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SYNERGORS Final Report Published


SYNERGORS has published its final report which summarises the 4-year fellowship project (2018-2021) funded by UKRI/NERC, led by Dr Kok Siew Ng at the Department of Engineering Science, University of Oxford. The report can be downloaded via the "Publications" page on the SYNERGORS website.

The SYNERGORS project (“A systems approach to synergistic utilisation of secondary organic streams”) aimed to develop new systems approaches for promoting resource recovery from secondary organic waste streams including food waste, residual biomass and municipal solid waste. The project received support from more than 10 UK and international organisations, including academia, industry and policymakers, to provide multidisciplinary expertise to address the global challenges in resources and waste management. The formation of the core team was greatly assisted by the British Council / Newton Fund Researcher Links workshops, with collaboration between the British, Malaysian, Mexican and Brazilian academics.

Main Achievements

The SYNERGORS project has led to substantial impacts beyond academia, resulting in 9 academic publications, new experimental studies with Anaero Technology, a number of engagement activities and international visits (including case studies in Malaysia, Brazil and Mexico), and the creation of the Society of Circular, Regenerative and Sustainable Systems (CRES) which aims to promote systems thinking and circular economy.

SYNERGORS’s research spans three themes:
Theme 1: Strategic analysis for sustainable organic resources and waste management to achieve circular economy and net zero
Theme 2: Development of novel resource recovery and valorisation technology concept
Theme 3: Development of innovative biorefinery system design

Key Recommendations

1. Waste and recycling industries should move away from a treatment-oriented waste management approach and adopt a more transformative and innovative resource recovery approach to achieve a more circular economy.
2. A systems approach to addressing waste management is needed to promote collaboration among different groups of stakeholders (e.g. government, local authorities, waste and recycling industries, commercial sector, public etc.)
3. Resources embedded in organic waste streams should be exploited for value-added products such as chemicals and hydrogen. This requires significant revamp on existing waste treatment facilities. Further research is needed to improve system efficiency and achieve greater cost reduction.