Municipal solid waste conversion to transportation fuels: a life-cycle estimation of global warming potential and energy consumption

Phillip N. Pressley, Tarek N. Aziz, Joseph F. DeCarolis, Morton A. Barlaz, Feng He, Fanxing Li, Anders Damgaard

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

This paper utilizes life cycle assessment (LCA) methodology to evaluate the conversion of U.S. municipal solid waste (MSW) to liquid transportation fuels via gasification and Fischer-Tropsch (FT). The model estimates the cumulative energy demand and global warming potential (GWP) associated with the conversion of 1 Mg (1 Mg = 1000 kg) of MSW delivered to the front gate of a refuse-derived fuel (RDF) facility into liquid transportation fuels. In addition, net energy production is reported to quantify system performance. The system is expanded to include substituted electricity and fuel. Under a set of default assumptions, the model estimates that 1 Mg of MSW entering the RDF facility yields 123 L of gasoline, 57 L of diesel, 79 kg of other FT products, and 193 kWh of gross electricity production. For each Mg of MSW, the conversion process consumes 4.4 GJ of primary energy while creating fuels and electricity with a cumulative energy content of 10.8 GJ. Across a range of waste compositions, the liquid fuels produced by gasification and FT processing resulted in a net GWP ranging from −267 to −144 kg CO2e per Mg MSW, including offsets for conventional electricity and fuel production. The energy requirement associated with syngas compression for FT processing was significant and resulted in high levels of process-related GWP. The model demonstrates that an increased biogenic MSW fraction, assumed to be carbon neutral, reduced the GWP. However, a greater GWP reduction could be obtained through reduced FT pressure requirements, increased gas reaction rates, or a less carbon intensive power mix.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
Volume70
Pages (from-to)145-153
Number of pages9
ISSN0959-6526
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Keywords

  • Municipal solid waste
  • Gasification
  • Fischer-Tropsch
  • Life cycle assessment
  • Liquid fuels

Cite this

Pressley, Phillip N. ; Aziz, Tarek N. ; DeCarolis, Joseph F. ; Barlaz, Morton A. ; He, Feng ; Li, Fanxing ; Damgaard, Anders. / Municipal solid waste conversion to transportation fuels: a life-cycle estimation of global warming potential and energy consumption. In: Journal of Cleaner Production. 2014 ; Vol. 70. pp. 145-153.
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abstract = "This paper utilizes life cycle assessment (LCA) methodology to evaluate the conversion of U.S. municipal solid waste (MSW) to liquid transportation fuels via gasification and Fischer-Tropsch (FT). The model estimates the cumulative energy demand and global warming potential (GWP) associated with the conversion of 1 Mg (1 Mg = 1000 kg) of MSW delivered to the front gate of a refuse-derived fuel (RDF) facility into liquid transportation fuels. In addition, net energy production is reported to quantify system performance. The system is expanded to include substituted electricity and fuel. Under a set of default assumptions, the model estimates that 1 Mg of MSW entering the RDF facility yields 123 L of gasoline, 57 L of diesel, 79 kg of other FT products, and 193 kWh of gross electricity production. For each Mg of MSW, the conversion process consumes 4.4 GJ of primary energy while creating fuels and electricity with a cumulative energy content of 10.8 GJ. Across a range of waste compositions, the liquid fuels produced by gasification and FT processing resulted in a net GWP ranging from −267 to −144 kg CO2e per Mg MSW, including offsets for conventional electricity and fuel production. The energy requirement associated with syngas compression for FT processing was significant and resulted in high levels of process-related GWP. The model demonstrates that an increased biogenic MSW fraction, assumed to be carbon neutral, reduced the GWP. However, a greater GWP reduction could be obtained through reduced FT pressure requirements, increased gas reaction rates, or a less carbon intensive power mix.",
keywords = "Municipal solid waste, Gasification, Fischer-Tropsch, Life cycle assessment, Liquid fuels",
author = "Pressley, {Phillip N.} and Aziz, {Tarek N.} and DeCarolis, {Joseph F.} and Barlaz, {Morton A.} and Feng He and Fanxing Li and Anders Damgaard",
year = "2014",
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Municipal solid waste conversion to transportation fuels: a life-cycle estimation of global warming potential and energy consumption. / Pressley, Phillip N.; Aziz, Tarek N.; DeCarolis, Joseph F.; Barlaz, Morton A.; He, Feng; Li, Fanxing; Damgaard, Anders.

