Sustainable energy from paper industry wastes

  • Miloud Ouadi

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


Secondary fibre paper mills are significant users of both heat and electricity which is mainly derived from the combustion of fossil fuels. The cost of producing this energy is increasing year upon year. These mills are also significant producers of fibrous sludge and reject waste material which can contain high amounts of useful energy. Currently the majority of these waste fractions are disposed of by landfill, land-spread or incineration using natural gas. These disposal methods not only present environmental problems but are also very costly.
The focus of this work was to utilise the waste fractions produced at secondary fibre paper mills for the on-site production of combined heat and power (CHP) using advanced thermal conversion methods (gasification and pyrolysis), well suited to relatively small scales of throughput. The heat and power can either be used on-site or exported.
The first stage of the work was the development of methods to condition selected paper industry wastes to enable thermal conversion. This stage required detailed characterisation of the waste streams in terms of proximate and ultimate analysis and heat content. Suitable methods to dry and condition the wastes in preparation for thermal conversion were also explored.
Through trials at pilot scale with both fixed bed downdraft gasification and intermediate pyrolysis systems, the energy recovered from selected wastes and waste blends in the form of product gas and pyrolysis products was quantified.
The optimal process routes were selected based on the experimental results, and implementation studies were carried out at the selected candidate mills. The studies consider the pre-processing of the wastes, thermal conversion, and full integration of the energy products.
The final stage of work was an economic analysis to quantify economic gain, return on investment and environmental benefits from the proposed processes.
Date of Award2013
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorJohn G Brammer (Supervisor) & Andreas Hornung (Supervisor)


  • gasification
  • rejects
  • de-inking sludge
  • pyrolysis

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