The combustion of wood-based biomass for domestic heating, which is common in rural and mountainous regions of Europe, entails significant local impacts on air quality. Worse conditions occur in low-income countries where the use of coal in household stoves is a common practice. The present paper aims at demonstrating that the combination of waste-to-energy (WtE) plants (based on direct or indirect waste combustion technologies) and direct electric heating (DEH) would be beneficial to reduce air pollution and, meanwhile, optimize the local waste management. Specifically, a WtE plant powering a DEH network will be compared with two reference scenarios of domestic heating: the use of wood/pellet stoves and coal stoves. The results show that shifting to a DEH system, powered by the nearby WtE plant, would reduce the emissions of total suspended particles, NOx, CO, VOCs, dioxins, PAHs and heavy metals by >99%, 27%, 97%, 96%, 93%, 94% and 32%, respectively, with respect to the use of solid fuel in household stoves. In addition, the higher degree of atmospheric dispersion of the off-gas from the stack of the WtE plant is expected to further reduce the impacts in terms of air quality, as estimated by an approach based on the concept of dilution factors. The avoided transportation of waste to other waste facilities outside the region would reduce the greenhouse gas emissions with respect to coal combustion and biomass burning, by 63% and 3%, respectively. The integration of local WtE and DEH could be also “mild”, opening to scenarios that could improve the local air quality without renouncing totally to the habits of domestic wood combustion in mountainous regions. Mild-DEH could be designed to integrate the domestic use of wood with electrical heaters, reducing fuel use and air pollution.

Potential environmental benefits of direct electric heating powered by waste-to-energy processes as a replacement of solid-fuel combustion in semi-rural and remote areas

Adami L.
;
Schiavon M.
;
Rada E. C.
2020

Abstract

The combustion of wood-based biomass for domestic heating, which is common in rural and mountainous regions of Europe, entails significant local impacts on air quality. Worse conditions occur in low-income countries where the use of coal in household stoves is a common practice. The present paper aims at demonstrating that the combination of waste-to-energy (WtE) plants (based on direct or indirect waste combustion technologies) and direct electric heating (DEH) would be beneficial to reduce air pollution and, meanwhile, optimize the local waste management. Specifically, a WtE plant powering a DEH network will be compared with two reference scenarios of domestic heating: the use of wood/pellet stoves and coal stoves. The results show that shifting to a DEH system, powered by the nearby WtE plant, would reduce the emissions of total suspended particles, NOx, CO, VOCs, dioxins, PAHs and heavy metals by >99%, 27%, 97%, 96%, 93%, 94% and 32%, respectively, with respect to the use of solid fuel in household stoves. In addition, the higher degree of atmospheric dispersion of the off-gas from the stack of the WtE plant is expected to further reduce the impacts in terms of air quality, as estimated by an approach based on the concept of dilution factors. The avoided transportation of waste to other waste facilities outside the region would reduce the greenhouse gas emissions with respect to coal combustion and biomass burning, by 63% and 3%, respectively. The integration of local WtE and DEH could be also “mild”, opening to scenarios that could improve the local air quality without renouncing totally to the habits of domestic wood combustion in mountainous regions. Mild-DEH could be designed to integrate the domestic use of wood with electrical heaters, reducing fuel use and air pollution.
https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0048969720335981?fbclid=IwAR3Tav1Gw94mTwbGT_OVPnft7lZ6LHBF-TGXzKjH1w7xZYVhi7dN03jgHvI&via=ihub
Domestic heating; Emission balance; Environmental impact; Environmental sustainability; Road transport; Waste to energy
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11383/2127238
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