Refuse-derived fuels are our field

In the shift to a circular economy, the production and use of refuse-derived fuels (RDF) is becoming increasingly important. Refuse-derived fuels can be extracted from industrial and commercial waste, and even from some household (residual) waste.


Their use in industry and utility power plants can substitute for fossil fuels like oil and gas.

In making refuse-derived fuels, the mechanical treatment of the input material is critical. RDF quality classes with different energy contents are based on the type, composition and processing of the material. Komptech develops and builds systems that meet the specific requirements of different combustion technologies. The company offers a comprehensive line of the key components for shredding, screening and separating, plus market-proven components by well-known manufacturers.


The processing makes the difference

The caloric value and particle size are the main quality criteria for an RDF. The higher the content of plastics, paper, cardboard or textiles in the input material, the higher the caloric value can be. The greater the particle size, the lower the quality of the fuel. The RDF classes Premium (high), Secondary (medium) and Low-caloric are based on these criteria.

In designing plants, the focus can be on different objectives. The intention may be to make only refuse-derived fuels, or also to separate out defined recyclable fractions. A third option is to design a plant with the flexibility to adapt to changing requirements.


Conventional refuse-derived fuel production

A plant configured only for making refuse-derived fuels generally consists of the process steps preshredding, screening or separation, and post-shredding. This setup provides good opening of the input material, including the effective separation of Fe and non-Fe metals as well as inert fines and heavy items. The remaining fractions – primarily light materials like film – are post-shredded to a defined degree in order to get the desired grain size for high- or medium-caloric refuse-derived fuels. Recycling plays a subordinate role, with the exception of Fe and non-Fe metals.

Refuse-derived fuels and recyclables

Plants that combine recyclables reclamation and refuse-derived fuel production give their operators more flexibility. They can respond to higher recycling rate demands faster, and process a wider range of untreated waste (commercial, bulky, production, packaging, household). Depending on the input batch, the focus can be on reclamation of recyclables or the production of refuse-derived fuels. The high-caloric 2D fraction from ballistic separation is ideal for making high-caloric RDF.

Primary quality refuse-derived fuel

Waste streams that have already undergone processing, including the high-caloric fraction from mechanical-biological processing or appropriately preconditioned commercial and production waste, can be used to make explicitly high-quality substitute fuels. As a rule, processing here consists only of pre- and post-shredding. If necessary, metal separation can be included. This type of plant can make primary RDF for the cement industry.