Life cycle assessment of MSW-to-energy schemes in Thailand
Life cycle assessment was performed to evaluate environmental impacts of two municipal solid waste (MSW) to energy schemes currently practiced in Thailand: incineration and anaerobic digestion. Potential impacts such as global warming, acidification, stratospheric ozone depletion, and photo-oxidant formation were avoided due to net electricity production and also fertilizer production as by-products from the anaerobic digestion scheme. In addition, the anaerobic digestion resulted in the higher net energy output compared to the incineration scheme. However, the incineration had less potential impact for nutrient enrichment. The LCA results were also useful in determining where the improvements could be made for both the schemes. In order to adopt a sustainable waste management system elsewhere in the country, decision makers may need to consider a combination of techniques, or an integrated method of management. LCA could serve as an invaluable tool for such an analysis.