A Comparison of the Physical and Chemical Composition of UK Waste Streams based on Hypothetical Compound Structure

Chester, M.1, Stupples, D.1, Lees, M.2, 1City University, 2ATCO Power Generation Ltd


The suitability and effectiveness of a waste treatment process or strategy depends upon a waste stream’s
physical and chemical composition. Chemical properties of UK waste streams, particularly MSW, are
limited while physical properties are better documented. Consequently this presents a degree of
uncertainty with the waste’s properties, manifesting itself as financial risk in the investment of new
treatment or disposal plant. To mitigate this uncertainty, a number of UK waste surveys have been
reviewed to determine if there is significant difference in the calorific value between waste streams.
Ultimate and proximate analysis data from a number of sources have been collected and used to
approximate the chemical composition of each waste fraction. To facilitate the comparison of each waste
stream, a hypothetical compound of the form C6HaOb has been determined for each. Based on this
analysis, all UK waste streams share the hypothetical formula C6H10O3, indicating that on a dry basis, the composition of waste in the UK is fairly consistent. Monte Carlo analysis of the hypothetical compound structure revealed that for both household and civic amenity waste streams, the hydrogen and oxygen content only deviate slightly from the mean values. Since MSW is predominantly comprised of household and civic amenity waste, the hypothetical compound C6H10O3 can be used to approximate UK MSW.

Energy from Waste, Hypothetical Compound, Monte Carlo Analysis, Municipal Solid Waste Management

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