Chair of Waste Processing Technology and Waste Management // Montanuniversitaet Leoben

Working group "Innovative Waste Treatment"

The working group „Innovative Waste Treatment“ deals with interconnected recycling and recovery processes in conjunction with industry 4.0 approaches such as “digital networking”, inter-process communication, robotics, etc. in order to achieve higher recycling rates for mixed non-hazardous waste.

The working group focuses on the following relevant subareas:

Recycling and energy recovery
In order to pave the way towards a modern and sustainable recycling society, the European Union is currently taking several measures. One of the most significant developments is the Circular Economy Package that defines goals for recycling quota for municipal solid waste, packaging waste etc. to be reached by 2035. The working group considers these aspects, i.a. by conducting experiments with partners to examine how higher recycling quota of mixed waste can be achieved. In this regard the crucial criterion is not the amount of waste, but rather the quality of the waste fractions that are extracted for subsequent recycling.

Quality assurance of input and output
Similar to other sectors, quality assurance gains in importance in the waste sector as well. For example, solid recovered fuels (SRF) produced from household- and industrial waste that are intended to be used in co-incineration plants (e.g. cement factories) have to comply with legal quality criteria as well as stipulated quality criteria that are defined by the co-incinerator (e.g. calorific value, chlorine content, heavy metals etc.). Currently, this kind of quality assurance is primarily performed offline (i.e. by means of laboratory analyses). For this reason, our research activities are focused on real-time analysis and online/ontime quality assurance.

Valuables, impurities and contaminants
The content of valuable materials, impurities and contaminants in waste streams is a relevant parameter for waste treatment in several regards. Their detection and removal represents an important lever for optimizing the treatment process and maximizing the economic and ecological benefit. Sorting out valuable materials and recycling them creates ecological as well as economic value, while the removal of impurities can help to avoid downtimes and damages. Furthermore, the removal of contaminants and contaminant carriers facilitates the production of a high-quality solid recovered fuel (SRF), that can subsequently substitute primary fuels. One of the main project goals is to find the optimal range, in which the maximum amount of valuables is sorted out and recycled, while the high quality of the produced SRF is maintained. Furthermore, suitable treatment options for the removed impurities and contaminants are investigated.

Machines and plants
Our vision is to create the „Smart Waste Factory Network 4.0“ (SWFN4.0). The SWFN4.0 is a system consisting of several waste treatment plants that perform different functions in the waste system, and that are connected via data streams and logistic systems (e.g. sorting plants, SRF production plants etc.). The single processes and machines within each plant are digitally connected, and the single plants are connected to each other as well. Our research in this area is focused on real-time analysis of the waste quality as well as digitally recording machine data.

Data tools
The challenges posed by the heterogeneity of waste complicate an economically usable, physical model of waste processing. For this reason, approaches such as multivariate statistical model equations or machine learning based on “deep learning”. Our working group uses different simulation programs (Design Expert, Matlab) and valuation methods, such as the RIL ternary diagram method or material flow analysis.


Research projects

The following research projects are settled in this working group:

  • ReWaste4.0 - Recycling and Recovery of Waste4.0


Working Group Members

Innovative Abfallbehandlung  2

Aldrian - Zoom 1 Dipl.-Ing. Dr.mont. Alexia Aldrian
Technical assistant

Curtis - Zoom 1 Dipl.-Ing. Alexander Curtis
Process engineering, secondary raw materials & waste processing

Moellnitz - Zoom 1 Dipl.-Ing. Selina Möllnitz, BSc.
Polymer engeineering and science, polymer processing & polymer recycling

Sarc - Zoom 1 Dipl.-Ing. Dr.mont. Renato Sarc (WG-leader)
Hazardous waste, refuse derived fuels & waste management

Viczek - Zoom 1 Sandra Viczek, MSc. MSc.
Analytical chemistry

Weissenbach - Zoom 1 Dipl.-Ing. Thomas Weißenbach
Management of waste data incl. EDM, waste management planning & waste treatment facilities


Karim Dipl.-Ing. Karim Khodier
Scientific staff of Chair for Process Technology and Industrial Environmental Protection

Ahmad Almasri
Chair for Automation



With the following form you can directly contact the working group leader Mr Dr. Renato Sarc.

Renato Sarc

Renato Sarc

Dipl.-Ing. Dr.mont.
Scientific staff

Phone: +43 3842 / 402-5105
Cell: +43 676 / 84 53 86-805
Fax: +43 3842 / 402-5102
E-mail: renato.sarc@unileoben.ac.at


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