Mechanical biological treatment (MBT) processes in consequential carbon footprint modelling of residual municipal solid waste (rMSW) management : a model adaptable to varying background systems

Clausen, Adele; Pretz, Thomas (Thesis advisor); Wenzel, Henrik (Thesis advisor)

Aachen : Shaker (2015)
Book, Dissertation / PhD Thesis

In: Schriftenreihe zur Aufbereitung und Veredlung 55
Page(s)/Article-Nr.: XIII, 223 S. : Ill., graph. Darst.

Zugl.: Aachen, Techn. Hochsch., Diss., 2015


In order to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions originating from municipal solid waste (MSW) handling, EU legislation demands treatment of MSW prior to landfill disposal. Several EU countries do not meet this requirement yet so that related decisions are to be made in the near future. Besides incineration, mechanical biological treatment (MBT) is a well-proven approach to treat residual (r) MSW. Depending on its major focus, MBT can be applied as an alternative or in addition to incineration. Both technologies, MBT and incineration, as well as their combinations may contribute to reducing GHG emissions by diverting biodegradable substances from landfilling, recovering energy from waste and/or increasing resource efficiency through material recycling. But there is no agreement as to what approach shows the best climate performance. This is amongst others due to specific background systems impacting the climate performance of waste management. To enable decision makers to consider the climate performance of potential future rMSW management approaches, modelling is required. However, there is a lack of adequate models that include MBT systems. Within this thesis, a model is developed that allows to determine the carbon footprint of landfilling and waste incineration approaches as well as MBT systems applying either stabilisation through aerobic biodegradation or biological drying technology. Furthermore, energy and material recovery can be incorporated. In order to account for the impact of specific background systems on the climate performance of rMSW management, relevant background conditions can be adapted as they may occur in the EU. On the basis of exemplary consequential modelling, the effect of varying background conditions on the carbon footprint of rMSW management is demonstrated and specified.


  • Chair of Anthropogenic Material Cycles and Institute of Processing, Coking, and Briquetting [512110]
  • Division of Mineral Resources and Raw Materials Engineering [510000]