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Waste Management and Energy Conversion through Microwave Pyrolysis


Pyrolysis is the thermal decomposition of carbonaceous material in the absence of oxygen atmosphere. Pyrolysis significantly reduces total waste volume by converting solid waste and sludge into biochar that could be used for energy recovery and other uses. Though pyrolysis is a well-developed technology, to-date no systems area available for waste processing at an economically viable commercial scale.

Electrical Engineers from James Cook University have custom developed a 5 Kg/run waste processing system, which can be used for various wastes, such as plastics, tyres, biosolids, food products, hospital wastes etc. The system uses microwave heating to increase efficiency & certain outputs of conventional pyrolysis & is further scalable.

  • No pre-treatment of feedstock required
  • 30% lower energy consumption in comparison with conventional pyrolysis techniques
  • Manage on demand, reduced storage and disposal costs, optimise management
  • Safe process
  • Non-hazardous output and gas

Manage and process waste content for:

  • Shipping
  • Hospitals
  • Industry
  • Organic materials - food, disposal materials

Opportunities exists for organisations experiencing major physical and financial challenges in the management/disposal of bulk or hazardous waste, to collaborate and scale this technology for direct application and cost benefit. JCU is seeking interest from industry to co-develop, test and install this technology on premises to specifically address business needs. Scope exists to consider processing of biomass for value add products.


  • Development partner
  • No patent
  • Know-how based