N-ViroFuel™ BEAM Module Development

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N-Viro Systems Canada LP

The evaluation of residuals management options includes environmental, social and financial considerations.  A key environmental consideration is greenhouse gases (GHGs).  Understanding the emissions and offsets is important.  SYLVIS developed the Biosolids Emissions Assessment Model (BEAM), a tool used to calculate the greenhouse gas impact of common biosolids treatment and management processes.  An important feature of the BEAM is its modular design – allowing for new modules to be easily integrated into the model.  N-Viro contracted SYLVIS to develop an add-in module to the BEAM that would allow the tracking of lifecycle greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from a planned biosolids thermal drying facility in Nova Scotia, Canada.

SYLVIS reviewed detailed engineering plans for the drying/co-generation facilities and the latest published research on GHG emissions during organic residuals handling. Using emerging practices in GHG emissions accounting and the tools of lifecycle analysis, SYLVIS developed a spreadsheet calculator within the BEAM that estimates the total and net GHG emissions after electricity generation offsets. The module used only a small number of basic inputs in a simple, streamlined user interface.  SYLVIS designed the N-ViroFuel™ module to account for emissions associated with transportation and manufacturing of input materials, energy consumption during materials processing, nitrogen transformations during N-ViroFuel™ production and combustion and supplemental fossil fuel use in the combustion process.  Greenhouse gas offsets considered in the module included the production of electricity using the renewable N-ViroFuel™ source that displaced the production of electricity using fossil fuels.  The module design and data input requirements were verified, the final module produced and populated with data inputs provided by N-Viro to generate a GHG balance for the N-ViroFuel™ process.

The N-ViroFuel™ BEAM module provides N-Viro with a process-specific tool for assessing the GHG balance of their technology.  The data inputs can be adjusted to allow evaluation of the impacts of process modifications on the system GHG balance.  Through our experience in developing the initial BEAM, SYLVIS has the expertise and experience to develop new, process-specific modules that can support the evaluation of technologies from a GHG perspective.  This tool enables residuals generators and users to quantitatively compare the GHG balance within and between management options in short and long-term planning.