An Overview of the Waste-to-Energy System Simulation (WESyS) Model

Annika Eberle, Irina Tsiryapkina, Steve Peterson, Laura Vimmerstedt, Dylan Hettinger, Daniel Inman

Research output: NRELTechnical Report


The leveraging of waste streams for energy and chemical production could add revenue to waste disposal operations, and it presents opportunities for addressing a variety of economic and environmental objectives at the local, state, and national levels. The Waste-to-Energy System Simulation (WESyS) model is a system dynamics model that was created to simulate the development of the U.S. waste-to-energy industry over time. For each of the three primary waste resources modeled (landfills, concentrated animal feeding operations, and publicly owned treatment works), WESyS simulates technically feasible scenarios for use of the waste, including direct conversion to fuels, and anaerobic digestion followed by flaring, electricity generation, combined heat and power, cleanup and compression to compressed natural gas, and cleanup and injection into an existing pipeline. The model allows users to explore numerous plausible future scenarios for the development of the U.S. waste-to-energy industry. This report provides an overview of the WESyS model and documents the key assumptions, equations, and data sources used to create the model.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages41
StatePublished - 2020

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/TP-6A20-77166


  • AD
  • anaerobic digestion
  • bioenergy
  • biofuels
  • CAFO
  • concentrated animal feeding operation
  • HTL
  • hydrothermal liquefaction
  • landfill
  • POTW
  • publicly owned treatment works
  • system dynamics
  • waste management
  • waste-to-energy
  • Waste-to-Energy System Simulation
  • WESyS


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