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15 Jul 2011 08:07:51

Carbon dating to be used to calculate renewable fraction of EfW

Overcoming the challenges of measuring renewable fraction of energy from waste.
Revolutionary technology based on carbon dating will be used in the UK to determine the proportion of energy from waste (EfW) that is renewable.

When you convert mixed waste streams into electricity it can be difficult to determine how much of this energy is renewable. Now a revolutionary new technological step, marketed as 14Credits, is enabling easy and accurate differentiation between carbon dioxide emissions created from fossil and biogenic (renewable) fuels.

The method has long been championed by the NNFCC and we ran a conference – Linking Bio-Based Materials to Renewable Energy Production – on the subject back in March 2011. Now the British electricity and gas market regulator, OFGEM, has approved the use of this technology for EfW installations so they can benefit from Renewable Obligation Certificates (ROCs).

Finding a technology to determine the renewable fraction of EfW installations has been a major stumbling block for the industry and a key reason why just one EfW power station has received ROCs. OFGEM's decision should lead to large benefits for UK EfW companies, and several EfW installations have already decided to start using the technology (currently used in the Netherlands and Belgium) later this year.

The method was developed by the Energy Research Centre of the Netherlands and uses a similar approach to carbon dating, a method more commonly associated with archaeological research. By taking monthly samples of an installation’s stack gas, the 14Credits method can apply carbon dating to determine how "green" the carbon dioxide emissions are.

Recently living material contains a much higher proportion of carbon-14 isotopes so by measuring the ratio of fossil carbon-12 isotopes to the amount of biogenic carbon-14 isotope we can determine the proportion of the energy which is renewable.

Discussion Thread  

12 Feb 2012

Amazing innovation, it is a great contribution towards true renewable energy generation in the world

Discussion Thread  


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