Refuse Derived Fuels

An integral concept of the circular economy is the use of materials that have already been used. Urban solid waste consists of many fractions of different material, many of them with a high calorific value that can be used as a fuel.

The progressive reduction of organic material to landfill and the increasing use of recycling as the primary mechanism of waste management, has resulted in a change in attitude towards what should not be considered a valueless waste but more a valuable resource that can benefit society. RDF is made from waste that can be used as a fuel, displacing the employment of fossil fuels for providing energy.

Keep it in the ground!


Organics Produces and Supplies RDF Fuels

Refuse-derived fuel (RDF)

RDF is a fuel produced from various types of waste such as municipal solid waste (MSW), industrial waste or commercial waste.

RDF consists largely of combustible components such as non recyclable plastics (not including PVC), paper cardboard, labels, and other corrugated materials. These fractions are separated by different processing steps and the separation of ferrous and non ferrous materials, glass, stones and other foreign materials.

The material is then shredded into a uniform grain size or pelletized to produce a homogeneous material which for use in e.g. cement plants, lime plants, coal fired power plants or as reduction agent in steel furnaces as a substitute for fossil fuels.

RDF Type-2

Materials such as glass and metals are removed during the treatment processing since they are non-combustible. The metal is removed using a magnet and the glass using mechanical screening.

The light materials have higher calorific value and they create the final RDF. The heavy materials will usually continue to a landfill. The residual material can be sold in its processed form (depending on the process treatment) as a plain mixture or it may be compressed into pellet fuel, bricks or logs and used for other purposes either stand-alone or in a recursive recycling process.

RDF is extracted from municipal solid waste and other waste using a mix of mechanical and/or biological treatment methods.

RDF Type-3

RDF can be used in a variety of ways to produce electricity. It can be used alongside traditional sources of fuel in coal power plants. In Europe RDF can be used in the cement kiln industry, where the strict standards of the Waste Incineration Directive are met.

RDF can also be fed into plasma arc gasification modules & pyrolysis plants. Where the RDF is capable of being combusted cleanly or in compliance with the Kyoto Protocol, RDF can provide a funding source where unused carbon credits are sold on the open market via a carbon exchange.



According to ASTM standards E856-83 (2006), RDF can be classified into 7 categories. The material presented here is defined as “Type 4”. Combustible wastes processed into powder form, 95 % by weight passes through a 10 mesh screen (2.0 mm square), namely Powder RDF. Parameters may be tailored to specific requirements.

This makes RDF4 suitable for direct firing in industrial forced air burners.

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Refuse Derived Fuel

A Viable Fuel

RDF Type 2

RDF Type 2

RDF Type 3

RDF Type 3

RDF Type 4

RDF Type 4



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