Waste to power

Miloud Ouadi, Martin Kay, John Brammer, Andreas Hornung

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


ABSTRACT: There has been a growing trend towards the use of biomass as a primary energy source, which now contributes over 54% of the European pulp and paper industry energy needs [1]. The remaining part comes from natural gas, which to a large extent serves as the major source of energy for numerous recovered fiber paper mills located in regions with limited available forest resources. The cost of producing electricity to drive paper machinery and generate heat for steam is increasing as world demand for fossil fuels increases. Additionally, recovered fiber paper mills are also significant producers of fibrous sludge and reject waste material that can contain high amounts of useful energy.

Currently, a majority of these waste fractions is disposed of by landspreading, incineration, or landfill. Paper mills must also pay a gate fee to process their waste streams in this way and the result of this is a further increase in operating costs. This work has developed methods to utilize the waste fractions produced at recovered fiber paper mills for the onsite production of combined heat and power (CHP) using advanced thermal conversion methods (pyrolysis and gasification) that are well suited to relatively small scales of throughput. The electrical power created would either be used onsite to power the paper making process or alternatively exported to the national grid, and the surplus heat created could also be used onsite or exported to a local customer. The focus of this paper is to give a general overview of the project progress so far and will present the experimental results of the most successful thermal conversion trials carried out by this work to date.

Application: The research provides both paper mills and energy providers with methodologies to condition their waste materials for conversion into useful energy. The research also opens up new markets for gasifier and pyrolysis equipment manufacturers and suppliers.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)55-64
Number of pages10
JournalTappi Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2012


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