On June 6, 2018, Prof. Jo Van Caneghem (CHEMARTS & SIM² KU Leuven) will present her inaugural ‘Materials Engineering 2018’ lecture “Beyond waste combustion: the opportunities of waste-to-energy for material recovery in a circular economy”. The lecture will take place at 16h in the ‘Aula van de Tweede Hoofdwet’, Thermotechnisch Instituut, Kasteelpark Arenberg 41, 3001 Heverlee. Registration can be done here. (Leuven, 23-5-2018)

Abstract lecture “Beyond waste combustion: the opportunities of waste-to-energy for material recovery in a circular economy”

A circular economy focusses on maintaining the value of products, materials and resources in the economy for as long as possible. However, some waste materials are not recyclable because of economic, environmental or health reasons. Conventionally, non-recyclable waste is treated in waste-to-energy (WtE) plants that primarily focus on recovering energy with the highest possible efficiency. This presentation shows and illustrates that minor adaptations in the operation and the design of conventional WtE plants could enhance (critical) raw material recovery from the solid incineration residues. This way, WtE can play an essential role in the realization of the circular economy by further closing material cycles.

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Bio Jo Van Caneghem

Jo Van Caneghem graduated in 1993 as a Master in Chemical Engineering Technology. In 1994 she obtained an advanced Master’s degree in Environmental Technology. After that, she worked as a service engineer in the water treatment industry and as a quality engineer in the automotive industry. In 2005 she started working as project assistant at the ProcESS (Process Engineering for Sustainable Systems) section of the Chemical Engineering department of KU Leuven, under supervison of prof. Carlo Vandecasteele. She started her PhD research in 2007 in the same department and obtained her degree in 2011 with a thesis entitled ‘Environmental performance indicators for industrial processes and regions’. In her research she uses her chemical engineering background to develop ways to enhance energy and material valorisation in thermal systems. She lectures the courses ‘Environmental technology’, ‘Sustainable energy production’ and ‘Applied sustainability assessment’. Her Research highlights are:

  • Sustainable treatment of solid waste containing toxic substances
  • Recovery of critical elements from thermal treatment residues
  • Scaling and corrosion of heat exchanging surfaces in Waste-to-Energy boilers
  • Flue gas cleaning
  • Destruction and formation of POPs in waste incinerators