Environmental impact and occupational risk in gasification plants processing residues of sewage sludge and refuse-derived fuel: a review

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Octávio Alves
Margarida Gonçalves
Paulo Brito
Eliseu Monteiro
Celeste Jacinto


Scope & Goals: This article presents a coupled review of scientific literature on environmental impact, as well as occupational safety and health, of gasification plants using residues of sewage sludge and refuse-derived fuel. Methods: The survey, covering a 10-year time span, was made through a typical systematic review of literature, retrieved from online databases of scientific publications and by using general search engines; cross-referencing of citations included in documents were also considered. Results: Two tables summarizing 38 publications were created, indicating relevant studies on the matter(s), and providing a short description on risks, goals and main findings of each study, followed by a general discussion. Conclusions: Overall, gas explosion and inhalation of toxic gases were the most common risks reported in published studies, being considered negligible if safety measures are adopted; however there are fewer studies focusing on occupational safety in gasification plants as compared with the environmental issue. Release of heavy metals, tar production and toxic gases are the main environmental concerns. From the prevention viewpoint, this review shows that treatment and valorisation of harmful tars must be improved in future technological and scientific developments.

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