Research Expertise

An overview of our world-leading research

The areas listed below illustrate SUWIC's research activities and services. If there is an area of interest that is not covered but you think SUWIC might be able to help you with, please contact us.

  • Research into thermal treatment (combustion, pyrolysis, gasification) of all types of wastes, e.g. municipal, clinical, sewage sludge, agricultural waste, explosives, biological, plastic/rubber and industrial/chemical wastes (gas, liquid and solid wastes).
  • Incinerator/gasifier/pyrolyser design technology.
  • Energy conversion of biomass and biofuel by combustion, gasification and pyrolysis
  • Chemical and physical analysis of different types of wastes.

Characterisation of waste material

This includes the use of our unique small scale rotary kiln incinerator to provide the fundamental data needed for the successful incineration of all types of wastes. This aspect of our test programme includes two major efforts:

  • Phase 1 - Initial screening tests characterise the chemical and physical properties of the waste; provide fundamental information to determine the impact of thermal treatment on the heavy metals, acid gases and dioxin levels; provide sufficient information to determine the technical viability of the thermal treatment; create the data required to calibrate the model for large scale prediction.
  • Phase 2 - Pilot scale tests and system specification. Obtain data under realistic mixing conditions with the actual waste, verify/calibrate model predictions for specific wastes of interest, identify any operating problems associated with the incinerator design conditions, evaluate the impact of waste variability on clean up/destruction effectiveness. In short, we can calibrate any type of waste by means of a scaled batch process and provide the incinerator operator with essential design data needed for successful incineration of any type of waste in his/her plant.

Waste heat recovery systems and related problems

Corrosion problems in thermal processes; e.g. boiler tube and super-heater failures, slag formation on the furnace wall, and corrosion inside scrubber systems.
Thermal treatment and restoration of toxic industrially contaminated earth wastes using our rotary kiln incinerator calibration unit.
Measurement of gas residence times at large municipal and industrial incinerator plants using our pseudo-random binary sequence (PRBS) tracer technique.
Process optimisation and waste minimisation.
Flue gas clean up systems including problems related to the electrostatic-precipitators.
Operation and control problems in thermal oxidisers
e.g. use of automatic primary, intermediate and secondary mixture ratio control systems to maintain the waste fuel/air supplies to the furnace in the correct proportions.
Scrubbers and related problems; e.g. activated carbon scrubbing.

Wastewater treatment

Odour control.
Dust, aerosols and dispersion.
Effluent disposal techniques; e.g. removal and recovery of metals from wastewater, general reduction of the impact of metal releases to air, land and water.
Marine pollution/beach cleaning and inshore pollution.
Landfilling practices; e.g. landfill gas disposal.

Development of waste recycling techniques for material and energy recovery

Refuse derived fuel; use of waste as a fuel feedstock.
Development of combined heat and power (CHP) and district heating (DH) systems fuelled with local waste.
Environmental impact assessment.


Legislation, IPC authorisation and technical guidance

Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) modelling

Extensive workshops.

SUWIC has access to first-class workshop facilities both in Sheffield city centre and at our Harpur Hill research laboratories.

The workshops are staffed by highly skilled technicians who construct and help run our experimental rigs.