Deinking sludge utilization possibilities: technical, economic, and environmental assessments
Deviatkin, Ivan; Kujala, Asta; Horttanainen, Mika (2015)
During the literature review, 24 deinking sludge utilization possibilities were identified, the majority falling under material recovery. Furthermore, 11 potential utilizers of deinking sludge were found within the search area determined by the transportation cost. Each potential utilizer was directly contacted in order to establish cooperation for deinking sludge utilization. Finally, four companies, namely, “Finnsementti” – a cement plant in Finland (S1), “St.Gobian Weber” – a light-weight aggregate plant in Finland (S2), “LSR-Cement” – a cement plant in LR (S3), and “Rockwool” – a stone wool plant in LR (S4) were seen as the most promising partners and were included in the economic and environmental assessments.
Economic assessment using cost-benefit analysis (CBA) indicated that substitution of heavy fuel oil with dry deinking sludge in S2 was the most feasible option with a benefit/cost ratio
(BCR) of 3.6 when all the sludge was utilized. At the same time, the use of 15% of the total sludge amount (the amount that could potentially be treated in the scenario) resulted in a BCR of only 0.16. The use of dry deinking sludge in the production of cement (S3) is a slightly more feasible option with a BCR of 1.1. The use of sludge in stone wool production is feasible only when all the deinking sludge is used and burned in an existing incineration plant. The least economically feasible utilization possibility is the use of sludge in cement production in Finland (S1) due to the high gate fee charged.
Environmental assessment was performed applying internationally recognized life cycle assessment (LCA) methodologies: ISO 14040 and ISO 14044. The results of a consequential LCA stated that only S1 and S2 lead to a reduction of all environmental impacts within the impact categories chosen compared to the baseline scenario where deinking sludge is landfilled. Considering S1, the largest reduction of 13% was achieved for the global warming potential (GWP), whereas for S2, the largest decrease of abiotic depletion potential (ADP) was by 1.7%, the eutrophication potential (EP) by 1.8%, and a GWP of 2.1% was documented. In S3, the most notable increase of ADP and acidification potential (AP) by 2.6 and 1.5% was indicated, while the GWP was reduced by 12%, the largest out of all the impact categories. In S4, ADP and AP increased by 2.3 and 2.1% respectively, whereas ODP was reduced by 25%. During LCA, it was noticed that substitution of fuels causes a greater reduction of environmental impact (S1 and S2) than substitution of raw materials (S3 and S4).
Despite a number of economically and environmentally acceptable deinking sludge utilization methods being assessed in the research, evaluation of bottlenecks and communications with companies’ representatives uncovered the fact that the availability of the raw materials consumed, and the risks associated with technological problems resulting from the sludge utilization, limited the willingness of industrial partners to start deinking sludge utilization.
The research results are of high value for decision-makers at already existing paper mills since the result provide insights regarding alternatives to the deinking sludge utilization possibilities already applied. Thus, the research results support the maximum economic and environmental value recovery from waste paper utilization.
Deviatkin et al. 2015. Deinking sludge utilization possibilities: technical, economic, and environmental assessments. Lappeenranta: Lappeenranta University of Technology. 70 pages. LUT Scientific and Expertise Publications, Research Report 37. ISBN (PDF) 978-952-265-770-1, ISSN 2243-3376