The MARSS project funded by the Life Plus program of the European Union (2012), has the goal of identifying an alternative to traditional treatments of the biogenic fraction of municipal solid waste (incineration, landfill), that provide benefits for the environment (see Laymans report).

The innovative process involves the extraction of the biogenic material through a series of stages of pre-selection, separation and refining, in order to recover metals, extract plastics and contaminants and produce biofuel of high quality.

A demonstration plant, which began as a line of additional process for the recovery of organic waste, was built within a plant for the existing mechanical-biological treatment (MBT) in the city of Trier in Germany. The structure is able to treat a throughput of about 10 t/h.

Thus, 70-75 wt.-% of the biological materials in the demonstration plant input were recovered in the fuel output. The biogenic content could be enriched from 50 % to over 90 % by mass. The net calorific value of the fuel varies between 10 and 12 MJ/kg. It has an ash content of about 27 wt.-%. The fossil content is below 10 wt.-% (~6-9 wt.-%). As a result, the technical project requirements were achieved.

Based on 100,000 tons of mixed rubbish produced by about 300,000 inhabitants, it is possible to make about 22 to 33,000 tons of recovered biomass fuel (RRBF). This fuel can be combusted in a 10 MW power station and would then provide electricity for at least 11,000 inhabitants (based on an average demand of 4000 kW electricity per household per year).

A detailed investigation focused on Naples and the surrounding area was carried out to determine the feasibility and viability of the commercial application.

Within this project a methodology for the integrated assessment of the performance of Urban Waste Management System (UWMS) was developed across dimensions and scales that can be used to:

  1. define the performance of UWMS in a multicriterial setting using packages of indicators chosen by social actors;
  2. characterize the performance of innovative technologies used to change the performance of a given UWMS.

The project aims to quantify, through monitoring actions, Environmental Impact Assessments and Life Cycle Assessment, the extent to which such alternative technology in Europe, is able to help:

  • the sustainable management of waste for local authorities;
  • the reduction of harmful residues (solids and gases, such as CO2) that normally arise from incineration and landfill;
  • the prevention of soil and ground water contamination from landfill sites;
  • the recovery of valuable resources (metal, plastic);
  • to replace the use of fossil fuels with biofuels in composition and quality controlled;
  • acceptance of the MARSS technology

See the "Finals results" and "Publications" page for more detailed information.