System-wide Economic and Emissions Optimization of Organic Waste Recycling Infrastructure in CA

System-wide Economic and Emissions Optimization of Organic Waste Recycling Infrastructure in CA

Seminar Abstract 

Diverting organic material from landfills can produce myriad benefits such as reduced landfill emissions and capacity requirements, renewable energy generation, and nutrient recovery.

California’s organics diversion mandate is expected to require 20 million tons of annual processing capacity by 2025; based on existing facility capacities and scales, this could mean well over 100 new facilities being built in a short timeframe. The need for a completely new organic waste recycling infrastructure system presents a unique opportunity to encourage sustainable development through policy.

This work presents the Organic Recycling Facility Optimization (ORFO) Model, a mixed-integer linear programming model that optimizes the waste infrastructure system according to multiple optimization criteria. We determine the locations, sizes, and types of processing facilities that are optimal based on over 60,000 spatially explicit waste feedstock points and over 300 potential facility locations. The costs of the system are modeled based on techno-economic analyses of various facility types and energy product pathways, while LCA waste- and facility-specific emissions factors produced in past Berkeley Lab work are incorporated into the model. Results examine the impact of commingled municipal waste streams, opportunities for byproduct value creation, and the need for regional coordination.

Seminar Speaker(s) 

Sarah Smith
Senior Scientific Engineering Associate, Sustainable Energy Systems Group, Sustainable Energy & Environmental Systems Department, Energy Analysis & Environmental Impacts Division

Sarah Smith is a Senior Scientific Engineering Associate in the Sustainable Energy Systems group. Her current research focuses on modeling the organic waste management system to better understand the economic and environmental impacts of various landfill diversion and energy recovery pathways. Some of her other work includes electricity use modeling in the areas of data centers and demand response applications. She is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in Civil Engineering from U.C. Berkeley.


Nov 2, 2020 -
12:00pm to 1:00pm