Canadian Forest Service Publications

A cost analysis of bioenergy-generated ash disposal options in Canada. 2017. Hope, E.; McKenney, D.W.; Allen, D.J.; Pedlar, J.H. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 47(9):1222-1231.

Year: 2017

Issued by: Great Lakes Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 38290

Language: English

Availability: PDF (request by e-mail)

Available from the Journal's Web site.
DOI: 10.1139/cjfr-2016-0524

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Plain Language Summary

The burning of wood for bioenergy produces significant amounts of ash residue which requires disposal. We constructed a cost model to evaluate the unit costs of three ash disposal methods in the Canadian context: landfills owned and operated by the bioenergy facility, municipal landfills, and forest site application. The model accounts for costs related to the pre-treatment, transportation, and disposal of ash at a landfill or forest site. Model parameter values were assigned appropriate distributions (based on published literature and industry surveys) and Monte Carlo simulations were employed to produce a range of model outputs for each disposal option. Results indicate that existing landfills (if available for ash disposal) are likely the most cost effective option (median value of $77/tonne), although applying ash to a forest site is only ~15-20% more costly (median value of $92/tonne). Indeed the unit cost estimates across disposal options have considerable overlap. This suggests that close examination of firm specific circumstances is highly warranted when choosing a disposal approach – even in the absence of accounting for potential environmental benefits associated with forest-site disposal of ash.