Technology Options for energy recovery from municipal solid waste.
Waste disposal, energy production and the minimisation of pollution are the key problems that must be addressed for the sustainable cities of the future. In a world of finite resources and witnessing a population explosion, much effort is being made to change the way in which developed societies consume energy and materials and dispose of waste. Renewable sources of energy can make an important contribution to securing sustainable and diverse energy supplies and are therefore an essential element of a cost-effective climate change programme.
The use of biofuels in controlling carbon build-up in the biosphere and the potential benefits of creating new industries and job opportunities, particularly in the rural areas, are now adding impetus to the development and commercialisation of advanced biomass energy conversion methods. Developing a thriving renewables industry in the UK therefore represents a real opportunity for UK plc.
Our research for the last 25 years has been designed to study the key enabling technologies for environmentally friendly recovery of energy from that part of waste that cannot be economically recycled or reused. This work has successfully addressed a seriously neglected area of scientific research resulting in new fundamental understanding of the process and significant benefits to the related industries. The mission of the centre has been to achieve the international goal of environmentally sustainable development of our civilisation through the provision of applied research and development, technical services and specialist consultancy.
The work of the centre provides a most important part of the scientific material underpinning the Government's policies on environmental protection, ranging from the treatment of solid wastes and the management of disposal of unreclaimed residues, to the control of pollutants emissions to the atmosphere, and problems with liquid effluents. In particular the development of novel economic process routes, process intensification, improved process control and the use of waste as a raw material contributes to environmental protection through reduced pollution and greater energy efficiency. The centre's work in this area is undertaken with clients from both the public and private sectors at UK and international level. The Centre is also committed to providing education and training in this field.
SUWIC is based in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering in the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Sheffield.
The Department has recently undergone a major multi-million pound refurbishment which has provided new laboratories, office space and the Ideas Space.