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Paper and Construction Industry Symbiosis via Anaerobic Digestion for Enhanced Resource Efficiency and a Low Carbon Future

The paper industry is one of the UK’s more energy-intensive industrial sectors, accounting for roughly two-thirds of the overall energy used in a typical UK industry. The UK Government has set ambitious targets to decarbonise the sector by utilising low carbon technologies

This project will boost resource efficiency in the sector by investigating the conversion of paper sludge waste to renewable biogas via anaerobic digestion (AD), as well as the use of AD digestate by-products as a water substitute for making concrete.  Replacing water with digestate in concrete has positive environmental benefits as well as financial rewards for both the paper and construction industry by creating a double ‘carbon sink opportunity that will help the Foundation Industries to meet Government 2050 Net Zero targets.  SAICA, a paper mill in Manchester, will support the project with site visits and providing samples as well as participating in steering committee meetings. 

This research will map the typical UK paper mill recycling stages and characterise the composition of paper sludge samples from industrial partners and will conduct biochemical methane assays to determine the energy potential/CO2 savings of paper sludge as feedstock for AD compared to that of incineration.

Dr Silvia Tedesco

Manchester Metropolitan University

Silvia is a senior lecturer in the Department of Engineering at Manchester Met, where she leads her own research group and is directly involved and contribute to KE activities undertaken by the Low Carbon Fuels & Transportation research group and the Circular Economy Network. She a member of the SUPERGEN Bioenergy Hub and EPSRC/BBSRC’s High Value Biorenewables and Environmental Biotechnology Networks. Her research expertise focuses on developing bioenergy and circular economy solutions, with the aim to create and transfer new knowledge that will enable our clean growth strategy, decarbonise our national industries and address climate change challenges in the move towards zero carbon emissions.

Published: February 11th, 2022
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