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A New, Entropy Based Method To Support Waste and Resource Management Decisions

TitleA New, Entropy Based Method To Support Waste and Resource Management Decisions
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2002
AuthorsRechberger H, Brunner PH
Journal TitleEnvironmental Science and Technology
Volume36
Pages909-916
KeywordsEntropy, Material flow analysis, Resource mangement
AbstractA new method is presented to quantify the potential of asystem to concentrate or dilute substances. The approachis based on a comprehensive material flow analysis andShannon’s statistical entropy function that is transformed bya three-step procedure. The result is a new functionthat can be applied to any defined system with known massflowsand substance concentrations. In combinationwith materials balances, the method yields quantitativelythe Relative Statistical Entropy (RSE) and the SubstanceConcentrating Efficiency (SCE) of a given system. Whenapplied to compare five solid waste incinerators of increasingtechnology levels, the method (1) gave evidence of thepotential of modern incinerators to control material flowsand (2) pointed to future directions for further improvementof incineration technology. Case studies demonstrate thatthe new tool is well suited to support and complementexisting methods for decision making in waste and resourcemanagement such as LCA.
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