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Title: Analysis of material recovery facilities for use in life-cycle assessment

Highlights: • Life-cycle assessment of solid waste management relies on accurate process models. • Material recovery facility (MRF) processes were modeled with new primary data. • Single stream, dual stream, pre-sorted, and mixed waste MRFs were considered. • MRF electricity consumption ranges from 4.7 to 7.8 kW h per Mg input. • Total cost ranges from $19.8 to $24.9 per Mg input. - Abstract: Insights derived from life-cycle assessment of solid waste management strategies depend critically on assumptions, data, and modeling at the unit process level. Based on new primary data, a process model was developed to estimate the cost and energy use associated with material recovery facilities (MRFs), which are responsible for sorting recyclables into saleable streams and as such represent a key piece of recycling infrastructure. The model includes four modules, each with a different process flow, for separation of single-stream, dual-stream, pre-sorted recyclables, and mixed-waste. Each MRF type has a distinct combination of equipment and default input waste composition. Model results for total amortized costs from each MRF type ranged from $19.8 to $24.9 per Mg (1 Mg = 1 metric ton) of waste input. Electricity use ranged from 4.7 to 7.8 kW h per Mg ofmore » waste input. In a single-stream MRF, equipment required for glass separation consumes 28% of total facility electricity consumption, while all other pieces of material recovery equipment consume less than 10% of total electricity. The dual-stream and mixed-waste MRFs have similar electricity consumption to a single-stream MRF. Glass separation contributes a much larger fraction of electricity consumption in a pre-sorted MRF, due to lower overall facility electricity consumption. Parametric analysis revealed that reducing separation efficiency for each piece of equipment by 25% altered total facility electricity consumption by less than 4% in each case. When model results were compared with actual data for an existing single-stream MRF, the model estimated the facility’s electricity consumption within 2%. The results from this study can be integrated into LCAs of solid waste management with system boundaries that extend from the curb through final disposal.« less
Authors:
 [1] ;  [1] ;  [2] ; ;  [1]
  1. Department of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering, NC State University, 2501 Stinson Drive, Raleigh, NC 27695 (United States)
  2. Department of Environmental Engineering, Technical University of Denmark, Miljøvej, 2800 Kongens Lyngby (Denmark)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22443617
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Waste Management; Journal Volume: 35; Other Information: Copyright (c) 2014 Elsevier Science B.V., Amsterdam, The Netherlands, All rights reserved.; Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
12 MANAGEMENT OF RADIOACTIVE WASTES, AND NON-RADIOACTIVE WASTES FROM NUCLEAR FACILITIES; COST; EFFICIENCY; ELECTRICITY; ENERGY CONSUMPTION; GLASS; LIFE CYCLE ASSESSMENT; MATERIALS RECOVERY; PARAMETRIC ANALYSIS; RECYCLING; SIMULATION; SOLID WASTES; SORTING