Optimal processing route for the utilization and conversion of municipal solid waste into energy and valuable products

Muhammad Rizwan, Yousef Saif, Ali Almansoori, Ali ElKamel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Scopus citations


A systematic design of municipal solid waste (MSW) management system can lead to identify a promising and/or sustainable way of handling MSW by processing it into energy and valuable products. In this study, a systematic framework is developed for the superstructure-based optimization of MSW processing routes. The proposed superstructure includes the potential technological alternatives (such as recycling, composting, anaerobic digestion with electricity generation, gasification followed by catalytic transformation, gasification with electricity generation, plasma arc gasification with electricity generation, pyrolysis with electricity generation, incineration with electricity generation, and landfill with electricity generation) for producing valuable products from MSW. Based on the developed superstructure, a mixed integer nonlinear programming (MINLP) model is developed to identify the optimal MSW processing pathways considering two different MSW handling scenarios. For ease of the solution, the MINLP model is linearized to its equivalent MILP form, and solved in GAMS. The solution to the optimization problem provides the optimal/promising route for the synthesis of useful products from MSW under chosen economic objective function. The developed framework is applied on a case study of Abu Dhabi Emirate to find the optimal processing pathway for handling and processing of MSW into energy and value-added products. The optimization results show that an integrated pathway comprising of recycling the recyclable components of MSW along with the production of bioethanol from the rest of the waste via gasification followed by catalytic transformation can provide potential economic benefits. A sensitivity analysis is also executed to investigate the effect of key economic and technical parameters on the optimization results.

Original languageBritish English
Pages (from-to)857-867
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
StatePublished - 20 Jan 2018


  • Mixed integer nonlinear programming
  • Municipal solid waste
  • Superstructure-based optimization
  • Sustainable management
  • Waste-to-energy


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