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UK researchers developing new EfW technologies to commercial scale

An EU-funded institute is focusing on turning innovative energy-from-waste (EfW) technologies into full-scale, commercially functioning operations.

The European Bioenergy Research Institute (EBRI), funded jointly by Aston University and the European Regional Development Fund, has expertise in multiple technologies, but concentrates predominantly on thermal processing technologies - pyrolysis and gasification.

Tim Miller, EBRI director of operations, told MRW: “The challenge of the scale-up process in the past has been a significant barrier to these technologies going into the market. (EBRI) is about making it usable.”

He said EU funded programmes in the past were “almost exclusively” the province of either universities or large companies.

He added: “There is now a consistent drive by Europe to try and get smaller companies involved. We are very keen on working with companies to enable them to get access to those funds.”

He said there is now less emphasis on purity of science with more focus on outcome driven research and practical policy.

This is maintained by expectation that all research proposals will have at least one company involved to demonstrate the commercial practicality.

EBRI is working with various companies including waste management companies on bespoke issues making use of fully funded exchanges of staff, expertise and technology.

The EBRI team has developed an on-site plant scale pyroformer, which can transform organic wastes and residues (biomass) into heat, power and other marketable products.

The list of feedstocks tested in the plant includes:

  • sewage sludge
  • rice, barley and wheat husk
  • oil pressing cake from rape, seed, soy bean, cocoa butter, olive, sunflower
  • straw
  • miscanthus
  • wood
  • algae
  • corn residue
  • dried anaerobic residue
  • meat and bone meal
  • grass and green clippings
  • spent brewer’s grain


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