461131 Resource Recovery from Municipal Solid Wastes: A Case Study in the UK

Wednesday, November 16, 2016: 3:15 PM
Union Square 17 & 18 (Hilton San Francisco Union Square)
Kok Siew Ng, Centre for Environmental Strategy, University of Surrey, Guildford, United Kingdom, Jhuma Sadhukhan, Centre for Environmental Strategy, The University of Surrey, Guildford, United Kingdom and Mobolaji Shemfe, Bioenergy and Resource Management Centre, Cranfield University, Bedford, United Kingdom

Increasing waste generation in the UK has called for a sustainable municipal waste management strategy. It is imminent to reduce the volume of wastes going into landfill to avoid permanent resource loss, health impacts and environmental pollution. Prevention of waste generation is the most preferred option, however this is not easy to achieve in practice. Resource recovery from wastes by numerous treatment technologies is the second preferred option for not only to eliminate landfilling, but also to close the loop for a circular economy. Systematic techno-economic analysis and environmental impact assessments of various mechanical biological treatment (MBT) configurations for recovering metals, fuel and energy as resources from municipal solid wastes (MSW) are essential for selecting the most sustainable option. The systems under consideration include MBT systems with aerobic and anaerobic digestion (non-thermal) processes as well as incineration (thermal) processes. In the present study, MBT plant with aerobic digestion (windrows and in-vessel compositing); MBT plant with aerobic digestion and combined heat and power (CHP), with different degree of RDF and metal separation, with and without RDF incineration; and MSW incineration and CHP have been investigated. The MBT system with anaerobic digestion coupled with biogas and RDF CHP has shown promising economic performance giving an additional benefit of 113.5 Euro/t from the electricity generation from RDF incineration and CHP, that is almost 18 times increase compared to the case without electricity generation from RDF incineration and CHP, at an additional capital investment cost of 18 Euro/t. MSW valorisation through recovering metals such as aluminium, zinc and copper has the potential of generating additional revenue of 152 Euro/t. It has been identified that recovered aluminium is the main contributor to the economic value while recovered copper has the highest avoided environmental impact. Metals containing in the residues from mechanical separation worth 1.8 Euro per tonne of MSW could be lost if they are not recovered. Higher economic incentives and environmental impact savings for MSW treatment can thus be realised through effective resource recovery strategies, demonstrated in this work.

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See more of this Session: Integrating Municipal and Industrial Waste into Biorefineries
See more of this Group/Topical: Sustainable Engineering Forum