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Deputy manager for European operations Alex Shroff presented the Carbon-14 method to participants of the Futureproofing Thermal Treatment Conference organized by the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management (CWIM). The conference presented different methods available for sampling and measuring biogenic carbon content of mixed waste streams and the current existing options for the sustainable treatment of air pollution control (APC) residues.
Other conference speakers include Dr. Chris Manson Whitton of Progressive Energy Ltd., who also talked about Carbon-14; Peter Edwards and Christian Riber of Ramboll; Emma Clarke and Andy Jones of Future Industrial Services Ltd.; Costas Velis of Imperial College London; Dr. Mike Wise of Tetronics Ltd.; and Dr. Paula Carey of Carbon 8, among others.
The one-day conference was held on November 15, 2011, at the Austin Court in Birmingham, UK.
The Carbon-14 method involves measuring the Carbon-14 or radiocarbon content of a material and correlating it to biogenic carbon content. Biogenic carbon refers to carbon that comes from non-fossil sources like biomass.
Materials that come from contemporary biomass and other renewable sources have a known radiocarbon level. Materials from fossil sources have no radiocarbon in them. Thus, the radiocarbon content of a material is easily correlated to the biogenic carbon content.
The Carbon-14 method is one of the methods presented in EN 15440, a European standard for the determination of the biogenic carbon content of solid recovered fuels. Under this method, either the solid mixed waste or its combustion emission can be used as a sample. This inherent flexibility of the Carbon-14 method makes it an ideal analytical tool for the waste-to-energy industry.