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Issue 2, 2012
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Determination of the energy and environmental burdens associated with the biological treatment of source-separated Municipal Solid Wastes

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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 NH3, 0.34–4.37 kg CH4 and 0.035–0.251 kg N2O, 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.

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

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Publication details

The article was received on 23 Jan 2011, accepted on 21 Nov 2011 and first published on 14 Dec 2011


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C2EE01085B
Citation: Energy Environ. Sci., 2012,5, 5731-5741

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

    J. Colón, E. Cadena, M. Pognani, R. Barrena, A. Sánchez, X. Font and A. Artola, Energy Environ. Sci., 2012, 5, 5731
    DOI: 10.1039/C2EE01085B

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