Wastes and Industrial By-Products

Successful waste management is essential in any economy, but as the global focus shifts towards a more sustainable and circular economy, end-of-life options are expanding. The bioeconomy provides many outlets for waste and process by-products, providing opportunities to reduce disposal costs and add value.

Energy from Waste

Waste in all its various forms is a common feedstock for energy. This can manifest itself in different ways:
Following material separation to remove recyclable elements, a common way of generating energy from residual waste streams is direct incineration. Waste to energy plants are subject to strict emissions regulations due to the heterogeneity of their fuel.
Gasification and Pyrolysis
Gasification and pyrolysis technologies offer stepping stones to gain increased value from residual waste streams. Heating biomass in a limited oxygenated atmosphere leads to the production of pyrolysis oils, or at higher temperatures syngas.  Pyrolysis oils can be upgraded to produce fuels, while syngas when cleaned-up can be used to produce heat, power and chemicals – it can even serve as a feedstock for microbial fermentation.
Anaerobic Digestion
In AD systems, wet organic wastes can be broken down microorganisms in the absence of oxygen to produce biogas, which is rich in methane. This can be used on-site to provide heat or power or increasingly pumped directly to the national gas grid to provide ‘green gas’ which can be used for heat, power or potentially converted to fuels and chemicals utilising the benefits of tradable green gas certificates. 


Waste feedstocks both source segregated or with a high organic content offer the potential for use in biorefinery approaches: a process by which organic matter is selectively fractionated into useful chemicals, or into biofuels. This offers significant potential to develop advanced recycling processes for wastes, and opportunities to move towards a circular economy.

NNFCC Expertise

NNFCC has experience in waste resource analysis as well as residue arising from agriculture and processing industries. NNFCC understands how these are treated and rewarded under current renewable energy support systems.  NNFCC also has an extensive knowledge of the UK’s Anaerobic Digestion sector, and provides tools for assessing both the costs and environmental impacts of energy from waste across the entire life cycle of the process, to support mandatory sustainability reporting.
NNFCC has an understanding of all biomass conversion processes and how these interact with different feedstocks as well as an understanding of the energy, fuel and chemical markets into which these can feed.