The Carbon Trust has announced it is working with the University of York to research how using microwave technology could turn garden and wood waste into biofuel.Using microwaves, the waste is heated in the absence of oxygen through a process called pyrolysis.
Grass cuttings to be turned into Biofuel
The research will look at how this process could be used to produce a biofuel to blend with fossil fuel or use as a pure fuel.According to the Carbon Trust, the carbon footprint of this new pyrolysis biofuel could potentially save 95 per cent of carbon compared to fossil fuels.The trust also announced the creation of a new consortium of British businesses led by Axion Energy, which will aim to enhance existing pyrolysis technology to produce biofuels created from organic waste materials en masse.
The consortium aims to produce its first biofuel from a pilot plant in 2014.Tom Delay, chief executive of the Carbon Trust, said: “Genuinely sustainable biofuels will be critical to help reduce the UK’s transport emissions.”By developing a method which overcomes the issues associated with some existing biofuels the UK has a vital role to play.”In just a few years pyrolysis could change the way in which we produce biofuels and by 2020 be a commercially viable option.”Within a decade we could see a network of mini biofuel refineries sited near landfill sites and other waste sources across Britain.”This unique consortium demonstrates the UK’s strength in a crucial low-carbon technology and could lead the world in developing the cheapest and greenest of biofuels.”The consortium, which is using funding from the Department for Transport and the Department of Energy and Climate Change, also aims to significantly increase production of biofuel.
They estimate this will save seven million tonnes of carbon, the equivalent to the annual emissions of three million cars.Regarding the consortium, Sadiq Khan, the Transport Minister, said: “Many biofuels such as those from waste, have the potential to provide significant carbon reductions. The challenge is identifying and developing those biofuels which deliver the most environmental benefits. This is exactly what we are doing by leading the way in conducting research into biofuel sustainability and production.”Earlier this year, the first annual report by the Renewable Fuels Agency, a fuels watchdog, found that using biofuel in vehicles could be destructive to the rainforest as well as lead to higher green house gas emissions than using just petrol or diesel.