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Life cycle assessment of waste-to-energy (WtE) technologies for electricity generation using municipal solid waste in Nigeria

Ayodele, T.R., Ogunjuyigbe, A.S.O., Alao, M.A.
Applied energy 2017 v.201 pp. 200-218
acidification, anaerobic digestion, cities, decision making, dioxins, ecosystems, electricity, emissions, energy, energy recovery, global warming, landfills, life cycle assessment, municipal solid waste, Nigeria
In this paper, life cycle assessment (LCA) of waste to energy (WtE) treatment plants for electricity generation in twelve selected cities of Nigeria is studied with the aim of evaluating their electricity generation potential, global warming potential (GWP), acidification potential (AP) and dioxin/furan emission potential. The WtE plants are: landfill gas to energy (LFGTE), hybrid of incineration and anaerobic digestion (INC/AD) and hybrid of incineration and landfill gas to energy (INC/LFGTE). The benefits of the WtE plants are thereafter compared to the landfilling (waste management without intention of energy recovery) in each of the locations in order to determine the option that best fit the locations in an environmentally sustainable manner. To achieve this, the waste profile of each of the locations is determined using per capita waste generation and the population data obtained from national population commission (NPC). Some of the key results reveal that the hybrid of INC/AD is potentially viable compared to other methods in terms of GWP and ecosystem potential measured by AP. However, LFGTE technology is the best in terms of carcinogenic reduction potential measured by dioxin/furan emissions. The hybrid of INC/AD has the potential of reducing GWP in the range of 75.7–93.3% compared to land filling without energy recovery. Similarly, hybrid of INC/LFGTE provided a reduction in the range of 75.3–84.8% while LFGTE could reduce the GWP by 75%. This paper could serve as a source of scientific information for decision making on environmental sustainability in waste-to-energy projects in Nigeria.