“Waste valorisation” refers to the industrial processes aimed at deriving energy or useful products from waste materials. In many instances, the process of valorisation has the potential to lessen the impact on the environment, on a life cycle basis. As a result, waste valorisation is aligned with the principles of Clean Tech.
From a scientific perspective, waste valorization almost inevitably involves the reconfiguration of the molecular bonds in the waste material, producing either higher-valued products that are repurposed, or converting the chemical energy stored in the bonds into another form that can then be used to do work. Examples of waste valorisation are diverse, with many different approaches used to achieve the desired molecular re-arrangement. In some cases, biological catalysts are used, such as in the production of ethanol from pulp and paper waste. In another approach, fuel can be produced from waste plastics through pyrolysis. All of these applications have unique challenges that require a first-principles approach to address. Through the application of sound fundamentals, the team at Coanda supports the innovative companies pursuing waste valorisation strategies.