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Environmental and Economic Assessment of Swedish Municipal Solid Waste Management in a Systems Perspective
KTH, Kemiteknik.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-5661-2917
2003 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Waste management is something that affects most people. Thewaste amounts are still increasing, but the waste treatment ischanging towards recycling and integrated solutions. In Swedenproducers’responsibility for different products, a taxand bans on deposition of waste at landfills implicates areorganisation of the municipal solid waste management. Plansare made for new incineration plants, which leads to that wastecombustion comes to play a role in the reorganisation of theSwedish energy system as well. The energy system is supposed toadapt to governmental decisions on decommission of nuclearplants and decreased use of fossil fuels.

Waste from private households consists of hazardous waste,scrap waste, waste electronics and wastes that to a largeextent are generated in the kitchen. The latter type has beenstudied in this thesis, except for newsprint, glass- and metalpackages that by source separation haven’t ended up in thewaste bin. Besides the remaining amount of the above mentionedfractions, the waste consists of food waste, paper, cardboard-and plastic packages and inert material. About 80-90 % of thismixed household waste is combustible, and the major part ofthat is also possible to recycle.

Several systems analyses of municipalsolid waste managementhave been performed. Deposition at landfill has been comparedto energy recovery, recycling of material (plastic andcardboard) and recycling of nutrients (in food waste).Environmental impact, fuel consumption and costs are calculatedfor the entire lifecycle from the households, until the wasteis treated and the by-products have been taken care of.

To stop deposition at landfills is the most importantmeasure to take as to decrease the environmental impact fromlandfills, and instead use the waste as a resource, therebysubstituting production from virgin resources (avoidingresource extraction and emissions). The best alternative tolandfilling is incineration, but also material recycling andbiological treatment are possible.

Recycling of plastic has slightly less environmental impactand energy consumption than incineration. The difference issmall due to that plastic is such a small part of the totalwaste amount, and that just a small part of the collectedamount is recycled. Cardboard recycling is comparable toincineration; there are both advantages and disadvantages.Source separation of food waste may lead to higher transportemissions due to intensified collection, but severalenvironmental advantages are observed if the waste is digestedand the produced biogas substitutes diesel in busses.Composting has no environmental advantages compared toincineration, mainly due to lack of energy recovery. Therecycling options are more expensive than incineration. Theincreased cost must be seen in relation to the environmentalbenefits and decreased energy use. If the work with sourceseparation made by the households is included in the analysis,the welfare costs for source separation and recycling becomesnon-profitable. It is however doubted how much time is consumedand how it should be valuated in monetary terms.

In systems analyses, several impacts are not measured.Environmental impact has been studied, but not allenvironmental impact. As the parts of the system are underconstant change, the results are not true forever. Recyclingmay not be unambiguously advantageous today, but it can be inthe future.

Despite the fact that systems analysis has been developedduring 10 years in Sweden, there are still many decisions takenregarding waste management without support from systemsanalysis and use of computer models. The minority of users ispleased with the results achieved, but the systems analysis isfar from easy to use. The adaptation of tools and models to thedemands from the potential users should consider thatorganisations of different sizes have shifting demands andneeds.

The application areas for systems analysis and models arestrategic planning, decisions about larger investments andeducation in universities and within organisations. Systemsanalysis and models may be used in pre-planning procedures. Apotential is a more general application (Technology Assessment)in predominantly waste- and biofuel based energy processes, butalso for assessment of new technical components in a systemsperspective. The methodology and systems approach developedwithin the systems analysis has here been transformed to anassessment of environmental, economic and technical prestandaof technical systems in a broad sense.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH , 2003. , x, 56 p.
Keyword [en]
waste management, LCA, LCC, systems analysis, decisionmaking, computer model
National Category
Chemical Engineering
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-25625OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hig-25625DiVA: diva2:1160748
Public defence
2003-06-05, 12:00
Note

Vid disputationen var statusen för följande papers:

- paper II och V in press- paper IV och VI submitted- paper III manuscript.

