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Evaluation of the environmental performance of lime production in Cuba

Sagastume Gutiérrez, Alexis, Van Caneghem, Jo, Cogollos Martínez, Juan B., Vandecasteele, Carlo
Journal of cleaner production 2012 v.31 pp. 126-136
acidification, carbon dioxide, cost effectiveness, electricity, emissions, energy efficiency, energy use and consumption, environmental impact, environmental performance, global warming, humans, industrialization, industry, life cycle assessment, limestone, materials life cycle, toxicity, Cuba
Lime production is characterized by large emissions of CO₂ and by other environmental impacts. In Cuba this industry operates with outdated technology, resulting in low energy and material efficiency and in high environmental impacts. In order to improve the environmental performance of the lime industry in Cuba it is necessary to have an overview of the environmental impacts associated with the production process. This paper quantifies the environmental impacts of lime production in Cuba by means of LCA methodology in a cradle-to-gate evaluation. It also aims at establishing a benchmark for improvement by comparing the environmental impact of this industry in Cuba with a plant in an industrialized country. For the inventory evaluation the process of lime production was divided in five production stages. When necessary, the data was completed with literature sources. For the impact assessment the impacts in the following categories were considered: energy consumption, global warming, human toxicity, photoxidant formation and acidification. Results show that the calcination stage and the consumption of fuel, electricity and limestone are the main contributors to environmental impact of the production process. The economic assessment shows possibilities to improve the environmental performance while achieving cost reductions in the production process. The larger improvements in the environmental performance and cost saving can be achieved by improving the energy efficiency of the calcination stage. This can partially be accomplished with moderate investments.