基于 LCA 的湖北省大型生物质能源项目环境影响评价.
Bioenergy has attracted particular interest among renewable energies as a workable strategy for reducing GHG emissions globally. One of the most common methods of biomass valorization is to produce biofuels (e.g., biogas, syngas, and briquette fuel). Focusing on biogas, the most important bioenergy form in China, it was found that the anaerobic digestion (AD) process produces massive amounts of digestate. This digestate leads to the accumulation of heavy metals and pathogens when improperly disposed of or applied directly to the soil. In conjunction with plans to reduce the use of chemical fertilizers, digestate was also found to be a strong alternative to biofertilizer production. At the same time, the raw biogas had to be used in more beneficial ways rather than being burned directly. It can be used for combined heat and power production (CHP), burned in a boiler to generate heat, as transportation fuel, or injected into the national grid after upgrading to higher quality biomethane. However, the abovementioned conversion technologies must be environmentally evaluated to quantify their environmental impacts. Therefore, the life cycle assessment (LCA) method was used to evaluate different bioenergy systems. The current thesis contains three main parts as follows:
In the first part, the LCA method was used to compare and quantify the environmental burdens of three rice straw (RS) utilization scenarios for producing biogas, briquette fuel, and syngas. To our knowledge, this is the first study that applies the LCA approach to assess these three bioenergy scenarios in a single study where the main goal was to determine the most sustainable option. A total of 10 mid-point impact categories were investigated. The results indicated that the three scenarios achieved net positive energy and net negative GHG balances. The briquette fuel scenarios had the highest net energy balance (11,115 MJ/tonne dry RS), while the syngas scenario had the highest net GHG (-2,315 kg CO2-eq./tonne dry RS). Moreover, the syngas scenario was the most beneficial to the environment, achieving negative results in 9 out of the 10 impact categories; the largest was marine ecotoxicity (-853,897 kg 1,4-DB-eq./tonne dry RS). The biogas scenario achieved emission savings in 3 out of the 10 categories. Although the briquette fuel scenario had no negative values in the 10 categories, its overall contribution to environmental burdens was relatively low.
In the second part, we focused on the biogas project, as it is the most widespread project in China and has received great attention from the Chinese government, especially in rural areas. The management of digestate generated from the AD process was investigated. Four scenarios of digestate utilization as the first LCA study in Hubei province were compared. The four scenarios included (i) biofertilizer pellets (BFPs), (ii) biocompost (BC), (iii) liquid biofertilizer (LBF), and (iv) powder biofertilizer (PBF). The results showed that the LBF scenario was the best treatment choice, achieving environmental benefits in five out of the ten impact categories examined; the highest was the marine aquatic ecotoxicity category (-141,304.03 kg 1,4-DB-eq./tonne digestate). Contrarily, the scenario with the least environmental benefits was the BC scenario in which it contributed to emissions in five categories; the most notable was the contribution to the global warming category with 23.49 kg CO2-eq./tonne digestate. However, all the studied scenarios achieved environmental gains compared to the chemical fertilizers, and the top three emission reduction categories were marine aquatic ecotoxicity, global warming, and human toxicity.
In the third part, focusing on evaluating raw biogas utilization, an LCA was conducted to assess three biogas utilization scenarios for energy production. The three scenarios are (i) biogas combustion in combined heat and power (CHP) unit, (ii) biogas combustion in a steam boiler, and (iii) biogas upgrading using a pressure swing adsorption (PSA) unit to determine the most sustainable option. The results revealed that the upgrading scenario was the best option, achieving emission savings in 8 out of 10 investigated impact categories. Among them, the emission saving was the highest in the marine aquatic ecotoxicity category (-4,276.97 kg 1,4-DB eq./MJ). The CHP scenario was the second-best option, followed by the boiler scenario (worst option), and both had the most beneficial performance in the ozone depletion potential category with 6.29E-08 and 9.88E-08 kg CFC-11-eq./MJ, respectively. The environmental burdens of the boiler scenario were the highest in the marine aquatic ecotoxicity category (248.92 kg 1,4-DB eq./MJ). Although the CHP and boiler scenarios contributed to environmental burdens in all impact categories, they achieved emission savings compared to fossil fuel-based systems.