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Environmental and exergetic life cycle assessment of incineration- and gasification-based waste to energy systems in China

Abstract : The clean and efficient energy production from municipal solid waste (MSW) is highly desirable due to increasing energy demand and environmental concerns. In this study, four incineration- (S1) and gasification-based (S2 with combustion boiler, S3 with gas turbine/combined cycle and S4 with internal combustion engine) MSW treatments were compared using methods of environmental life cycle assessment (LCA) and exergetic life cycle assessment (ELCA). LCA was applied to measure the environmental performances and ELCA was supplemented to reflect the thermodynamics efficiencies. Afterwards, cumulative degree of perfection (CDP) and abatement exergy (AbatCExC) efficiency of the considered systems were also calculated to determine the imperfection and environmental sustainability of the processes. Results showed that gasification-based systems were effective to mitigate the environmental impacts of acidification, nutrient enrichment, and photochemical ozone formation potential, but caused higher global warming impacts. The S3 system exhibited the best performance from both environmental and exergetic perspective, due to its high net efficiency of electricity generation and low exhaust emission into air. Results from ELCA indicated that the rest two gasification-based systems (S2 and S4) were inefficient as compared to MSW direct incineration, mainly due to auxiliary energy consumption for MSW pretreatment and more conversion steps. The CDP and AbatCExC of the systems in descending order was expressed as S3 system > S1 system > S2 system > S4 system.
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Submitted on : Friday, July 17, 2020 - 10:28:13 AM
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Yuanjun Tang, Jun Dong, Guoneng Li, Youqu Zheng, Yong Chi, et al.. Environmental and exergetic life cycle assessment of incineration- and gasification-based waste to energy systems in China. Energy, Elsevier, 2020, 205, pp.1-10/118002. ⟨10.1016/j.energy.2020.118002⟩. ⟨hal-02863924⟩

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