Available from: 2017-11-29 Created: 2017-11-28 Last updated: 2017-11-29Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. ORWARE: a simulation tool for waste management
Open this publication in new window or tab >>ORWARE: a simulation tool for waste management
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2002 (English)In: Resources, Conservation and Recycling, ISSN 0921-3449, E-ISSN 1879-0658, Vol. 36, no 4, 287-307 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

A simulation model, ORWARE (ORganic WAste REsearch) is described. The model is mainly used as a tool for researchers in environmental systems analysis of waste management. It is a computer-based model for calculation of substance flows, environmental impacts, and costs of waste management. The model covers, despite the name, both organic and inorganic fractions in municipal waste. The model consists of a number of separate submodels, which describes a process in a real waste management system. The submodels may be combined to design a complete waste management system. Based on principles from life cycle assessment the model also comprises compensatory processes for conventional production of e.g. electricity, district heating and fertiliser. The compensatory system is included in order to fulfil the functional units, i.e. benefits from the waste management that are kept constant in the evaluation of different scenarios. ORWARE generates data on emissions, which are aggregated into different environmental impact categories, e.g. the greenhouse effect, acidification and eutrophication. Throughout the model all physical flows are described by the same variable vector, consisting of up to 50 substances. The extensive vector facilitates a thorough analysis of the results, but involves some difficulties in acquiring relevant data. Scientists have used ORWARE for 8 years in different case studies for model testing and practical application in the society. The aims have e.g. been to evaluate waste management plans and to optimise energy recovery from waste.

Keyword
Waste management; Material flow analysis; Systems analysis; Life cycle assessment; Simulation model; ORWARE
National Category
Environmental Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-25655 (URN)10.1016/S0921-3449(02)00031-9 (DOI)000178793600001 ()
Note

QC 20100505

Available from: 2005-12-13 Created: 2017-11-28 Last updated: 2017-11-29Bibliographically approved
2. Municipal Solid Waste Management from a Systems Perspective
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Municipal Solid Waste Management from a Systems Perspective
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2005 (English)In: Journal of Cleaner Production, ISSN 0959-6526, E-ISSN 1879-1786, Vol. 13, no 3, 241-252 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Different waste treatment options for municipal solid waste have been studied in a systems analysis. Different combinations of incineration, materials recycling of separated plastic and cardboard containers, and biological treatment (anaerobic digestion and composting) of biodegradable waste, were studied and compared to landfilling. The evaluation covered use of energy resources, environmental impact and financial and environmental costs. In the study, a calculation model ( ) based on methodology from life cycle assessment (LCA) was used. Case studies were performed in three Swedish municipalities: Uppsala, Stockholm, and Älvdalen.

The study shows that reduced landfilling in favour of increased recycling of energy and materials lead to lower environmental impact, lower consumption of energy resources, and lower economic costs. Landfilling of energy-rich waste should be avoided as far as possible, partly because of the negative environmental impacts from landfilling, but mainly because of the low recovery of resources when landfilling.

Differences between materials recycling, nutrient recycling and incineration are small but in general recycling of plastic is somewhat better than incineration and biological treatment somewhat worse.

When planning waste management, it is important to know that the choice of waste treatment method affects processes outside the waste management system, such as generation of district heating, electricity, vehicle fuel, plastic, cardboard, and fertiliser.

Keyword
LCA; LCC; Environmental systems analysis; Waste management; Recycling; Simulation model; Image ; Scenarios; Case study
National Category
Environmental Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-25653 (URN)10.1016/j.jclepro.2004.02.018 (DOI)000225529700004 ()2-s2.0-8344270205 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2017-11-28 Created: 2017-11-28 Last updated: 2017-11-29Bibliographically approved
3. Identification and testing of potential key parameters in system analysis of municipal solid waste management
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Identification and testing of potential key parameters in system analysis of municipal solid waste management
2010 (English)In: Resources, Conservation and Recycling, ISSN 0921-3449, E-ISSN 1879-0658, Vol. 54, no 12, 1095-1099 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Life cycle assessment (LCA) and life cycle costing (LCC) are well-established methods used for many years in many countries for system analysis of waste management. According to standard LCA procedure the assessment should include improvement analysis, in many cases this is performed by simple sensitivity analyses. An obstacle to perform more thorough sensitivity analyses is that it is hard to distinguish input data important to the results, i.e. key parameters. This paper further elaborates sensitivity analyses performed in an environmental system analysis fora hypothetical Swedish municipality. In this paper, the method to identify and test input data that can be categorised as potential key parameters is described. The method and the results from computer simulations of the identified parameters are presented, and some conclusions are drawn regarding the robustness of the results for environmental impact from municipal solid waste management. The major conclusion is that the results are robust. Changes in results, when changing the preconditions, are often small and the changes observed do not lead to new conclusions; i.e., a change of ranking order between treatment options.

Keyword
Life cycle assessment (LCA), Life cycle costing (LCC), System analysis, Municipal solid waste management (MSW), Sensitivity analysis, Key parameter, ORWARE
National Category
Environmental Management
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-10266 (URN)10.1016/j.resconrec.2010.03.002 (DOI)000281752400008 ()2-s2.0-77955852067 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2011-09-21 Created: 2011-09-21 Last updated: 2017-12-08Bibliographically approved
4. ORWARE: an aid to Environmental Technology Chain Assessment
Open this publication in new window or tab >>ORWARE: an aid to Environmental Technology Chain Assessment
2005 (English)In: Journal of Cleaner Production, ISSN 0959-6526, E-ISSN 1879-1786, Vol. 13, no 3, 265-274 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This article discusses the ORWARE tool, a model originally developed for environmental systems analysis of waste management systems, and shows its prospect as a tool for environmental technology chain assessment. Different concepts of technology assessment are presented to put ORWARE into context in the discussion that has been going for more than two decades since the establishment of the US Congressional Office of Technology Assessment (OTA). An even-handed assessment is important in different ways such as reproducibility, reliability, credibility, etc. Conventional technology assessment (TA) relied on the judgements and intuition of the assessors. A computer-based tool such as ORWARE provides a basis for transparency and a structured management of input and output data that cover ecological and economic parameters. This permits consistent and coherent technology assessments. Using quantitative analysis as in ORWARE makes comparison and addition of values across chain of technologies easier. We illustrate the application of the model in environmental technology chain assessment through a study of alternative technical systems linking waste management to vehicle fuel production and use. The principles of material and substance flow modelling, life cycle perspective, and graphical modelling featured in ORWARE offer a generic structure for environmentally focused TA of chains and networks of technical processes.

Keyword
Material flow analysis; Substance flow analysis; Life cycle assessment; Technology assessment; Waste management
National Category
Environmental Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-25654 (URN)10.1016/j.jclepro.2004.02.019 (DOI)000225529700006 ()2-s2.0-8344290442 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2017-11-28 Created: 2017-11-28 Last updated: 2017-11-29Bibliographically approved
5. Technology assessment of thermal treatment technologies using ORWARE
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Technology assessment of thermal treatment technologies using ORWARE
2005 (English)In: Energy Conversion and Management, ISSN 0196-8904, E-ISSN 1879-2227, Vol. 46, no 5, 797-819 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

A technology assessment of thermal treatment technologies for wastes was performed in the form of scenarios of chains of technologies. The Swedish assessment tool, ORWARE, was used for the assessment. The scenarios of chains of thermal technologies assessed were gasification with catalytic combustion, gasification with flame combustion, incineration and landfilling. The landfilling scenario was used as a reference for comparison. The technologies were assessed from ecological and economic points of view.

The results are presented in terms of global warming potential, acidification potential, eutrophication potential, consumption of primary energy carriers and welfare costs. From the simulations, gasification followed by catalytic combustion with energy recovery in a combined cycle appeared to be the most competitive technology from an ecological point of view. On the other hand, this alternative was more expensive than incineration. A sensitivity analysis was done regarding electricity prices to show which technology wins at what value of the unit price of electricity (SEK/kW h).

Within this study, it was possible to make a comparison both between a combined cycle and a Rankine cycle (a system pair) and at the same time between flame combustion and catalytic combustion (a technology pair). To use gasification just as a treatment technology is not more appealing than incineration, but the possibility of combining gasification with a combined cycle is attractive in terms of electricity production.

This research was done in connection with an empirical R&D work on both gasification of waste and catalytic combustion of the gasified waste at the Division of Chemical Technology, Royal Institute of Technology (KTH), Sweden.

Keyword
Technology assessment; Material flow analysis; Substance flow analysis; Life cycle assessment; Life cycle costing; Thermal technologies; ORWARE
National Category
Environmental Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-25656 (URN)10.1016/j.enconman.2004.04.011 (DOI)000226448400011 ()2-s2.0-10444281767 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2017-11-28 Created: 2017-11-28 Last updated: 2017-11-29Bibliographically approved

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