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 report found HERU would save each household up to 1,200 kgs of carbon per year.
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, saves each household 72 kg of CO2 annually, while the HERU, when powered by solar, saves each household 1,200 kg of CO2 (if this was adopted across all UK 27m households this would result in carbon savings of 32,400,000,000 kgs or 32,400,000 tonnes, equivalent to 8.8% of total UK carbon output, based on 2017 figures).
'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:
68% less global warming impact than co-mingled collections; and
32% less than kerbside collections.
Download the full Ricardo report here