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A Sensitivity Analysis of Greenhouse Gas Emissions Estimates Used for Comparing Sludge/Biosolids Handling Alternatives

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Varying conclusions have been drawn regarding biosolids handling alternatives and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, including the impact of transportation on the total annual GHG emissions. The objective of this study was to analyze the sensitivity of total annual GHG emissions estimates to variations in input parameters using site-specific sludge/biosolids process and handling alternatives for three agencies. Emissions from electricity consumption and offsets for electricity production were determined to be significantly higher than from transportation for the three agencies. Percent solids and the hauling distance therefore had relatively low impact on the total annual GHG emissions. Testing a range of published factors for carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) emissions produced per megawatt-hour (MWh) of electricity consumed or offset significantly affected the relative emissions of differing treatment trains. Results indicated that the emissions levels of the local electricity provider had the greatest influence on total emissions, more than transportation distance and percent solids within the tested ranges.
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Keywords: biosolids; carbon dioxide equivalent; greenhouse gas emissions; sludge

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2010-01-01

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