Chair of Waste Management
The Chair of Waste Management of the Brandenburg University of Technology Cottbus was established in November 1994 within the Faculty of Environmental Sciences and Process Engineering.Today, five scientists and four technical staff members are employed at the Chair of Waste Management. In addition, the part-time staff supports in particular research projects as well as lab exercises and other specific activities.
The Chair of Waste Management pursues an integrated approach to waste management in both teaching and research and contributes to the scientific and economic development of the state Brandenburg. Practical research work strengthens the cooperation with public waste disposal authorities, organisations and private companies. The chair established an academic co-operation with universities in Europe, Asia, Africa and America.
Research topics contribute to the development of the scientific basis for Waste Management as well as to the solution of the pressing technological problems. Examples for the first include the development of methods and processes for determination of waste (Fig. 1) and material streams, the development of mathematical models for the prognosis of waste generation rates and composition, and the investigation of new strategic ideas, such as „entropy and waste”. Further, more technological aspects, comprise research into recycling of waste and mechanical waste treatment, particularly the investigation of geo-mechanical properties of solid waste and materials for the construction of landfills. Other important fields of research are the process optimization and controlling of biological treatment such as composting and fermentation.
The beginning of the research into fermentation dates back to the beginning of the 90th. A new fermentation, the so-called double stage fermentation of solid biodegradable materials with integrated solid-liquid separation, has been developed and is presently being transferred into the industrial scale. This fermentation process is characterized by a batch-wise running percolation process and a continuously working intensive methane reactor, in which the methane bacteria are immobilized on the surfaces of plastic packing materials. This technology de-couples the retention times of methane bacteria and liquid and increases the process stability and methane generation intensity. Consequently, the main advantages of the process are an optimum process control and an extremely stable process operation.
The chair has special experiences in the following research topics:
- Design of integrated waste management concepts for municipalities, companies and other public or private institutions
- Sorting analyses, characterisation of waste
- Development of an online analysis system for single stage fermenters
- Labour safety and health protection in waste disposal facilities
- Optimisation of the supply of nutrients to wet fermentations processes
- Optimisation of the biogas yield in dry anaerobic digestion processes for renewable materials and bio waste
- realization of landfill simulation
- Development of a mineral sealing material for landfill surface covering systems
The Chair for Waste management is well-equipped with:
- Laboratory equipment for the analysis of biochemical, physical and mechanical properties of solid waste e.g. a conveyer for waste selection, a shear machine, an analysis equipment for determination of calorific value, total solid, ignition loss, carbon, nitrogen, COD, phenol, alcohol, fatty acids
- Several biogas test units and control equipment
- Medium scale technical equipment for bioprocess engineering
- Test unit for the determination of geo-technical properties of waste materials and soil
- Computer programmes and corresponding equipment for process design
The teaching activities reflect mainly the results of the research work. Lectures on different issues of Waste Management and Waste Processing technologies are given for all study courses offered by the Faculty. It should be pointed out, that the teaching subjects are not only focusing on the waste situation typical for Europe and Germany but also on the situation typical for the developing world.
Graduates of the Chair of Waste Management are very welcomed by industries and administrative bodies due to their interdisciplinary, wide and practically applicable knowledge.