Life cycle assessment of pyrolysis-gasification as an emerging municipal solid waste treatment technology
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Waste-to-energy technologies are considered as one of the key waste treatment technologies due to their energy and heat recovery efficiencies from the waste. A number of research studies were accomplished to understand the potential environmental burdens from emerging waste treatment technologies such as pyrolysis-gasification (PG). The aim of this study was to examine the PG of municipal solid waste (MSW) treatment process through a life cycle assessment (LCA) method. The study also includes a comparative LCA model of PG and incineration to identify the potential environmental burdens from the existing (incineration) and emerging (PG) waste treatment technologies. This study focused on ten environmental impact categories under two different scenarios, namely: (a) LCA model of PG and (b) comparative LCA model of PG and incineration. The scenario (a) showed that PG had significant environmental burdens in the aquatic eco-toxicity and the global warming potential impact categories. The comparative scenario (b) of PG and incineration of MSW showed that PG had comparatively lower potential environmental burdens in acidification, eutrophication, and aquatic eco-toxicity. Both LCA models showed that the environmental burdens were mainly caused by the volume of the thermal gas (emissions) produced from these two technologies and the final residue to disposal. Therefore, the results indicate that the efficiency and environmental burdens of the emerging technologies are dependent on the emissions and the production of final residue to the landfill.
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