Exciting energy recovery…from every tonne of waste

Waste, rubbish, trash, refuse – whatever you want to call it, the bulk of materials thrown away by households and industry are rich in energy, and prime targets for a […]

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By Freddie Rand

Waste, rubbish, trash, refuse – whatever you want to call it, the bulk of materials thrown away by households and industry are rich in energy, and prime targets for a secondary use as a feedstock to produce heat and power.

With around 30 million tonnes of municipal solid waste and a similar amount of industrial and commercial wastes produced in the UK each year, we are literally sat on a gold mine. The waste management sector has evolved tremendously in order to meet the incredibly strict targets set by authorities, to eliminate landfill and provide the best recovery, recycling and disposal options available, with clean energy recovery techniques playing an ever-increasing role in this process.

Segregation and processing of waste materials now means that a range of clean, energy-rich “fuels” can be produced cost effectively to suit a wide array of energy-recovery technologies. These can range from simple, small-scale wood-fired boilers to huge, city-scale mass burn energy from waste plants.

Refgas Ltd is one such technology company carving out an enviable niche in the recovered energy sector, with modular plug & play systems that can fulfil a medium-sized company’s heat and electricity demand, provide tailored solutions for poorly supplied remote areas or configure clean and compact energy parks to service a town or city.

Engineered to be modular, versatile and capable of using many different types of waste materials as feedstock, the Refgas standard unit generates 1mW of power and at the same time around 1.4MW of heat – from every tonne of waste it processes. It doesn’t burn or combust these materials but instead uses a well established technique called gasification to convert the waste feedstock into a synthesis gas (syngas) which is proven to be cleaner than the gas that heats your house and cooks your dinner!

Multiple Refgas units can be combined to generate as much as 20MW of power on a single site but let’s take a look at what a single unit can produce – from just 1,000 kgs of waste per hour:

Power                                                                                       Heat

Enough power to run:                                                            Enough heat for:

  • 2,000 homes                                                                  – 1-2 hectares of greenhouses
  • 12,500 laptops                                                               – 8,000 tonnes p.a. steam production
  • 25,000 lightbulbs                                                          – Drying 20,000 tonnes of woodchip p.a.

Someone once said, “There’s no such thing as waste…it’s just matter in the wrong place”.

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