Contribution to closing the loop on waste materials: valorization of bottom ash from waste-to-energy plants under a life cycle approach

  • M. Margallo
  • R. Aldaco
  • A. Bala
  • P. Fullana
  • A. Irabien
ORIGINAL ARTICLE
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Abstract

Incineration has undergone several technology improvements, reducing air emissions and increasing the efficiency of energy and material recovery; however, there is still a long way to go. To analyze the environmental impacts of waste incineration, this study assessed 15 waste fractions that compose municipal waste in Spain, which are grouped as non-inert materials (plastics, paper, cardboard and organic matter), unburned materials (glass and Al) and ferrous materials. Additionally, this paper evaluates the valorization of bottom ash (BA) to produce steel, aluminum and cement in these recycled/recoverable waste fractions. The results depend on the input waste composition and the heating value (HHV) and showed that ferrous and unburned materials had the worst environmental performance due to the null HHV. The valorization of BA in steel, Al and cement production significantly reduced the environmental impact and the consumption of resources. BA recycling for secondary steel and Al production would improve the environmental performance of the combustion of unburned materials and ferrous materials, whereas the use of BA in cement production diminished the consumption of NR for non-inert materials. This is of great interest for organic matter and PC, waste with a low energy production and high heavy metal and sulfur content.

Keywords

Incineration Life cycle assessment Municipal solid waste Valorization Waste-to-energy (WtE) plant 

Abbreviations

AA

Aquatic acidification

Al

Aluminum

AOD

Aquatic oxygen demand

AqA

Aquatic acidification

BA

Bottom ash

EB

Environmental burdens

EBS

Environmental burden sustainability

ESA

Environmental sustainability assessment

EU

Eutrophication

FA

Fly ash

GI

Grate incinerator

GHG

Greenhouse gases

GW

Global warming

HDPE

High-density polyethylene

HHE

Human health effects

HHV

High heating values

LCA

Life cycle assessment

LHV

Low heating value

LCI

Life cycle inventory

LCIA

Life cycle impact assessment

LDPE

Low density polyethylene

MEco

Ecotoxicity to aquatic life (metals)

MSW

Municipal solid waste

MSWI

Municipal solid waste incineration

NMEco

Ecotoxicity to aquatic life (others)

NMVOC

Non-methane volatile organic compounds

nP

Non-packaging

NRS

Natural resource sustainability

P

Packaging

PC

Paper and cardboard

PCDD/F

Dioxins and furans

PET

Polyethylene terephthalate

POF

Photochemical ozone formation

SOD

Stratospheric ozone depletion

TOC

Total organic carbon

TSP

Total suspended particles

TVs

Threshold values

WtE

Waste-to-energy

Notes

Acknowledgements

The authors gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the project LIFE08 ENV/E/000135: FENIX—giving packaging a New Life.

Supplementary material

10163_2018_709_MOESM1_ESM.docx (248 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 248 KB)

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Copyright information

© Springer Japan KK, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Margallo
    • 1
  • R. Aldaco
    • 1
  • A. Bala
    • 2
  • P. Fullana
    • 2
  • A. Irabien
    • 1
  1. 1.Departamento de Ingenierías Química y BiomolecularUniversidad de CantabriaSantanderSpain
  2. 2.Cátedra Unesco de Ciclo de Vida y Cambio Climático (ESCI-UPF), Escola Superior de Comerç InternacionalUniversitat Pompeu FabraBarcelonaSpain

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