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Gas from Waste – Getting the Product Specification Right

Clean Energy in Kenya Although in 2009 the current concept of “end of waste” protocols did not exist in any real form, this CIWM posting did provide some help to the waste industry to alleviate concerns that gasification gases could be burnt without all the complexities of the WID applying.

Image by USAID_IMAGES via Flickr





Recent publicity has highlighted the amounts of food waste generated in the UK. The legal drivers enforcing the diversion of biodegradable material (like food) from landfill mean that composting, Anaerobic Digestion (AD) and Mechanical Biological Treatment (MBT) are coming increasingly to the fore. Indeed, the new waste framework directive provides clear focus on the need to encourage separate collection of food waste and other “bio-wastes” so that it can be treated properly and used to generate safe products.

The extent to which these activities are likely to be bound in “waste” red tape has been highlighted as a result of two recent developments.

The first is the European Court’s December judgement in the Lahti Energia case to the effect that a plant burning gas produced from the gasification of waste was burning “a product having the characteristics of a fuel… generated from waste”. It was therefore a product rather than a waste. (Crucially, the gas had been “purified” by filtration to remove solid particles.)

Drycake Twister food waste depackaging plastics separator

The second is the EA’s recent clarification of its position on AD of manure and slurry. It asserts that “the biogas produced from the AD of manure and slurry will be a waste”, although recognises that much will depend on the extent to which the gas needs further treatment prior to being used as a fuel.

The law therefore is and remains that product status depends on whether the product compares favourably enough to its virgin equivalent.

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