UCLan and Recycling Lives turn scrap vehicle waste into green energy

Posted on - 21st March, 2022 - 7:00am | Author - | Posted in - Business, Education, Preston News, Transport, UCLan, Wildlife and Conservation
Recycling Lives’ Dr Ala Khodier, UCLan’s Professor Karl Williams and Recycling Lives’ Gary Halpin.

UCLan academics and a local recycling firm have developed a method of ensuring scrap vehicle waste converts to renewable energy.


UCLan has joined with Preston’s Recycling Lives to create a way of transforming hard-to-recycle Automotive Shredder Residue (ASR) into energy and by-products, ensuring a reduction in waste sent to landfills.

Advanced thermal decomposition converts ASR waste into energy and generates by-products, including char and combustible syngas.

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Gerry Marshall, Chief Executive Officer of Recycling Lives, said: “Our new enhanced business model will make the overall process cycle greener and more energy-efficient.

“We have a long-term aspiration to reduce landfills significantly through the ASR recycling solution.

“This circular economy solution will extract maximum value from end-of-life vehicles, reducing waste and producing power and green hydrogen, benefiting the wider community and the environment.”

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Char creates green hydrogen, while residual char can work as a soil modifier and ash as construction sector aggregate.

Recycling Lives employs more than 500 people across 20 UK sites and has trialled a thermal treatment plant to have a production model operational later this year.

Amongst other uses, the energy could potentially fuel the latest generation of emission-free vehicles and power site operations.

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Professor Karl Williams, Director of UCLan’s Centre for Waste Management, led the two-year Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) study.

He said: “The KTP produced a thermal process, transforming the residue into a saleable product and electrical energy; creating a recycling solution and removing waste sent to landfill.”

The final stage of the model will see banks of repurposed batteries from electric vehicles (EV) used to store renewable energy produced by the process and power the purpose-built EV de-pollution facility at the 15-acre recycling park headquarters in Preston.

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The collaboration was so successful that the university and Recycling Lives are to continue working on new opportunities.

Professor Williams said: “This is a fantastic example of what can be achieved when an organisation links with an academic institution, enabling us to transfer our academic research into an innovative commercial solution generating huge benefits for business, the environment and the wider community.”

The project is part of Recycling Lives’ broader model for creating opportunities for generating energy to run site operations and green hydrogen to power emission-free vehicles, alongside re-tasking batteries from end-of-life EVs for re-use.

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