BAN Waste Select Committee evidence

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Phase 1 Day 4 2001-10-08 Chris Whaley and Chris Reynell (Directors, Safe Waste Systems UK)

written evidence submitted in advance

Waste is a valuable resource to be recycled or reused to save & recover energy.

Safe Waste Systems UK is a relatively new company established last year and as our name suggests we supply SAFE WASTE SYSTEMS. We were formed to help promote a system, which we have been involved with in it�s final development, called the Portagester System.

It is a portable Anaerobic Digester (AD) and is a British invention. It is the brainchild by a farmer/environmental engineer called Chris Reynell from Hampshire who has worked on farm digesters all his life and who wanted a digester that was reliable and would work under the most arduous conditions without breaking down when full of muck.

He later went on to secure his invention with world-wide patents and legal cover to protect his many years of hard work and during the past two and a half years we have been collating evidence and running trials with different wastes to prove how this simple but effective system can safely treat solid organic wastes and produce energy.

This recycling & recovery operation is the Safe-Waste-And-Portagester (S-W-A-P) System.

The Portagester with its unique patented design combines both liquid & solid digestion in two phases. The first phase utilises simple robust machinery modified to treat the solid organic wastes to thermophilic temperatures in three days under anaerobic conditions, which has the desired effects of eliminating viruses, pathogens and parasites. The second liquid phase still working under anaerobic conditions starts producing the 60+% methane rich biogas after 5 days and will carry on producing gas for a further 30 days. During this time the second liquid phase will produce approx 100-120m3 of biogas per tonne of the solid organic wastes from the first 3 day process. One tonne of organic waste can produce 170Kw of continuous power.

All the Biogas is collected and is run through a generator (CHP) to produce energy and electricity. This is an efficient system and is truly CO2 neutral as Reading Universities research states that the AD process has locked in more nitrogen in the finished compost helping young plants and seedling grow faster to remove more CO2 from the atmosphere. This is the only system that can effectively do this. The system is self-sufficient by utilising the heat from the CHP units to heat the digesters up to the thermophilic temperatures.

New guide lines being introduced by DEFRA for the future treatment of household domestic, food and catering wastes should be carried out through in vessel bio-digesters to prevent further outbreaks of the Foot and Mouth Virus instead of windrow composting. The S-W-A-P System will process and treat the organic fraction from Municipal solid waste (MSW) including kitchen, trade, hotel, catering, green wastes and sewage wastes within the modular vessels, which are ideally suited for the complete safe pre-treatment for the above waste streams before aerobic composting.

The S-W-A-P System forms part of our Sustainable Waste Management Strategy (SWMS) as detailed in our literature.

Bioplex has proven after many years of trials and tests how the Portagester has successfully crossed the bridge between liquid and solid anaerobic digestion & is now commercially available in the UK to safely recover energy from waste without pollution.

There is a problem with EfW plants - whether they be incineration, pyrolysis, gasification or any other process which ends up in burning - in that if the feedstock contains any nitrogen, which could be used as a fertiliser, its replacement is achieved by a major input of electricity.

Nitrogen fertilisers are made by passing air through an electric arc, so that burning fossil fuels to generate electricity adds to the cost of fertilisers. The problem is that the energy needed to replace the burned fertiliser is often several times the electricity produced by the EfW plant.

Research by Land Network indicates two provocative facts. Firstly, discussing the potential with Professor Lynne Frostick head of Waste and Pollution Research Centre, University of Hull, there may be more than 100 million tonnes of waste already collected and put down holes or sent to EfW which could go on to the land, assuming separation.

That according to Land Network calculators is worth at least �500 million in fertiliser, and perhaps more. Of that, maybe there is �250 million worth of nitrogen plant food. Most fertiliser is now imported. Secondly, on the limited study so far carried out with power generation from poultry litter on a specific facility, the electricity cost of replacing the nitrogen plant food in the poultry litter burned was between six and 21 times the electrical output of the plant.

The fact is that there is a major question to ask in terms of a holistic view of managing waste in an economy where there are many solutions and scope to re-use.

(Article from Recycling Week Magazine)

Pollution is the biggest invisible enemy to human health.

Greenpeace pointed out that even if emissions stayed within new European limits, they were still dangerous. 'A single plant will pump out enough dioxins every day to give a quarter of a million people the maximum 'tolerable daily intake' as defined by the World Health Organisation,'

The S-W-A-P System produces no pollution from dioxins, bio-aerosols, smells and doesn�t attract any pests or vermin from the process.


Chris Whaley. John F Walton.

Directors. Safe-Waste Systems UK Ltd.