A critical review on life cycle assessment and plant-wide models towards emission control strategies for greenhouse gas from wastewater treatment plants

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Journal of Environmental Management, 2020, 264
Issue Date:
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© 2020 Elsevier Ltd For decades, there has been a strong interest in mitigating greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs). Numerous models were developed to measure the emissions and propose the quantification. Existing studies looked at the relationship between GHG emissions and operational cost (OCI), which is one of the most important indicators for decision-makers. Other parameters that can influence the control strategies include the effluent quality (EQI) and total environmental impacts. Plant-wide models are reliable methods to examine the OCI, EQI and GHG emissions while Life cycle assessment (LCA) works to assess the potential environmental impacts. A combined LCA and plant-wide model proved to be a valuable tool evaluating and comparing strategies for the best performance of WWTPs. For this study involving a WWTP, the benchmark model is used while LCA is the decision tool to find the most suitable treatment strategy. LCA adds extra criteria that complement the existing criteria provided by such models. Complementing the cost/performance criteria is proposed for plant-wide models, including environmental evaluation, based on LCA, which provides an overall better assessment of WWTPs. It can capture both the dynamic effects and potential environmental impacts. This study provides an overview of the integration between plant-wide models and LCA.
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