Last year, we opened up the HERU to independent scrutiny as part of our continual process of refinement and improvement. Consultants at Ricardo Energy & Environment were asked to independently examine the environmental performance of the HERU across its lifetime, and compare the results with traditional co-mingled or kerbside sorted waste collections.
The investigation undertook a life cycle assessment of the HERU’s environmental impacts compared with a) collecting co-mingled collections of dry recyclables for sorting at a materials recovery facility, and b) kerbside sorting which separates materials ready for onwards transport to reprocessors.
The report found that the HERU, which uses pyrolysis to turn everyday resource (from nappies to plastics to food) into energy to fuel a domestic boiler, if the HERU could be delivered at each of the 22 million homes in the UK, they would amount to between 5.1 million and 6.2 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent total savings per year.
'Ricardo's initial findings were extremely encouraging, and prompted a further round of work to investigate the sensitivity of the results to certain assumptions, most notably the prevalent electricity grid mix. Ricardo found that, as that grid mix gets progressively less carbon intensive in the years to come, the HERU's carbon savings over traditional collection services get better and better.“
Nik Spencer, HERU Inventor
The HERU is currently undertaking technical trials at UK sites, ahead of a move to the mass market. This latter development is being further accelerated in 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.
Compared to traditional waste collections, the HERU had:
300% less global warming impact than co-mingled collections; and
280% less than kerbside collections.
Download the full Ricardo report here