Application Deadline : 15 April 2012
Data on waste composition – i.e. data on material fractions, water content, chemical composition of the individual fractions – is paramount to any assessment of waste management approaches and technologies, because it represents the basis for quantifying the content of resources, energy and contaminants in the waste. For source separated recyclables also the content of miss-placed items and their effect on the quality of the recyclables are important; this will either determine the recycling process and the quality of the products or call for a different source-separation scheme where a lower content of miss-placed items can be achieved.
Waste composition data currently used in Denmark are among the most detailed in the world but they are more than 10 years old and, in particular for recyclable fractions, they are limited. Major decisions are being made these years regarding investment in recycling schemes and treatment technologies, but on old data. Issues as uncertainty and seasonal variations are also not well understood. These aspects have been recognized by the municipalities and the Danish company Econet which conducts sorting analysis of waste at many occasions in Denmark to determine the material fraction distribution within waste streams. However, a systematic science-based approach needs to be developed in order to provide consistent data regarding the composition of Danish waste streams, including issues regarding uncertainty, seasonal variation and contamination of recyclables.
The overall objective of the PhD project is to develop a scientifically based approach for waste characterization and to establish up-to-date data on the composition of major municipal waste streams in Denmark. The work is expected to include:
Review of existing data from public and grey literature on waste composition in Denmark (with Econet)
Identify major shortcomings in current data (where, what, why)
Develop approach to waste sampling and analysis that includes or represents variation in time and geographical areas as well as general uncertainty
Sample and characterize important waste and recyclable streams in Denmark (partly with Econet)
Quantify the importance of waste data quality in the assessment of waste management in terms of resources, energy and contaminants relative to main management and treatment schemes
The work is expected to lead to improved approaches to sample and quantify waste and to improved databases on the composition of Danish municipal waste and recyclables. The results will be published in 3-4 papers in international scientific journals, and 2-3 contributions at international conferences. The thesis is expected to consist of a description the main achievements and the manuscripts prepared for the international journals.
Candidates should have a Master’s degree in engineering or a similar degree with an academic level equivalent to the Master’s degree in engineering. The applicant should have qualifications within the following areas:
Background in waste management
Knowledge about sampling and chemical analysis
Knowledge about statistical data handling.
The applicant must have analytical skills, research potential, be well-organized and enterprising and possess good interpersonal skills needed to collaborate with the involved university departments and private companies. Experience with field/practical work including waste sorting will be positively taken into consideration. The applicant must master English and Danish.
We believe that we offer an exciting and challenging job in an international environment with a good team spirit and good possibilities for professional and personal growth. We are a family-friendly organisation with flexible working hours.
Approval and Enrolment
The scholarships for the PhD degree are subject to academic approval, and the candidates will be enrolled in one of the general degree programmes of DTU. For information about the general requirements for enrolment and the general planning of the scholarship studies, please see theDTU PhD Guide.
Salary and appointment terms
The salary and appointment terms are consistent with the current rules for PhD degree students. The period of employment is 3 years.