an official journal of: published by:
an official journal of: published by:
Editor in Chief: RAFFAELLO COSSU


  • Therese SchwarzbaCk - Institute for Water Quality and Resource Management, TU Wien University, Austria
  • Manuel Hahn - Institute for Water Quality and Resource Management, TU Wien, Austria
  • Stefan Spacek - Institute for Water Quality and Resource Management, TU Wien, Austria
  • Johann Fellner - Institute for Water Quality and Resource Management, TU Wien, Austria

Released under CC BY-NC-ND

Copyright: © 2022 CISA Publisher


Differenciating between material fractions in refuse-derived fuels (RDF) is relevant to determining the climate relevance of RDF (fractions of biomass and fossil matter). This differentiation is associated with analytical challenges. A method was applied using balance equations, which contain the elemental composition (C, H, N, S, O) of the RDF and the sought for material fractions. For the first time this so-called adapted Balance Method (aBM) was applied to oil-contaminated RDF with the aim of not only distinguishing between biomass and fossil matter but between fossil matter from plastics and from oil-contamination as well. Thus, the balance equations and the following data reconciliation was adapted. It is shown that the balance method is based on mathematics that provides valuable insight far beyond the basic types of calculation since the calculation takes place in higher dimensions. It is also shown that the operation of the algorithm can be represented graphically in the lower third dimension. The mass of oil contamination as well as the mass of biogenic and fossil matter could be determined for the RDF considered. Problems concerning relatively high uncertainties still need to be solved due to the similar elemental composition of plastics and oil. However, it is shown that the aBM is capable of distinguishing between more than two material fractions in RDF, which the other available methods cannot and which can be relevant for greenhouse gas reporting but also for process control purposes.


Editorial History

  • Received: 25 Jul 2022
  • Revised: 20 Feb 2023
  • Accepted: 15 Mar 2023
  • Available online: 31 Mar 2023


Anderl, M, Colson, J, Gangl M., Kuschel, V., Mandl, N., Matthews, B., Mayer, M., Mayer, S., Moldaschl, E., Pazdernik, K., Poupa, S., Purzner, M., Rockenschaub, A.K., Roll, M., Schieder, W. Schmidt, G., Schodl, B., Schwaiger, E., Schwarzl, B., Stranner, G., Weiss, P., 2023. Austria’s Annual Greenhouse Gas Inventory 1990-2021. Submission under Regulation (EU) No 2018/1999. Report REP-0841,

Aranda Usón, A., López-Sabirón, A.M., Ferreira, G., Llera Sastresa, E., 2013. Uses of alternative fuels and raw materials in the cement industry as sustainable waste management options. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 23, 242-260.
DOI 10.1016/j.rser.2013.02.024

EN ISO 21640: Solid recovered fuels – Specifications and classes. German version EN ISO 21640:2021. DIN-Normenausschuss Materialprüfung (NMP)

EN ISO 21644: Solid recovered fuels – Methods for the determination of biomass content. German version EN ISO 21644:2021. DIN-Normenausschuss Materialprüfung (NMP)

European Parliament: Directive 2009/29/EC on amending Directive 2003/87/EC so as to improve and extend the greenhouse gas emission allowance trading scheme of the Community. Official Journal of the European Union, pp. 63–87

Fellner J., Rechberger H. 2009. Abundance of 14C in biomass fractions of wastes and solid recovered fuels, Waste Management, Volume 29, Issue 5, 2009, Pages 1495-1503,
DOI 10.1016/j.wasman.2008.11.023

Fellner J, Aschenbrenner P, Cencic O, Rechberger H. Determination of the biogenic and fossil organic matter content of refuse-derived fuels based on elementary analyses. Fuel 2011;90(11):3164–71.
DOI 10.1016/j.fuel.2011.06.043

Gałko, G., Mazur I., Rejdak M., Jagustyn B., Hrabak, J., Ouadi, M., Jahangiri, H., Sajdak, M., 2023. Evaluation of alternative refuse-derived fuel use as a valuable resource in various valorised applications, Energy, Volume 263, Part D, 2023, 125920,
DOI 10.1016/

Garg A., Smith, R., Hill, D., Simms, N., Pollard, S. 2007. Wastes as Co-Fuels: The Policy Framework for Solid Recovered Fuel (SRF) in Europe, with UK Implications, Environmental Science & Technology 2007 41 (14), 4868-4874,
DOI 10.1021/es062163e

Genon, G., Brizio, E. 2008, Perspectives and limits for cement kilns as a destination for RDF, Waste Management, Volume 28, Issue 11, 2008, Pages 2375-2385,
DOI 10.1016/j.wasman.2007.10.022

