Home energy system could end waste-to-landfill, says creator

A project to develop a ground-breaking home energy recovery unit has received a government grant aimed at encouraging new technology.

The Home Energy Recovery Unit (HERU) was developed by Mission Resources to convert all household waste into a clean, sustainable fuel source, as well as providing hot water for the home.

The company was awarded the grant under the government’s Innovate UK innovative energy game changer fund. The firm’s chief executive, Nik Spencer said the device can currently generate 2.5kWh for every 1kWh it needs to operate.

He said the unit uses the concept of pyrolysis, where materials are heated without oxygen. It is also the world’s first energy-from-waste hybrid boiler, capable of running on gas when there is no waste to process.

The company is currently testing the unit and hope to go into full production by 2020. “It’s extremely important the government have recognised this as a piece of game changing technology,” said Spencer. “It’s fabulous that they are not just supporting large companies – trying to make sure that Nissan and all these other guys stay here, which is massively important – and also supporting businesses which will become the next Nissan.”

The company claims that, if rolled out across the country, the device “would stop waste going to landfill” and change people’s attitudes to domestic waste. “My vision is that when a child goes to McDonalds, the parent shouts out the door ‘don’t forget to bring your rubbish home with you’. If it equals savings in the home for energy, then people will treat it as a resource and not as waste.”

“I believe the [recycling] industry needs to go through a fundamental change in terms of the way we manage resources. Collecting material and running it around the world is not going to be the way forward,” said Spencer. “It is too valuable where it is generated.”

He added: “You could build a small energy-from-waste plant to deal with a local community, but you would still have to send the vehicles around to collect the waste, whether you are carting it one mile or 20 miles. So, you are not really reducing the carbon footprint significantly, as you would be if you did not have to collect it [in the first place].”

What to read next