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NRAs 2016 - WEEE Innovation

Winner: eSynergy Developments

eSynergy has developed the UK’s first intrinsically safe and emissionscontrolled recycling process for commercial refrigeration equipment.

The system is a practical solution to encapsulated recycling of supermarket and other commercial refrigeration equipment containing flammable gases. Full-size (12ft) cabinets can be fed into the pre-shredder and all shredding takes place in a nitrogen-rich environment, maintaining an oxygen level below 4%. This avoids the risk of fire and explosion, common when dealing with hydrocarbon (pentane)-blown insulation foam.

It also removes the need to cut the insulation panels removed from the refrigeration cabinets, which is often done using grinders or plasma torches and thus mitigates the associated fire risks.

The company has spotted a niche in the market and developed its own solution to deal with challenging waste streams, smartly using a range of technologies. It is particularly creditable because it is for the business sector

Judges’ view

The gases released during shredding are drawn off the process under vacuum by the Cryo-Condap solvent recovery system (pictured). This condenses the blowing agents from the process gas at -198°C. These gases, along with the polyurethane foam powder, are collected separately.

The liberated insulation foam is traditionally landfilled or incinerated, but eSynergy has installed a thermolysis process to treat the hydrocarbon-rich PUR/PIR foam and recover energy from the thermal decomposition process.

The project is the first UK WEEE installation permitted under the recently transposed Industrial Emissions Directive.

Throughout the development of the project, a number of other fridge processing operators have been the victims of fires, causing a reduction in competition and an increase in the supply of commercial refrigeration supply to eSynergy. The company has also entered into negotiations with a number of supply chain businesses that are looking for a recycling operator offering a safe and compliant process.

The company liaised with the regulators throughout the design, build and permitting process to incorporate the necessary requirements. 


  • Donovan Nordic, BritishBins
  • Effective Consumable Solutions (UK)
  • Electrical Waste Recycling Group
  • Furniture Re-Use Network
  • Perth & Kinross Council with Electrolink
  • Wiser Recycling

Sponsored by: RWM with CIWM

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