Assessing the sustainability of Best Available Techniques (BAT): Methodology and application in the ceramic tiles industry

V. Ibáñez-Forés, M. D. Bovea, A. Azapagic

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    This paper presents a methodology for identifying sustainable and most appropriate BAT for a given industrial installation and sector. The methodology involves identification of environmental hot spots from an installation by using life cycle assessment (LCA) to guide the selection of candidate BAT options for targeting the hot spots. The selected BAT options are then assessed on sustainability using relevant environmental, economic, technical and social indicators. This enables benchmarking of different options and selection of the most appropriate alternative(s) for the system of interest. The application of the approach is illustrated by a case study of ceramic tiles produced in Spain. The results indicate that firing and drying are the hot spots for most sustainability impacts considered. To target these, 11 BAT options used in 13 alternative configurations of the manufacturing process have been considered and assessed on sustainability. The results suggest that the most sustainable BAT options for the ceramic tiles industry, both environmentally and economically, include heat recovery from the flue gas and its clean-up with CaCO3 and/or Ca(OH)2. Depending on the configuration, cost savings of up to 30% and environmental improvements of over 95% can be achieved with these BAT options. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)162-176
    Number of pages14
    JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
    Publication statusPublished - 15 Jul 2013


    • Best Available Technology (BAT)
    • Ceramic tiles industry
    • Eco-efficiency
    • LCA
    • Sustainability assessment


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