Inderscience Publishers

Fuelling ultra light rail public transport from a Gloucestershire organic waste treatment plant: a feasibility analysis

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Many medium-sized towns and cities face separate problems of traffic congestion and increasing pressure to reduce waste sent to landfill. The intent of the study was to determine whether the utilisation of biohydrogen from organic waste, as a transport fuel, can provide a holistic solution for municipalities to meet renewable energy and waste reduction targets in medium-sized towns. The study assesses the feasibility of producing a sufficient quantity and quality of biohydrogen from the organic fraction of Gloucestershire’s municipal solid waste (MSW) to supply a hydrogen fuel to operate a fuel-cell powered ultra light rail (ULR) system in Cheltenham and its surrounds. The paper assesses the selected waste to fuel (WtF) technologies for producing biohydrogen against a number of defined criteria. Based on the results of the technology evaluations, it was observed that anaerobic digestion (AD) combined with steam methane reforming (SMR) would be the most suitable technology option for the Gloucestershire ULR system’s needs. The results demonstrate that all of the technologies evaluated could produce the quantities of hydrogen needed; however, the Kompogas AD process coupled with SMR was shown to offer further potential in terms of its profitability and the flexibility needed to ensure the project’s viability.

Keywords: fuel cell, organic waste, organic fraction of municipal solid waste, OFMSW, biohydrogen, ultra light rail, ULR, waste to fuel, WtF, UK

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