Utilizing Marginalized Land for the Development of Symbiotic Waste-to-Energy Mini Grids in Remote Islands
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CitationGeorgoulias, Nikolaos. 2015. Utilizing Marginalized Land for the Development of Symbiotic Waste-to-Energy Mini Grids in Remote Islands. Master's thesis, Harvard Extension School.
AbstractRemote islands face increasingly pressing constraints in their efforts to satisfy their waste management, energy, and water needs in a sustainable manner. Their small scale and isolated context restrict the availability of natural resources and infrastructure commonly available in mainland regions, which facilitates an adverse dependency on imports and exclusive use of landfilling. This thesis aims to investigate systemic solutions to the waste management, energy and water problems encountered by insulated communities. Analysis evaluates the benefits and costs of a novel network based on a waste-to-energy facility against the business-as-usual methods in the region of the Northern Aegean Sea in Greece. The economic, social, and environmental sustainability of the two systems is evaluated through a cost-benefit analysis, using a comprehensive set of economic, environmental, and social indicators. Two main alternatives were investigated; an ENERGOS gasification plant and an Enerkem waste-to-biofuels plant. Results show that the current system is economically and environmentally unsustainable and that substantial benefits are achieved through the development of the proposed network. The results also revealed that the possibility to produce biofuels is not only the most economically, environmentally and socially feasible alternative, but also fosters several synergies and the development of a circular economy at the regional scale. The results of the analysis facilitate prudent decision-making with regard to natural resource management in island regions and can be utilized by other groups of islands with similar waste generation levels and challenges.
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