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A feasibility study of municipal solid waste incineration fly ash utilisation in Estonia.


The purpose of this paper is to discuss the alternative environmental management options for the utilisation of municipal solid waste (MSW) incineration fly ash (FA), which is generated at Iru Power Plant where MSW is incinerated in Estonia. To determine sustainable and economically feasible environmental management options for MSW incineration FA in Estonia, CO2 sequestration with a further carbonation process was examined. A partial Cost & Benefit Analysis has been conducted to compare the carbonation process to the current situation. Two carbonation options were developed. Option 1 is to use carbonated FA in any other processes based on the waste-to-product principle. Option 2 is to send carbonated FA to the non-hazardous landfill in Tallinn, Estonia. Important parameters, such as Net Present Value (NPV), Internal Rate of Return (IRR), Benefit-Cost Ratio (BCR) and Break Even Point (BEP), have been calculated for carbonation options and the current case. In addition, a sensitivity analysis has been conducted to examine its robustness. The results showed that the best option is carbonation Option 1 with NPV of 9,209,662 EUR, IRR of 43%, BCR of 2.63 and BEP between 2018 and 2019. Both Options 1 and 2 constitute more sustainable and environmentally friendly management options compared to the current situation. It can be concluded that this preliminary feasibility study showed that running a carbonation plant may be profitable and sustainable for Estonia. Currently, there is no treatment technology for MSW incineration FA in Estonia and FA is sent to a neighbouring country for further utilisation. This is the first study to demonstrate FA management options with economic and environmental benefits.