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Valorization is the conversion of waste and biomass to energy, fuels and other useful materials, with particular focus on environmental indicators and sustainability goals. It is part of the larger endeavor of loop-closing. This topic is the object of cooperation between a large number of actors from various fields of engineering sciences, health and safety.

In this paper, the relevance and the interest in this topic is discussed and supported with examples. The two examples proposed concern biomass and plastic films. Biomass has gained a tremendous interest during the ten last years and will be a subject for significant research progress in the future. The evolution of research in the production of biofuels from first, second and third generation biomass is discussed using thermal process.

The second example concerns plastic films; valorization of plastics has been investigated for two decades already with relevant progress. However, this paper shows that there are still a number of issues to tackle and overcome for an efficient and effective valorization of plastic films. To improve and reach a significant valorization, integrated processes for proper separation, detection and classification of plastic film from industrial and commercial packaging waste are discussed. The paper also highlights the bottlenecks, barriers and challenging issues such as the emission of pollutants and greenhouse gases, energy efficiency, modeling, characterization, regulation and policy that will drive the development of this field in the future.


Toward the Valorization of Waste and Biomass
Waste and Biomass Valorization Volume 1, Issue 1, 3-7, 2010
DOI: 10.1007/s12649-010-9014-x

For further information, see the full text at SpringerLink.


Expanded Hierarchy of Waste Management

The "Hierarchy of Waste Management" is a graphical way of showing the priorities for managing solid wastes.

The first priority is to avoid the generation of wastes (e.g., reduced consumption of goods, less packaging) followed by recycling (paper, metals, plastics) and composting of source-separated organic wastes, followed by combustion with energy recovery ("waste-to-energy"), and finally landfilling. However, not all landfills are the same. Modern "sanitary" landfills require a serious investment and effort to protect surface and ground water and to collect landfill gas (LFG) and use it to generate energy. Therefore, the expanded hierarchy of waste management differentiates between better and worse types of landfills as illustrated below.


The Waste-to-Energy Research and Technology Council (WTERT) brings together engineers, scientists and managers from universities and industry.

The mission of WTERT is to identify and advance the best available waste-to-energy (WTE) technologies for the recovery of energy or fuels from municipal solid wastes and other industrial, agricultural, and forestry residues.


The mission of WTERT council is to identify the best available technologies for the treatment of various waste materials, conduct additional academic research as required, and disseminate this information by means of its publications, the WTERT web, and annual meetings.

It communicates about waste and biomass valorization to energy and materials using thermal treatment. In particular, WTERT strives to increase the global recovery of energy and materials from used solids and to advance the economic and environmental performance of waste-to-energy ( WTE ) technologies in the U.S. and worldwide. The guiding principle is that responsible management of wastes must be based on science and best available technology and not what seems to be inexpensive now but can be very costly in the near future.

Further information about Waste-to-Energy : WTE

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