LCA of greywater management within a water circular economy restorative thinking framework
EstadísticasView Usage Statistics
Full recordShow full item record
AuthorDomínguez Suárez, Sara; Laso Cortabitarte, Jara; Margallo Blanco, María; Aldaco García, Rubén; Rivero Martínez, María José; Irabien Gulías, José Ángel; Ortiz Uribe, Inmaculada
Greywater reuse is an attractive option for the sustainable management of water under water scarcity circumstances, within a water circular economy restorative thinking framework. Its successful deployment relies on the availability of low cost and environmentally friendly technologies. The life cycle assessment (LCA) approach provides the appropriate methodological tool for the evaluation of alternative treatments based on environmental decision criteria and, therefore, it is highly useful during the process conceptual design. This methodology should be employed in the early design phase to select those technologies with lower environmental impact. This work reports the comparative LCA of three scenarios for greywater reuse: photocatalysis, photovoltaic solar-driven photocatalysis and membrane biological reactor, in order to help the selection of the most environmentally friendly technology. The study has been focused on the removal of the surfactant sodium dodecylbenzenesulfonate, which is used in the formulation of detergents and personal care products and, thus, widely present in greywater. LCA was applied using the Environmental Sustainability Assessment methodology to obtain two main environmental indicators in order to simplify the decision making process: natural resources and environmental burdens. Energy consumption is the main contributor to both indicators owing to the high energy consumption of the light source for the photocatalytic greywater treatment. In order to reduce its environmental burdens, the most desirable scenario would be the use of solar light for the photocatalytic transformation. However, while the technological challenge of direct use of solar light is approached, the environmental suitability of the photovoltaic solar energy driven photocatalysis technology to greywater reuse has been demonstrated, as it involves the smallest environmental impact among the three studied alternatives.