeneration
++++
+++++
+++++
+++
++++
+++++
+++++
+++++
+++++
+++++
+++++
++++
+++++
++++
+++++
N/A
N/A
+++++
++++
+++++
Community
Society
Consumers
Value Chain
Actors
3.5
++
+++++
I
I
+++++
+++++
+++++
I
I
1
_1
Economic Cost
The initial investment in the Landfill to process organic waste is zero dollars. The
company already has the infrastructure of the landfill in place, not adding something new
for the sake of separating out organic waste. The operating costs of a landfill are about $18
per tonne.4 1 According to the GaBi model, the electricity produced is 0.3MJ, resulting in
$0.006 per kg of organic waste processed. When annualized for the processing of 1400Mt
of organic waste, the cost of a landfill is $17,000 per year.
4 Aerobic Digestion (Composting)
4.1
Overview of Processes
The process of composting is characterized by the degradation of organic matter by a
consortium of microorganisms with oxygen. 42 Its main environmental advantage is to
produce carbon dioxide instead of methane, which contributes less to global warming.
Feedstock may come from any of the agricultural, residential, commercial, institutional or
industrial sectors. According to Luc Turcotte, from EBI, a company owning and operating a
composting platform in Quebec, maturation of the material takes up to six months. After
that period, a material rich in nutrients like phosphorus, nitrogen and potassium is
4' Assamoi
42
and Lawryshyn, 2012
Direction des matieres residuelles et des lieux contaminds, p. 2
19
produced. 43 It can be used in agriculture or gardening as a fertilizer. To ensure a proper
content of several components like nutrients, trace elements and pathogens, the compost
produced has to be analyzed. 44
During the process, outlined in Figure 6, heavily charged wastewater is produced and
it has to be collected and treated before it is released in the environment. It may also be
mixed with limestone to increase the typical low pH of the wastewater and used as a
fertilizer in agriculture. Important odors are also released when composting. Depending on
the neighbors and the winds, measures to control odors may be necessary.
Biogenic
emissions
I kg Organic
Waste
IElectric
energ
Electric
-
Electric
Storage,
Diesel
mixing,
screening &
Composting
Composting
"intense"
"curin "
composting
at storage
Comosin
piling
r -Mature
Steel
Recycling
g
Synthetic
fertilizer
ec
1
Iectnc
Figure 6. Composting processes for a LCA.4 At EBI, naturalgas is used instead of
diesel.
4.2
Proof of Concept
Prior to 1950, a very basic understanding of the composting process was made, but
no real large scale practical application existed. 46 According to Golueke, Sir Albert Howard
developed one of the firsts composting systems intended to improve the hygiene of sewage
water in India in the early 20th century.47
During the 1950s and early 1960s, research started to study composting as a way to
enhance the quality of soils and a pilot scale experiment was made at University of
California. 48 Europe performed research more aimed towards survival of pathogens and
Direction des matieres residuelles et des lieux contaminds, p. 2
44Ibid., p. 3
4 Adapted from Blengini, 2008
46 Bertoldi, 1996, p. 5
47 Golueke, 2009, p. 28
48 Ibid.
43
20
their potential impacts on health. 49 During that period, large hopes existed that composting
would be an economically viable waste management solution.50 However, poor
implementation of the process brought results below expectations. 51
A significant increase in research on composting occurred in the 1970s. 5 2 The process
was well understood and further study was conducted on specific aspects of it. Still, its
development was slowed by unfavorable economic returns.5 3 The 1980s saw three largescale projects fail in the United States mostly due to wrong localization and incorrect
design, which resulted in odor problems.5 4
Many composting infrastructures are in operation worldwide. The present section is
a brief overview of these projects with a specific attention to Canada and North America.
A private company located a short distance from Montreal in a rural in Quebec
currently operates a platform used to transform organic matter into compost.5 s Most of the
inputs are leaves, grass, wood chip and several residues from food industries. Even if the
facility is located in a low-density area, odors are monitored, the constraints of which are
usually met. However, the compost produce has a relatively poor quality due to the
presence of non-organic contaminants like plastic residue which reduces its value. Another
similar open-air composting facility is operated by the city of Guelph in Ontario, Canada
where odor emissions became a problem.5 6 Due to complaints from neighbors, the plant
had to stop receiving organic waste for a certain period of time and plan for odor
management before being allowed to treat material again.5 7
In Western Europe, specifically in Germany, successful covered composting plants
exist both in rural and in urban areas which relies on a strategic location.58 A covered plant
is located in Brampton in Ontario, Canada. It appears to be successfully operating with a
60,000 tonnes per year capacity. 59 Moving to a larger scale, Edmonton, Alberta has a plant
treating municipal organic waste along with sewage sludge with a capacity of 200,000 and
25,000 tonnes per year respectively.60 Also with an annual capacity of over 200,000 tons, a
49
Golueke, 2009, p. 28
50 Ibid.
5 Ibid.
52
Bertoldi, 1996, p. 9
5
Ibid., p. 10
54 Ibid.
5
56
57
58
59
60
Dep6t Rive-Nord, n.d.
