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A Systems perspective of Waste and Energy - Strengths and Weaknesses of the ORWARE Model
KTH, Superseded Departments, Chemical Engineering and Technology.
2000 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other scientific)
Abstract [en]

Waste management of today in Sweden is a complex phenomenonthat demands for a scientific and systematic approach. Thecomplexity is a result of a wide variety of actors,technologies, and impact on the environment, health, and theeconomy. Waste management also has a high relevance withrespect to energy. There are direct connections as e.g. energyrecovery from waste, but also indirect as the systemscomplexity and the environmental and economical impacts.

Helpful tools in the planning of waste management aredifferent types of models of which ORWARE is one. Based onprinciples from Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) and complemented witha simple Cost Benefit Analysis (CBA) ORWARE can provide somehelp in finding environmentally sound solutions for wastemanagement systems. The model does not answer all questionsraised by practitioners but can still be used for advisorypurposes. The model does not include sociological or politicalaspects but it covers the area of physical flows with impactson environment, society and economy. Other impacts have to beconsidered with other methods.

The experiences from using ORWARE in Swedish municipalitiesduring more than a half decade clearly shows the advantages anddisadvantages of the tool. The model is very flexible when itcomes to the possibility of site-specific adjustments of inputdata and process functions. With help of the model thecomplexity of the studied system can be illustrated by e.g. amap of the number of connections between different types ofinformation. In this way ORWARE supports dialogue betweendifferent stakeholders and collects knowledge in a unique way.On the other hand, modelling such an extensive and complexsystem often leads to errors that takes time to find andcorrect. The model can not be considered as user friendly anddoes not cover all aspects wanted by the society. There arealso educational problems with different time frames and spaceboundaries in the analysis that make the results hard tointerpret.

As there are many similarities between waste management andenergy management, experiences from systems analysis of wastemanagement can be used for planning of more sustainablesolutions in the energy management. That is why it isinteresting to develop the methodology used in ORWARE and adaptit to a partly new area like e.g. energy management. Oneexample of improving the methodology is to extend the number ofimpact categories. Another example is to put the functionsdelivered in focus. ORWARE focuses at the waste managementsystem, and thus "treating waste from a certain area" is onefundamental functional unit. Translated to energy that wouldmean to build a model of the energy supply system. But tooptimise the whole system that delivers a function ought to bea more efficient way to head for sustainability than to studythe supply system and the applications separately. That wouldmean to put the end user functions provided by some kind ofenergy transformation in focus instead.

In systems analysis it is also important to consider thealternatives to different options of technologies or systemdesigns. In order to understand and assess the influence frome.g. waste management and energy on the environment and thesocio-technical system called society, a systems perspective isthus very important. The systems perspective should work at alldecision levels and with a life cycle perspective on thefunction.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Kemiteknik , 2000. , 33 p.
Trita-KET-IM, 2000:16
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-1209OAI: diva2:7001
NR 20140805Available from: 2001-06-18 Created: 2001-06-18Bibliographically approved

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