© 2019

Recovery of Materials and Energy from Urban Wastes

A Volume in the Encyclopedia of Sustainability Science and Technology, Second Edition

  • Nickolas J. Themelis
  • A.C. (Thanos) Bourtsalas


  • Provides an excellent example of industrial ecology where technology mimics the age-old ecological cycle

  • Introduces the importance of combining recycling and waste to energy (WTE) in attaining sustainable waste management

  • Describes in detail the dominant WTE technologies of moving grate and circulating fluid bed

  • Covers the use of non-recycled plastics and paper, and other “wastes” as alternative fuels in cement plants

  • Includes energy from both renewable and non-renewable waste sources

Reference work

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xvii
  2. Anders Lagerkvist, Lisa Dahlén
    Pages 7-20
  3. Jess W. Everett
    Pages 21-40
  4. Matthew J. Franchetti
    Pages 41-62
  5. Giuseppe Bonifazi, Silvia Serranti
    Pages 63-118
  6. Shirley Thompson
    Pages 119-124
  7. Thomas Dyer, Magdy Abdelrahman, Z. H. Cheng
    Pages 125-139
  8. A. C. (Thanos) Bourtsalas
    Pages 141-157
  9. Juergen Vehlow, A. C. (Thanos) Bourtsalas
    Pages 159-181
  10. Matthew J. Franchetti
    Pages 197-220
  11. Ulrich Martin, Johannes Martin, Ralf Koralewska
    Pages 221-283
  12. Peter Chromec, Seda Sevaioglu Macher, Craig Kedrowski
    Pages 285-337
  13. Dieter O. Reimann
    Pages 339-351
  14. J. Switenbank, V. Sharifi
    Pages 353-374
  15. Franz P. Neubacher, Qunxing Huang
    Pages 375-391
  16. Nickolas J. Themelis, Armelle M. Vardelle
    Pages 393-409
  17. Kunio Yoshikawa
    Pages 411-427
  18. M. A. J. (Marcel) van Berlo
    Pages 429-438

About this book


This volume in the Encyclopedia of Sustainability Science and Technology, Second edition, provides a comprehensive overview of complementary strategies for dealing with waste in and around urban areas: Waste-to-energy power plants (WTEs) and recycling. Chapters in this volume describe how these plants can be built within or near cities to transform the non-recycled residues of society into electricity and heat, and the recovery of metals using recycling technology and management techniques. The latter includes resource recovery from construction and demolition and electronic waste streams.  

With nearly one thousand WTE plants worldwide, waste incineration has become increasingly important as a means of closing the materials life- cycle loop. China leads in the beneficial use of these residues with about 30 new WTEs built in each of the last three years, and with plans for at least another 300 with one or more in each large city. In addition, increasing numbers of cement plants use "waste" materials as alternative fuels. Since currently all of these plants combust less than 20% of the available wastes, and the remainder ends up in landfills or dumps, this sector represents a huge market in the making.This comprehensive reference is suitable for readers just entering the field, but also offers new insights for advanced researchers, industry experts, and decision makers.


Waste to Energy Hitachi Zosen Inova technology Thermal Treatment of Waste Sustainable Waste Management Decreasing the Entropy of Solid Wastes Increasing Metal Recovery recycling construction waste managing electronic waste e-waste recycling methods Municipal Solid Waste energy recovery Extraction and reuse of materials Waste to energy plants Converting waste to energy Building WTE plants

Editors and affiliations

  • Nickolas J. Themelis
    • 1
  • A.C. (Thanos) Bourtsalas
    • 2
  1. 1.Earth and Environmental EngineeringColumbia UniversityNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.Earth Engineering CenterColumbia UniversityNew YorkUSA

About the editors

Nickolas J. Themelis Earth and Environmental Engineering, Columbia University, New York City, NY, USA

Dr. Themelis obtained his B.Eng. (British Association Medal for Great Distinction) and Ph.D. degrees from McGill University (Montreal, Canada). In the first part of his career, he developed metallurgical processes for the extraction of copper and other metals, including his beingVice President of the Technology of Kennecott Corporation, the largest copper company in the world at that time. He

joined Columbia University in 1980 where he was Chair of the School of Mines and later first Chair of the new Department of Earth and Environmental Engineering. He is Founder of Columbia’s Earth Engineering Center and of the Global WTERT Council (GWC). Prof. Themelis is elected member of the US National Academy of Engineering and the coauthor of the waste management section in the 2014 International Panel for Climate Change (IPCC).

A. C. (Thanos) Bourtsalas is Adjunct Assistant Professor at the Earth and Environmental Engineering Department of Columbia University, and he is Manager of the Earth Engineering Center-Columbia (WTERT, US).

Dr. Bourtsalas graduated from the Earth and Environmental Engineering Department of Columbia University and did his Ph.D. at Imperial College London. He is involved in many advisory projects globally for the development of pre-feasibility and feasibility studies of integrated waste managements that achieve maximum, commercially viable, extraction and recycling of usable materials, combined with energy recovery from the remaining residual waste (Waste-to-Energy, WTE). He is the Principal Investigator for a project funded by the Columbia Global Centers and is related to the advancement of waste management in Latin America. He is Senior Advisor at an experts committee appointed and coordinated by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) for the development of Guidelines on Public and Private Partnerships (PPP) forWaste to Energy projects. He was member of the technical advisory panel of Singapore’s Environmental Protection Agency for the development of environmental guidelines for the beneficial utilization of Waste-to-Energy Bottom Ash. He is also a coauthor to the “Solid Waste” chapter of the Assessment Report on Climate Change and Cities (ARC3-2), developed by the Earth Institute of Columbia University and presented at the COP-21 in Paris.

Bibliographic information

Industry Sectors
Chemical Manufacturing
Energy, Utilities & Environment
Oil, Gas & Geosciences