Valorization of thermal treatment residues in enhanced landfill mining : environmental and economic evaluation
Faculty of Sciences. Bioscience Engineering
Science citation index
Engineering sciences. Technology
Journal of cleaner production / Masson. - Science citation index
, p. 275-285
Enhanced Landfill Mining is an innovative concept which allows the recovery of land, re-introduction of materials to the material cycles and recovery of energy from a considerably large stock of resources held in landfills. Plasma gasification is a viable candidate for combined energy and material valorization in the framework of Enhanced landfill Mining. Besides energy production, plasma gasification also delivers an environmentally stable vitrified residue called plasmastone, which can be converted into building materials. This paper presents an environmental and economic evaluation of the valorization of thermal treatment residues (plasmastone) in the context of Enhanced Landfill Mining. The most common valorization route, that is, the treatment of plasmastone via production of aggregates, is compared with two other possible, higher added value applications, which are inorganic polymer production and blended cement production. The evaluation is based on life cycle assessment and life cycle costing. The study suggests that the environmental and economic performances of the valorization routes depend mainly on the quality and quantity of the final products produced from a certain amount of plasmastone. The materials with the greatest contribution to potential global warming and to the net present value of the valorization scenarios are the process input materials of sodium silicate, sodium hydroxide and cement. The study concludes that the plasmastone valorization via inorganic polymer production yields higher environmental benefits, while the blended cement production provides higher economic profits. Plasmastone valorization via aggregates production does not yield economic or environmental benefits. Given the trade-off between environmental and economic performances, we conclude that the decisions regarding the selection of appropriate valorization routes should be made cautiously to obtain optimal environmental benefits and economic profits. (C) 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.