City of Guelph, n.d.
Ibid.
Diaz et al., 2007, p. 95
BioCycle, n.d.
City of Edmonton, n.d.
21
privately owned composting plant is located in Delaware, Maryland. 61 The treatment is
partially indoor and covered during outdoor maturing. 62
4.3
Environmental LCA
The four processes of Composting are Sorting, Bag Opening, Composting, and Leachate
Treatment, as shown in Figure 7. This model will follow the current infrastructure EBI
already has for composting on site. The organic and inorganic waste must be separated for
this process, and so sorting is included. The functional unit is 1 kg of organic waste.
lag opf*ig
<u-o>
5ar~kv <U-50>
X
XCaWMOM~g-so>
6
LeadMteTriuit
WP
Figure 7. Plan for Composting, done in GaBL
The Bag Opening process takes in an input of 1 MJ of natural gas, outputting 1 kg of
total waste. 63 Sorting assumes 60% of the waste in the bag is inorganic waste, and 40%
organic waste that goes on to Composting, with an input of 0.294 MJ of electricity for the
sorting.6465 Composting itself requires 0.219 MJ of electricity and 1.63*10-3 kg of natural
gas to produce 8.4*10-3 kg of fertilizer, 4.0*104 m 3 of leachate, 6.0*104 kg of ammonia, and
0.16 kg of carbon dioxide.66 As in the last case, to process 4.0*104 m 3 of leachate, 3.6*10-3
MJ is needed, producing 3*104 m 3 of treated water with a BOD of less than 40 mg/dM3 and
a COD of less than 160 mg/dM3 , and 1*10-4 m3 of concentrated liquid which is sent to the
landfill.
The GaBi balance of these steps shows a GWP-100 of 0.16 kg C02-equivalent and an AP
of 9.6*104 kg SO2-equivalent per kg organic waste processed. The EP is 2.1*104 kg PO 4 -
equivalent per kg organic waste processed, and there is no ODP projected.
Environmental Protection, 2011
62 Ibid.
63 Blengini et al.,
2008
6 FCM, 2009
65 Blengini et al.,
2008
66 Ibid.
61
22
4.4
Social LCA
The major process steps for composting are sorting, bag opening, composting, natural
gas plant, and cogeneration. As natural gas plant and cogeneration will have the same
benefits as landfill, the focus is on sorting, bag opening, and composting, with the results
shown in Table 3.
Table 3. Social LCA for Composting, where one + is very bad, five +'s is very good, and N/A is
not applicable.
Sorting
Bag
Opening
+++
+++
+++++
+++++
Workers
Local
Composting
+++
+++
Leachate
Treatment
++++
+++++
Community
+++++.+++
Society
++++
+++++..
Consumers
N/A
N/A
+++++
+++++
Value Chain
++++
++++
+++++
+++++
Actors
I
I
II
The need to sort between inorganic and organic waste opens up job opportunities
for workers, also helping the local community in this way. 67 Sorting should have no effect
on the local community as it is not a loud venture. It has a positive effect on society as it
shows a public commitment to the sustainability issue of waste management, as asked for
in the mandate in Quebec, as well as promotes social responsibility for value chain actors. It
is unclear whether this will contribute to economic development; sorting will cost more
resources than simply dumping everything into a landfill, though there could be indirect
effects by saving landfill space and other effects that are dependent on the method of
disposal after sorting.
Bag opening, as it is normally required for composting at EBI, is an automated
process that would likely not offer any additional working hours, and would be neutral for
worker health and safety. It should not affect the local community, but promotes the
separation of organic and inorganic waste further by removing plastics that can reduce the
purity of the compost. In this way it is both a public commitment to sustainability issues
and promotes social responsibility. Economic and technology development are likely
unaffected.
With a greater quantity of waste being composted, this could also open up
opportunities for workers, though it may be a null effect if these jobs are created from the
lack of landfilling. The smell would also have a negative impact on workers, and likely the
local community, although the size of EBI can help mitigate this effect for the local
community. It promotes sustainability and social responsibility, while possibly contributing
to economic and technology development with the production of the product of fertilizer.
6
FCM, 2009
23
4.5
Economic Costs
As composting already exists on EBI's site, the capital investment in our analysis is
$0.00. The annual operating cost of composting is approximately $39 per tonne of waste
processed, and since there is no energy produced by biogas for this option, the income is
$0.00 per tonne. 68 Processing 1400 Mt costs approximately $55,000 per year.
5
Anaerobic Digestion
5.1
Overview of Processes
Anaerobic digestion is the degradation of organic matter by a consortium of bacteria
in the absence of oxygen. Just like composting, this process can be used to transform
organic matter from virtually any sector. The main difference from the previous method is
that methane is produced during the reaction, which has a good energy potential. This
process is slow because the microorganisms need a large amount of energy in the form of
heat and nutrients to degrade organic matter. 69 Degradation can be divided in four main
steps: hydrolysis, acidogenesis, acetogenesis and methanogenesis. 70 They are briefly
explained below.
