Meat-and-bone-meal (MBM) produced from animal waste has become an increasingly important residual fraction needing management. As biodegradable waste is routed away from landfills, thermo-chemical treatments of MBM are considered promising solution for the future. Pyrolysis and gasification of MBM were assessed based on data from three experimental lab and pilot-scale plants. Energy balances were established for the three technologies, providing different outcomes for energy recovery: bio-oil was the main product for the pyrolysis system, while syngas and a solid fraction of biochar were the main products in the gasification system. These products can be used – eventually after upgrading – for energy production, thereby offsetting energy production elsewhere in the system. Greenhouse gases (GHG) accounting of the technologies showed that all three options provided overall GHG savings in the order of 600–1000kg CO2-eq. per Mg of MBM treated, mainly as a consequence of avoided fossil fuel consumption in the energy sector. Local conditions influencing the environmental performance of the three systems were identified, together with critical factors to be considered during decision-making regarding MBM management.
- Thermal treatment
- Global warming
- CO2 accounting
- Greenhouse gas (GHG) emission