LAPSE:2023.35621
Published Article
LAPSE:2023.35621
Life Cycle Assessment and Cost−Benefit Analysis as Combined Economic−Environmental Assessment Tools: Application to an Anaerobic Digestion Plant
May 23, 2023
In the present study, using Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) and Cost−Benefit Analysis (CBA), we assess the economic−environmental performance of an anaerobic digestion (AD) plant, fed by cultured crops (i.e., maize and wheat), in Italy. The biogas generated by the AD plant is used for the production of electricity, imputed into the Italian energy grid. The LCA evaluated potential greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, measured via Carbon Footprint (CF), while the CBA analysed the financial and economic profiles via the Net Present Value (NPV) and Internal Rate of Return (IRR) indicators. The strength of combining these methodologies is the joint examination of the financial and social−environmental performance of the plant. The results of the CBA are complemented with the GHG emissions avoided by producing electricity from biogas. The CF of 0.28 kg CO2eq·kWh−1 of electricity produced is mainly due to the nitrogen fertilizers involved in the production of the additional feedstock matrix (i.e., maize flour). In the CBA, the negative financial NPV and the financial IRR, which is lower than the discount rate applied, highlight the inability of the net revenue to repay the initial investment. Regarding the social desirability, the economic analysis, enriched by the LCA outcomes, shows a positive economic performance, demonstrating that the combination of information from different methodologies enables wider consideration for the anaerobic digestion plant. In line with the Italian Recovery and Resilience Plan’s aim to strongly increase the exploitation of renewable resources, an AD plant fed by dedicated crops could valorise the marginal uncultivated land, obtaining energy without consuming land for food production. Moreover, this AD plant could contribute to the creation of repeatable small-scale energy production systems able to sustain the demand of local communities.
Keywords
anaerobic digestion, biogas, carbon footprint, cost benefit analysis, economic–environmental assessment, environmental externality
Suggested Citation
Bruno M, Marchi M, Ermini N, Niccolucci V, Pulselli FM. Life Cycle Assessment and Cost−Benefit Analysis as Combined Economic−Environmental Assessment Tools: Application to an Anaerobic Digestion Plant. (2023). LAPSE:2023.35621
Author Affiliations
Bruno M: Ecodynamics Group, Department of Physical Sciences, Earth and Environment, University of Siena, Piazzetta Enzo Tiezzi 1, 53100 Siena, Italy
Marchi M: Ecodynamics Group, Department of Physical Sciences, Earth and Environment, University of Siena, Piazzetta Enzo Tiezzi 1, 53100 Siena, Italy [ORCID]
Ermini N: Department of Economics and Statistics, University of Siena, Piazza San Francesco 7-8, 53100 Siena, Italy
Niccolucci V: Ecodynamics Group, Department of Physical Sciences, Earth and Environment, University of Siena, Piazzetta Enzo Tiezzi 1, 53100 Siena, Italy [ORCID]
Pulselli FM: Ecodynamics Group, Department of Physical Sciences, Earth and Environment, University of Siena, Piazzetta Enzo Tiezzi 1, 53100 Siena, Italy [ORCID]
Journal Name
Energies
Volume
16
Issue
9
First Page
3686
Year
2023
Publication Date
2023-04-25
Published Version
ISSN
1996-1073
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Original Submission
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PII: en16093686, Publication Type: Journal Article
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LAPSE:2023.35621
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doi:10.3390/en16093686
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May 23, 2023
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May 23, 2023
 
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Calvin Tsay
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