Waste is valuable – in waste incineration power plants it is used to generate electricity and heat. It is not only waste from households that has a high calorific value, but rather also waste from the industrial sector – for example from the pharmaceutical and chemical industries. Only a few of these plants in Switzerland have their own incineration plants, however. This is why numerous companies have to transport their sometimes toxic waste to furnaces that have been set up for this purpose – sometimes even abroad. This transportation can be dangerous, generate costs and pollute the environment.
With clever planning, all of these factors could be improved. This is shown by a research project conducted by scientists at ETH Zurich. It has investigated various strategies for optimising energy consumption in the waste management sector. The scientists also analysed the influence of the material quality of steel scrap on the recycling process. Their aim was to improve the energy efficiency of waste disposal and thus to contribute to the fulfilment of Energy Strategy 2050.