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Development of a virtual sensor for gaseous pollutant monitoring in WtE plants


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Modern Waste-to-Energy (WtE) plants are being built around the world to reduce the levels of solid waste going into landfill sites and contribute to renewable energy and carbon reduction targets. These plants are subject to strict emission limits compliance hence continuous emission monitoring at the stack is mandatory for several regulated pollutants. All the plants are equipped with a series of analyzers to accurately monitor the composition of the flue gas. However, these primary analyzers may occasionally malfunction, necessitating the requirement for backup measurements to ensure ongoing compliance monitoring. Virtual sensors can serve as a cost-effective alternative to backup sampling and measurement systems, ensuring uninterrupted monitoring even in the event of faults, malfunctions, periods of inactivity, or restarts in the continuous emission monitoring system.

This thesis aims to create a virtual sensor to replace a stack mercury analyzer, utilizing real-world WtE data. The initial phase involves refining existing phenomenological models to accurately capture the observed behavior of the physical sensor used for monitoring mercury concentrations at the stack of the designated WtE plant in the case study. Subsequently, the second phase focuses on the actual development of a virtual sensor tailored to this specific case study.

Area di competenza
Emissions and Air Quality


Senem Ozgen, LEAP (senem.ozgen@polimi.it)

Prof. Fredy Ruiz, Politecnico di Milano, Dipartimento di Elettronica, Informazione e Bioingegneria)

Competenze richieste

  • Capability to formulate and solve optimal control problems
  • Capability to implement and validate numerical simulations of dynamic systems
  • Solid background in estimation and control


  • Familiarity with Matlab-Simulink
  • Experience with system identification and dynamic modelling
  • Basic knowledge of process control and modelling of chemical processes
  • Familiarity with optimization tools (CVX, Casadi, Sedumi, …)

Data di inizio presunta
As soon as possible

6/9 months (Full thesis)

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