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

AbER innovation

Project long title

Innovation network fire protection in waste management, disposal and recycling


Project description

Companies in the waste management, disposal and recycling sectors have been increasingly affected by major fire incidents in recent years. In contrast to earlier accumulations of fire incidents in the industry, such as landfill fires in the 1990s or fires in intermediate waste storage facilities in the 2000s, the entire waste management value chain has been affected in recent years.

One of the main problems is that, despite meeting collection quotas for portable batteries, a great many batteries end up at the end of their life cycle as misdirected waste in residual waste, but also in material streams such as lightweight or metal packaging. Lithium batteries in particular, which are characterized by their high energy density, then pose a very high fire hazard. The BAT-SAFE project has already gained a great deal of fundamental knowledge in this area.

In addition to batteries, other substances and materials can also cause safety problems during disposal. These include pressurized gas packages that have not been completely emptied (e.g., spray cans and gas cartridges), but also phoshpine-forming agents (for pest control) and quicklime


Aims of the project

On the one hand, the AbER innovation project aims to establish an innovation network on the topic of fire protection for companies from the waste management, disposal and recycling sector (AbER). On the other hand, the intensive interdisciplinary exchange of know-how should lead to an increase in the level of innovation for each project partner. In the project, four prototypical pilot projects will be developed and carried out, and in addition, a best-practice catalog for waste management-specific fire protection management will be compiled.

The installation of an information platform (open access and open innovation) will ensure the activity of the network in the long term, even after the end of the project.


Project team

Beim Konsortium handelt es sich um ein neues interdisziplinäres strategisches Netzwerk, bestehend aus Unternehmen der Abfallwirtschafts-, Entsorgungs- und Recyclingbranche (AbER, Technologieanwender), Herstellern von Aufbereitungsaggregaten und -maschinen, Anbietern von Sensortechnik und Detektionsgeräten sowie einem Anlagenbauer (Technologielieferanten), Unternehmen im Bereich des Risiko Consulting, Prüfung, Überwachung- und Zertifizierung, zwei Intermediären (Interessenvertretung & Clusterorganisation), einer Universität und einer Reihe von LOI-Partnern.

Abbildung 2

Network and stakeholders in the projcekt


Problem and background

The waste industry has always been faced with the challenge of the correct handling of high fire load and inhomogeneous material flows, which regularly also contain (fire) hazardous impurities. New types of products, such as lithium batteries, are increasingly causing safety problems at the end of their life cycle. The causes are manifold, partly industry-specific but also non-industry-specific, and range from biological/chemical reactions (spontaneous combustion) to electrical effects and mechanical damage to the interfering substances.

Although considerable measures have been taken in recent years to improve fire protection, no downward trend in the number of fire incidents can be observed. Therefore, it may be concluded that the measures taken are obviously not effective or only effective to a limited extent. Furthermore, the safety-related problems are very complex and solutions can only succeed in cooperation with all partners involved in the network.


Project goals, innovation and expected results

The aim of the project is to counteract this momentous development. By providing research results, synthesizing know-how and transferring technology between the project and LOI partners via open innovation, a significant leap in innovation in the field of fire behavior (including fire and reaction kinetics) and fire protection systems will be achieved by all partners involved in the project.

The following concrete goals and results are targeted in the network project:


Aims of the project

  • Establishment and sustainable operation of a network group and an information platform "fire protection"
  • Increasing the level of innovation for each project partner
    • Knowledge of industry-specific risk potentials through fire cause research and investigation of critical interfering substances in wastes
    • Analysis of fire & reaction kinetics of waste to determine specific fire characteristics
    • Investigation & evaluation of existing systems of preventive and defensive fire protection
  • Four R&D pilot or innovation projects for novel fire protection systems
    • Detection technology combined with IR camera system
    • Novel combined sensor system
    • Special fire extinguishing system
    • Development of an industry-specific fire protection management system (incl. best practice catalogue)


Work packages

WP1 – Project Management
WP2 – Network and Open Innovation
WP3 – Fire cause research
WP4 – Fire characteristics, fire and reaction kinetics
WP5 – Investigation & evaluation of existing fire protection systems
WP6 – R&D pilot projects on new, innovative fire protection systems
WP7 – Best practice & integrative fire protection management



0 Ffg Logo Österreichische Forschungsförderungsgesellschaft (FFG)


Project partner

12 Bt-wolfgang Binder Gmbh BT-Wolfgang Binder GmbH

7 Green Tech Cluster Styria Gmbh  Gtc Green Tech Cluster Styria GmbH (GTC)

13 Leader Photonics Gmbh LEADER Photonics GmbH

2 Mayer Recycling Gmbh Mayer Recycling GmbH

8 Oswald Hackl E.u. Oswald Hackl e.U.

9 Reststofftechnik Ges.m.b.h Reststofftechnik GES.M.B.H.

3 Risk Experts Risiko Engineering Gmbh Risk Experts Risiko Engineering GmbH

4 Samsoric Gmbh 1 SAMsoric GmbH

5 Saubermacher Dienstleistungs Ag Saubermacher Dienstleistungs AG

11 Scholz Austria Gmbh Scholz Austria GmbH

Tuev 1 TÜV SÜD Landesgesellschaft Österreich GmbH

6 Verband Der Oesterreichischen Entsorgungsbetriebe  Voeb  1 Verband der österreichischen Entsorgungsbetriebe (VOEB)



Nigl T., Pomberger R. (2020) Brandrisiko durch Lithium-Ionen Batterien: Sind unsere Anlagen noch versicherbar? Conference paper. Berliner Recycling- und Sekundärrohstoffkonferenz 2020. 2nd–3rd March, Berlin, Germany: pp. 482–494. ISBN: 978-3-944310-51-0.

Autischer M., Holzschuster S., Nigl T. (2020) Statistische Betrachtung von Infrarot-Sensordaten in der Aufbereitung mit Relevanz zur Brandfrüherkennung. Recy & DepoTech 2020. 18th–20th November, Leoben, Austria: pp.287–294. ISBN: 979-3-200-07190-2.

Nigl T., Bäck T., Pomberger R. (2020) Vertiefende Ursachenforschung zu Brandereignissen in der österreichischen Abfall-, Entsorgungs- und Recyclingwirtschaft. Conference paper. Recy & DepoTech 2020. 18th–20th November, Leoben, Austria: pp. 279–286. ISBN: 979-3-200-07190-2.



You can send a message directly to the project responsible Mister Dr. Thomas Niglby using the following form.

Thomas Nigl

Thomas Nigl

Dipl.-Ing. Dr.mont., BSc.
Scientific staff

Phone: +43 3842 / 402-5124
Cell: +43 676 / 84 53 86-824
Fax: +43 3842 / 402-5102
E-mail: thomas.nigl@unileoben.ac.at


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AbER innovation