Simulator SIMUR

Environment-System Balance

Municipal waste management is a field that has experienced a rapid evolution over the last few decades. There is no single, clear solution in the searching of more efficient and sustainable waste management models (nor of the instruments conforming them). For that reason, it is necessary to evaluate waste management models using a common analytical methodology. This methodology has to determinate the grade of accommodation of each waste management to several environmental and service criteria and also adjusts the management to the new municipal requirements or the legislative objectives.

 

SIMUR is a common analysis tool based on a global vision of the waste management and its consequences from a lifecycle perspective. The tool permits the development of environmental profiles and diagnosis of the existent waste management and also of projected or future scenarios. The simulator is able to model any collection and treatment option that nowadays is used (including multiple collection systems or plants technologies), accommodating different scales of management (national, regional, municipal, etc.)

 

BASIC CHARACTERISTICS, STRUCTURE AND OPERATIONS OF THE SIMULATOR

Waste management simulation throughout the entire cycle
  • Management at the point of generation/contribution to the collection point.
  • Collection and transportation system to the first point of treatment or transfer.
  • Intermediate transport between plants.
  • Treatment systems.
  • Final destination: recycled materials, reuse, landfill, etc.
Structure and tools
  • Data entry forms.
  • Output results displayed clearly (value tables, accompanying and complementary graphs, result schemes images).
  • Exportation of tables, charts to excel and images,
  • Default data inputs and simulation standards.
  • Databases of emissions, energy consumption, and plant operations.
  • Help screens.
  • Copy function of the models already created to develop variants.
  • Other user support tools: reference documents, default data sources , terminology, acronyms, etc.
 
Definition of the management model
  • Existing producers of waste.
  • Fractions generated in the model.
  • Established collection systems.
  • Relationships between fractions with the corresponding collection systems and producers.
  • Treatment systems and final destinations.
CaIculation of balances and management  indicators and impacts
  • Mass balance.
  • Energy balance.
  • Impacts (balance of emissions and calculation of potential impacts).
  • Costs balance.

Applications of SIMUR

General:

  • Evaluation of real or existent scenarios.
  • Evaluation of future scenarios or specific modifications to the current model.
    Comparison of management models both existent and planned.
    Detection of malfunctions and improvement requirements of the management models.
    Verification of compliance with the settled targets (total selective collection or for materials, total material valorisation or for materials, biodegradables sent to landfill reduction,  greenhouse gas emissions reduction, energy consumption, etc.)
     

Specifics:

 

  • Obtain information from different management models, then compare their outputs to define proposed strategies at different levels (national, CCAA, regional, municipal, etc.).
  • Include the results of the simulation regarding consumption and emissions management in the inventory for Sustainable Energy Action Plans or Local Climate Change Mitigation Plans.
  • Include the waste management results in the diagnostics in the framework of municipal environmental audit to carry out Local Agenda 21.
  • Assess current and future management scenarios to support decision making to develop model modifications and to justify future strategies in municipal collection. Such studies have also been framed in general strategic plans at the municipal level.
  • Assess the current management and future scenarios in the framework of Environmental Sustainability Reporting that are required in the Strategic Environmental Assessment Process of plans and programs.
  • Design and assess of Eco-neighbourhoods.
 

Case Studies and Applications

Since the establishment of SIMUR in 2002, this simulation model has gone through a long period of testing and verification to ensure its proper functionality and to include modifications and improvements according to the arising necessities of the real cases or design management applications.
 
The Urban Ecology Agency of Barcelona (BCNecologia) has developed many projects to evaluate waste management models using the SIMUR simulator for different territorial scales. In many cases, the analysis was done at the municipal level: municipalities of Metropolitan Area of Barcelona and Catalonia (about 50 case studies), Galicia and the Basque Country, among other cases in Spain. But other low scales also has been analysed like various districts or neighbourhoods, (Barcelona, Viladecans Figueres, etc.) or collection circuits (Barcelona), as well as higher levels like services municipality associations, and even regions such as Catalonia and Galicia.
 

 

REFERENCES

Simulator SIMUR

<<SIMUR is simulator software that models different options of waste collection and treatment. It creates an environmental profile and a diagnosis of the existing waste management and it permits to simulate future or planned scenarios>>

 

Idea aplicada en: 
Catalonia (Barcelona, Sant Just Desvern, Figueres, Viladecans, Manresa, Mataró, etc.), Galicia (A Coruña, Mancomunidad Sierra de Barbanza, Ourense, Santiago de Compostela, etc.), Basque Country (Vitoria-Gasteiz, San Sebastián, Usurbil, etc.), La Rioja and other cities within Spain (Leganés, Benicàssim, etc.).