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Energies 2019, 12(1), 137; https://doi.org/10.3390/en12010137

Environmental Assessment of Municipal Solid Waste by Two-Stage Plasma Gasification

1
INEGI-FEUP, Institute of Science and Innovation in Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, Faculty of Engineering of the University of Porto, 4200-465 Porto, Portugal
2
CITAB, Centre for the Research and Technology of Agro-Environmental and Biological Sciences, University of Trás-Os-Montes and Alto Douro, 5001-801 Vila Real, Portugal
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 10 October 2018 / Revised: 26 October 2018 / Accepted: 7 November 2018 / Published: 1 January 2019
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Energy)
Full-Text   |   PDF [2402 KB, uploaded 1 January 2019]   |  

Abstract

Plasma gasification is a thermal treatment successfully applied to waste streams, especially for solid residues. It sets an upgrade to more common waste-to-energy (WtE) techniques as incineration or gasification, granting lower levels of pollutant emissions, less landfilled materials and higher conversion efficiencies and producer gas quality. A life cycle assessment (LCA) of plasma gasification for one ton of a defined stream of solid waste is presented and compared to the hypothetical outcomes of incineration, highlighting the need to implement such sustainable techniques rather than more polluting ones. CML 2001 methodology was applied, enabling the evaluation of eleven impact categories, all of them depicting avoided burdens for the environment. Enhanced efficiency and cleanliness were seen due to the plasma step and to the replacement of part of the electrical grid mix by the produced electricity. Plasma gasification presented an overall better performance than incineration, portraying savings in energy and material resources as well as lower emissions to freshwater. Additionally, lower amounts of air contaminants were seen as well as almost triple of the produced electricity. View Full-Text
Keywords: waste-to-energy; plasma gasification; sustainability; life cycle assessment waste-to-energy; plasma gasification; sustainability; life cycle assessment
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Ramos, A.; Teixeira, C.A.; Rouboa, A. Environmental Assessment of Municipal Solid Waste by Two-Stage Plasma Gasification. Energies 2019, 12, 137.

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