Abstract: Waste management is a distinct practice aimed at reducing its effects on health and the environment and increasing energy and material recovery. The urban waste management industry has been slow to adopt new technologies, such as sanitary landfills and incineration, which enable better treatment results. The aim of a thorough ecological-economic evaluation of different treatment technologies is to extract the maximum practical benefits from investments and to ensure the minimum environmental impacts of wastes. This paper compares four garbage treatment systems, including sanitary landfills systems, fluidized bed incineration system, grate type incineration system and the current landfills system in Liaoning Province, China. By considering the economic and environmental impacts of waste treatment and disposal, impact of emissions, and contribution of wastes input, this paper constructed an emergy-based urban solid waste model for evaluating the sustainability of the holistic systems. The results in Liaoning indicate that the human health losses caused by the harmful air emissions are ranked in this order: fluidized bed incineration > grate type incineration > current landfills > sanitary landfills, while the ecosystem losses are ranked: grate type incineration > fluidized bed incineration > sanitary landfills > current landfills. The electricity yield ratios are ranked: grate type incineration > fluidized bed incineration > sanitary landfills > current landfills. Taken together this suggests that in considering the incineration option, decision makers must weigh the benefits of incineration against the significant operating costs, potential environmental impacts, and technical difficulties of operating. Emergy analysis of the urban solid treatment systems can provide a set of useful tools which can be used to compare the comprehensive performances of different waste treatment processes for decision-making and optimizing the whole process.
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Liu, G.; Yang, Z.; Chen, B.; Zhang, Y.; Su, M.; Zhang, L. Emergy Evaluation of the Urban Solid Waste Handling in Liaoning Province, China. Energies 2013, 6, 5486-5506.
Liu G, Yang Z, Chen B, Zhang Y, Su M, Zhang L. Emergy Evaluation of the Urban Solid Waste Handling in Liaoning Province, China. Energies. 2013; 6(10):5486-5506.
Liu, Gengyuan; Yang, Zhifeng; Chen, Bin; Zhang, Yan; Su, Meirong; Zhang, Lixiao. 2013. "Emergy Evaluation of the Urban Solid Waste Handling in Liaoning Province, China." Energies 6, no. 10: 5486-5506.