Landfill sites – the most common way of dealing with waste at present – contribute to the production of greenhouse gases and pollute our groundwater, while becoming effective breeding grounds for vermin and bacteria.
Waste-to-Energy (WtE) or energy-from-waste is the process of generating energy in the form of electricity and/or heat from the incineration of waste. Hemmed in by major population centers, landfill space in most areas are at a premium, so burning wastes to reduce their volume and weight makes sense. Combustion reduces the volume of material by about 90 percent and its weight by 75 percent. The heat generated by burning wastes has other uses, as well, as it can be used directly for heating, to produce steam or to generate electricity. This is old style thinking, and the incineration approach has declined due to release of harmful emissions into the atmosphere and other limitations of the technology. Neither are a good long-term option.
New WtE Technologies
New conversion technologies like Thermal Technologies, Direct Combustion (Mass Burn and RDF), Pyrolysis, Conventional Gasification and Plasma Arc Gasification can provide a clean, cost-effective alternative which actually produces energy from the waste, while preventing harmful emissions and reducing landfill sites.
Direct Combustion Mass Burn and Refuse Derived Fuel
As mentioned above Mass Burn facilities have been in existence for decades and as the technology reflects it literally burns/combusts everything, leaving only noncombustible material. There are over 100 of these facilities operating in the U.S. and considerably more in Europe and Asia. Refuse Derived Fuel (RDF) is the process of removing the recyclable and noncombustible from the municipal solid waste (MSW) and producing a combustible material, by shredding or pelletizing the remaining waste. This form of conversion implementation is declining (slowing down) due to release of harmful emissions into the atmosphere and other limitations of the technology.
Pyrolysis is the thermo-chemical decomposition of organic material, at elevated temperatures without the participation of oxygen. The process involves the simultaneous change of chemical composition and physical phase that is irreversible. Pyrolysis occurs at temperatures >750°F (400°C) in a complete lack of oxygen atmosphere. The syn-gas that is produced during the reaction is generally converted to liquid hydrocarbons, such as biodiesel. Byproducts from the process are generally unconverted carbon and/or charcoal and ash.
The Figures 4 & 5 below show the process flows for the fast and rapid pyrolysis processes that are being offered commercially. We are aware of small modules operating throughout the world, but to our knowledge there are no systems operating at large industrial sized.
Waste2Energy Global’s (W2E) main focus is on Pyrolysis process and does not focus on the rest of the processes Conventional Gasification or Plasma Arc Gasification.
Waste2Energy Global (W2E) has a clear advantage through understanding the requirements of the Waste-to-Energy opportunity and being able to provide an environmentally safe solution, tailored for each opportunity, which converts the never-ending waste stream to various forms of cost effective renewable energy sources, reducing the need for landfills and decreasing the toxins leaching into groundwater and the air.