Life cycle analysis of energy production from food waste through anaerobic digestion, pyrolysis and integrated energy system

Suraj Adebayo Opatokun, Ana M. Lopez-Sabiron, German Ferreira, Vladimir Strezov*

*Corresponding author for this work

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    The environmental performance of industrial anaerobic digestion (AD), pyrolysis, and integrated system (AD sequence with pyrolysis) on food waste treatment were evaluated using life cycle assessment. The integrated treatment system indicated similar environmental benefits to AD with the highest benefits in climate change and water depletion in addition to the increased energy generation potential and the production of valuable products (biochar and bio-oil). Pyrolysis results illustrated higher impact across water, fossil fuel, and mineral depletion, although still providing a better option than conventional landfilling of food waste. The dewatering phase in the AD process accounted for 70% of the treatment impact while the pre-treatment of the food waste was responsible for the main burden in the pyrolysis process. The study indicated that the three treatment options of food waste management are environmentally more favorable than the conventional landfilling of the wastes.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number1804
    Pages (from-to)1-15
    Number of pages15
    JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
    Issue number10
    Publication statusPublished - 5 Oct 2017


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    • digestion
    • End-of-Life (EOL)
    • environment
    • food waste
    • life cycle assessment
    • pyrolysis

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