Life cycle assessment and life cycle costing of advanced anaerobic digestion of organic fraction municipal solid waste

Chemosphere. 2022 Feb:289:133058. doi: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2021.133058. Epub 2021 Nov 25.


The aim of this study is the evaluation of the environmental sustainability by means of Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) and economic profitability through Life Cycle Costing (LCC) of the 18 anaerobic digestion (AD) configurations carried out on Organic Fraction Municipal Solid Waste (OFMSW) at three Substrate Inoculum (S:I) ratios (1:2, 1:1 and 2:1) for three different inoculum incubation times (0, 5 and 10 d). The adopted approach was the eco-efficiency perspective, coming from the combination of technical, environmental (LCA) and economic (LCC) perspectives. The main findings of the study were that increasing both the S:I ratio and the inoculum incubation time (5 and 10 d) the environmental impacts decreased, and economic profitability increased. The lowest values of Climate Change were achieved by the AD performed with both inocula WAS and CAS for 10 d at S:I equal to 2:1: 28.67 and 27.72 kg CO2 eq respectively. The minimum AD plant size for which all the 18 AD configurations was economically profitable after 5 y of amortization was 30,000 t/y of OFMSW. Capital and operational costs decreased by increasing the incubation time of the inoculum and the S:I ratio, since higher specific biogas rate was reached, and smaller AD bio-reactor volume were adopted because hydraulic retention time decreased. The AD plant size, for which maximal revenues and minimal capital and operational costs were detected, was 50,000 t/y OFMSW. Among all the AD configurations, the environmental sustainability and economic profitability were reached by test perfomed with inocula WAS and CAS incubated for 5 and 10 d at the highest S:I ratio 2:1.

Keywords: Anaerobic digestion (AD); Life cycle assessment (LCA); Life cycle costing (LCC); Organic fraction municipal solid waste (OFMSW).

MeSH terms

  • Anaerobiosis
  • Animals
  • Bioreactors
  • Life Cycle Stages
  • Methane
  • Refuse Disposal*
  • Solid Waste* / analysis


  • Solid Waste
  • Methane