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Life cycle assessment of integrated solid state anaerobic digestion and composting for on-farm organic residues treatment

Li, Yangyang, Manandhar, Ashish, Li, Guoxue, Shah, Ajay
Waste management 2018 v.76 pp. 294-305
acidification, anaerobic digestion, carbon dioxide, composting, corn stover, dairy manure, ecotoxicology, energy, environmental impact, eutrophication, farms, global warming potential, life cycle inventory, liquids, solid wastes, sulfur dioxide, tomatoes, toxicity, transportation, China
Driven by the gradual changes in the structure of energy consumption and improvements of living standards in China, the volume of on-farm organic solid waste is increasing. If untreated, these unutilized on-farm organic solid wastes can cause environmental problems. This paper presents the results of a life cycle assessment to compare the environmental impacts of different on-farm organic waste (which includes dairy manure, corn stover and tomato residue) treatment strategies, including anaerobic digestion (AD), composting, and AD followed by composting. The input life cycle inventory data are specific to China. The potential environmental impacts of different waste management strategies were assessed based on their acidification potential (AP), eutrophication potential (EP), global warming potential (GWP), ecotoxicity potential (ETP), and resource depletion (RD). The results show that the preferred treatment strategy for dairy manure is the one that integrated corn stover and tomato residue utilization and solid state AD technologies into the system. The GWP of integrated solid state AD and composting was the least, which is -2900 kg CO2 eq/ t of dairy manure and approximately 14.8 times less than that of current status (i.e., liquid AD of dairy manure). Solid state AD of dairy manure, corn stover and tomato residues is the most favorable option in terms of AP, EP and ETP, which are more than 40% lower than that of the current status (i.e., AP: 3.11 kg SO2, EP: −0.94 kg N, and ETP: −881 CTUe (Comparative Toxic Units ecotoxicity)). The results also show that there is a significant potential for AP, EP, ETP, and GWP reduction, if AD is used prior to composting. The scenario analysis for transportation distance showed that locating the AD plant and composting facility on the farm was advantageous in terms of all the life cycle impact categories.