A case study for environmental impact assessment in the process industry: municipal solid waste incineration (MSWI)
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Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) has been introduced in the evaluation of chemical processes and or products in order to take into account the Supply Chain and its environmental constraints and burdens. Regarding to the environmental assessment of chemical processes and/or products two main variables need to be taken into account: Natural Resources Sustainability (NRS) and Environmental Burdens Sustainability (EBS). NRS includes the use of energy, water and materials whereas EBS is given by the environmental sustainability metrics developed by the Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE). The main components of EBS have been classified in 5 environmental impacts to the atmosphere (acidification, global warming, human health effects, stratospheric ozone depletion and photochemical ozone formation), 5 aquatic media impacts (aquatic acidification, aquatic oxygen demand, ecotoxicity (metals), ecotoxicity (others) and eutrophication) and 2 land impacts (hazardous and non-hazardous waste disposal). To reduce the number of variables and thus, the complexity, the development of a normalisation and weighting procedure is required. This work proposes the normalization of EB based on the threshold values of the European Pollutant Release and Transfer Register (E-PRTR) and a similar procedure based on the values given by the BREF document on waste incineration for the NRS normalisation. This procedure will help in the decision making process in the waste management field and in the particular, in Municipal Solid Waste Incineration (MSWI).
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