Technical properties of biomass and solid recovered fuel (SRF) co-fired with coal: Impact on multi-dimensional resource recovery value

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Abstract

The power plant sector is adopting the co-firing of biomass and solid recovered fuel (SRF) with coal in an effort to reduce its environmental impact and costs. Whereas this intervention contributes to reducing carbon emissions and those of other pollutants related with the burning of fossil fuel, it may also result in hidden impacts that are often overlooked. When co-firing, the physical and chemical properties of the mixed fuels and the subsequent technical implications on the process performance and by-products are significant. Interconnections between multiple values nested within four domains of value, i.e. environmental, economic, technical and social, mean that changes in the one domain (in the co-firing case, the technical one) can have considerable implications in the other domains as well. In this study, using a systematic and flexible approach to conceptualising multi-dimensional aspects associated with the co-firing of biomass and SRF with coal, we unveil examples of such interconnections and implications on overall value delivered through the use and recovery of waste resources. Such an analysis could underpin the selection of useful metrics (quantitative or semi-quantitative descriptors) for enabling a systemic multi-dimensional value assessment, and value's distribution amongst interconnected parts of resource recovery systems; key in enabling sound analysis and decision-making.

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Iacovidou, E., Hahladakis, J., Deans, I., Velis, C., & Purnell, P. (2018). Technical properties of biomass and solid recovered fuel (SRF) co-fired with coal: Impact on multi-dimensional resource recovery value. Waste Management, 73, 535–545. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.wasman.2017.07.001

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