From Waste to Resource: An Economic Analysis of Landfill Mining for Refuse-Derived Fuel Production in Five Thai Landfills

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Parichat Suknark
Komsilp Wangyao
Isaree Jirajariyavech


Using the data from a prior investigation into the amount and quality of refuse-derived fuel extracted from five landfills, this study aimed to assess the economic viability of landfill mining across all landfills. The cost-benefit analysis involves the assessment of net present value, benefit-cost ratio, and economic internal rate of return to identify cost-effectiveness. The cost-benefit analysis results were related to the amount of refuse-derived fuel fractions in scenarios of processing both new and old waste. Nonthaburi active landfill site has the highest net present value (NPV) and benefit cost ratio (B/C ratio) which are 379,174,807.37 THB and 2.04, respectively. Followed by Nakhon Sawan active site which has NPV and B/C ratio of 187,649,865.46 THB and 2.12, respectively. In contrast, in the combined scenario (new and old waste), we found that, in addition to refuse-derived fuel quantity, refuse-derived fuel quality (in terms of calorific value) has an important effect on net present value; for example, soil cover and land recovery were essential benefits. The vital cost factors for old and new waste were refuse-derived fuel transportation and operating costs. Moreover, the refuse-derived fuel fraction was the primary factor influencing investment decisions. refuse-derived fuel price and transportation costs were the next-most significant factors in the absence of government support. The waste-separation process for mined waste should be improved in Thai landfills to increase refuse-derived fuel quantity. In addition, government policies are needed to secure landfill mining funding for projects that require additional support.

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