New kitchen appliance can transform household waste into energy
A new domestic waste disposal appliance that turns waste into energy to heat homes has been found to be less impactful in terms of CO2 emissions than more traditional waste collection methods, according to a new report by Ricardo Energy and Environment.
The independent report carried out by the environmental consultancy has found that HERU (Home Energy Resource Unit), which uses low temperature pyrolysis to transform everyday waste (such as nappies, plastics and food) into energy, has the potential to save each household up to 1,200kg of CO2 per year.
The report states that HERU has the potential to save 8.8 per cent of the total UK carbon output if installed across all 27m UK households.
Coined by the BBC as ‘The Next Dyson’, the device is the world’s first hybrid boiler; capable of running on oil or gas as well as household waste, it is able to switch to traditional energy resources to heat the house when there is no waste for it to process.
When compared to traditional waste collections, the HERU had 68 per cent less global warming impact than co-mingled collections and 32 per cent less than kerbside collections, according to the report.
Furthermore, when powered by solar energy, the HERU (which runs off a standard 32-amp cooker plug) saw an impressive 554 per cent decrease in global warming impact compared to kerbside collections and 733 per cent less than co-mingled collections.
The process uses pipe technology, which enables a highly efficient, low temperature pyrolysis process to take place. The small amounts of emissions are cleaned before the CO2 is released into the air and the teaspoon of ash (all that is left of the household debris) is released into the sewer. This process ensures there is no risk of harm to human health or the environment.
Yet, there are exceptions as to what the HERU can be fed. Glass and metal must be recycled using normal council collections, as the HERU cannot convert them to ash and the items will remain perfectly intact. The device is marketed as an end-of-life solution for the complex packaging we see up and down the high streets and supermarkets, such as coffee cups and crisp packets, though one could argue that increasing the recyclability of such packaging would prove more sustainable in the long-term.
Discussing the release of the report, Nik Spencer, Founder and Inventor of the HERU, said, “We opened up the HERU to independent scrutiny as part of our continual process of refinement and improvement. However, the results are truly staggering. Climate change and global warming is something that is and will continue to affect us all, and solutions such as the HERU clearly provide viable technology to start addressing these global problems, particularly when used with renewable technologies such as solar.
“The opportunities for businesses are also profound, with the potential for forward thinking companies to adopt the HERU first and help lead the way in changing our relationship with the resources around us.”
Throughout the remaining months of 2018, the HERU will be undertaking technical trials at UK sites, before aiming moving to the mass market in early 2019. Accelerated by HERU’s partnership with the UK’s Manufacturing Technology Centre, the trials are also supported by BAXI, Worcestershire County Council, Wychavon District Council and Rugby Borough Council.
To learn more about the HERU and its inventors, visit the company’s website.