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Organic-Waste LCA 
Case Studies 
11th December 2014 
Daniel Sandars, 
daniel.sandars@cranfield.ac.uk 
IHREF, School of App...
Waste in Europe 
Population 500 million 
Municipal solid waste 3 billion tonnes (10-25% organic) 
Sewage sludge 9 million ...
Organic waste 
disposal?
EU waste priorities 
1. Waste Prevention 
2. Recycling and Reuse 
3. Improved Final Disposal & Monitoring
global 
warming 
Best environmental 
options? 
ozone depletion 
N2O, CH4 
acidification 
drainage 
deposition 
Nutrient 
O...
The System 
Environment 
The Functional Unit 
Natural resource 
consumption 
Inputs to 
farming 
Synthetic inputs 
to farm...
The System 
Environment 
The Functional Unit 
Natural resource 
consumption 
Inputs to 
farming 
Synthetic inputs 
to farm...
Slurry tankers 
Standard 
splash-plate 
spreader 
Over-the-fence 
broadcast spreader 
Low trajectory 
splash-plate 
spread...
Slurry stores
Carbon long time 
scales
Reference system 
• Start with a typical system as a reference 
– Pigs on slatted floor 
– Uncovered storage 
– Splash pla...
Weighting Factors 
Impact Unit UK 1998 
Global Warming Potential 100yr, kg CO2 Equ 7.48E+11 
Eutrophication, kg PO4 Equ 4....
Results 
Weighted Environmnetal Impacts 
GWP 100 
3.00E-08 
2.50E-08 
2.00E-08 
1.50E-08 
1.00E-08 
5.00E-09 
0.00E+00 
-5...
Uncertainty 
• What does slurry injection can result in up 
to 85% ammonia abatement mean in 
practice, most of the time? ...
Uncertainty 
• What does a claim of up to 85% reduction in 
ammonia emissions mean? 
• Uncertainty can be due to measureme...
10% coefficient of variation of ammonia emissions
Farm scale AD
Farm scale AD
Holsworthy Centralised 
Anaerobic Digester
Holsworthy CAD 
• 12,100 t CO2 eqv reduction of global warming (100 
years) 
• 48 t NO3 eqv eutrophication reduction 
• 31...
Controlling the N 
0.020 
0.015 
0.010 
0.005 
0.000 
-0.005 
-0.010 
-0.015 
-0.020 
0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 9...
• 1. Reduce the volume of sewage sludge 
produced 
• 2. Improve sewage sludge treatment 
• 3. Develop a high quality sewag...
• Three median…representative systems are defined 
• A On-site sludge treatment c. 5k person 
equivalents 
• B Small scale...
Conclusions
Lecture:Organic/Bio waste Life Cycle Assessment case studies
Lecture:Organic/Bio waste Life Cycle Assessment case studies
Lecture:Organic/Bio waste Life Cycle Assessment case studies
Lecture:Organic/Bio waste Life Cycle Assessment case studies
Lecture:Organic/Bio waste Life Cycle Assessment case studies
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Lecture:Organic/Bio waste Life Cycle Assessment case studies

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Lecture: The world over we create a lot of bio degradable waste. Many of our traditional methods of dumping these wastes into seas of hole in the ground are closing. We need better and we need to take care of the environment. Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is a 'systems theory' method that accounts for the environment by taking a cradle to grave view of changed products and processes and accounting for all inputs and outputs across the system boundary. I present case studies and some of the ideas and insights in modelling them and what has been learned about the systems

Published in: Environment
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Lecture:Organic/Bio waste Life Cycle Assessment case studies

