The Open UniversitySkip to content

Energy implications of the thermal recovery of biodegradable municipal waste materials in the United Kingdom

Burnley, Stephen; Phillips, Rhiannon; Coleman, Terry and Rampling, Terence (2011). Energy implications of the thermal recovery of biodegradable municipal waste materials in the United Kingdom. Waste Management, 31(9-10) pp. 1949–1959.

DOI (Digital Object Identifier) Link:
Google Scholar: Look up in Google Scholar


Waste management policies and legislation in many developed countries call for a reduction in the quantity of biodegradable waste landfilled. Anaerobic digestion, combustion and gasification are options for managing biodegradable waste while generating renewable energy. However, very little research has been carried to establish the overall energy balance of the collection, preparation and energy recovery processes for different types of wastes. Without this information, it is impossible to determine the optimum method for managing a particular waste to recover renewable energy.
In this study, energy balances were carried out for the thermal processing of food waste, garden waste, wood, waste paper and the non-recyclable fraction of municipal waste. For all of these wastes, combustion in dedicated facilities or incineration with the municipal waste stream was the most energy-advantageous option. However, we identified a lack of reliable information on the energy consumed in collecting individual wastes and preparing the wastes for thermal processing. There was also little reliable information on the performance and efficiency of anaerobic digestion and gasification facilities for waste.

Item Type: Journal Item
Copyright Holders: 2011 Elsevier Ltd.
ISSN: 0956-053X
Project Funding Details:
Funded Project NameProject IDFunding Body
Not SetNot SetEnvironment Agency
Not SetNot SetDepartment for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra)
Not SetNot SetUK Royal Academy of Engineering's (RAEng) Industrial Secondment Scheme
Keywords: municipal waste; biodegradable waste; energy recovery; renewable energy; EfW; gasification; anaerobic digestion; incineration; energy balance
Academic Unit/School: Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) > Engineering and Innovation
Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)
Item ID: 32082
Depositing User: Stephen Burnley
Date Deposited: 24 Jan 2012 16:23
Last Modified: 07 Dec 2018 10:01
Share this page:


Altmetrics from Altmetric

Citations from Dimensions

Actions (login may be required)

Policies | Disclaimer

© The Open University   contact the OU