Input-Output Analysis

The WtE Design Lab developed a series of associative models to help designers test various options to better integrate a WtE plant in a given context.

At the scale of the city, it is possible to directly compare waste collection networks with electricity and heat distribution systems. An associative model allows designers and interested parties to estimate in real time the various scales of WtE plants’ waste collection inputs and energy outputs. The platform used by the WtE Design Lab to develop this associative model is a plugin for Rhinoceros called Grasshopper.

The model accounts for a given city’s population density, city fabric, urban density, parcel size, waste production, and heat and electricity consumption per capita. The model does not account for geological barriers to district heating, potential losses in electric and heat transmission, land values, transportation costs, household size, or if a vacuum system is part of the waste collection process. The model computes a series of inputs (urban density, desired WtE plant size, and programs served by the plant) inserted by the user (architect, city planner, engineer, plant operator) and returns a series of outputs such as waste collection catchment area, urban area serviced in electricity and heat by the plant, and a datum for the maximum area that could be served by a vacuum waste collection system.

Furthermore, the parametric model allows us to make more complex calculations by adding two more different types of hybrid uses. With this tool, we can make realistic proposals for a complete WtE program as well as study comparatively different cases to decide the optimum size of a plant given a particular location and hybridization program


The following video explains in more detail the associative model designed to analyze input-output of WtE facilities.