Helping cities to make the most of their rubbish

17 May 2005

Helping cities to make the most of their rubbish

The Bio-Energy Research group at Aston University is developing a new approach to help local decision-makers turn waste into renewable energy.

With the UK government ordering councils to drastically reduce landfill waste and cut greenhouse gas emissions, decisions about waste management have never been tougher.

The local approach is being developed by PhD student David Longden. It analyses the amount of waste produced, the cost of energy recovery methods, and national landfill and carbon emission legislation to give councils a range of options for producing energy from waste.

Councils can choose the option of one large-scale plant, like the Tyseley Energy from Waste Plant in Birmingham, or a network of smaller local plants, like the Advanced Thermal treatment network under construction by Compact Power in Avonmouth, Bristol. Planners can choose between generating power only or using a combined heat and power plant that maximises energy recovery.

Longden is testing his approach in case studies with Warwickshire and Cornwall County Councils.

Looking to the future, Longden believes local power generation will be the way forward.

“These new small-scale energy recovery plants are modular. They can be geared to a community’s waste disposal needs after allowing for maximum recycling and waste minimisation. Council decision-makers must be made aware of the small-scale approach and the feasibility it offers in achieving sustainable waste management.”

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For further press information please contact Crystal Luxmore (PR Assistant, Bio-Energy Research Group) on 0121 204 3430.

*UK Landfill Directive (Article 4) stipulates that landfilling will contract to 35 percent of its 1995 levels by 2020.

*The Energy White Paper proposes to cut the UK's carbon dioxide emissions by 60% by 2050

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