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Environmental Sciences Research Prize awarded to David Font Vivanco

The Environmental Sciences Research Prize 2012 has been awarded to CML researcher David Font Vivanco by the Environmental Scientists Association of Catalonia.

Image: From left to right: Representive of Catalina Molina (Degree thesis prize), David Font (Research project prize), Laia Espasa (Business initiative prize) and Xavier Duran (Environmental communication prize)

The Environmental Sciences Prize was created to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the creation of the Environmental Sciences Degree in Spain by the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB). Of the four categories in which the prize is divided –degree thesis, research, business initiative and communication-, the research prize awards the best research project carried out in the field of Environmental Sciences in Catalonia during the year 2011. The prizes were given in a ceremony held in the UAB on October the 18th.

The awarded project focuses on the combined material and spatial characterization of the flows within a municipal solid waste (MSW) management system through a Network-Based Spatial Material Flow Analysis. Using this information, two core indicators are developed for the bio-waste fraction, the Net Recovery Index (NRI) and the Transport Intensity Index (TII), which are aimed at assessing progress towards policy-related sustainable MSW management strategies and objectives. 

The NRI approaches the capacity of a MSW management system for converting waste into resources through a systematic metabolic approach, whereas the TII addresses efficiency in terms of the transport requirements to manage a specific waste flow throughout the entire MSW management life cycle. Therefore, both indicators could be useful in assessing key MSW management policy strategies, such as the consecution of higher recycling levels (sustainability principle) or the minimization of transport by locating treatment facilities closer to the generation sources (proximity principle). 

Results show the adequacy of both indicators for identifying those points within the system with higher capacity to compromise its environmental, economic and social performance and therefore establishing clear targets for policy prioritization. Moreover, this methodological approach permits scenario building, which could be useful in assessing the outcomes of hypothetical scenarios, thus proving its adequacy for strategic planning. 

A scientific article of this project can be found at: Sciencedirect

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