In simple terms, hydrolysis is the degradation of large molecules into smaller
compounds, hydrogen and acetic acid. 71 During the second step, the acidogenesis, the
smaller molecules from hydrolysis are transformed into volatile fatty acids, hydrogen and
acetic acid.7 2 Next, the acetogenesis implies the complete transformation of volatile fatty
acids into carbon dioxide, hydrogen and acetic acid. 73 Finally, hydrogen and acetic acid are
both converted into methane during the methanogenesis.7 4 Figure 8 shows the general
process of an anaerobic digester.
According to Cheng, the first anaerobic digester intended to produce energy was
built in France in 1860.7s The first unit in the United States was made in 1926.76 North
America and Europe did little work towards the development of anaerobic digesters in the
late 1940s and 1950s, as the cheap price of fossil fuels limited the interest in the
technology.7 7 The oil-crisis in the United States in the 1970s gave a second burst of interest
to anaerobic digestion which only lasted during the crisis. 7 8
British Columbia, 1996
69 Tchobanoglous, Burton, & Stensel, p. 571-572
70 Cheng, 2010, p.
154
71 Ibid.
72 Ibid.
68
73
Ibid.
74
Ibid.
Ibid., p. 152
71
76
77
78
Ibid.
Ibid.
Ibid., pp. 152-153
24
[IccmicitL
nzi
F-Pisto
Pig
manutc
Poulttn mmnurc
Vncrft matzc
i
ict
D)ig~
--
----
kxod % acs
I. ker
bulbs
DigetateDocanter
0
V~~~
Ia
o*D
Transpor"to:
Salland
fitation,
atr Fteuta
dr
Fiue8
and
plant digestion
wer
rcsfofranaerobic
Ln1cte
c a Ce
ReereOWosis.
h
n20in thperafration
rdcn
30%
wnErp
qithen
2.3 million tonnes of petroleum annually.80
5.2
Proof of Concept
Numerous plants are operational in North America. A facility with a 35,000 tonne
per year capacity is located in Oakland, California reporting operating costs of about 40 to
55 US dollars (USD) per tonne.81 Biogas is used to produce electricity to fulfill the plant's
needs and the surplus are sold to the local utilities.82 Water is partially removed from the
digestate and it is either used as a fertilizer in agriculture or as a daily cover in a local
landfill.83
The city of Toronto, Ontario owns two anaerobic digestion plants newly renovated
in one case and newly constructed in the other.84 Their summed capacity is 110,000 tonnes
Gebrezgabher et al., 2010
'0 Ibid., p. 153
8"ILSR, 2010, pp. 5-6.
12 Ibid., p. 5
79
83
I
84
City of Toronto, n.d.
25
annually and the city plans to expand to 180,000 tonnes per year.8 5 They treat municipal
organic waste collected through a large municipal initiative. 8 6
Very recently, a large-scale organic waste digester started to operate in London,
Ontario. 87 It has an annual capacity of about 65,000 wet tonnes and an electricity
production of approximately 2.8 MW. The project is economically viable, but strict
constraints have to be met. According to Alex MacFarlane from Harvest Power, the
company owning the digester, electricity has to be sold at over 0.13 CAD per kWh and the
company has to charge over 45 CAD per ton to collect the feedstock. The same company
operates a large composting facility in Richmond, British Columbia where the first
commercial high-solids anaerobic digester is installed in parallel to a composting facility. 88
The anaerobic digester can transform 30,000 tonnes per year.8 9
5.3
Environmental LCA
Anaerobic digestion begins with the sorting process, which has the same inputs and
outputs as that discussed in Composting, 0.294 MJ of electricity to sort out the 0.4 kg of
organic waste per total waste. The Anaerobic Digestion process uses 5*10-4 m 3 of feed
water to process 1 kg of organic waste, producing 0.13 m 3 of biogas and 4.0*104 m 3 of
wastewater. The other three processes, Leachate Treatment, Biogas Purification, and
Cogeneration as shown in Figure 9, have the same inputs and outputs as seen in Landfilling,
with 25% of the biogas being used in Biogas Purification, and 33% in Cogeneration.
Na
Sar"ing <U-60>
X
,ralGnant
X1
0,0325m3
*
(anwc waste -4
Anarobic Dogesan
X
<u-w>
.
0.13 m3
k0.4kg
I
Water (waste
~
xt,,
Pant
~Coganaration
0.0428 m3
watier, untreated)
I
Leadame Treatnment
#
Figure 9. Plan for Anaerobic Digestion, done in GaBi.
The environmental impact of Anaerobic Digestion is an EP of 4.4*10-6 kg P0 4equivalent. There is no AP or ODP associated with Anaerobic Digestion.
85
86
ILSR, 2010, p. 7
City of Toronto, n.d.
