Europe needs to import a half of the gas it consumes, with the associated economic and geopolitical costs that this brings. Over the last few years, non-conventional gas sources have been developed but it is necessary to ensure new sources are sustainable. Announcements such as those made by the G7 Group at the Summit of June 2015 about the phasing out of fossil fuels by the end of the century and the European frameworks for 2020, 2030 and 2050 commit Europe to a sustainable approach.
Waste management is an another important issue. Around 485 kgs of waste are generated yearly per person in the EU, and Landfill and Waste Framework Directives have defined the reduction of landfilled waste.
OSPRE is building a pilot plant in the UK based in a new energy from waste technology to transform municipal and commercial&industrial waste into a gas rich in methane (50-60%), which will be partly used for electricity generation. With this project OSPRE will complement the capabilities by developing upgrade and compression stages in order to generate compressed biomethane for vehicles engines. The technology, based in pyrolysis, processes 2.5 tonnes of waste per hour into 430 Nm3 of methane at a single 24 m2 module, (up to 4 times faster than gasification and anaerobic digestion, which need thousands of m2). The compressed biomethane will be used as a fuel for the transport sector. Using waste as feedstock and generating gas at such a high rate make viable to propose circular economy business models, processing municipal waste of a given town and powering its public services vehicles with gas.
OSPRE will commercialise this innovation. P-DRIVE will add a high value by allowing plants to be used for gas generation or mixed use, in addition to electricity. The payback period for a £2.4 million investment is two years and after five years 12 plants will be running providing more than £86 million of gross profit.