Economic and environmental optimization of waste treatment

Marie Münster, Hans Ravn, Karsten Hedegaard, Nina Juul, M. Ljunggren Söderman

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    This article presents the new systems engineering optimization model, OptiWaste, which incorporates a life cycle assessment (LCA) methodology and captures important characteristics of waste management systems. As part of the optimization, the model identifies the most attractive waste management options. The model renders it possible to apply different optimization objectives such as minimizing costs or greenhouse gas emissions or to prioritize several objectives given different weights. A simple illustrative case is analysed, covering alternative treatments of one tonne of residual household waste: incineration of the full amount or sorting out organic waste for biogas production for either combined heat and power generation or as fuel in vehicles. The case study illustrates that the optimal solution depends on the objective and assumptions regarding the background system - illustrated with different assumptions regarding displaced electricity production. The article shows that it is feasible to combine LCA methodology with optimization. Furthermore, it highlights the need for including the integrated waste and energy system into the model. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalWaste Management
    Pages (from-to)486-495
    Number of pages10
    Publication statusPublished - 2015


    • Biogas
    • Life cycle assessment
    • Multiple objective optimization
    • Organic household waste
    • Waste treatment


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