According to the three-pillar principle of BOKU (combination of technology, natural sciences and economic, social and legal sciences) we develop innovative concepts, methods and procedures

- for planning and evaluation of waste prevention measures,
- to close natural and anthropogenic material cycles,
- for low-emission waste treatment and
- for the aftercare and monitoring of landfills and old deposits.

The global interdependence of the economy and material flows requires waste flows to be analysed in a comprehensive context and cross-national solutions to be found.

Our current research areas are:

Latest SCI publications

Latest Projects

Research project (§ 26 & § 27)
Duration : 2023-10-01 - 2024-09-30

In Austria, there are still numerous secured old landfills or domestic waste landfills in the decommissioning phase whose remaining emission potential can pose an environmental risk. These landfills and old deposits must be regularly examined for their risk in order to decide whether further measures are necessary or whether the costly securing or aftercare can be discontinued. Today, the investigations are carried out using standardized chemical-physical methods. In addition to these methods, some of which only identify individual parameters after complex wet-chemical preparation steps, FTIR (Fourier Transform Infrared) spectroscopy was developed a few years ago as a rapid and holistic analysis approach. FTIR spectroscopy produces absorption spectra that allow conclusions to be drawn about organic and inorganic compounds in samples. In the original form of these investigations, transmission measurements of solid samples in KBr compacts were used, which also required considerable time and skill on the part of the analyst to prepare the sample. In recent years, ATR (Attenuated Total Reflection) FTIR spectroscopy, which can directly measure homogenized powdered samples, has been favoured, reducing the time and effort required and enabling higher sample throughput. Thanks to this progress, it is now possible to use the method in many more laboratories and to establish it as a routine method in the future. The disadvantage is that the spectra of ATR-FTIR spectroscopy differ in their band height and the models already established for the transmission FTIR method cannot be used. In order to develop or adapt new models, a sufficient number of samples with known and varying wet chemical parameters must be measured. The aim of this project is to develop and validate models for ATR-FTIR spectra that include the relevant stability parameters AT4 and a gas donation sum GS21 <20 Nl on the basis of already wet-chemically analyzed retention samples of seepage, pumping and groundwater.
Research project (§ 26 & § 27)
Duration : 2023-11-10 - 2024-05-09

In addition to contamination with heavy metals and persistent organic pollutants, microplastics have also been identified as contaminants in soils.These are particularly important on agricultural land as the transfer of microplastics into the food chain cannot be ruled out. Microplastics are particularly relevant because they can accumulate organic pollutants in addition to questionable additives. In addition, evidence has also been found that a high microplastic load can also have an impact on soil physical properties and therefore also on yield. As there is currently no method to remove microplastics from the soil and they are persistent, the sources of pollution must be identified as a priority in order to prevent them. In order to identify the sources, it is important to determine which microplastics are involved and from which products they originate. For identification, it is important to determine the type of plastic and its morphology and to assign it to a specific source (e.g. mulch films or packaging plastics). The necessary parameters are obtained from FTIR microscopic investigations and particle analyses. In this project, such investigations are to be carried out on agricultural soil samples from Switzerland.
Research project (§ 26 & § 27)
Duration : 2023-10-01 - 2026-09-30

Biogenic waste from households is still a largely unutilised resource in municipal waste management. In particular, the use of biogenic kitchen waste in biogas plants with the production of an energy source represents a sensible addition to the utilisation of waste. The Bruck an der Leitha waste association is planning to carry out a collection trial for biogenic kitchen waste. In the course of two test runs, conventional communication channels such as flyers, community newspapers etc. and digital media (webpages, apps for mobile phones etc.) will be used. In the accompanying scientific study, the volume flows of the waste types organic waste bin, residual waste and separately collected kitchen waste are analysed before the collection trial and after the two test runs. Further data (collection volumes, records of collection logistics, quality of the collected goods) and feedback from users will be used to interpret the changes during the collection trials. The effects of the changed collection system are analysed at an economic level (cost comparison) and at an ecological level (simplified life cycle assessment). Recommendations for action to expand this collection system are derived from this.

Supervised Theses and Dissertations