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Title: Wastes as co-fuels: the policy framework for solid recovered fuel (SRF) in Europe, with UK implications

Abstract

European Union (EU) member states are adopting the mechanical-biological treatment (MBT) of municipal solid waste (MSW) to comply with EU Landfill Directive (LD) targets on landfill diversion. We review the policy framework for MSW-derived solid recovered fuel (SRF), composed of paper, plastic, and textiles, in the energy-intensive industries. A comparatively high calorific value (15-18 MJ/kg) fuel, SRF has the potential to partially replace fossil fuel in energy-intensive industries, alongside MSW in dedicated combustion facilities. Attempts by the European standards organization (CEN) to classify fuel properties consider net calorific value (CV) and chlorine and mercury content. However, the particle size, moisture content, and fuel composition also require attention and future studies must address these parameters. We critically review the implications of using SRF as a co-fuel in thermal processes. A thermodynamic analysis provides insight into the technical and environmental feasibility of co-combusting SRF in coal-fired power plants and cement kilns. Results indicate the use of SRF as co-fuel can reduce global warming and acidification potential significantly. This policy analysis is of value to waste managers, policy specialists, regulators, and the waste management research community. 63 refs., 3 figs., 3 tabs.

Authors:
; ; ; ;  [1]
  1. Cranfield University, Cranfield (United Kingdom). Sustainable Systems Department, School of Applied Sciences
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
20939472
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Environmental Science and Technology; Journal Volume: 41; Journal Issue: 140; Other Information: s.pollard@cranfield.ac.uk
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
01 COAL, LIGNITE, AND PEAT; 29 ENERGY PLANNING, POLICY AND ECONOMY; 32 ENERGY CONSERVATION, CONSUMPTION, AND UTILIZATION; COCOMBUSTION; MUNICIPAL WASTES; SOLID WASTES; COAL; KILNS; CEMENTS; FOSSIL-FUEL POWER PLANTS; CALORIFIC VALUE; WASTE PRODUCT UTILIZATION; ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY; EUROPEAN UNION; COPROCESSING; MITIGATION; CLIMATIC CHANGE; ACIDIFICATION; AIR POLLUTION CONTROL; ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS; POLLUTION REGULATIONS; FUEL SUBSTITUTION; HEAVY METALS; UNITED KINGDOM; COMPLIANCE; THERMODYNAMIC MODEL; SANITARY LANDFILLS

