Plasma torch gasification (PTG) is currently researched as a technology for solid waste recovery. However, scientific studies based on evaluating its environmental implications considering the life cycle assessment (LCA) methodology are lacking. Therefore, this work is focused on comparing the environmental effect of the emissions of syngas combustion produced by refuse derived fuel (RDF) and PTG as alternative fuels, with that related to fossil fuel combustion in the cement industry. To obtain real data, a semi-industrial scale pilot plant was used to perform experimental trials on RDF-PTG.The results highlight that PTG for waste to energy recovery in the cement industry is environmentally feasible considering its current state of development. A reduction in every impact category was found when a total or partial substitution of alternative fuel for conventional fuel in the calciner firing (60 % of total thermal energy input) was performed. Furthermore, the results revealed that electrical energy consumption in PTG is also an important parameter from the LCA approach.
Keywords: Plasma torch gasification (PTG); alternative fuel; cement industry; life cycle assessment (LCA); refuse derived fuel (RDF); syngas.
© The Author(s) 2015.