Life cycle assessment of selective non-catalytic reduction (SNCR) of nitrous oxides in a full-scale municipal solid waste incinerator

Jacob Møller, Bjarne Munk, Kim Crillesen, Thomas Højlund Christensen

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Abstract

Selective non-catalytic reduction (SNCR) of nitrous oxides in a full-scale municipal solid waste incinerator was investigated using LCA. The relationship between NOx-cleaning and ammonia dosage was measured at the plant. Un-reacted ammonia – the ammonia slip – leaving the flue-gas cleaning system adsorbed to fly-ash or in the effluent of the acidic scrubber was quantified from the stoichiometric reaction of NOx and ammonia assuming no other reaction products was formed. Of the ammonia slip, 37% was associated with the fly-ash and 63% was in the effluent of the acidic scrubber. Based on NOx-cleaning efficiency, the fate of the ammonia slip as well as the environmental impact from ammonia production, the potential acidification and nutrient enrichment from NOx-cleaning was calculated as a function of ammonia dosage. Since the exact fate of the ammonia slip could not be measured directly, a number of scenarios were set up ranging from “best case” with no ammonia from the slip ending up in the environment to “worst case” where all the ammonia slip eventually ended up in the environment and contributed to environmental pollution. In the “best case” scenario the highest ammonia dosage was most beneficial demonstrating that the environmental load associated with ammonia production is of minor importance. In contrast, in a “worst case” scenario” NOx-cleaning using SNCR is not recommendable at all, since the impacts from the ammonia slip exceed the saved impacts from the NOx removal. Increased dosage of ammonia for removal of NOx is recommendable as long as less than 10–20% of the ammonia slip to the effluent of the acidic scrubber ends up in the environment and less than 40% of the slip to the fly-ash ends up in the environment. The study suggests that the actual fate of the ammonia slip is crucial, but since the release of the ammonia may take place during transport and at the facilities that treat the wastewater and treat the fly-ash this factor depends strongly on local conditions and may be hard to determine. Thus, LCA-modeling proved useful in assessing the balance between ammonia dosage and NOx-removal in flue-gas cleaning from waste incineration.
Original languageEnglish
JournalWaste Management
Volume31
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)1184-1193
ISSN0956-053X
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2011

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