In: Journal of Cleaner Production, Vol. 70, 2014, p. 145-153.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

TY - JOUR

T1 - Municipal solid waste conversion to transportation fuels: a life-cycle estimation of global warming potential and energy consumption

AU - Pressley, Phillip N.

AU - Aziz, Tarek N.

AU - DeCarolis, Joseph F.

AU - Barlaz, Morton A.

AU - He, Feng

AU - Li, Fanxing

AU - Damgaard, Anders

PY - 2014

Y1 - 2014

N2 - This paper utilizes life cycle assessment (LCA) methodology to evaluate the conversion of U.S. municipal solid waste (MSW) to liquid transportation fuels via gasification and Fischer-Tropsch (FT). The model estimates the cumulative energy demand and global warming potential (GWP) associated with the conversion of 1 Mg (1 Mg = 1000 kg) of MSW delivered to the front gate of a refuse-derived fuel (RDF) facility into liquid transportation fuels. In addition, net energy production is reported to quantify system performance. The system is expanded to include substituted electricity and fuel. Under a set of default assumptions, the model estimates that 1 Mg of MSW entering the RDF facility yields 123 L of gasoline, 57 L of diesel, 79 kg of other FT products, and 193 kWh of gross electricity production. For each Mg of MSW, the conversion process consumes 4.4 GJ of primary energy while creating fuels and electricity with a cumulative energy content of 10.8 GJ. Across a range of waste compositions, the liquid fuels produced by gasification and FT processing resulted in a net GWP ranging from −267 to −144 kg CO2e per Mg MSW, including offsets for conventional electricity and fuel production. The energy requirement associated with syngas compression for FT processing was significant and resulted in high levels of process-related GWP. The model demonstrates that an increased biogenic MSW fraction, assumed to be carbon neutral, reduced the GWP. However, a greater GWP reduction could be obtained through reduced FT pressure requirements, increased gas reaction rates, or a less carbon intensive power mix.

AB - This paper utilizes life cycle assessment (LCA) methodology to evaluate the conversion of U.S. municipal solid waste (MSW) to liquid transportation fuels via gasification and Fischer-Tropsch (FT). The model estimates the cumulative energy demand and global warming potential (GWP) associated with the conversion of 1 Mg (1 Mg = 1000 kg) of MSW delivered to the front gate of a refuse-derived fuel (RDF) facility into liquid transportation fuels. In addition, net energy production is reported to quantify system performance. The system is expanded to include substituted electricity and fuel. Under a set of default assumptions, the model estimates that 1 Mg of MSW entering the RDF facility yields 123 L of gasoline, 57 L of diesel, 79 kg of other FT products, and 193 kWh of gross electricity production. For each Mg of MSW, the conversion process consumes 4.4 GJ of primary energy while creating fuels and electricity with a cumulative energy content of 10.8 GJ. Across a range of waste compositions, the liquid fuels produced by gasification and FT processing resulted in a net GWP ranging from −267 to −144 kg CO2e per Mg MSW, including offsets for conventional electricity and fuel production. The energy requirement associated with syngas compression for FT processing was significant and resulted in high levels of process-related GWP. The model demonstrates that an increased biogenic MSW fraction, assumed to be carbon neutral, reduced the GWP. However, a greater GWP reduction could be obtained through reduced FT pressure requirements, increased gas reaction rates, or a less carbon intensive power mix.

KW - Municipal solid waste

KW - Gasification

KW - Fischer-Tropsch

KW - Life cycle assessment

KW - Liquid fuels

U2 - 10.1016/j.jclepro.2014.02.041

DO - 10.1016/j.jclepro.2014.02.041

M3 - Journal article

VL - 70

SP - 145

EP - 153

JO - Journal of Cleaner Production

JF - Journal of Cleaner Production

SN - 0959-6526

ER -