  1. 1. Organic-Waste LCA Case Studies 11th December 2014 Daniel Sandars, daniel.sandars@cranfield.ac.uk IHREF, School of Applied Sciences Evaluating Sustainability: Waste management case studies in LCA
  2. 2. Waste in Europe Population 500 million Municipal solid waste 3 billion tonnes (10-25% organic) Sewage sludge 9 million dry tonnes Livestock population 136 million livestock units 136 million dry tonnes slurry/manure
  3. 3. Organic waste disposal?
  4. 4. EU waste priorities 1. Waste Prevention 2. Recycling and Reuse 3. Improved Final Disposal & Monitoring
  5. 5. global warming Best environmental options? ozone depletion N2O, CH4 acidification drainage deposition Nutrient Overload pathogens Metals NO3 - BOD, PO4 3+ ammonia
  6. 6. The System Environment The Functional Unit Natural resource consumption Inputs to farming Synthetic inputs to farming Losses to the environment Production System Nutrients recycled The slurry and solid manure handling chain Animal 1 tonne lean pig meat Fertilisers Feed Bedding Waste to land Land Cropping Waste management Emissions to water Emissions to air Land degradation Consumable resources Energy
  7. 7. The System Environment The Functional Unit Natural resource consumption Inputs to farming Synthetic inputs to farming Losses to the environment Production System Nutrients recycled The slurry and solid manure handling chain Animal 1 tonne lean pig meat Fertilisers Feed Bedding Waste to land Land Cropping Waste management Emissions to water Emissions to air Land degradation Consumable resources Energy
  8. 8. Slurry tankers Standard splash-plate spreader Over-the-fence broadcast spreader Low trajectory splash-plate spreader Trailing pipe/shoe Sub-soil shallow injection spreader
  9. 9. Slurry stores
  10. 10. Carbon long time scales
  11. 11. Reference system • Start with a typical system as a reference – Pigs on slatted floor – Uncovered storage – Splash plate spreading on arable • Functional Unit(s) – 1 tonne of pigmeat – 1 dry tonne organic waste? 100,000 population equivalent? 1 ha?
  12. 12. Weighting Factors Impact Unit UK 1998 Global Warming Potential 100yr, kg CO2 Equ 7.48E+11 Eutrophication, kg PO4 Equ 4.60E+7 Acidification, kg SO2 Equ 3.89E+9 Photo Chemical Oxide Formation, kg Ethyl Equ 2.11E+9 Source: Department of the Environment Transport and Regions (1988)
  13. 13. Results Weighted Environmnetal Impacts GWP 100 3.00E-08 2.50E-08 2.00E-08 1.50E-08 1.00E-08 5.00E-09 0.00E+00 -5.00E-09 Smog Eutrophication Acidification Splash Plate (30%) Trailing Pipe (30%) Injector (30%) Trailing Pipe (50%) Injector (50%)
  14. 14. Uncertainty • What does slurry injection can result in up to 85% ammonia abatement mean in practice, most of the time? Why say it? • Heterogeneity (variability) • Climatic and environmental uncertainty • Measurement error and incomplete knowledge
  15. 15. Uncertainty • What does a claim of up to 85% reduction in ammonia emissions mean? • Uncertainty can be due to measurement difficulties or chance conditions • The LCA requires well rounded management averages. It is the uncertainty of this mean rather than the population that we use. • To be worthwhile, the benefits of a technique need to be due to more than random chance.
  16. 16. 10% coefficient of variation of ammonia emissions
  17. 17. Farm scale AD
  18. 18. Farm scale AD
  19. 19. Holsworthy Centralised Anaerobic Digester
  20. 20. Holsworthy CAD • 12,100 t CO2 eqv reduction of global warming (100 years) • 48 t NO3 eqv eutrophication reduction • 310 t SO2 eqv acidification increase • 59 t PO4 eqv habitat nutrification increase Unfortunately the later two are the more sensitive impacts where agriculture’s contribution is proportionally greater
  21. 21. Controlling the N 0.020 0.015 0.010 0.005 0.000 -0.005 -0.010 -0.015 -0.020 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% Abatement of digestate NH3 landspreading losses t/kt Western European Impacts Global Warming Normal Acidification Normal Eutrophication Normal Fig. 6.6 LCA predictions of the overall effects abating ammonia losses from land spreading of digestate on Global Warming, Acidification and Eutrophication, each normalised with respect to current Western European environmental emissions inventory (Anon, 2005)
  22. 22. • 1. Reduce the volume of sewage sludge produced • 2. Improve sewage sludge treatment • 3. Develop a high quality sewage sludge based fertiliser product • 4. Improve the energy efficiency of waste water treatment
  23. 23. • Three median…representative systems are defined • A On-site sludge treatment c. 5k person equivalents • B Small scale centralised with 50% of sludge imported c. 75 k person equivalents • C Large scale centralised with 50% of sludge imported c. 200 k person equivalents • When multiplied/scaled up these will be representative of approximately 80% of the European Union (Geographical scope)
  24. 24. Conclusions

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