Methods for assessing the sustainability of integrated municipal waste management and
Luoranen, Mika (2009-08-21)
Acta Universitatis Lappeenrantaensis
Julkaisun pysyvä osoite on
The general striving to bring down the number of municipal landfills and to increase the reuse and recycling of waste-derived materials across the EU supports the debates concerning the feasibility and rationality of waste management systems. Substantial decrease in the volume and mass of landfill-disposed waste flows can be achieved by directing suitable waste fractions to energy recovery. Global fossil energy supplies are becoming more and more valuable and expensive energy sources for the mankind, and efforts to save fossil fuels have been made. Waste-derived fuels offer one potential partial solution to two different problems. First, waste that cannot be feasibly re-used or recycled is utilized in the energy conversion process according to EU’s Waste Hierarchy. Second, fossil fuels can be saved for other purposes than energy, mainly as transport fuels. This thesis presents the principles of assessing the most sustainable system solution for an integrated municipal waste management and energy system. The assessment process includes: · formation of a SISMan (Simple Integrated System Management) model of an integrated system including mass, energy and financial flows, and · formation of a MEFLO (Mass, Energy, Financial, Legislational, Other decisionsupport data) decision matrix according to the selected decision criteria, including essential and optional decision criteria. The methods are described and theoretical examples of the utilization of the methods are presented in the thesis. The assessment process involves the selection of different system alternatives (process alternatives for treatment of different waste fractions) and comparison between the alternatives. The first of the two novelty values of the utilization of the presented methods is the perspective selected for the formation of the SISMan model. Normally waste management and energy systems are operated separately according to the targets and principles set for each system. In the thesis the waste management and energy supply systems are considered as one larger integrated system with one primary target of serving the customers, i.e. citizens, as efficiently as possible in the spirit of sustainable development, including the following requirements: · reasonable overall costs, including waste management costs and energy costs; · minimum environmental burdens caused by the integrated waste management and energy system, taking into account the requirement above; and · social acceptance of the selected waste treatment and energy production methods. The integrated waste management and energy system is described by forming a SISMan model including three different flows of the system: energy, mass and financial flows. By defining the three types of flows for an integrated system, the selected factor results needed in the decision-making process of the selection of waste management treatment processes for different waste fractions can be calculated. The model and its results form a transparent description of the integrated system under discussion. The MEFLO decision matrix has been formed from the results of the SISMan model, combined with additional data, including e.g. environmental restrictions and regional aspects. System alternatives which do not meet the requirements set by legislation can be deleted from the comparisons before any closer numerical considerations. The second novelty value of this thesis is the three-level ranking method for combining the factor results of the MEFLO decision matrix. As a result of the MEFLO decision matrix, a transparent ranking of different system alternatives, including selection of treatment processes for different waste fractions, is achieved. SISMan and MEFLO are methods meant to be utilized in municipal decision-making processes concerning waste management and energy supply as simple, transparent and easyto- understand tools. The methods can be utilized in the assessment of existing systems, and particularly in the planning processes of future regional integrated systems. The principles of SISMan and MEFLO can be utilized also in other environments, where synergies of integrating two (or more) systems can be obtained. The SISMan flow model and the MEFLO decision matrix can be formed with or without any applicable commercial or free-of-charge tool/software. SISMan and MEFLO are not bound to any libraries or data-bases including process information, such as different emission data libraries utilized in life cycle assessments.
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