Breakthroughs achieved in the ProCSR Project- Advanced Waste Processes to Obtain Solid Recovered Fuel


In 2011, 22.7 million tonnes of domestic waste was generated in Spain (480 kg per capita). A large proportion of it was disposed of in controlled landfills (15.8 million tonnes or almost 70%). However, in recent years, great efforts have been made in the development of new recovery methods that focus on minimising disposal in landfills and the associated environmental impact. The partners involved in the ProCSR project (APPLUS; CEMEX; CIEMAT; ITENE and URBASER) are working on the development of a refuse derived fuel (RDF) from municipal solid waste (MSW) to be used in sectors such as the cement industry. The objective is to reduce the use of fossil fuels, promote an environmentally sustainable industry and reduce external energy dependency.
In accordance with the waste hierarchy set out in the Directive 2008/98/EC and Spanish Act 22/2011 on waste and contaminated land, this project seeks to reverse the trend of recent years and favour recovery rather than disposal of MSW streams, where recycling processes are not possible due to technical, environmental and/or economic reasons. The use of solid recovered fuel derived from MSW, particularly the reject stream, has important benefits due to its abundance and availability (6.9 million tonnes of MSW reject per year). Moreover, through appropriate pretreatment processes, this stream can achieve the technical requirements to be suitable for combustion in industrial kilns.

The cement industry consumes vast quantities of energy (between 30% and 40% of the production cost of cement is related to electrical and thermal energy costs), a fact that acts as a stimulus for research into the development of new efficient energy alternatives and the implementation of new energy saving and efficiency mechanisms. It was, therefore, considered necessary to carry out a technical, economic and environmental study aimed at developing quality SRF for different applications. Once a product of quality is obtained, the market for SRF in Spain could take off, as it has done in Europe, led mainly by Germany and Finland.

The ProCSR project, co-funded by the Ministry for the Economy and Competitiveness within the framework of the INNPACTO sub-programme, got underway in 2011. The objective was to obtain an optimal-quality solid recovered fuel from the biostabilised fraction and the reject fraction of MSW. In order to achieve this, the project has focused on improving homogeneity and the technical parameters of the fuel (calorific value, and chlorine and mercury content in accordance with the UNE EN 15359: 2012 Standard).

Benito Blanco (APPLUS); Santiago Rodríguez (APPLUS); Cecilia Berganza (CEMEX); Alberto Bahillo (CIEMAT); César Aliaga (ITENE); Juan Luis Martí (ITENE); Carlos Román (URBASER); Isabel Tarín (URBASER); Olivia Selmes (URBASER)

Article published in: FuturENVIRO December 2013