Economic analysis and environmental assessment of aluminum debris power generator for deployment to communal-scale disaster areas

Heliyon. 2021 Jun 10;7(6):e07264. doi: 10.1016/j.heliyon.2021.e07264. eCollection 2021 Jun.


The potential use of aluminum debris as an energy source and carrier has been recently highlighted in the research. An aluminum debris power generator is a promising system that can be deployed in the aftermath of various types of disasters and provide portable electricity. Such a power generator produces electricity while simultaneously handling aluminum debris in disaster areas. We assess the economic and environmental performance of the aluminum debris power generator deployed to communal-scale disaster areas to determine its feasibility. The economic analysis indicates that aluminum debris power generators have a higher net present cost and levelized cost of energy than diesel generators, which are currently used for emergency power generation. However, aluminum debris power generators can improve their economic feasibility when the valuable boehmite by-product is considered. The aluminum debris power generator outperforms the diesel generator for the environmental impact on climate change. The life cycle assessment indicates that the primary source of the environmental impact comes from generator manufacturing. Our results suggest that recycling valuable materials and redesigning manufacture to reduce the use of critical materials can improve the profile of environmental impacts and provide economic benefits for aluminum debris power generators. Future research should be conducted to devise an ecosystem facilitating the sustainability of this type of generator.

Keywords: Aluminum debris power generator; Disaster aftermath; Economic analysis; Life cycle assessment.