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The use of commercial and industrial waste in energy recovery systems - A UK preliminary study

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published

Journal publication date08/2011
JournalWaste Management
Journal number8
Volume31
Number of pages6
Pages1759-1764
Early online date6/05/11
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

With 2020 energy targets set out by the EU fast approaching, the UK is trying to source a higher proportion of its energy from renewable resources. Coupled with this, a growing population and increasing trends in consumer demand have resulted in national waste loads increasing. A possible solution to both issues is energy-from-waste (EfW) technologies. Many studies have focused on municipal solid waste (MSW) as a potential feedstock, but appear to overlook the potential benefits of commercial and industrial waste (C&IW). In this study, samples of C&IW were collected from three North West waste management companies and Lancaster University campus. The samples were tested for their gross and net calorific value, moisture content, ash content, volatile matter, and also elemental composition to determine their suitability in EfW systems. Intra-sample analysis showed there to be little variation between samples with the exception two samples, from waste management site 3, which showed extensive variation with regards to net calorific value, ash content, and elemental analysis. Comparisons with known fuel types revealed similarities between the sampled C&IW, MSW, and refuse derived fuel (RDF) thereby justifying its potential for use in EfW systems. Mean net calorific value (NCV) was calculated as 9.47 MJ/kg and concentrations of sulphur, nitrogen, and chlorine were found to be below 2%. Potential electrical output was calculated using the NCV of the sampled C&IW coupled with four differing energy generation technologies. Using a conventional incinerator with steam cycle, total electrical output was calculated as 24.9 GWh, based on a plant operating at 100,000 tpa. This value rose to 27.0 GWh when using an integrated gasification combined cycle. A final aspect of this study was to deduce the potential total national electrical output if all suitable C&IW were to be used in EfW systems. Using incineration coupled with a steam turbine, this was determined to be 6 TWh, 1.9% of the national demand thereby contributing 6.5% towards the UK’s 2020 renewable electricity target.