LCA4AFR: An LCA-based Tool for Authorities and Industry to Assess and Compare Waste Treatment Options
Michael Elias Boesch,*   ETH Zuerich
Annette Koehler,   ETH Zuerich
Stefanie Hellweg
,   ETH Zuerich

The environmental impact of waste treatment depends on the availability of suitable installations and their respective technical standard. Knowledge on the environmental effects of the different treatment options is often incomplete among authorities and industries. The regional variety of treatment structures, technological standards and of waste characteristics between and even among industrialized countries, emerging markets, and developing countries make it difficult to compare findings of previous studies and to transfer them to others regions. To support authorities, industry, and other stakeholders such as NGOs in decision making on the environmentally optimal treatment for specific wastes, the PC-based tool LCA4AFR (Life Cycle Assessment for Alternative Fuels and Raw Materials) has been developed. The tool assesses and compares the environmental impact of industrial processes that treat waste and/or recover materials or energy, among them landfilling (with/without landfill gas collection), incineration (with/without energy recovery), co-processing in energy intensive industries, or material recycling. Emphasis has been placed on the development of a user-friendly interface to facilitate the application for users with limited experience in LCA. The prevalent technologies operated in each industry, for instance precalciner, suspension preheater, lepol, long dry and long wet kilns in the cement industry, have been modeled. Different flue gas cleaning technologies were also considered. Averaged values for waste characteristics, transport, preparation, and for the efficiency of treatment technologies are provided within the tool for straightforward assessments. These data may be amended by the user with case-specific data to increase accuracy for region-specific assessments. For the environmental assessment, various LCIA methods have been integrated, among them IPCC Climate Change, CML 2001, TRACI, Eco-indicator’99 and Cumulative Exergy Demand. It is intended to make the tool available to the public free of charge after completion.

* corresponding author: