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Optimising the energy recovery and the sustainability of Swiss municipal solid waste management

English title Optimising the energy recovery and the sustainability of Swiss municipal solid waste management
Applicant Hellweg Stefanie
Number 154006
Funding scheme NRP 70 Energy Turnaround
Research institution Institut für Umweltingenieurwissenschaften ETH Zürich
Institution of higher education ETH Zurich - ETHZ
Main discipline Other disciplines of Environmental Sciences
Start/End 01.10.2014 - 31.12.2018
Approved amount 248'829.00
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All Disciplines (2)

Discipline
Other disciplines of Environmental Sciences
Other disciplines of Engineering Sciences

Keywords (6)

energy efficiency, resource management, waste; energy from waste; waste management; resource management; environmental assessment; optimisation

Lay Summary (German)

Lead
Abfälle sind eine bisher nur beschränkt genutzte Energiequelle im menschlichen Umfeld. Die Verwertung von Haushaltsabfällen in der Schweiz soll darum hinsichtlich ihres Beitrags zur Energiewende un-tersucht und nachhaltig optimiert werden.
Lay summary

Jährlich fallen pro Einwohner 700 kg Abfall an: 50% werden einer thermischen Behandlung unterzogen, die restlichen 50% den Recyclingprozessen zugeführt. Während in der Kehrichtverbrennungsanlage direkt Strom und Wärme zurückgewonnen werden können, kann das stoffliche Recycling durch die daraus folgende Substitution primärer Materialien indirekt Energie sparen. Im vorliegenden Projekt wird eine Material- und Energieflussanalyse der heutigen Schweizer Abfallwirtschaft die vorhandenen Potenziale aufzeigen. Nachfolgend wird eine Ökobilanz der Abfallwirtschaft die Hot-Spots mit grösster ökologischer Relevanz aufzeigen. Anschliessend werden optimale Verwertungs- und Entsorgungswege identifiziert. Die angestrebte gesamtheitliche Betrachtung berücksichtigt die heutigen Kapazitäten und technischen Restriktionen.  In Zusammenarbeit mit den Partnerprojekten wird die ökologische Optimierung durch eine ökonomische Betrachtung sowie einer Studie zum Transition Management, also der Umsetzbarkeit, ergänzt, um Strategien für eine optimierte Abfallwirtschaft zu formulieren.

Die Energierückgewinnung aus der Verwertung von Schweizerischen Haushaltsabfällen soll modelliert und aus energetischer, ökologischer und ökonomischer Sicht optimiert werden.  Aus den Modellresultaten sollen Empfehlungen abgeleitet und deren Umsetzbarkeit untersucht werden, um Strategien für eine optimierte Haushaltsabfallverwertung herzuleiten. Damit soll der Beitrag der Verwertung von Haushaltsabfällen zur Energiewende nachhaltig optimiert werden.

Das energetische Potenzial von Haushaltsabfällen ist heute nur zu einem Teil genutzt. Im Rahmen des vorliegenden Projekts werden Möglichkeiten für eine verbesserte Ausnutzung durch eine gesamtheitliche Analyse identifiziert. Das Projekt findet in enger Zusammenarbeit mit der Industrie und den betroffenen Ämtern statt, um das vorhandene Wissen abzuholen und um die Umsetzung von erarbeiteten Strategien zu erleichtern.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 04.10.2014

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Publications

Publication
Environmental optimization of biomass use for energy under alternative future energy scenarios for Switzerland
Vadenbo Carl, Tonini Davide, Burg Vanessa, Astrup Thomas Fruergaard, Thees Oliver, Hellweg Stefanie (2018), Environmental optimization of biomass use for energy under alternative future energy scenarios for Switzerland, in Biomass and Bioenergy, 119, 462-472.
Modular life cycle assessment of municipal solid waste management
Haupt M., Kägi T., Hellweg S. (2018), Modular life cycle assessment of municipal solid waste management, in Waste Management, 79, 815-827.
Is there an environmentally optimal separate collection rate?
Haupt M., Waser E., Würmli J.C., Hellweg S. (2018), Is there an environmentally optimal separate collection rate?, in Waste Management, 77, 220-224.
Recycling processes and quality of secondary materials: Food for thought for waste-management-oriented life cycle assessment studies.
Rigamonti Luzia, Niero M, Haupt Melanie, Grosso M, Judl Joachim (2018), Recycling processes and quality of secondary materials: Food for thought for waste-management-oriented life cycle assessment studies., in Waste Management, 76, 261-265.
Environmental Assessment of Resource and Energy Recovery in Waste Management Systems
HauptMelanie (2018), Environmental Assessment of Resource and Energy Recovery in Waste Management Systems, none, Zurich.
Life cycle inventories of waste management processes
Haupt Melanie, Kägi Thomas, Hellweg Stefanie (2018), Life cycle inventories of waste management processes, in Data in Brief.
Do We Have the Right Performance Indicators for the Circular Economy?
Haupt Melanie, Vadenbo Carl, Hellweg Stefanie (2017), Do We Have the Right Performance Indicators for the Circular Economy?, in Journal of Industrial Ecology, 21(3), 615-627.
Influence of input-scrap quality on the environmental impact of secondary steel production
Haupt Melanie, Vadenbo Carl, Zeltner Christoph, Hellweg Stefanie (2017), Influence of input-scrap quality on the environmental impact of secondary steel production, in Journal of Industrial Ecology, 21(2), 391-401.

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
TU Vienna, Research Center of Waste and Resource Management, Prof. H. Rechberger Austria (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Exchange of personnel
DTU Environment, Department for Environmental Engineering, Prof. T. Astrup Denmark (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Exchange of personnel
Neosys Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Industry/business/other use-inspired collaboration
Model AG Switzerland (Europe)
- Industry/business/other use-inspired collaboration
Utzenstorf Papier AG Switzerland (Europe)
- Industry/business/other use-inspired collaboration
InnoRecycling AG Switzerland (Europe)
- Industry/business/other use-inspired collaboration
Swiss Recycling Switzerland (Europe)
- Industry/business/other use-inspired collaboration
PET Recycling Schweiz Switzerland (Europe)
- Industry/business/other use-inspired collaboration
Perlen Papier AG Switzerland (Europe)
- Industry/business/other use-inspired collaboration
Carbotech AG Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Industry/business/other use-inspired collaboration
Zentrum für Abfall und Ressourcenwirtschaft (ZAR) Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Research Infrastructure
- Industry/business/other use-inspired collaboration
BAFU, BFE Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Industry/business/other use-inspired collaboration
Texaid Switzerland (Europe)
- Industry/business/other use-inspired collaboration
Amt für Abfall, Wasser, Energie und Luft des Kantons Zürich (AWEL) Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Industry/business/other use-inspired collaboration
Migros Genossenschafts-Bund Switzerland (Europe)
- Industry/business/other use-inspired collaboration
Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research (WSL) Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
Verband der Betreiber Schweizerischer Abfallverwertungsanlagen VBSA Switzerland (Europe)
- Industry/business/other use-inspired collaboration
Ferro Recycling Switzerland (Europe)
- Industry/business/other use-inspired collaboration
KWB Plan Real Switzerland (Europe)
- Industry/business/other use-inspired collaboration
IGORA Switzerland (Europe)
- Industry/business/other use-inspired collaboration
Stahl Gerlafingen Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Exchange of personnel
- Industry/business/other use-inspired collaboration
Imperical College London Great Britain and Northern Ireland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Exchange of personnel
Holcim Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Industry/business/other use-inspired collaboration
Yale University, Center of Industrial Ecology, Prof. T. Graedel United States of America (North America)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Exchange of personnel
Recycling Papier und Karton (RPK) Switzerland (Europe)
- Industry/business/other use-inspired collaboration

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
2nd Conference on Life Cycle Assessment of waste - Integrated Residual Resource Management and Assessment Poster Is there an environmentally optimal separate collection rate? 18.06.2018 Snekkersten, Denmark Haupt Melanie; Hellweg Stefanie;
2nd Conference on Life Cycle Assessment of waste - Integrated Residual Resource Management and Assessment Talk given at a conference Is there an environmentally optimal separate collection rate? AND: How to integrate impurities in waste management optimization? 18.06.2018 Snekkersten, Denmark Haupt Melanie; Hellweg Stefanie;
Life Cycle Assessment and Other Assessment Tools for Waste Management and Resource Optimization Poster Combining MFA, LCA and optimization techniques to improve MSW management in Switzerland 05.06.2018 Cetraro, Italy Vadenbo Carl; Hellweg Stefanie; Haupt Melanie;
The Role of Industrial Ecology in Reaching the Sustainable Development Goals Talk given at a conference Developing Industrial Ecology Technologies in a Full Scale Laboratory 20.05.2018 Les Diablerets, Switzerland Hellweg Stefanie; Haupt Melanie;
Jahresschlussessen Technische Gesellschaft Zürich Individual talk Chancen und Umweltwirkungen von Recycling und Abfallverbrennung 04.12.2017 Zurich, Switzerland Hellweg Stefanie;
International Expert Group on Life Cycle Assessment of Waste Management Systems (IEG) Individual talk Waste management indicators for Circular Economy / Environmental assessment of Swiss municipal solid waste management 11.09.2017 Politecnico di Milano, Italy Haupt Melanie;
9th biennial conference of the International Society for Industrial Ecology (ISIE) Talk given at a conference Environmental optimization of Swiss municipal solid waste management to support the energy turn-around 25.06.2017 Chicago, United States of America Hellweg Stefanie; Haupt Melanie; Vadenbo Carl;
9th biennial conference of the International Society for Industrial Ecology (ISIE) Talk given at a conference Waste management indicators for Circular Economy: Comparison of collection and recycling rates 25.06.2017 Chicago, United States of America Vadenbo Carl; Haupt Melanie; Hellweg Stefanie;
LCA Discussion Forum 63: How can LCA support the circular Economy? Talk given at a conference Managing waste for an efficient and clean Circular Economy: indicators and tools 30.11.2016 Zurich, Switzerland Hellweg Stefanie; Haupt Melanie; Vadenbo Carl;
6th International Symposium on Energy from Biomass and Waste Talk given at a conference Life Cycle Assessment of Swiss Municipal Solid Waste Management 14.11.2016 Venice, Italy Vadenbo Carl; Haupt Melanie; Hellweg Stefanie;
EcoBalance 2016 Poster Recycling rates as indicator for circular economy? 03.10.2016 Kyoto, Japan Hellweg Stefanie; Vadenbo Carl; Haupt Melanie;
Life Cycle Assessment and Other Assessment Tools for Waste Management and Resource Optimization Talk given at a conference Combining MFA, LCA and optimization to improve MSW management in Switzerland 05.06.2016 Cetraro, Italy Vadenbo Carl; Hellweg Stefanie; Haupt Melanie;
Waste Engineering Conference Talk given at a conference Keynote: 'Environmental opportunities and limits of material recycling and energetic recovery from waste' 23.05.2016 Albi, France Hellweg Stefanie;
Industrial Ecology: Science, the Environment and the Circular Economy Talk given at a conference Managing waste for an efficient and clean Circular Economy 25.04.2016 Brussels, Belgium Hellweg Stefanie; Haupt Melanie; Vadenbo Carl;
10th Swiss Energy Research Conference Poster wastEturn 15.04.2016 Luzern, Switzerland Haupt Melanie; Vadenbo Carl;
15th International Waste Management and Landfill Symposium Talk given at a conference Quality-dependent impact of steel recycling: scrap from MSWI bottom ash vs. common scrap grades 05.10.2015 S. Margherita di Pula (CA), Italy Haupt Melanie; Hellweg Stefanie; Vadenbo Carl;
International Workshop on Technospheric Mining Talk given at a conference Potentials and Limitations of LCA in Resource Management 01.10.2015 Wien, Austria Hellweg Stefanie;
LCM 2015 Poster Optimizing Swiss waste management to support the energy-turnaround 30.08.2015 Bordeaux, France Vadenbo Carl; Hellweg Stefanie; Haupt Melanie;
LCM 2015 Poster Separating apples from pears: Recycling, downcycling and export in recycling rates 30.08.2015 Bordeaux, France Haupt Melanie; Hellweg Stefanie; Vadenbo Carl;
8th Biennial Conference of the International Society for Industrial Ecology Poster Influence of scrap quality on operational parameters in steel recycling 07.07.2015 Surrey, Great Britain and Northern Ireland Hellweg Stefanie; Vadenbo Carl; Haupt Melanie;
ECOSUIZA 2015: Hechos y desechos - Realidades y desafíos de los desechos sólidos Talk given at a conference Manejo de residuos en Suiza 01.06.2015 Tucumán, Santa Fé, Buenos Aires and San Martín. , Argentina Haupt Melanie;
5th International Symposium on Energy from Biomass and Waste Talk given at a conference Material and energy flow analysis of the Swiss waste management system 17.11.2014 Venice, Italy Vadenbo Carl; Hellweg Stefanie; Haupt Melanie;
EcoBalance 2014 Poster Material flow analysis of Swiss waste management 27.10.2014 Tsukuba, Japan Haupt Melanie; Vadenbo Carl; Hellweg Stefanie;


Self-organised

Title Date Place

Knowledge transfer events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Date Place Persons involved
ETH Industry Day Talk 05.09.2018 ETH Zurich, Switzerland Haupt Melanie; Hellweg Stefanie;
Seminar AWEL (Kt. Zurich), Section Waste Management Talk 08.05.2018 Zurich, Switzerland Hellweg Stefanie; Haupt Melanie; Vadenbo Carl;
AWEL Workshop: Massnahmenplan Abfall- und Ressourcenwirtschaft AWEL Talk 21.03.2018 Zurich, Switzerland Haupt Melanie; Hellweg Stefanie;
Seminar AWEL (Kt. Zurich), Section Waste Management Talk 21.03.2018 Zurich, Switzerland Vadenbo Carl; Hellweg Stefanie; Haupt Melanie;
AWEL Workshop: Massnahmenplan Abfall- und Ressourcenwirtschaft AWEL Talk 14.03.2018 Zurich, Switzerland Hellweg Stefanie; Haupt Melanie;
Industrial Ecology, Science, the Environment and the Circular Economy Talk 25.04.2016 Brüssel, Belgium Hellweg Stefanie;
Seminar FOEN, Section Waste Management Talk 01.03.2016 Bern, Switzerland Haupt Melanie; Hellweg Stefanie;
Manejo de residuos solidos urbanos en Suiza (Municipal solid waste management in Switzerland). Talk 01.06.2015 Buenos Aires, Tucumán, Santa Fe, San Martín, Argentina Haupt Melanie;


Self-organised

Title Date Place
MSW Advisory Board Spring 2018 25.01.2018 ETH Zurich, Switzerland
IW Advisory Board Fall 2017 29.08.2017 Olten, Switzerland
Joint Advisory Board Spring 2017 02.02.2017 ETH Zurich, Switzerland
MSW Advisory Board Spring 2016 22.03.2016 Zürich, Switzerland
Joint Advisory Board Fall 2015 20.11.2015 Zürich, Switzerland
MSW Advisory Board Spring 2015 21.04.2015 Zürich, Switzerland

Communication with the public

Communication Title Media Place Year
Media relations: radio, television Ein Leben ohne Abfall SRF, Schweiz aktuell German-speaking Switzerland 2018
Media relations: print media, online media Alter Schrott wird neuer Stahl Energie & Lifestyle Italian-speaking Switzerland Western Switzerland German-speaking Switzerland 2017
Media relations: print media, online media Bund schönt die Recyclingquote Tagesanzeiger German-speaking Switzerland 2017
Media relations: print media, online media Geschichten lesen im Abfall Energie & Lifestyle German-speaking Switzerland Italian-speaking Switzerland Western Switzerland 2017
Talks/events/exhibitions Chancen und Umweltauswirkungen des Recyclings German-speaking Switzerland 2015
Talks/events/exhibitions Chancen und Umweltauswirkungen des Recyclings - Sonderausstellung BodenSchätzeWerte German-speaking Switzerland 2015
Print (books, brochures, leaflets) Es besteht viel Potential, mehr zurückzugewinnen German-speaking Switzerland 2015
Media relations: print media, online media Ressourcen, Politik und Glaubwürdigkeit ETH Globe German-speaking Switzerland 2015

Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
172456 Towards A sustainable CircuLar Economy - Combining a material flow with a business and policy perspective (TACLE) 01.01.2018 NRP 73 Sustainable Economy
178991 Urban Mining for Low Noise Urban Roads and Optimized Design of Street Canyons 01.01.2019 Project funding (Div. I-III)

Abstract

Municipal solid waste (MSW) is widely used for energy and material recovery in Switzerland and contributes substantially to Swiss electricity and heat generation. However, large improvements are possible, as e.g. the energy efficiency of MSW incineration is rather low in comparison to other technologically advanced countries and, thus, the energy potential is underused at the moment: only 50’000 TJ of the total net calorific value of the 122’000 TJ contained in MSW incinerated annually in Switzerland are recovered as electricity and heat. In addition to energy recovery, material recovery from MSW or from incineration residues can avoid energy use for the production of primary materials and therefore lower the energy and resource demand in the producing industry. Waste is also used as fuel in industrial processes such as the production of cement, and in the chemical and pharmaceutical industry. Waste utilization in these industries leads to a lower fossil heat requirement, but potential trade-offs with adverse effects, e.g. in terms of toxic releases, need to be considered. The aim of the project is to provide strategies for an improved management of MSW with respect to energy efficiency, resource quality and efficiency, carbon footprint and overall environmental impact as well as economic costs. For this, first an energy and material flow analysis (EFA and MFA, respectively) of the present MSW management system is performed to map the current situation. This analysis is then coupled this with life cycle assessment (LCA) and cost data to identify environmental hotspots and quantify economic costs. On this basis, multi-objective optimization will be performed to identify energetically, environmentally and economically optimal solutions for Swiss waste and resource management. In addition, detailed case studies on selected waste streams of large relevance, e.g. on plastic wastes, will be carried out. The results will be translated into strategies to support the energy turnaround in a sustainable manner. These strategies assist in upcoming planning processes regarding waste management and the planning of sustainable future energy supply of Switzerland, which is an important contribution to accomplish the Energy Strategy 2050.
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