Greenhouse gas emissions from biogenic waste treatment: options and uncertainty

Bastian, L.; Yano, J.; Hirai, Y.; Sakai, S. (2013) Joural of Material Cycles and Waste Management, 15(1): 49-60

A simplified life cycle assessment was conducted to estimate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and energy production from each component of biogenic waste treated in an open dumping site, and by composting, anaerobic digestion, and incineration employed with additional options. The impact of uncertainties and sensitivities of the parameters in the treatment methods were investigated. We conducted a sensitivity analysis to identify the most sensitive parameters, and we discussed the relationship between uncertainty and sensitivity. Our results revealed that the moisture content of food waste and the biomass-derived carbon and methane concentration of the landfill gas of biogenic waste subjected to open dumping are the most sensitive parameters across all the treatment methods. The net GHG emissions from food waste treated in an open dumping site ranged over ten times (0.30 − 3.67 Gg CO2 eq/Gg). In addition, by employing additional options for the open dumping site, including soil cover, a landfill gas collection system, shifting to a semi-aerobic condition, and energy conservation by using a gas engine, we found that the net GHG emissions could be reduced by 10, 27.9, 37.4 %, and up to 56.7 %, respectively. Shifting to a semi-aerobic system is the most effective method for reducing GHG emissions, followed by landfill gas collection.


Biogenic waste treatment, Food waste, Greenhouse gas emissions, Uncertainty and sensitivity analysis