2009 Volume 5 Issue 4 Pages 486-500
Background, Aim and Scope. Feedstock recycling has received attention as an effective method to recycle waste plastics. However, estimating the reduction potential by LCA using coke oven and blast furnace in steel works has been a challenging task due to the complex structure of energy flow in steel works. Municipal waste plastics consist of several plastic resins. Previous studies have generally disregarded the composition of waste plastics, which varies significantly depending on the geographical area. If the reduction potentials by using each plastic resin in steel works can be quantified, the potential of municipal waste plastics (mixtures of plastic resins) can be estimated by summing up the potential of each resin multiplied by the composition of each resin in municipal waste plastics. Therefore, the goal of this study is to investigate the reduction potentials of CO2 emissions by using individual plastic resins (PE, PP, PS, PET) and those for municipal waste plastics in the coke oven and blast furnace.
Materials and Methods. A model was developed to clarify the energy flow in steel works. In order to estimate the changes in energy and material balance in coke ovens when waste plastics are charged, the equations to calculate the coke product yield, gas product yield, and oil product yields of each plastic resin were derived from previous studies. The Rist model was adopted to quantify the changes in the inputs and outputs when plastics were fed into a blast furnace. Then, a matrix calculation method was used to calculate the change in energy balance before and after plastics are fed into a coke oven.
Results. It was confirmed that product yields of municipal waste plastics (mixtures of plastic resins) could be estimated by summing up the product yield of each plastic resin multiplied by the composition of each resin in municipal waste plastics. In both cases of coke oven and blast furnace feedstock recycling, the reduction potential of CO2 emissions varies significantly depending on the plastic resins. For example, in the case of coke oven chemical feedstock recycling, the reduction potential of PS and PP is larger than that of PE. On the other hand, in the case of blast furnace feedstock recycling, PE has the largest CO2 emissions reduction potential, whereas, the CO2 emission reduction potential of PP is smaller than those of PE and PS. In both cases, PET has negative CO2 emission reduction potentials, i.e., there is an increase of CO2 emissions. In addition, the reduction potentials of CO2 emissions are slightly different in each city.
Discussions. The differences in the reduction potentials of CO2 emissions by coke oven chemical feedstock recycling of each plastic resin is attributable to the differences in calorific values and coke product yields of each plastic resin. On the other hand, the difference in the CO2 emission reduction potential for each plastic resin in blast furnace feedstock recycling is attributable to the difference in calorific values and the carbon and hydrogen content of each plastic resin, which leads to a difference in the coke substitution effect by each plastic resin. In both cases, the difference in those of municipal waste plastics is mostly attributable to the amount of impurities (e.g., ash, water) in the municipal waste plastics.
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