Engineers at Cranfield University have developed technology that will be able to determine the energy output from each component in a mixed waste stream.
Under the Government’s Renewable Obligation Certificate scheme, UK electricity suppliers are obligated to demonstrate the biomass fraction of waste.
Currently, the process for determining the biogenic content of waste is either manual sorting or analysis of flue gas and carbon dating, which according to Cranfield is costly and can only be calculated retrospectively.
Its new technology uses an image and microwave analysis tool which when placed above a waste conveyor is able to determine the composition of the mixed waste material and calculate how much renewable energy is derived from each individual component of the waste.
Cranfield University lecturer in renewable energy from waste Stuart Wagland said: “The system enables greater operator controls over the fuels, allowing for blending to optimise the biogenic (renewable) content and the overall calorific value, or energy released on combustion.”
The method was developed using funding from the Technology Strategy Board, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, and the Department of Energy and Climate Change.