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New clean energy technology is in search of waste

Pyrofab technology is being developed at Aston University to produce carbon neutral fuel from waste that would otherwise go to landfill.

Pre-testing of waste materials using prototype Pyrofab technology was underway today ahead of a summer tour to evaluate sustainable sources of bioenergy from waste across north-west Europe. The Pyrofab is based on Pyroformer™ technology, developed in the UK by the European Bioenergy Research Institute at Aston University. Using this intermediate pyrolysis process, the tests are determining the potential of different waste materials and residues to be processed into low carbon fuel.

The Pyrofab converts carbon from organic waste materials to produce carbon neutral fuel and biochar, a commodity that can be used to improve soil. It can process a wide range of biomass, residues and wastes, which means that hard to treat sources of waste can now be used as a feedstock to produce low carbon energy. Feedstocks being tested include food waste, domestic waste, agricultural waste such as pig manure, industrial waste and even baby wipes.

The Pyrofab is compact, transportable and can work with existing generation technology. Thus, waste can be locally sourced, reducing environmental footprint and encouraging energy diversity. What’s more, bioenergy generation isn’t intermittent like other renewables.

When fully developed the Pyrofab will offer businesses and local authorities access to the emerging bioenergy market, stimulating rural economies and reducing waste management costs. The bioenergy market in the UK alone is expected to be worth £12 billion in the next decade, and demand for bioenergy is expected to increase by 49 per cent between 2012 and 2040.

Pyrofab prototypes are set to tour four sites in North West Europe, hosted by partners in an EU INTERREG IVB funded project - BioenNW – and will then return to the UK. The Pyrofab system consists of two parts, a conversion technology containing a Pyroformer which uses intermediate pyrolysis to convert waste materials into products, and a monitoring lab and results analysis facility. Each part is small enough to fit into a single shipping container.

Professor Tony Bridgwater, Director of the European Bioenergy Research Institute at Aston University, said: “The Pyrofab unlocks the potential of waste, producing sustainable carbon neutral bioenergy and biofuels. This has the potential to change a significant liability for businesses and local authorities across North West Europe into a home grown resource, to reduce waste management costs and generate new revenue streams through the derived products.”


To find out more about the Pyrofab watch this video on BioenNW and Pyrofab bioenergy technology.  

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