Refuse trucks run on rainwater

Written by: Dr Marc Stanton | Published:

Clean Power Solutions (CPSL-Group) have developed a way to reduce vehicle emissions to zero and to run the refuse trucks on rainwater. In addition, landfill costs are drastically reduced, there is possibly a three-year payback and after that, a £300,000 per year income stream, writes Dr Marc Stanton, communication director, CPSL-Group​.

Waste separation has been around for years, but how to use that separated waste to reduce emissions has not been really possible till now. CPSL-Group have managed to bring it all together in the perfect circle.

The new system from CPSL-Group uses rainwater to provide the hydrogen fuel that powers the collection vehicles. The hydrogen vehicle fuel is made on site using electricity produced from separated waste. The remaining waste is dried using residual heat from the power production. Much of this waste can be shipped to Holland for use as fuel in incinerators and the leftover waste can be transported to landfill for less cost as it now weighs less.


Waste wood, burning bio-boilers have been around for years. The problem has always been though that only, ‘grade A’ wood could be used in them. CPSL-Group have developed a system that can used lower grade waste wood such as grade A, B and even C grade.

Operation of the waste, wood chip, bio-boiler attracts Government RHI payments and the electricity generation also attracts Government FiTs payments. Both of these payments will continue for 20 years and are index linked.

Some of the free heat from the bio-boiler is used to generate free electricity for site use and to produce the free hydrogen for use as vehicle fuel. The hydrogen is produced at 30 bar pressure and then further compressed for use as vehicle fuel at 350 bar pressure.

Collected waste wood is separated once it gets to the depot and the suitable wood is chipped and then dried to provide fuel for the bio-boiler. The rest of the waste goes for drying on a moving floor dryer using waste heat from the bio-boiler, and combined heat and power (CHP) electricity generation.

The dry waste can then be baled and shipped to Holland where it is used as incinerator fuel. Eventually when there is sufficient fuel available, this waste will be sold to incinerators for generation in the UK.

Reducing leftover waste

The leftover waste that cannot be recycled, burned or digested is taken to landfill at a greatly reduced cost due to the reduced weight and size.

The hydrogen is produced from rainwater using an electrolyser that uses the electricity produced from the heat generated by the waste wood. This hydrogen is then used as fuel for the collection trucks creating the perfect circle of efficiency.

CPSL-Group are specialists in all aspects of renewable energy. They install bio-boilers with combined heat and power plants throughout the UK. They also specialise in energy storage and grid connection systems. Part of this energy storage requirement led to them developing the hydrogen system as a use for excess energy from renewable energy generation. They have developed small-scale hydrogen production and manufacture the only small-scale hydrogen refuelling station in the world. The system is self-contained in a 20-foot shipping container and meets all international safety standards.

The collection vehicles are converted to run on hydrogen by ULEMco, a Liverpool-based company that has several years’ experience in converting diesel vehicles to run on hydrogen. Several refuse collection vehicles have already been converted in Leven in Fife Scotland where they are successfully operating, collecting waste for the local community using hydrogen created from renewable energy produced in the local area from the Fife council’s own wind turbine. This fuel is also used to provide fuel for several other council vehicles such as Transit vans and even Renault Kangoo electric vans with hydrogen range extenders.

One of the problems with electric powered vehicles is that the range is not sufficient to complete a full day’s operation. The addition of a hydrogen range extender increases the vehicles range from 100 miles to nearly 300. This means that at least a full day’s operation can be obtained from standard, electric, powered vehicles if they are fitted with a hydrogen range extender.

The ability to reduce vehicle emissions to zero, eliminate vehicle fuel costs, attract Government payments for the next 20 years, eliminate electricity costs for the entire site and provide heating or cooling for the site buildings with a possible pay back of less than three years, and then, an income stream for 20 years; is absolutely the perfect renewable energy solution for the waste collection industry. Clean, green, and pays for itself, with the added publicity benefits of being ‘seen’ to be ‘green’.

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