System-wide Economic and Emissions Optimization of Organic Waste Recycling Infrastructure in CA
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.
Energy/Environmental Policy Research Scientist/Engineer, Sustainable Energy Systems Group, Sustainable Energy & Environmental Systems Department, Energy Analysis & Environmental Impacts Division
Dr. Sarah Josephine Smith is a Research Scientist in the Sustainable Energy Systems group. She specializes in energy use modeling across end-use, customer, and industry-wide scales, economic modeling of energy technologies and systems, and system optimization. Her current research includes organic waste management and nutrient recovery cost and emissions modeling, end-use load shape modeling for demand response potential estimation, and battery cost, manufacturing, and supply chain analyses. She is also an expert in data center industry energy use, anaerobic digestion, and technology learning and innovation. Dr. Smith received her Ph.D. in Civil Engineering from U.C. Berkeley, with a focus on system-wide economic and environmental optimization of organic waste-to-energy infrastructure.
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