GET are a market-leading manufacturer and supplier of an innovative food waste disposal technology (WasteMaster). The WasteMaster uses anaerobic digestion to remove the water content of organic materials reducing the total feedstock volume by up to 80%.
Background to the support provided
Operating in a competitive industry, GET were looking for opportunities expand their client base, as well as develop their environmental
technology to meet the demands of a range of bespoke organic feed stocks in addition to food waste, which the technology was originally
WRAP estimate that 10.2 million tonnes of food waste is produced annually in the UK. With 3.1 millions produced by business (inc food manufacture, retail and hospitality).
The WasteMaster technology requires 3-phase power and produces an inert organic material with a high calorific value as the output.
EnTRESS engaged Wolverhampton Racecourse (WRC) who are looking to improve their environmental sustainability and green policies. WRC were looking for an alternative disposal route for their horse manure and bedding and hoped the WasteMaster technology could provide an answer.
What was accomplished?
The Knowledge Transfer Process
Initial EnTRESS work with GET involved understanding the key principles of their WasteMaster technology and how this was different and/or similar to other waste disposal technologies already on the market, as well as identifying how the technology may be used by
other Black Country based business.
EnTRESS established that the WasteMaster in principle was a low-temperature (~60°) anaerobic digester which reduces the total volume of organic content by up to 80% through water content removal, producing a coarse sawdust type organic material.
Due to the lower temperatures found within the WasteMaster vs other technologies, a major anticipated benefit is the retention of the intrinsic calorific value in the output product, which can then be used for added value products in other sectors such as waste to energy. GET asked EnTRESS for some independent calorific data to aid their ongoing business development work.
Wolverhampton Racecourse Opportunity
A key element of the work for GET Ltd was to identify potential end-users of the product. With this in mind, EnTRESS engaged WRC who were looking to become more sustainable, as well as within the wider Arena Racing Company. WRC are owned by Arena Racing Company, the largest race operator in the UK, with 16 racecourses and 2 greyhound tracks. WRC host over 80 racing fixtures a year.
They noted several challenges and opportunities which included, but were not limited to, food waste and horse manure disposal.
WRC horse manure disposal costs (2018) = £8,705 per annum
WRC tonnage of manure produced on site (2018) = 134 tonnes
This excludes both general & food waste, as well as additional compactor costs
3 bedding types across the equine industry paper, wood chippings or straw.
All are used on-site at Wolverhampton Racecourse
The main area of academic input for the project was to undertake calorific analysis of the WasteMaster's output material. Dr John Henry, lecturer in Physical Chemistry at the University of Wolverhampton, used a bomb calorimeter to determine the energy within the material by measuring heat during combustion.
The addition of food waste to the horse manure made a significant impact, increasing the calorific value by ~65%.
During the trial period, it was identified that the WasteMaster needed to be modified to accommodate horse manure only feedstocks.
This was due to the high volume to weight ratio. To mitigate against this, EnTRESS worked with GET to tailor the WasteMaster to accommodate this feedstock.
• There should be discussions around unit adaptation to cater for different size bins,increasing market opportunity.
• Contamination of waste from passers-by should be considered, as they see a bin and dispose of waste not suitable for the machine.
• Identification of an end-user of the output should be a business priority for GET and they should look specifically at waste-toenergy companies.
Newhampton Arts Centre (NAC) is a creative venue in the heart of Wolverhampton that nurtures new talent and new ideas. With a wide range of facilities it offers opportunities to enjoy and engage with the arts. As a creative hub it supports thirty resident organisations. NAC is a registered charity and is accessible and open to everyone.
Background to the Support Provided
The company’s premises include a converted school dating from 1922 but its style is reminiscent of late Victorian Gothic Architecture. The charity was looking for opportunities to expand operations, enhance community engagement and develop the efficiency of its operation while reducing operating costs.
It was thought that energy use could be minimized by improving the facilities management of the historic buildings. The charity was also interested in generating data to be used in grant funding applications for future building improvement projects.
What was accomplished?
The Knowledge Transfer Process
NAC’s theatre was digitally scanned by EnTRESS on two separate occasions; without seating and with seating in place. A total of 38 scans were recorded in various positions in the theatre. The data was then stitched together using Matterport software to produce interactive 3D imagery which was then uploaded to the Matterport Cloud.
The scans captured valuable detail including object measurements, positioning of building services, and the complex configuration of the theatre lighting.
NAC was given access to the point cloud data. The EnTRESS team demonstrated how the data could be used;
• Several JPEG photos and MP4 ‘fly-through’ videos were available to download.
• The “3D showcase” can be explored online in dollhouse and floorplan modes. The space can be explored in a way similar to Google Street View i.e. the user can move around the space viewing the surroundings from different angles in the positions the camera was located in during scanning. The size of objects can be measured in the 3D showcase.
EnTRESS transferred the 3D model of the theatre with seating in place to NAC who are now able to invite other users to view the data. In addition, NAC can:
• View the 3D imagery in mesh format
• Edit the data online by adding labels and “Mattertags” to objects. Mattertags allow additional information to be saved within the 3D imagery, files like documents and photographs can be uploaded or links to external web pages can be saved.
• Purchase a schematic floorplan, publish to Google Street View or download a “MatterPak Bundle”, a package of files aimed for use by architects.