"Anaerobic Digest," 2013
88 Harvest Power, n.d.
89 Ibid.
87
26
5.4
Social LCA
Anaerobic Digestion has several processes in common with landfill and compostingsorting, leachate treatment, natural gas plant, and cogeneration. As these will not be
affected by anaerobic digestion itself, their analysis has the same results and so the focus of
this section is only on the anaerobic digestion phase. The results for the social analysis are
shown in Table 4.
Table 4. Social LCA for Anaerobic Digestion, where one + is very bad, five +'s is very good,
and N/A is not applicable.
Sorting
Anaerobic
Digestion
Leachate
Treatment
Natural
Gas Plant
Cogeneration
Workers
+++++
+++++
++++
+++++
+++++
Local
Community
+++++
+++++
+++++
+++++
+++++
Society
+++++
+++++
+++++
++++
+++++
N/A
++++
N/A
+++++
+++++
+++++
++++
+++++
+++++
+++++
Consumers
Value Chain
Actors
I______
I______
I______________
I____I_
I
_
Anaerobic digestion will create some additional working hours as there will be a new
operation that needs to be considered, beneficial both to EBI's current employees and the
community as a whole. Working and local conditions should have few, if any, health or
safety concerns. It is a public commitment to sustainability, in addition to promoting social
responsibility. Economic and technology development are possible within the realm of
anaerobic digesters, especially economic development from the additional production of
biogas.
5.5
Economic Costs
The capital investment for an anaerobic digester has been estimated at 2.5 million
dollars, for a digester that processes 6,000 tonnes per year. 90 A 200,000 tonne digester is
91
estimated at 86.5 million dollars, and a 10,000 tonne digester at 8 million dollars. In
order to determine the capital cost for EBI's potential digester, the three are graphed out as
shown in Figure 10, and a trendline determined,
C =0.64* L94
where C is the cost in million dollars, and L is the loading. For EBI's digester of 1400 Mt per
year, this would be a capital cost of 0.88 million dollars. The exponent of 0.94 suggests a
mild economy of scale. If no economy of scale is assumed (C is linearly proportional to L)
90
ILSR, 2010
9' Ibid.
27
then the three digesters cited above yield scaled capital costs for the EBI plant ranging from
0.58 to 1.12 million dollars, with a mean of 0.77 million dollars.
Assuming the lifetime of an anaerobic digester is 20 years, the annualized capital
investment is 78,000 dollars. 92 The average operating cost for an Anaerobic Digester will
be $55 per tonne of organic waste managed, and the amount of energy produced about
0.321 MJ per tonne of organic waste. 93 The annualized cost to process 1400 Mt of organic
waste a year is then $147,000.
Anaerobic Digester Costs
100
90 -
y-066x -r
1%093W
80-
70
4WX60
50
Anaerobic Digester
Costs
40
30
20
Power(Anaerobic
Digester Costs)
10
0
50
100
150
200
250
Loading (Thousands of Tonnes)
Figure 10. Anaerobic Digester Costs.
6
Incineration
6.1
Overview of Processes
Incineration involves the combustion of waste to reduce the overall volume of waste
being landfilled, with an outline of the major processes in Figure 11. There are four steps to
incineration: drying, pyrolysis, gasification, and combustion. 94 Drying removes a majority
of the water vapor from the waste, while pyrolysis is for more specific types of waste, such
as plastics, rubber, sewage sludge, or wood, thermally decomposing these wastes.95
Gasification produces carbon monoxide, hydrogen, and methane, flammable gases that
under combustion produce carbon dioxide and water vapor. 96
92
93
Gebrezgabher et al., 2010
Ibid.
94 Buekens,
2012, p. ix
9' Ibid., p. x
96
Ibid.
28
Dust, HCl, HF, SO 2 , NO 2, Hg, Cd, TI, dioxins, and furans make up the majority of the
emissions from incineration, as well as fly and bottom ash. 97 The dust must be removed
from the flue gas, with nearly a 100% removal rate required. 98 All of the emissions must be
removed with at least a 95% removal rate, in addition to any of a number of scrubbing
processes to neutralize acid gas.99 Bottom ash and fly ash are separated out, either for use
in construction as a replacement material in such goods as concrete, or to be further
treated to remove volatile metals, respectively.100
Activated carbon
Natural gas
I rea
0,003kg
0,016M)
0
EFcoric energy
-1.42MIJ
50kg
X 0
I0mr, in C
Ioa n H( I
0 032kg
I0m
lkg
Pw eNENERGY
son
COMBUSTION
RECOVERY
FLUE GAS
TREATMENT
6
'iihmir
I, SOX
Nll
fmg II, Ju'l,
0 Ing "t
Bottom ash
it
to
landfill
1 ikg
PCDP J Of
i tcr dusts
Watcr
k ibcatl
\aierum
Water
A
().0172kg
A
H0
11
CONDITIONING
::(
)'k
(Cmti
iondiitoned
ash to landfill
0 122kg
(C)
Figure 11. Process flow for incineration waste management, that presorts the waste,
recovers energy, and treats the gas and ash.1 01
Incineration has always had an aspect of energy recovery, primarily in the form of
heat.102 Traditionally it has been one of the three major options for waste managementlandfill, composting, and incineration. It's main goal has most often been to reduce the
waste volume, especially in areas where land is highly valued for other purposes. The
1970s is known as the time for regulations on waste, with common knowledge of the
hazards of certain materials becoming known, resulting in regulations primarily against
landfilling certain waste.103 Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) is one of these
hazards, known for encouraging incineration, especially of hospital waste.104
Many areas worldwide incinerate waste to this day. In Europe, incineration of waste
has been on the rise since the mid-1990s, going from 13% to 21% of waste incinerated.105
