Waste Treatment Plant of the Future

Type : Master project (30 credits)

Period : Spring 2016

Student : Alain Anstett

Supervisor : Jean-Loup Robineau

Company : Veolia


Resource scarcity concerns are of growing importance together with energy consumption and environmental impact of human activities. In France (as in many other countries), a large part of the waste generated by cities is burned in incinerators or buried underground.

Waste treatment can be optimized in order to enable the recovery of valuable streams (metals, plastics, compost, biogas…), converting existing facilities into “Plants of the Future”.

Many different conversion technologies could be combined in order to find the best solutions with respect to given objectives (e.g. cost, electricity production, material recovery…) and under given constraints (e.g. emissions regulations, local energy & material demand…). Multi-objective optimization coupled to multi-criteria analysis will be necessary in order to identify those solutions.

This project aims at developing a framework model for the Plant of the Future and will be done together with Veolia.


  • Generate a model for a Waste Treatment Plant of the Future integrating several different conversion technologies
  • Identify the best solutions with respect to several objectives (economic, energetic, material recovery)
  • Develop a prototype user-friendly tool for the optimization of waste treatment paths that can be used on a wide variety of case studies


  • Literature review on the different technologies available for waste treatment: thermal (combustion, gasification, drying…), matter sorting (glass, plastic, metals…), energy conversion and valorization (Heat Pump, Rankine Cycles…)
  • Based on the literature review, create or improve models for each technology using the OSMOSE tool
  • Validate models with data from real case study sites
  • Apply the model on test cases using multi-objective optimization
  • Improve the tool to make it more user-friendly and transferable to industry


Desired skills are:

  • Energy conversion systems knowledge (EPFL courses: Thermo I/II, Energy conversion, Advanced Energetics, or equivalent)
  • Programming skills: MATLAB, Lua
  • Optimization (Modelling and Optimization of Energy Systems EPFL course or equivalent)

How to apply: 

If interested, please take contact with Jean-Loup Robineau attaching your CV and transcript of records (Bachelor’s and Master’s).

The Master Thesis will take place partly in a company (Veolia), in France.


As the IPESE research group is now located in Sion, students might need to commute. A travel expense compensation of 600 CHF will be given to students for semester projects. The frequency of travel to Sion will be agreed with the project supervisor.

A budget will be allocated to the student in order for him to cover his expenses due to travelling to and staying in the company in France.