To combat climate change we need to create our fuel from renewable resources. One of the greatest environmental time-bombs in the UK today is municipal solid waste, MSW. But to us at Studio DuB, waste is an untapped stream of energy. We have teamed up with reCulture, a Swedish Energy from Waste process, to develop a prototype facility.

Whilst we are recycling more annually, we are also generating more waste than ever before. This goes straight to landfill or to raw incineration with dire environmental consequences. Whilst recycling is responsible, items such as juice cartons, are made of at least three different materials: paper, aluminium and plastic and defy sorting. As far as we know, reCulture is the only method that can isolate its components and obtain an organic fuel from this.

First the waste is ground up to manageable components. Then the simplest of ingredients are added: water, heat and kinetic energy. This produces a sterile soup where glass, metals and heavy plastics can be drawn off at low level. The soup undergoes a dewatering and drying process producing an odourless organic pulp. Moisture content of this pulp is calibrated according to the type of boiler required.

The boilers essentially produce electricity. Surplus energy in the form of hot water is also produced and can be linked to a combined heat and power system, proving energy to local homes and businesses. The ideal reCulture synergy is a small closed loop where a community harnesses its waste to source its energy needs.

The plant could be a state of the art facility. The interior could be gleaming, spotless and inviting. It could operate as a focal point for locals, tourists and school children observing the process in action from high-level cocoons. People would then know that they are directly involved in generating their own energy.
ReCulture was included in a DEFRA report on new technologies. Recently we entered and won a competition launched by the RIBA and developer Argent for the Kings Cross Central site.

Design Team:
Gordon Duffy
Rebecca Wober
Przemyslaw Konopka