97
Buekens, 2012, p. xiv
Ibid., p. xiii
Ibid., p. xv
100 Ibid., p.xi
101 Arena, Mastellone, and Perugini, 2003
102 Ibid., p.
xvi
103 Ibid., p. 1
98
99
104
Ibid., p. 2
0' GAIA, 2013
29
China incinerates about 16% of their waste, while less than 5% of waste is incinerated in
Canada, where our study takes place. 106107
6.2
Environmental LCA
The incineration process includes the Sorting the waste, Incineration, Flue Gas
Treatment, Ash Conditioning, Cogeneration, and Biogas Purification, as shown in Figure
12.108 Sorting will follow the same as Composting in section 4.3, and Cogeneration and
Biogas Purification will follow the same factors as seen in the Landfill in section 3.3.
Incineration will use 7.94*104 kg of natural gas, 3.6*10-2 MJ of heat, and 3.0*10-3 kg of urea
to incinerate 1 kg of organic waste, and produce 5.6 m 3 of biogas, 2.42 MJ of direct
electricity, and 0.18 kg of ashes.
Flue Gas Treatment will use 3.2*10-3 kg of calcium hydroxide, 2.5*10-3 kg of activated
carbon, 2.5*10-3 kg of calcium oxide, and 1.6*104 m 3 of water to treat a cubic meter of
biogas. The outputs for this process include 1 kg of ashes, 1 kg of carbon dioxide, 1.0*10-5
kg of carbon monoxide, 0.09 kg of dust, 1.0*10-5 kg of hydrogen chloride, 1.0*10-6 kg of
hydrogen fluoride, 2*10-7 kg of metals, and 2*104 kg of sulfur oxides.
Ash Conditioning uses 1.4*10-2 kg of cement, 0.09 kg of dust, 1.5*10-3 kg of sodium
silicates, and 1.7*10-2 kg of water to treat 1 kg of ashes, producing 0.12 kg of ashes for
landfill disposal.
10.6 k9
Orgaic waste
Jnk%&atln <ua>
F
3..%36 m39
F
t+Gas Treamnt
FA
Diogas (voium) -
3.36%m3
asgh
(mlme
1
Ash Condtin*g <u-so>
O.84m3
NarGasPlant
x
Cogneamon
1.11m3
Ant XF
Figure 12. Plan for Incineration, done in GaBi.
The GWP-100 for Incineration is 5.6 kg C02-equivalent per kg of organic waste
processed, and the AP is 5.0*10-5 kg S02-equivalent per kg of organic waste processed.
There is no ODP or EP associated with the balance.
106
107
Zhou & Chen, 2012
Statistics Canada, 2012b
108
Ibid.
30
6.3
Social LCA
The sorting, natural gas plant, and cogeneration plant processes for incineration
would be the same as for landfill and composting. Thus, we focus on incineration, flue gas
treatment, and ash conditioning which are singular to incineration, with the results in
Table 5.
Table 5. Social LCA for Incineration, where one + is very bad, five +'s is very good, and N/A is
not applicable.
Sorting Incineration
Flue Gas
Treatment
Ash
Conditioning
Natural
Gas
Cogeneration
Plant
Workers
+++++
++++
+++
+++
+++++
+++++
Local
+++++
++++
++++
++++
+++++
+++++
+++++
++
+++++
+++++
++++
+++++
N/A
++++
N/A
N/A
++++
+++++
+++++
+++++
Community
Society
Consumers
Value Chain
Actors
+++
++++
I
I
+++
++
III
For the incineration process, additional jobs would be created since it is a new
process on the site, helpful to current workers and the local community. Working and local
conditions should be fairly safe from incineration, though the potential emission of toxins if
anything inorganic is mixed in with the organic could have a negative effect on workers and
the community.109 While incineration limits the volume of waste in landfills, due to the
negative effects of emissions from incineration it is negative in terms of sustainability
issues and social responsibility. It still can produce electricity and waste heat that might be
used later, however, so it could still be seen as beneficial to economic and technology
development.
Flue gas treatment is an automated process and so would provide very few jobs if any
in addition to the incineration process. The same could be said of ash conditioning.
Working conditions should be fairly safe if the workers aren't directly in contact with the
process. Both processes are beneficial to the local community and society as a whole, as
they prevent a number of toxins from being released into the atmosphere (flue gas) and
soil (ash). This promotes a social responsibility, and might promote economic and
technology development.
