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Material flow and sustainability analyses of biorefining of municipal solid waste

This paper presents material flow and sustainability analyses of novel mechanical biological chemical treatment system for complete valorization of municipal solid waste (MSW). It integrates material recovery facility (MRF); pulping, chemical conversion; effluent treatment plant (ETP), anaerobic digestion (AD); and combined heat and power (CHP) systems producing end products: recyclables (24.9% by mass of MSW), metals (2.7%), fibre (1.5%); levulinic acid (7.4%); recyclable water (14.7%), fertiliser (8.3%); and electricity (0.126MWh/t MSW), respectively. Refuse derived fuel (RDF) and non-recyclable other waste, char and biogas from MRF, chemical conversion and AD systems, respectively, are energy recovered in the CHP system. Levulinic acid gives profitability independent of subsidies; MSW priced at 50Euro/t gives a margin of 204Euro/t. Global warming potential savings are 2.4 and 1.3kg CO2 equivalent per kg of levulinic acid and fertiliser, and 0.17kg CO2 equivalent per MJ of grid electricity offset, respectively.

» Author: Jhuma Sadhukhan, Elias Martinez-Hernandez

» Reference: Bioresource Technology, Volume 243

» Publication Date: 01/11/2017

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This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under grant agreement N° 690103