Combined Electricity Production and Thermally Driven Cooling from Municipal Solid Waste

Abstract: Increasingly intensive efforts are being made to enhance energy systems via augmented introduction of renewable energy along with improved energy efficiency. Resource constraints and sustained high fossil fuel prices have created a new phenomenon in the world market. Enhanced energy security and renewable energy development are currently high on public agenda worldwide for achieving a high standard of welfare for future generations. Biomass and municipal solid waste (MSW) have widely been accepted as important locally-available renewable energy sources offering low carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. Concerning solid waste management, it has become a critical issue in Southeast Asia since the most popular form for waste disposal still employs open dumping and landfilling. While the need for a complete sustainable energy solution is apparent, solid waste management is also an essential objective, so it makes sense to explore ways in which the two can be joined. Electricity production in combination with energy recovery from flue gases in thermal treatment plants is an integral part of MSW management for many industrialized nations. In Sweden, MSW is considered as an important fuel resource for partially meeting EU environmental targets within cogeneration. However it is normally difficult to justify traditional cogeneration in tropical locations since there is little need for the heat produced. Similarly, MSW-fired cogeneration usually operates with low capacity during non-heating season in Sweden. Therefore, it is very important to find new alternatives for energy applications from waste, such as the implementation of thermally driven cooling processes via absorption cooling in addition to electricity production. The work presented herein concentrates first on an investigation of electricity generation from MSW power plants and various energy applications from waste in tropical urban areas. The potential for various types of absorption chillers driven by MSW power plants for providing both electricity and cooling is of particular interest. Additionally a demonstration and analysis of decentralized thermally driven cooling in district heating network supplied by low temperature heat from a cogeneration of MSW have been conducted. This study aims at developing the best system configuration as well as finding improved system design and control for a combination of district heating and distributed thermally driven cooling. Results show that MSW incineration has the ability to lessen environmental impacts associated with waste disposal, and it can contribute positively towards expanding biomass-based energy production in Southeast Asia. For electricity production, the proposed hybrid dual-fuel (MSW/natural gas) cycles feature attractive electrical efficiency improvements, leading to greenhouse gas emissions reduction. Cogeneration coupled with thermally driven cooling is a solution that holds promise for uniting enhanced sustainability with economic advantages. The system offers great opportunity for primary energy saving, increasing electrical yield and can significantly reduce CO2 emissions per unit of cooling as compared to compression chiller. The demonstration and simulation have also revealed that there is a potential with some modifications and improvements to employ decentralized thermally driven cooling in district heating networks even in temperate regions like Sweden. Thus, expanding cogeneration towards trigeneration can augment the energy supply for summer months in Europe and for year-round cooling in tropical locations.