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Surrey, United Kingdom

Background: Waste management, energy resource development and sustainability are all subject matters of global interest that have led to the development of low-carbon alternative fuels, such as bioethanol from biological wastes. The purpose of this study was to determine the economic and environmental performance of using municipal solid waste (MSW) for bioethanol production within the UK. Results: Life cycle analysis and economic evaluation techniques were used to determine the GHG emissions and economic performance of a prospective MSW plant operating to recover recyclables and produce ethanol from the remaining biological component. It was determined that an MSW plant producing 26 million l of ethanol per year and recovering a total of 49,000 tonnes per year of glass metals and plastics would have an internal rate of return of 27% and net GHG emissions savings of 137%. Conclusion: The process was shown to be a favorable option for treating MSW in the UK, provided appropriate tipping fees and government subsidies are in place. © 2012 Future Science Ltd. Source

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