Citation Formats

Anurag Garg, Richard Smith, Daryl Hill, Nigel Simms, and Simon Pollard. Wastes as co-fuels: the policy framework for solid recovered fuel (SRF) in Europe, with UK implications. United States: N. p., 2007. Web. doi:10.1021/es062163e.
Anurag Garg, Richard Smith, Daryl Hill, Nigel Simms, & Simon Pollard. Wastes as co-fuels: the policy framework for solid recovered fuel (SRF) in Europe, with UK implications. United States. doi:10.1021/es062163e.
Anurag Garg, Richard Smith, Daryl Hill, Nigel Simms, and Simon Pollard. 2007. "Wastes as co-fuels: the policy framework for solid recovered fuel (SRF) in Europe, with UK implications". United States. doi:10.1021/es062163e.
@article{osti_20939472,
title = {Wastes as co-fuels: the policy framework for solid recovered fuel (SRF) in Europe, with UK implications},
author = {Anurag Garg and Richard Smith and Daryl Hill and Nigel Simms and Simon Pollard},
abstractNote = {European Union (EU) member states are adopting the mechanical-biological treatment (MBT) of municipal solid waste (MSW) to comply with EU Landfill Directive (LD) targets on landfill diversion. We review the policy framework for MSW-derived solid recovered fuel (SRF), composed of paper, plastic, and textiles, in the energy-intensive industries. A comparatively high calorific value (15-18 MJ/kg) fuel, SRF has the potential to partially replace fossil fuel in energy-intensive industries, alongside MSW in dedicated combustion facilities. Attempts by the European standards organization (CEN) to classify fuel properties consider net calorific value (CV) and chlorine and mercury content. However, the particle size, moisture content, and fuel composition also require attention and future studies must address these parameters. We critically review the implications of using SRF as a co-fuel in thermal processes. A thermodynamic analysis provides insight into the technical and environmental feasibility of co-combusting SRF in coal-fired power plants and cement kilns. Results indicate the use of SRF as co-fuel can reduce global warming and acidification potential significantly. This policy analysis is of value to waste managers, policy specialists, regulators, and the waste management research community. 63 refs., 3 figs., 3 tabs.},
doi = {10.1021/es062163e},
journal = {Environmental Science and Technology},
number = 140,
volume = 41,
place = {United States},
year = 2007,
month = 7
}
  • In recent years thermal utilization of mixed wastes and solid recovered fuels has become of increasing importance in European waste management. Since wastes or solid recovered fuels are generally composed of fossil and biogenic materials, only part of the CO{sub 2} emissions is accounted for in greenhouse gas inventories or emission trading schemes. A promising approach for determining this fraction is the so-called radiocarbon method. It is based on different ratios of the carbon isotopes {sup 14}C and {sup 12}C in fossil and biogenic fuels. Fossil fuels have zero radiocarbon, whereas biogenic materials are enriched in {sup 14}C and reflectmore » the {sup 14}CO{sub 2} abundance of the ambient atmosphere. Due to nuclear weapons tests in the past century, the radiocarbon content in the atmosphere has not been constant, which has resulted in a varying {sup 14}C content of biogenic matter, depending on the period of growth. In the present paper {sup 14}C contents of different biogenic waste fractions (e.g., kitchen waste, paper, wood), as well as mixtures of different wastes (household, bulky waste, and commercial waste), and solid recovered fuels are determined. The calculated {sup 14}C content of the materials investigated ranges between 98 and 135 pMC.« less
  • Observations are made about microstructural aspects from HDPE and LDPE homopolymers and their blends as virgin materials and also from urban plastic wastes. Micrographs were taken by SEM. Micrographs corresponding to the fracture surface from specimens tested in an impact test clearly show different microstructural features due to polymer which is more than 50%. Parts were injection molded. A discussion is given about crystallization behavior of those materials obtained by DSC. For all blends the same results have been found, i.e., two peaks owing to each of the two polymers which are present in the blends.
  • The thermal behaviour of chrome shavings and of sludges recovered after digestion of tanned wastes with Ca(OH){sub 2} was studied. Ashes obtained after incineration of wastes at various temperatures were analysed by X-ray diffraction and EDX method. The main crystallized phases present in the ash obtained at 600 deg. C are Cr{sub 2}O{sub 3} and NaCl. The diffractograms revealed an increase in the intensities of the chromium oxide peaks and a very notable decrease of the amount of sodium chloride at 1100 deg. C. EDX analysis revealed a total disappearance of the chlorine peak at this temperature. Scanning electron micrographsmore » show that the waste lost its fibrous aspect when the temperature increases. Formation of aggregates was noted after 550 deg. C. Combustion of organic matters and decarbonation phenomenon are the main stages observed on GTA and DTA curves of sludges. These phenomena are, respectively, exothermic and endothermic. The diffractogram of sludges recorded at 550 deg. C, in the presence of a constant oxygen surplus, revealed the presence of CaCrO{sub 4} and CaCO{sub 3}.« less
  • This paper reports an integrated appraisal of options for utilising solid recovered fuels (SRF) (derived from municipal solid waste, MSW) in energy intensive industries within the United Kingdom (UK). Four potential co-combustion scenarios have been identified following discussions with industry stakeholders. These scenarios have been evaluated using (a) an existing energy and mass flow framework model, (b) a semi-quantitative risk analysis, (c) an environmental assessment and (d) a financial assessment. A summary of results from these evaluations for the four different scenarios is presented. For the given ranges of assumptions; SRF co-combustion with coal in cement kilns was found tomore » be the optimal scenario followed by co-combustion of SRF in coal-fired power plants. The biogenic fraction in SRF (ca. 70%) reduces greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions significantly ({approx}2500 g CO{sub 2} eqvt./kg DS SRF in co-fired cement kilns and {approx}1500 g CO{sub 2} eqvt./kg DS SRF in co-fired power plants). Potential reductions in electricity or heat production occurred through using a lower calorific value (CV) fuel. This could be compensated for by savings in fuel costs (from SRF having a gate fee) and grants aimed at reducing GHG emission to encourage the use of fuels with high biomass fractions. Total revenues generated from coal-fired power plants appear to be the highest ( Pounds 95/t SRF) from the four scenarios. However overall, cement kilns appear to be the best option due to the low technological risks, environmental emissions and fuel cost. Additionally, cement kiln operators have good experience of handling waste derived fuels. The scenarios involving co-combustion of SRF with MSW and biomass were less favourable due to higher environmental risks and technical issues.« less
  • An experimental study was undertaken to compare the differences between municipal solid waste (MSW) derived solid recovered fuel (SRF) (complying with CEN standards) and refuse derived fuel (RDF). Both fuels were co-combusted with coal in a 50 kW fluidised bed combustor and the metal emissions were compared. Synthetic SRF was prepared in the laboratory by grinding major constituents of MSW such as paper, plastic, textile and wood. RDF was obtained from a local mechanical treatment plant. Heavy metal emissions in flue gas and ash samples from the (coal + 10% SRF) fuel mixture were found to be within the acceptablemore » range and were generally lower than that obtained for coal + 10% RDF fuel mixture. The relative distribution of heavy metals in ash components and the flue gas stream shows the presence of a large fraction (up to 98%) of most of the metals in the ash (except Hg and As). Thermo-gravimetric (TG) analysis of SRF constituents was performed to understand the behaviour of fuel mixtures in the absence and presence of air. The results obtained from the experimental study will enhance the confidence of fuel users towards using MSW-derived SRF as an alternative fuel.« less