The technical or operational performance of a waste technology is highly specific to the waste or material under treatment, the performance characteristics of the system and the performance requirements of the end product. Features of the waste management system that may contribute to greater certainty regarding technical performance have been assessed (Resource NSW, 1999; NSW EPA, 2002; European Commission, 2007, DECC, 2008; Gold Coast City Council, 2009) to include:
The demonstrated operational reliability of the technology
The operational reliability is influenced by the facility concept and the selected equipment and configuration. Contributing factors include: the experience of technology suppliers as well as the range of potential equipment breakdowns and their consequences on the overall facility operation.
One aspect of known operational experience is measured as ‘availability’, - the actual operating time over a year for a facility against the scheduled operating time (NSW EPA, 2002).
Flexibility to handle different streams and materials
Capacity to shutdown and start up for short-term facility shutdown or failure or for routine maintenance.
This assessment compares the extent to which the process can be controlled to cater for variations in waste input quality and quantity, extent of controls to manage the decomposition process and environmental emissions, and to manage the output product quality.
Number of staff and required qualifications are an indicator of facility operating costs and likelihood of success. High-tech facilities require higher staff qualification for process control, maintenance work and risk management.
Area requirements for biological processes as well as for additional infrastructure such as waste water treatment and energy recovery facilities.