Publication Details

Title : Chapter 8 - Life cycle analysis of waste-to-energy pathways
Publication Date : May 15, 2020
Publication Journal :
Authors : U. Lee, P. Benavides, M. Wang
Abstract : Life-cycle analysis (LCA) is a method that evaluates the environmental impacts of various pathways such as life-cycle greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, energy use, and water consumption along the supply chain. In this chapter, we discuss how LCA can be used to examine the waste-to-energy (WTE) technologies. We introduce three major WTE feedstocks (organic waste, waste plastics, and waste gas) for energy production and corresponding conversion technologies such as anaerobic digestion, combustion, hydrothermal liquefaction, pyrolysis, and gas fermentation. Besides, major LCA parameters are discussed. The results show that emissions from current waste management (business-as-usual [BAU]) significantly influence the LCA results, and careful examination is needed due to the huge variations and uncertainties in the BAU cases. WTE practices can change waste into resources, which generates additional energy products while providing environmental benefits such as reductions in life cycle GHG emissions.