Habert, G., Billard, G., Rossi, P., Chen, C., Roussel, N. 2010. Cement production technology improvement compared to factor 4 objectives, Cement and Concrete Research, Volume 40, Issue 5, 2010, Pages 820-826,
DOI 10.1016/j.cemconres.2009.09.031

Hiromi Ariyaratne, W.H., Melaaen, M.C., Tokheim, L.-A., Determination of biomass fraction for partly renewable solid fuels 2014, Energy, 70, 465 – 472.
DOI 10.1016/

Ke, T., Lv, H., Sun, M., Zhang, L. A bisaed least squares suppurt vector machine based on Mahalanobis distance for PU learning. Physica A (2018), 422-438.
DOI 10.1016/j.physa.2018.05.128

Kost T., Brennstofftechnische Charakterisierung von Haushaltsabfällen (in German: Fuel Characterization of Household Waste) (Ph.D.Thesis), Dresden Technical. University, Dresden, Germany, 2001

Larsen, A.W.; Fuglsang, K.; Pedersen, N.H., Fellner, J.; Rechberger, H.; Astrup, T.:2013. Biogenic carbon in combustible waste: Waste composition, variability and measurement uncertainty. Waste Manage Res 31, 2013, pp. 56-66.
DOI 10.1177/0734242X13502387

Moora H., Roos I., Kask, U., Kask, L., Ounapuu, K., Determination of biomass content in combusted municipal waste and associated CO2 emissions in Estonia 2017, Energy Procedia, 128, 222 – 229.
DOI 10.1016/j.egypro.2017.09.059

Muir, G.K., Hayward, S., Tripney, B.G., Cook, G.T., Naysmith, P., Herbert, B.M., Garnett, M.H., Wilkinson, M., 2015. Determining the biomass fraction of mixed waste fuels: a comparison of existing industry and (14)C-based methodologies. Waste Manage. 35, 293–300.
DOI 10.1016/j.wasman.2014.09.023

Nasrullah M, Vainikka P, Hannula J, Hurme M, Karki J. Mass, energy and material balances of SRF production process. Part 1: SRF produced from commercial and industrial waste. Waste Manage 2014;34(8):1398–407.
DOI 10.1016/j.wasman.2014.03.011

Rada, E.C, Ragazzi, M. 2014. Selective collection as a pretreatment for indirect solid recovered fuel generation, Waste Management, Volume 34, Issue 2, 2014, Pages 291-297,
DOI 10.1016/j.wasman.2013.11.013

Rueda, L. G., Oommen, B. J. On optimal pairwise linear classifiers for normal distribution: the d-dimensional case. Pattern Recognition 36 (2003), 13-23.
DOI 10.1016/S0031-3203(02)00053-5

Sarc, R., Lorber, K., Pomberger, R., Rogetzer, M., Sipple, E., 2014. Design, quality, and quality assurance of solid recovered fuels for the substitution of fossil feedstock in the cement industry. Waste Manage Res 32, 565-585.
DOI 10.1177/0734242X14536462

Schwarzböck, T., Aschenbrenner, P., Spacek, S., Szidat, S., Rechberger, H. and Fellner, J., 2018a. An alternative method to determine the share of fossil carbon in solid refuse-derived fuels – Validation and comparison with three standardized methods. Fuel 220, 916-930.
DOI 10.1016/j.fuel.2017.12.076

Schwarzböck, T., Aschenbrenner, P., Muehlbacher, S., Szidat, S., Spacek, S. and Fellner, J., 2018b. Determination of the climate relevance of refuse derived fuels - validity of literature-derived values in comparison to analysis-derived values. Detritus 2, 120-132.
DOI 10.31025/2611-4135/2018.13649

Schwarzböck, T., 2018. Determination of biogenic and fossil matter in wastes, refuse-derived fuels and other plastic-containing mixtures - Potentials and limitations. Doctoral Thesis. Supervisor: Johann Fellner; Institute for Water Quality and Resource Management, Technische Universität Wien (TU Wien). 2018.
DOI 10.34726/hss.2018.59301

UBA, 2016. Umweltbundesamt (environmental protection agency Germany). CO2-Emissionsfaktoren für fossile Brennstoffe. CLIMATE CHANGE 27/2016. Kristina Juhrich, Fachgebiet Emissionssituation, ISSN 1862-4359.

Viczek, S.A., Aldrian, A., Pomberger, R., Sarc, R., 2020. Origins and carriers of Sb, As, Cd, Cl, Cr, Co, Pb, Hg, and Ni in mixed solid waste – A literature-based evaluation, Waste Management, Volume 103, 2020, Pages 87-112,
DOI 10.1016/j.wasman.2019.12.009

Wu, S., Ye, Q., Chen, C., Gu, X., 2015. Research on data reconcilation based on generalized T distribution with historical data. Neurocomputing 175 (2016), 808-815.
DOI 10.1016/j.neucom.2015.10.093