Wednesday, March 10, 2010

AeroThermal outlines advanced anaerobic digestion vision

Latest funding round to drive forward waste-to-energy commercialization plan




The British developer of a new advanced waste-to-energy technology designed to turn both food waste and mixed household waste into renewable energy is set to deploy its first commercial scale system after yesterday securing a fresh round of funding.

Dorset-based AeroThermal Group Limited is to receive an undisclosed sum from the new investment round, led by venture capital firm Bridges Ventures and the Carbon Trust's investment arm.

The cash injection will fund the construction of a full-scale version of its AeroThermal Advanced Anaerobic Digestion (AAD) system, which uses an autoclave-based steam treatment technology to increase biogas yields from municipal waste.

Steam autoclaves work like giant pressure cookers, heating mixed waste at high pressures to ensure the breakdown of organic material. The process ensures that more of the organic waste is captured for use in an energy generating anaerobic digestor, while the non-organic materials are cleaned and sterilised ready for recycling. As well as generating renewable electricity from the anaerobic digestor, waste heat from the process can be captured for re-use.

The company, which boasts a management team with experience of producing autoclaves for use in the aerospace sector, said the technology provided a solution for "problem" waste streams that are difficult to recycle and end up being sent to landfill, while also generating low-carbon electricity.

It added that it was now well placed to either roll out its own systems or set up joint ventures with organisations that can provide a steady waste stream that they want to exploit.

Philip Newborough, chief executive of Bridges Ventures, said AeroThermal was now well positioned to commercialise its technology, hinting that the company could invest further in the technology to help accelerate its deployment.

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