Production of briquettes for energy recovery of furniture waste with polyurethane foams

Summary of the technology

The Research Group "Waste, energy, environment and nanotechnology" (WEEN) from the University of Alicante has developed a new compact material and a production process of briquettes of furniture waste. This process makes it possible to carry out the management and the energy recovery of this waste, avoiding the environmental problems associated with its landfilling and also making it easier to transport, handle and store.
The briquettes obtained, show physicochemical characteristics similar to the conventional and they have a high energy density being able to be used as fuel for thermal power plants or industrial boilers.
Companies in the waste treatment sector and the furniture industry that are interested in commercial exploitation of this technology through licensing agreements and / or technical cooperation are sought.

Innovative aspects and main advantages of its use

  • The new briquetting process from waste furniture solves the current problem of management of this waste.
  • The process allows energy recovery and treatment of this waste in a simple and feasible way to avoid the environmental problems associated with disposal in landfills.
  • The densification of the material in the shape of briquettes makes the transportation, handling and storage of this waste easier and cheaper.
  • The briquettes produced have high energy density and have physicochemical characteristics (resistance to fragmentation and abrasion, durability, density, etc.) similar to conventional ones.
  • The briquettes can be used as fuel in thermal power plants or industrial boilers, solving the drawbacks of low density, uniformity of size and shape, as well as the feeding problems in these combustion plants associated with these materials.
  • This process can be applied to briquettes of any size and shape.


The Research Group "Waste, energy, environment and nanotechnology" (WEEN) from the University of Alicante has developed a new compact material and a production process of briquettes with high energetic content, in order to carry out a proper and viable treatment and energy recovery from waste from the furniture industry (wood and upholstery foams mainly).

Due to the flexible character of polyurethane foams, a densification of separate foam is not simple. The solution provided in the present invention uses a mixture of the two components (wood and polyurethane foams) for briquettes.

The compacted material developed is formed mainly by biomass and foam (Figure 1). Whereas biomass (lignocellulosic) consists of waste wood or timber products, the foam is composed of polyurethane foam or similar from sofas, cushions, pillows, chairs, mattresses, etc.

Figure 1.- Initial mixture of furniture waste  with polyurethane foam

The method for producing briquettes of the present invention comprises the following steps:

  1. Crushing of wood waste and foam to a certain size.
  2. Compacting of the material obtained into the shape of briquettes by a hydraulic piston press briquette machine.

In the different laboratory assays, the research group has studied and defined the process parameters, which are the most influential on the physicochemical characteristics of the briquette such as: percentage of mixture of materials, the size of crushing, appropriate humidity and compaction pressure.

As a result of this research, we have obtained briquettes with physicochemical characteristics similar to conventional briquettes (made of wood) in terms of resistance to fragmentation and abrasion, durability (DU - according to European standard CEN-TS 14588: 2003), density and calorific value, appropriate for use as industrial fuel (Figure 2).

Figure 2.- Briquette obtained with a mixture of furniture waste and polyurethane foam

Through this procedure can, briquettes of 53 mm diameter and variable height between 20 and 60 cm be obtained, although the process is applicable to any size briquettes. Furthermore, the briquette can have any shape, either in brick, cylindrical, tablet-shaped, square or the like.


  • Municipal solid waste treatment plants.
  • Furniture industries interested in the energy recovery of this waste.

Intellectual property status

This technology is protected by patent.

  • Patent title: “Procedimiento para la fabricación de briquetas para la valorización energética de residuos de muebles”
  • Application number: 201530678

Current development status

The manufacturing process has been successfully tested in the laboratory and a pre-industrial scale. The research group has made various studies in which various parameters have been studied, among others: the size of crushed material, amount of foam mix (5-35%) moisture and compaction pressure (30-100 MPa).

As a result of this research, we have obtained briquettes with similar physical-chemical characteristics to the conventional briquettes (fragmentation resistance, abrasion, durability, density and calorific value) fully appropriate for use as fuel for thermal power plants or industrial boilers conventional briquettes

For these tests, a hydraulic piston press briquette machine has been used (Figure 3) to obtain briquettes with 53 mm diameter and a variable height between 20 and 60 cm, although the process is applicable to any size and briquette shape (brick, cylindrical, tablet-shaped, square or similar).

Figure 3.- Hydraulic piston press briquette machine used

Desired business relationship

Companies interested in acquiring this technology for use and / or commercial exploitation, through the following:

  • License agreements to transfer the patent rights to use, manufacture or marketing of the technology to third parties.
  • Agreement R&D project (technical cooperation) for the use or application of technology in other waste or in other sectors.
  • Subcontracting agreement for technical assistance, training, etc.

Related Keywords

  • Incineration and Pyrolysis
  • Solid biomass
  • Waste incineration
  • Forming (rolling, forging, pressing, drawing)
  • Combustion, Flames
  • Materials Technology
  • Environment
  • Environmental Engineering / Technology
  • Waste Management
  • Recycling, Recovery
  • Process Plant Engineering
  • Other Energy
  • Chemical and solid material recycling
  • Engineering services
  • Pollution and Recycling Related
  • Manufacture of construction materials, components and systems
  • Manufacturing
  • Briquette
  • furniture waste
  • polyurethane foams
  • energy recovery
  • thermal power plants
  • industrial boilers

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