Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts Waste Technology and Innovation Study

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Technical Performance Assessment

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:
        1. 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).

        1. Flexibility to handle different streams and materials

        1. Flexibility Regarding Feedstock Material

The range of suitable feedstock materials can be evaluated with examination of the following indicators:

  • Experience available regarding feedstock material variation in existing facilities (past and current);

  • Technology limitations concerning moisture content;

  • Ability to influence decomposition rates and output/product qualities;

  • Required amounts of additives to adjust feedstock properties to suit process conditions or required cleansing and beneficiation and potential effects on cost efficiency.
        1. Modularity and extension services

  • Capacity for modular extension to take account for potential increases in feedstock; and

  • Capacity to shutdown and start up for short-term facility shutdown or failure or for routine maintenance.
        1. Process Control

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.
        1. Staff Requirements

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.
        1. Area Requirements

Area requirements for biological processes as well as for additional infrastructure such as waste water treatment and energy recovery facilities.
        1. Efficiency in delivering on waste reduction targets

The effectiveness of the technology in reducing and stabilising (minimising the environmental releases from) process residuals that remain for disposal.
        1. Proven Technology /reference facilities

The degree to which a technology is proven may be indicated by the number and operating history of commercial scale facilities using the technology around the world or reference facilities.

Regard may be given to the degree to which a proponent has demonstrated a commitment to continuous improvement including incorporation of best practice elements arising from technical assessment.

A streamlined technical assessment scoring table (Table 7) is provided to assist decision-making.

Table 7 Technical Performance – Streamlined Assessment

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