109 Zhou and Chen, 2012
31
6.4
Economic Costs
The capital investment for a large incinerator can be very high, on the order of 100
million dollars.110 An incinerator in Northern Ireland that can process 300,000 tonnes per
year cost 240 million Euros (329 million dollars), while in London median values are
estimated at 45 million Euros (62 million dollars) for an incinerator with a capacity of 100115 tonnes per year costs, or 82 million dollars for 150 tonnes per year'11112 When
graphed out as in Figure 13, the trendline is
C =0.02* L 7
suggesting a negative economy of scale which may be due to differences among the
incinerators. If no economy of scale is assumed (C is linearly proportional to L) then the
three incinerators cited above yield scaled capital costs for the EBI plant ranging from 0.77
to 1.54 million dollars, with a mean of 1.04 million dollars.
Incinerator Costs
350
3
300
250
0-029xl.6761
R2 = 0.97133
200
150
100
50
1
Incinerator Costs
--
Power(Incinerator
Costs)
0
0
100
200
300
400
Loading (Thousands of Tonnes)
Figure 13. Incinerator Costs.
Assuming an incinerator's lifetime is twenty years, the annualized cost of investment
is $106,000 per year.113 Operating costs are around $168 per tonne of waste incinerated,
though the energy outputs are high, 8.34 MJ per tonne of waste.11 4 The overall annualized
cost of incineration is $114,000 per year.
110 Platt, 2004
111 Waste Management World, 2014a
112
Greater London Authority, 2008
113 World Bank, 1999
114
Jackson, 2009
32
7
7.1
Microbial Fuel Cells (MFC)
Overview of Processes
The other method taken into consideration is the microbial fuel cell (MFC), also called
biological fuel cell. It utilizes electrogenic bacteria that oxidize a variety of substrates such
as glucose, sulfides or acetate. The method involves conversion of chemical energy that is
available in substrate and uses the bacteria as a catalyst in order to convert the substrate
into electrons.115 The system commonly consists of a cathode, an anode, a proton or a
cation exchange membrane and an electrical circuit.116
MFC research has seen a spike in interest since 2002, specifically due to the work of
Kim et al.11 7 They reported the integration of dissimilatory metal reducing bacteria, which
was a pioneer step in demonstrating electron transfer without mediators in a solution.118
MFC holds some advantages such as the applicability for treatment of low
concentration substrates at temperatures below 20*C where regular anaerobic digestion
fails. On the other hand, it involves a very high investment and MFC requires difficult
maintenance due to the complexity of the system.119
7.2
Proof of Concept
This process is not commercialized yet mainly because it is not ready. However, a
demonstration MFC system operates since over a year to treat a part of the wastewater
from a vineyard in Geyserville, California.120 Additionally, some large pilot-scale test were
conducted like at the foster's brewery in Yatala, Queensland, Australia. Many researchers
are trying to improve MFC as shown in Figure 14, and to prove that bioelectrical systems
are the future.121
7.3
Environmental LCA
MFC has four main processes, Sorting, MFC, Leachate Treatment, and MFC
Construction, shown in Figure 25.122 Sorting and and Leachate Treatment have the same
factors they do in Composting and Landfilling respectively. MFC uses 4.6*10-2 MJ of
electricity to process 1 kg of organic waste, producing 0.21 MJ of electricity directly, 4.0*104 m 3 of wastewater, 0.7 kg of C-14, 0.15 kg of carbon dioxide, 8.7*10-5 kg of dust, 1.1*10-5 kg
115
116
117
Rozendal, 2008
Pham, 2006
Kim et al., 2002
118 Higgings, 2013
119 Pham, 2006
120 Rieger, 2013, p. 42.
121
122
Logan, 2010
Foley, et al., 2010
33
of ethane, 3.7*10-9 kg of hydrocarbons, 2*10-6 kg of phosphate, 1.9*10-3 kg of sulfur oxides,
7.5 kg of triethylene glycol, and 9.3*10-4-kg of vinyl chloride.
IT oProN
.
..
--...
ffTREATME2
4kW
AC Odour
From t T*
___________________To
Air11 41
11
1
P wt-Troatet OAF
ndS
Abrdk Fuel coo
' 00 kw', W4 m'
94 kW powr con6~sua fo*r
To d
p
wOp"ho 3)
pupcrmtec(sP
To lx Tar*
F 1iak)
Figure 14. Process flow for a microbial fuel cell LCA.
wc coorun
xWe
XIP'
~F
Sortma <u-go>
1kg
I
Orgari waste
WCUo-so>
I0.4kg
Water (waste
water,untreated)
FI
Leaftie Tamet
'Q
Figure 15. Plan for Microbial Fuel Cell, made in GaBi.
