Pyrofab - technology

Baby wipes from Birmingham? Manure from Eindhoven? Leftovers from the Alps? – British developed clean energy technology to go on tour in search of waste

  • Pyrofab technology developed at Aston University produces carbon neutral fuel from waste that would otherwise have gone to landfill.
  • Demonstration prototype set to travel to France, Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden this summer to identify sustainable sources of bioenergy.
  • Expected growth in the bioenergy sector means the Pyrofab’s compact size and mobility has huge potential for rural businesses, to help meet EU environmental targets and protect energy security.

Pre-testing of waste materials using prototype Pyrofab technology was underway today ahead of a summer tour to evaluate sustainable sources of bioenergy from waste across north-west Europe. The Pyrofab is based on PyroformerTM technology, developed in the UK by the European Bioenergy Research Institute at Aston University. Using this intermediate pyrolysis process, the tests are determining the potential of different waste materials and residues to be processed into low carbon fuel.

The Pyrofab converts carbon from organic waste materials to produce carbon neutral fuel and biochar, a commodity that can be used to improve soil. It has the ability to process a wide range of biomass, residues and wastes. This means that hard to treat sources of waste now have the potential to be used as a feedstock to produce low carbon energy. Feedstocks being tested include food waste, domestic waste, agricultural waste such as pig manure, industrial waste and even baby wipes.

The Pyrofab is compact, transportable and can work with existing generation technology. This means waste can be locally sourced, reducing the environmental impact of transportation and reliance on overseas imports of biomass such as wood. It encourages energy diversity, helping to protect Europe’s energy supply. What’s more, bioenergy generation isn’t intermittent like other renewables.

When fully developed the Pyrofab will offer businesses and local authorities access to the emerging bioenergy market, stimulating rural economies and reducing waste management costs. The bioenergy market in the UK alone is expected to be worth £12 billion in the next decade, and demand for bioenergy is expected to increase by 49 per cent between 2012 and 2040. According to the European Commission bioenergy could account for up to two thirds of its target to generate 27 per cent of energy from renewable sources by 2030.

Pyrofab prototypes are set to tour four sites in North West Europe, hosted by partners in an EU INTERREG IVB funded project – BioenNW – and will then return to the UK. The Pyrofab system consists of two parts, a conversion technology containing a Pyroformer™ which uses intermediate pyrolysis to convert waste materials into products, and a monitoring lab and results analysis facility. Each part is small enough to fit into a single shipping container.

Results from pre-testing work that has taken place at EBRI (lead partner of BioenNW) and the tour itself will be included in BioenNW’s business support tool, designed to help businesses make bioenergy investment decisions. The tool if part of BioenNW’s work funded by the European Union to support companies, organisations and local authorities to deliver local bioenergy.

Professor Tony Bridgwater, Director of the European Bioenergy Research Institute at Aston University, said:

“When you think about our future energy security and sustainability, baby wipes and leftovers might not be the first things that spring to mind. Through the BioenNW project, partners are using EBRI developed technology to put waste at the forefront of the race to meet Europe’s biggest energy challenges.

“The Pyrofab unlocks the potential of waste, producing sustainable carbon neutral bioenergy and biofuels. This has the potential to change a significant liability for businesses and local authorities across North West Europe into a home grown resource, to reduce waste management costs and generate new revenue streams through the derived products.

“It could also play a significant part in delivering Europe’s environmental targets and improve energy security; making use of our own resources to reduce the need for imports.”


Notes to editors:

  1. For further information contact: Rory Edwards, Mike Thomas, Gareth Turner – 020 7593 4000,
  2. To find out more about the Pyrofab watch our introduction to BioenNW and Pyrofab bioenergy technology –
  3. The Pyrofab tour will visit four locations around Europe hosted by BioenNW partners before returning to the UK.
Organisation Location
Rittmo Ile-de-France, France
Izes gGmbH Saarland, Germany
Helicon Boxtel, The Netherlands
EUBIA Sollefteå, Sweden
EBRI Birmingham, UK
  1. BioenNW supports companies, organisations and local authorities to deliver local bioenergy in parts of the UK, France, Germany, Belgium, and the Netherlands. Funded by the European Union INTERREG IVB programme, BioenNW is focused on promoting the adoption of local bioenergy and stimulating the potential for biomass to make a substantial contribution to increasing energy security, reducing carbon emissions and creating employment.
  1. The European Bioenergy Research Institute (EBRI) based at Aston University delivers world-class bioenergy research. The Institute acts as a focus for pan-European activities on scientific and technological aspects of biomass production, conversion and utilisation of products for renewable power, heat, transport fuels, hydrogen and chemicals. EBRI is committed to providing practical bioenergy solutions for companies and local authorities in the West Midlands, UK, Europe and beyond, to be able to explore the growing market and the opportunities it offers.