Article CC BY 4.0
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Estimating uncertainties in the life cycle assessment of composting household biowaste and urban green waste in Germany

GND
1295938499
ORCID
0000-0001-8394-9171
Affiliation
Thünen-Institute of Agricultural Technology, Bundesallee 47, Brunswick, Germany
Joseph, Ben;
GND
173152546
ORCID
0000-0003-4031-2204
Affiliation
Thünen-Institute of Agricultural Technology, Bundesallee 47, Brunswick, Germany
Stichnothe, Heinz

Life cycle assessment (LCA) of waste treatment processes is often associated with considerable uncertainties. The aim of this study is to estimate the total uncertainty in the modelled composting system and the influence of material and process parameters on the uncertainty. Four composting combinations with fresh (FC) and mature substrate compost (MSC) from partially enclosed (PEC) and open composting (OC) were investigated. Perturbation analysis was used to determine the effect of parameters on the result and Monte Carlo simulation was used to estimate the total uncertainty. This study showed that the production of MSC using PEC had the lowest overall impacts across all impact categories except ozone depletion. Results of the Monte Carlo simulation showed that comparing composting options was challenging. The sensitivity ratios obtained from the perturbation analysis showed that the process parameter percentage of carbon fraction degraded was the most influential for FC. In MSC, the moisture content in the input material and the substitution factor used for peat were the most influential. Monte Carlo simulations demonstrated the overall uncertainty of the model and its relevance when comparing results between combinations. The perturbation analysis identified the parameters that required more accurate data to reduce the uncertainty in the model.

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