The construction of the MFC has been cited as the most impactful part of an MFC's
lifetime, and so is taken into consideration in this analysis. 123 Material decisions can be
seen in the supporting material of Foley et al, 2010, showing the use of 9.4*103 kg of carbon
fibers, 3.8*104 kg of polystyrene compound, 7.8*103 kg of PVC compound, 6.5*104 PVC
sheet, 489 kg of PVC tubing, and 4.4*104 kg of stainless steel.124 These materials have an
output of 199 kg of ethane, 9.1*106 kg of C-14, 5.2*105 kg of carbon dioxide, 113 kg of dust,
0.47 kg hydrocarbons, 21 kg of phosphate, 1.8*104 kg o sulfur oxides, 6.4*107 kg of
triethylene glycol, and 1.0*104 kg of vinyl chloride.
The impact of the MFC just from operation is a GWP-100 of 0.15 kg C02-equivalent
and an EP of 6.4*10-6 kg P04-equivalent per kg of organic waste processed. The GWP-100 of
the construction is 524,000 kg C02-equivalent and the EP 21.2 kg of P04-equivalent. To be
able to compare this to the other options, the total impact is averaged out over the
anticipated amount of waste processed over the course of the MFC's lifetime. If the MFC
123
124
Foley, et al., 2010
Foley, et al. Supplementary Materials,
2010
34
processes 4 g/L and 2200 m3 /day, and has an anticipated lifetime of 10 years, the GWP-100
per kg of organic waste is 0.17 kg C02-equivalent, and the EP 6.6*10-7 kg P04-equivalent.
This results in a total EP of 7.1*10-6 kg P04-equivalent per kg organic waste processed.
7.4
Social LCA
As Sorting and Leachate Treatment are in common with landfill and composting
processes, the focus of this section is on the construction and MFC processes.
Working hours are provided for the construction of the microbial fuel cell, benefiting
the workers and local community; however, this is a short term benefit, its benefit
dropping to zero as soon as the MFC is up and running. The same holds true for working
conditions- while dealing with materials it can be potentially dangerous, but this cannot be
scaled to the entire lifetime of the MFC. The local community should not be affected by the
construction of the MFC, at least in terms of health and safety. Construction of the MFC
could benefit technology development as it might aid in the understanding of the best way
to build one, and it also benefits sustainability issues and social responsibility.
The MFC process itself should provide some working hours as it is a new process; it is
unclear how the working conditions would be as this is currently not in practice. Its
production of electricity benefits the consumer. It is a more sustainable option than the
base case of the landfill, and could benefit economic and technology development. The final
results of the MFC social analysis are shown in Table 6.
Table 6. Social LCA for MFC, where one + is very bad, five +'s is very good, and N/A is not
applicable.
Process Step
+++
+++
+++++
+++++
++++
++++
Leachate
Treatment
++++
+++++
+++++
+++++
++++
+++++
Construction
Workers
Local
Sorting
MFC
Community
Society
Consumers
N/A
N/A
+++++
+++++
Value Chain
+++++
++++
+++++
+++++
Actors
7.5
Economic Costs
The capital investment for a MFC has been estimated at $31 million for a 337.8m 3
plant. 125 This plant is 4.2 times the capacity of our anaerobic digester so, if the through flow
rates are similar and no economy of scale is considered, this translates to a capital cost for
12
Zielke, 2006
35
the 1400 Mt/yr of EBI waste of 7.4 million dollars.126 Another estimate indicates $3 per kg
of waste processed, giving a capital cost of $4.2 million for 1400 Mt.12 7 As graphed in Figure
16, the cost for a microbial fuel cell of 1400 Mt is determined by
C =2.6* L!.5
again, suggesting a negative economy of scale. Assuming there is no economy of scale (C is
linearly proportional to L), the average capital cost for the two MFCs indicated above is 5.8
million dollars.
If the lifetime of the MFC is estimated to be 20 years like the other options, its
annualized capital cost of 591,000 dollars per year.128 Operating costs are approximately 8
Euros per 0.4 kg of waste processed.129 With a conversion rate of about 1.52 dollars per
Euro, this translates to 30 dollars per kg of organic waste processed. For other operations,
the treatment and disposal of sludge is estimated to be about 50-60% of the total operating
costs.13 01 3 1 Sludge treatment and disposal is estimated to cost 500 euros per tonne, or $683
per tonne.132 Estimating the total operating cost to be 55% sludge treatment and disposal,
this would be $1.24 per kg waste, much lower than the $30 per kg estimate. The electricity
produced by the MFC is 0.2 Mj. The range of total annualized costs for these two operating
cost estimates is from 2.3 to 43 million dollars. For this assessment, the smaller of the two
numbers, 2.3 million dollars will be used.
MFC Costs
35
30
y
R2
25
i
2.56
20
* MFC Costs
15
U
10
---
5
0
0
2
4
Power(MFC Costs)
6
Loading (Thousands of Tonnes)
Figure 16. MFC Costs.
