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[en] This project is entitled 'Systems Analysis: Energy Recovery from waste, catalytic combustion in comparison with fuel cells and incineration'. Some of the technologies that are currently developed by researchers at the Royal Institute of Technology include catalytic combustion and fuel cells as downstream units in a gasification system. The aim of this project is to assess the energy turnover as well as the potential environmental impacts of biomass/waste-to-energy technologies. In second part of this project economic analyses of the technologies in general and catalytic combustion and fuel cell technologies in particular will be carried out. Four technology scenarios are studied: (1) Gasification followed by Low temperature fuel cells (Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) fuel cells) (2) Gasification followed by high temperature fuel cells (Solid Oxide Fuel Cells (SOFC) (3) Gasification followed by catalytic combustion and (4) Incineration with energy recovery. The waste used as feedstock is an industrial waste containing parts of household waste, paper waste, wood residues and poly ethene. In the study compensatory district heating is produced by combustion of biofuel. The power used for running the processes in the scenarios will be supplied by the waste-to-energy technologies themselves while compensatory power is assumed to be produced from natural gas. The emissions from the system studied are classified and characterised using methodology from Life Cycle Assessment in to the following environmental impact categories: Global Warming Potential, Acidification Potential, Eutrophication Potential and finally Formation of Photochemical Oxidants. Looking at the result of the four technology chains in terms of the four impact categories with impact per GWh electricity produced as a unit of comparison and from the perspective of the rank each scenario has in all the four impact categories, SOFC appears to be the winner technology followed by PEM and CC as second and third best respectively with incinerations as the worst. On the other hand, looking at the three important emissions (CO2, NOx and SOx) from the total systems (including both the core system and the external system), SOFC is the best technology, followed PEM and CC as the second best. A comparison of the same emissions from the core systems places CC on equal level with SOFC as the best technologies with PEM as the second best. Note that in the last two comparisons of the three emissions, the unit is mass of substances emitted not related to the electricity produced. The difference in ranking between the two fuel cell alternatives and the CC scenario reveals the difference in the power produced from the scenarios. Hence improvement in the electrical efficiency of the technology units is very important. This requires not only improving the efficiencies of the individual units (steam turbine, gas turbines, fuel cell stack) making up the technology chains but also the system integration and the total efficiency of the whole systems. The robustness of the quantitative results per se will remain questionable until a sensitivity analysis of the important parameters is carried out since data of different quality related to different sources were used
[en] Global trade of products and services challenges the traditional way in which emissions of carbon dioxide are declared and accounted for. Instead of only considering territorial emissions there are now strong reasons to determine how the carbon dioxide emitted in the production of imports are partitioned around the world and how the total emissions change for a country's final consumption compared to final production. In this report results from four different methods of calculating the total carbon dioxide emissions from Sweden's overall consumption are presented. Total carbon dioxide emissions for Sweden's final consumption vary from 57 to 109 M tons during one year depending on the methodology. The four methods used for estimating these emissions give results of 57, 61, 68 and 109 Mton of carbon dioxide. Two methods are based on information concerning Sweden's imports and our national production of goods and services excluding production that is exported while two methods are based on final consumer expenditures. Three of the methods use mainly emission data from Sweden while one method depends entirely upon emission data from Sweden's trading partners. The last method also gives the highest emissions level, 109 Mton of carbon dioxide. The calculations performed here can be compared to the emissions reported by Sweden, 54 Mton of carbon dioxide per year. Our estimates give per capita emission levels of between 6,3 and 12 tons of carbon dioxide per year. The estimate of 12 tons per capita is a result of using emissions data from Sweden's trading partners. The total emissions as a result of Sweden's imports are 26 or 74 M tons of carbon dioxide depending on how they are calculated. The lower figure is based upon the imports of today but with emissions as if everything was produced as in Sweden. The higher level is based upon using existing but partly inadequate international emission statistics. These levels can be compared to the about 35 M tons of carbon dioxide that are emitted in Sweden as a result of Sweden's own productions when emissions connected to exports are subtracted. The calculations show that we may seriously underestimate emissions from imports when only Swedish emission data are used. A substantial part of the emissions caused by Sweden's imports occur within the European Union, almost 70 %. Other countries in the world with substantial emissions connected to Sweden's imports are Russia, Norway, China and United States. Imports of fossil fuels and electricity accounts for 17 % of the emissions of carbon dioxide from the imports. Private households account for 87-89 percent of the carbon dioxide emissions that are caused by end consumers in Sweden when products life cycles are considered. The public sector accounts for the remaining part. Further studies should seek to ameliorate the emission data from the main trading partners and include emissions of other greenhouse gases in addition to carbon dioxide. The other greenhouse gases are foremost connected to the agricultural end energy sector
[en] A roadmap for a more sustainable energy strategy is complex, as its development interacts critically with the economic, social, and environmental dimensions of sustainable development. This paper applied an impact matrix method to evaluate the environmental sustainability and to identify the desirable policy objectives of biomass-based energy strategy for the case of Alberta. A matrix with the sustainability domains on one axis and areas of environmental impact on the other was presented to evaluate the nexus effect of policy objectives and bioenergy production. As per to our analysis, economic diversification, technological innovation, and resource conservation came up as the desirable policy objectives of sustainable development for Alberta because they demonstrated environmental benefits in all environmental impact categories, namely climate change, human health, and ecosystem. On the other hand, human health and ecosystem impacts were identified as trade-offs when the policy objectives for sustainability were energy security, job creation, and climate change. Thus, bioenergy can mitigate climate change but may impact human health and ecosystem which then in turn can become issues of concern. Energy strategies may result in shifting of risks from one environmental impact category to another, and from one sustainable domain to another if the technical and policy-related issues are not identified.
[en] In assessments of the environmental impacts of waste management, life-cycle assessment (LCA) helps expanding the perspective beyond the waste management system. This is important, since the indirect environmental impacts caused by surrounding systems, such as energy and material production, often override the direct impacts of the waste management system itself. However, the applicability of LCA for waste management planning and policy-making is restricted by certain limitations, some of which are characteristics inherent to LCA methodology as such, and some of which are relevant specifically in the context of waste management. Several of them are relevant also for other types of systems analysis. We have identified and discussed such characteristics with regard to how they may restrict the applicability of LCA in the context of waste management. Efforts to improve LCA with regard to these aspects are also described. We also identify what other tools are available for investigating issues that cannot be adequately dealt with by traditional LCA models, and discuss whether LCA methodology should be expanded rather than complemented by other tools to increase its scope and applicability