A chemical engineer has developed a ground-breaking solution to create enough energy from waste to make a leading recycling business energy-neutral.
Dr Ala Khodier, an associate from the University of Central Lancashire, has been working with Recycling Lives to develop energy from waste solutions to avoid sending waste residue from the recycling process to landfill
As part of a Knowledge Transfer Partnership between Recycling Lives and UCLan, funded by Innovate UK, Dr Khodier undertook a two-year study into how auto-shredder residue could be diverted from landfill. The residue is the result of shredding, sorting and separating large volumes of waste metals and plastics through Recycling Lives £14m fully digitised fragmentiser.
Now, as Recycling Lives marks World Environment Day [Tuesday June 5], the organisation has revealed how the findings could create enough energy to not only power its 15-acre Recycling Park, but also feed back into the National Grid.
Dr Khodier has created a process that transforms the residue, comprising foams, rubber, fibres and textiles, into electrical energy, creating a full closed-loop recycling solution on-site and significantly reducing the amount of waste sent to landfill.
He also found metals retained in the residue that can be extracted and returned to the market, boosting recycling rates.
Recycling Lives legal director, Paul Finnerty, said: “Dr Khodier’s success marks the beginning of a very exciting time for Recycling Lives – it’s the first step on the road towards our goal of creating an energy neutral site through closed-loop recycling.
“Not only will it make our business more self-sufficient and environmentally friendly, it will also contribute to the social value we create from all our operations, helping us to create more jobs and support our charitable activities.”
Recently named Recycling Business of the Year 2018, Recycling Lives is unique in using its recycling and waste management operations to support and sustain charitable activities, offering employment opportunities to marginalised individuals and redistributing food to charitable organisations across Lancashire and Cumbria. Dr Khodier’s ongoing work for Recycling Lives will support the continuing expansion of this work.
Recycling Lives is industry-leading in its processes to recycle scrap cars, scrap metals and plastics. Its Recycling Park is home to bespoke machinery and infrastructure, including a fragmentiser and one of only three pre-shredders in the UK. It now employs more than 200 local people, as part of ongoing, rapid national growth.
Dr Karl Williams, Director of Centre for Waste and Resource Management at UCLan, said: “Dr Khodier’s enthusiasm and capability has resulted in the delivery of an excellent project that far exceeded what had been planned at the outset.”