126 Bouaziz,
2014
Li, Yu, and He, 2014
128 Ibid., 2014
129 Ganesh, 2012
130 He, Zhang, and Ge, 2013
131 Huggins, et al., 2013
132 Rabaey and Verstraete,
2005
127
36
8
Options Comparison
To compare these five waste management options, environmental, social, and
economic considerations are taken. Table 7 shows a summary of the environmental
impacts of each of the options per kg of organic waste processed. We can see that
Incineration has the worst GWP-100, with the other options following behind at an order of
magnitude or greater. Landfill is second worst, with Composting close behind. For the
options with AP, Incineration is better than Composting by an order of magnitude.
Anaerobic Digestion only has a discernable EP, for which it is tied as the second best for EP
with Landfill.
Since Anaerobic Digestion has such low visible impacts, it is ranked the highest with
five "stars." Microbial Fuel Cells also have a relatively limited impact, only coming in second
with four stars because it has an additional factor of GWP-100. Composting comes in fourth
behind Landfill at third. Their GWP are on the same order of magnitude even though
Landfill's is higher, but Composting's EP is two orders of magnitude higher than Landfill's,
and it has an AP impact. Although Incineration has no discernable EP, its GWP-100 is at
least an order of magnitude greater than the rest of the options. Although its AP is an order
of magnitude lower than that of Composting, it is still considered the worst option based on
its high GWP-100.
The social aspects of the processes are very similar as they all have a few of the same
processes. In order to better distinguish between them, Table 8 shows the average number
of stars each option had for each social aspect examined. The sum of the average is then
added up, with Anaerobic Digestion with the most, followed by Landfill, MFC, Composting,
and finally Incineration.
Table 7. Compiled environmental effects of each option, as done in GaBi.
Landfill
Composting
Anaerobic
Incineration
MFC
Digestion
GWP-100 (kg
C02-equivalent
per kg organic
0.63
0.16
N/A
5.6
0.17
N/A
9.6*10-4
N/A
5.0*10-5
N/A
4.4*10-6
2.1*10-4
4.4*10-6
N/A
waste
AP (kg S02equivalent per
kg organic
waste)
EP (kg P0 4 -
equivalent per
kg organic
waste)
7.1*10-6
37
Table 8. Average number of stars per social comparison for each waste management option.
Composting
Landfill
Anaerobic
Incineration
MFC
Digestion
Workers
Local
Community
Society
4.6
3.75
4.8
4.2
4.0
4.6
4.6
4
4.75
5
4.8
4.5
4.3
4.25
4.75
Consumers
4.7
5
4.7
4.3
5
Value Chain
Actors
Total
4.4
22.9
4.5
22
4.8
24.1
4.5
21.8
4.75
22.75
The comparison for the economics is that of the annualized cost of each of the
options. Table 9 shows the three main features used to calculate the annualized cost, Initial
Investment, Operating Costs, and Energy Produced, with the Annualized Cost as the final
calculation. Landfill, as expected, is the least expensive since there is no initial investment
required. Composting, which has the same feature, is close behind, only beaten by
Incineration due to the amount of energy it produces. Anaerobic Digestion is fourth of the
costs due its high initial investment and higher operating cost than the first few options.
Even using the smaller of the two operating costs that research to date has examined, MFC
is at least three orders of magnitude more expensive than all of the options because of its
high initial investment, and especially due to its higher operating costs.
Table 9. Compiled economic information for each of the options.
Landfill
Composting
Anaerobic
Incineration
MFC
Digestion
Initial
Investment
(M$)
Operating
Costs ($/kgorganic waste)
0
0
0.77
1.04
5.8
0.02
0.04
0.06
0.17
1.24
0.3
0
0.32
8.3
0.21
0.017
0.054
0.078
0.106
2.3
Energy
Produced
(MJ/kg-organic
waste)
Annualized
Cost (M$/yr)
Table 10 summarizes these three factors, environmental, social, and economic. Each
option is ranked 1-5, with 5 stars being the best option. The highest score is considered the
best option, in this case Anaerobic Digestion with 13 stars. Landfill follows closely behind
with 12 stars, but since that will no longer be an option by 2020, the best option after
38
Anaerobic Digestion is MFC and Composting with 8 stars. Incineration comes in last at 4
stars total for all three considerations.
Table 10.Comparison of the different options, where one + is the worst option, five +s is the
best option.
Landfill
Composting
Anaerobic
Incineration
MFC
Digestion
Environmental
Benefits
+++
Social Benefits
Economic
+
++
++
+++++
+
+++++
++++
+++
++
+
12
8
13
4
8
Benefits
Total
9
Conclusion
As we can see from each type of analysis, the different waste management options have
their strong points in different areas. Anaerobic digestion has high economic costs due to
its initial investment, but the cost falls within EBI's desired investment of one million
dollars, and the environmental and social benefits outweigh this high initial cost. If EBI
chooses to go with a cheaper option, Composting would be the next recommendation as
MFC is still in research and unlikely to be a scalable option in the timeframe in which the
company is working.
There are a number of factors that were not taken into consideration for this analysis,
including any cost benefits from the production of fertilizer for a few of the options, fees
received by the company for the collection of the waste. It is also possible that certain
options could be made cheaper or could produce more biogas depending on the conditions
EBI uses for the site.
39
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