April 20, 2024

W-SMART Phase-I Pathway Analysis: Case Study - City of Boston, MA


The purpose of this study is to synthesize stakeholder and research learnings to date by exercising PNNL’s Waste - Sustainability Monitoring of Alternative Reuse Options over Time (W-SMART) sustainability protocol for the Greater Boston region. This report serves as a foundation for future discussion and project work to characterize the costs, risks, impacts, tradeoffs, and highest uses for major waste streams. This analysis differs from previous work by 1) incorporating results of a newly completed detailed resource assessment for the Greater Boston area; (2) providing a head-to-head pathway comparison without any policy supports (e.g., carbon or energy credits); and (3) focusing on locally relevant critical waste streams and reuse strategies, by assessing the cost-effectiveness of two complimentary pathways, including (a) expanded incineration of municipal solid waste (MSW) at existing treatment sites to produce baseload electricity, and (b) the conversion of blended municipal wastewater solids (i.e., sludge) and non-residential food waste to produce liquid transportation biofuels at a proposed hydrothermal liquefaction facility in Quincy, MA. The performance of each pathway is also compared to assumed business-as-usual waste management practices as a baseline.

Published: April 20, 2024


Seiple T.E., A. Coleman, C. Bakker, C.A. Antonopoulos, and A.L. White. 2023. W-SMART Phase-I Pathway Analysis: Case Study - City of Boston, MA Richland, WA: Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.