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Environmental life-cycle assessment of municipal solid waste incineration stocks in Chinese industrial parks

Guo, Yang, Glad, Thibaut, Zhong, Zhaozhe, He, Ruonan, Tian, Jinping, Chen, Lujun
Resources, conservation, and recycling 2018 v.139 pp. 387-395
acidification, carbon dioxide, case studies, coal, ecosystem services, energy, environmental impact, eutrophication, global warming potential, greenhouse gas emissions, greenhouse gases, heat, inventories, life cycle assessment, municipal solid waste, pollution control, toxicity, waste incineration, China
Mitigating coal dependence of Chinese industrial parks is crucial to reducing their environmental footprints. Municipal solid waste incineration (MSWI) is a promising measure for such purpose and has been increasingly implemented in Chinese industrial parks. In the study, the inventory of MSWI facilities in Chinese industrial parks was established for the first time, which accounted for 55% of total MSWI capacity of China in 2014. The life-cycle environmental impacts of MSWI in a typical Chinese industrial park were assessed, associated with critical literature comparison and a sensitivity analysis. Then the life cycle assessment results were applied to the in-use stocks of MSWI facilities in Chinese industrial parks to uncover the potential environmental benefits during their remaining service lifetime. The results indicated that the MSWI in-use stocks have positive environmental benefits for global warming potential, human toxicity potential, and acidification potential, while negative performance for eutrophication potential mainly due to inadequate implementation of end-of-pipe pollution control. In the case study, a MSWI-driven combined heat and power (CHP) in a typical Chinese industrial park can achieve a 32% reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emission as compared with coal-fired CHP to generate the same energy outputs. The replaced coal consumption of the in-use MSWI stocks during their remaining lifetime is about 2.9% of annual coal consumption of China in 2014, and the GHG mitigation potential was estimated as 101.3 million tonne of CO2 eq., equivalent to 0.9% of annual GHG emissions from China.