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Fires at storage sites of organic materials, waste fuels and recyclables
Linnaeus University, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, Department of Biology and Environmental Science.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-0021-5971
Linnaeus University, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, Department of Biology and Environmental Science.
Linnaeus University, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, Department of Biology and Environmental Science.
Linnaeus University, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, Department of Biology and Environmental Science.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-1903-760X
2013 (English)In: Waste Management & Research, ISSN 0734-242X, E-ISSN 1096-3669, Vol. 31, no 9, 937-945 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

During the last decade, the European Union has enforced the diversion of organic wastes and recyclables to waste management companies operating incineration plants, composting plants and recycling units instead of landfills. The temporary storage sites have been established as a buffer against fluctuations in energy demand throughout the year. Materials also need to be stored at temporary storage sites before recovery and recycling. However, regulations governing waste fuel storage and handling have not yet been developed, and, as a result, companies have engaged in risky practices that have resulted in a high number of fire incidents. In this study, a questionnaire survey was distributed to 249 of the 400 members of Avfall Sverige (Swedish Waste Management Association), which represents the waste management of 95% of the Swedish population. Information regarding 122 storage facilities owned by 69 companies was obtained; these facilities were responsible for the storage of 47% of the total treated waste (incineration + digestion + composting) in 2010 in Sweden. To identify factors related to fire frequency, the questionnaire covered the amounts of material handled and burnt per year, financial losses due to fires, storage duration, storage method and types of waste. The results show that 217 fire incidents corresponded to 170 kilotonnes of material burnt and cumulative losses of 49 million SEK (€4.3 million). Fire frequency and amount of material burnt per fire was found to be dependent upon type of management group (waste operator). Moreover, a correlation was found between fire frequency and material recycled during past years. Further investigations of financial aspects and externalities of fire incidents are recommended.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Sage Publications, 2013. Vol. 31, no 9, 937-945 p.
Keyword [en]
Municipal solid waste, organic materials, self-ignition, fires at storage sites, solid waste fuels, recyclables
National Category
Environmental Management
Research subject
Natural Science, Environmental Science; Environmental Science, Environmental technology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-28661DOI: 10.1177/0734242X13487581ISI: 000324038200008Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-84883716344OAI: oai:DiVA.org:lnu-28661DiVA: diva2:645479
Available from: 2013-09-04 Created: 2013-09-04 Last updated: 2017-12-06Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Risk of spontaneous fires at temporary storages sites for organic material, waste fuels and recyclables: Quantification and mitigation
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Risk of spontaneous fires at temporary storages sites for organic material, waste fuels and recyclables: Quantification and mitigation
2014 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Economic and environmental constraints have created increasing demand for (material and energy recovery) and recycling of waste generated from households, commercial and industrial activities. A wide variety of materials waiting for sorting, recovery, recycling and disposal are stored at temporary storage sites (TSS) where physical, biotic and abiotic processes can lead the stored material to spontaneous ignition. Spontaneous fires at TSS are associated with severe social health economic and environmental implications.

The objective of the present thesis was to access, quantify and mitigate the risk of spontaneous fires at temporary storage sites. It was found that during the period from 2000 to 2010, spontaneous fires have caused losses of about 49 million SEK (about 5 million Euros) to the Swedish waste and recycling industry. A comparison of two groups of waste operators (non-seasonal storage sites at private companies and seasonal storage sites at municipality owned companies) showed that the number of fire incidents per storage site was higher for the former one.

Furthermore, it was found that there is a need to improve the behavior of environmental managers related to safety issues as a group of managers was found to be under the influence of optimism, attribution and availability biases. The managers under the influence of optimism bias preferred to follow low cost risk averting strategies and fire incidents were more frequently reported at their storage sites.

The ArcGIS spatial analysis using Boolean and Weighted Linear Combination approach and open burn/open detonation model was used to provide the screening level guidelines for siting new storage sites with a due consideration given to potential off-site consequences of spontaneous fires on downwind population. Furthermore, experiments were conducted to investigate the combustion characteristics of MSW bales. The data suggested that the unwrapped bales might pose higher hazards for adjacently stored material to catch fire than bales wrapped with low density polyethylene (LDPE) plastic sheets. For future, interdisciplinary research with focus on technical solutions (e.g. development of performance based design using fire simulations and methods for early detection and extinction of fires) and economic, political and organizational solutions that ensure risk of spontaneous fires not to be trivialized is recommended.

Keywords: temporary storage, risk of fires, spontaneous ignition, biofuels, recyclables, waste fuels

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Växjö: Linnaeus University Press, 2014. 82 p.
Series
Linnaeus University Dissertations, 160/2014
Keyword
temporary storage, risk of fires, spontaneous ignition, biofuels, recyclables, waste fuels
National Category
Environmental Management
Research subject
Natural Science, Environmental Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-31583 (URN)978-91-87427-71-8 (ISBN)
Public defence
2014-02-28, Fullriggaren (B-135), Landgången 3, Kalmar, 09:30 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2014-02-25 Created: 2014-01-22 Last updated: 2014-05-09Bibliographically approved

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Ibrahim, Muhammad AsimAlriksson, StinaKaczala, FabioHogland, William

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