The digital modelling by EnTRESS will provide the management team with a tool that will record current facilities, and feed into their cyclical maintenance and Five Year Planned Programmed replacements to ensure new equipment can be sourced and operated sustainably;
• The downloadable high quality photographs and fly through videos can be used for online marketing and printed literature.
• The ability for NAC to give external organisations view only access to the Matterport cloud data will be very useful when applying for funding or writing reports as it facilitates a better understanding of the NAC set up without the need to visit in person. In addition it will allow theatre groups to plan their stage, seating and lighting requirements without the need for previsiting the site. Less travel will benefit the environments through less carbon emissions.
• The 3D data may also prove useful for theatre renovations in future; it could speed up the process of planning and design. It may aid the management team plan future energy efficiency improvements particularly with regard to heating and lighting of the room.
• There is great potential for the Mattertag functionality as a tool to store meaningful business information and improve the efficiency of processes. For example, fire extinguishers could be labelled with expiry dates; fire doors could have the associated exit plans attached. The various theatre lights could be labelled and technical information uploaded.
Newhampton Arts Centre Case Study
Simbrix Ltd is a manufacturer of plastic arts and crafts toys which encourages boys and girls to be creative. Simbrix colourful pieces connect together without needing to be ironed, glued or sprayed with water and with very few instructions.
Background to the Support Provided
Simbrix products are made from high quality plastic, designed to last through a good deal of play but plastics have a bad reputation. The company wanted to commission some research which aligns with their ethos. They were looking for an opportunity to raise their profile through promoting responsible plastic use. They asked EnTRESS to explore whether single use plastic water bottles can safely be used more than once.
Simbrix aimed to disseminate the information through a joint press release and social media campaign with the University, in order to educate the public about plastic bottle reuse. In addition, it was hoped that the literature review could be used as a starting point for university students and or researchers to develop and undertake laboratory based experimental work on plastic bottles in the future in order to expand upon the research that had already been completed.
What was accomplished?
The Knowledge Transfer Processs
Dr Kate Nixon (Senior Lecturer in Physical Chemistry, University of Wolverhampton) conducted a literature review on the topic of chemical leaching from single-use water bottles made of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) . The review of previous research aimed to understand whether chemicals leach into water to dangerous levels and the effect of environmental conditions like heat and light on the level of contamination in water.
Currently there is conflicting advice regarding the reuse of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic water bottles as there is concern about the migration of potentially harmful chemicals into the water they contain. The scientific literature regarding chemical migration from PET is concerned with two main contaminants:
Antimony trioxide is used as a catalyst during PET production to speed up the manufacturing process. It is suspected of causing cancer. The maximum acceptable level of antimony in drinking water in the EU is 5 μg / L.
2. Phthalate acid esters (PAEs).
PAEs are a class of chemical used as plasticisers to increase the useful physical properties of pure plastics. Diethylhexyl phthalate (DEHP) is the most commonly used. PAEs mimic hormones in the body and disrupt normal function. The US Environmental Protection Agency give a maximum contamination level of 6 μg/ L for DEHP.
A number of studies have investigated the migration of antinomy from PET into water. Storage temperature is the dominating factor; much more leaching occurs at temperatures of 60Á°C and above. Sunlight also increases the leaching of antimony, but to a lesser extent than temperature. pH in the range typically found for water (6-8) has no effect on the migration of antimony.
The storage time has a negative effect on the migration of antimony into water from PET; there is an initial burst of antimony into the water, after which, the concentration remains constant or decreases. Overall the research has shown the level of antinomy found in water bottled in PET was well below the WHO guidelines (5 οg/L) when stored below 50°C, regardless of storage time.
Phthalate Acid Esters (PAEs)
Various PAEs have been identified as contaminants of water bottled in PET bottles, the five most studied are dimethyl phthalate, diethyl phthalate, di-n-butyl phalate, benzyl butyl phthalate and diethylhexyl phthalate (DEHP).
Dr Nixon focused on investigations of DEHP levels found in still water stored in PET bottles only. The studies originate from a range of countries and have investigated the PAE concentration in bottled water for a range of brands, storage lengths, temperatures and exposure to sunlight. With only two exceptions, the DEHP level was found to be below that set by the US Environmental Protection Agency and is less than one quarter of the acceptable limit in the majority of cases.
The effect of storage time, temperature and exposure to sunlight were investigated. Unfortunately, there is little correlation between investigations, with often contradictory results being reported. Two studies mentioned as a discussion point that the quality of the bottle affected the amount of migration, as did the nature of the plastic (virgin or recycled).
None of the studies found by Dr Nixon investigated the re-use of single-use plastic water bottles and none were focused on the UK. The majority focused on water storage time (days to months and even years) and conditions including temperature and sunlight. Interestingly, the levels of antimony and DEHP were rarely found to exceed the recommended limits.
Another area of concern is microbial growth in single-use bottles which are used repeatedly but not washed well or often enough.
The migration of chemicals from PET into water as a single-use bottle is re-used has not been reported. To determine if re-using single-use bottles is unsafe, due to leaching of chemicals, experimental work will need to be undertaken. Suggested methods for experimental work examining the chemical contamination risks of re-using water bottles has been outlined to Simbrix.
There are many factors to consider with experimental work on this topic. Should the bottle be shaken to simulate use? How many reuses should be simulated? How often should the water be refreshed? The University of Wolverhampton has laboratories equipped to perform appropriate research and will be offering projects to undergraduate and masters students on this topic.