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Emission Assessment of Rice Husk Combustion for Power Production

Authors: Thipwimon Chungsangunsit, Shabbir H. Gheewala, Suthum Patumsawad


Rice husk is one of the alternative fuels for Thailand because of its high potential and environmental benefits. Nonetheless, the environmental profile of the electricity production from rice husk must be assessed to ensure reduced environmental damage. A 10 MW pilot plant using rice husk as feedstock is the study site. The environmental impacts from rice husk power plant are evaluated by using the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) methodology. Energy, material and carbon balances have been determined for tracing the system flow. Carbon closure has been used for describing of the net amount of CO2 released from the system in relation to the amount being recycled between the power plant and the CO2 adsorbed by rice husk. The transportation of rice husk to the power plant has significant on global warming, but not on acidification and photo-oxidant formation. The results showed that the impact potentials from rice husk power plant are lesser than the conventional plants for most of the categories considered; except the photo-oxidant formation potential from CO. The high CO from rice husk power plant may be due to low boiler efficiency and high moisture content in rice husk. The performance of the study site can be enhanced by improving the combustion efficiency.

Keywords: Renewable Energy, Environmental Impact, fossil fuels, rice husk, Life Cycle Assessment (LCA)

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