Food waste can replace coal in a cement plant

In Greece, fermentable household waste (HFW) is usually disposed of as mixed waste in landfills, the least sustainable option. The HORIZON 2020 Waste4think project has developed an alternative approach to dealing with the masses of food waste produced every day.

Under this project, source-separated HFW is transported to a drying and grinding plant located in the municipality where it is processed into a high-quality biomass product called FORBI. Researchers around Konstantina Papadopoulou from the School of Chemical Engineering of the National Technical University of Athens examined the use of FORBI as an alternative to coal for the cement industry using tools for evaluating the Life Cycle Costing (LCC) and Life Cycle Costing (LCC).

“Regarding the environmental performance of the alternative scenarios, the alternative scenario has been proven to perform significantly better in most of the impact categories retained (climate change, ozone layer depletion, etc.). It is impressive that in terms of climate change, which is probably of the utmost importance for policymakers, the decrease in the environmental footprint reaches 100%,” the scientists write. “In addition, considering the economic performance of the scenarios, an important parameter is the selling price of FORBI. This study adopted a simple methodology for estimating this price. Specifically, the potential economic benefit to the cement plant of avoiding the purchase of coal was used as the basis for FORBI’s pricing. In this best case scenario 1, the decrease in HFW management costs goes from 12% decrease in HFW management costs in the worst case of scenario 1) to 35% (corresponding decrease in the best case of scenario 1).

But one point, according to Papadopoulou and Co, needs to be improved: The optimization of the drying/grinding process in order to reduce its energy intensity and its environmental burdens.

The study was published in the ISWA Conference Special Issue on Waste Management and Research and is publicly available through the end of October.

Originally posted by Waste Management World

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