Plasma Gasification / Plasma Arc Technology for Waste Management Technology

Burning waste is nothing new, but up until recently pretty much all around the world it was never done in a manner that was even remotely beneficial and not entirely harmful. The only advantage it had is that it was a convenient and low-cost way to eliminate waste, but of course it was hugely polluting and not something that should have ever been done in the first place. Here and now in the 21st century we are now still exposing waste to extreme temperatures, but there’s no burning or combustion going on and it’s actually beneficial and not harmful.

All of you will know that here at Load & Lift we specialize in Colborne and Trenton area dumpster rentals with rubbish bin disposal services where we bring you your bins and then collect them once you’ve filled them before disposing of the waste properly. There are all sorts of job sites all over Ontario where disposal bin rentals will be needed, but we’ll be serving the ones in this area of the Province. But if we are going to talk about the Province as a whole, this type of waste vaporizing technology known as plasma recycling is something that Ontario has been trying out for a few years now.

It is quite the impressive process, and it fits nicely with waste management technologies that we like to put a light on here with our blog. We keep things pretty basic with disposal bin rentals in Trenton and Colborne but we have a lot of admiration for people who do smart waste management and recycling on much bigger levels.

So let’s have a look at that here with this entry and see what makes plasma arc recycling such a promising technology for better disposal of waste and generating energy out of the disposal of it.

Plasma Gasification Recycling

Plasma recycling differs from conventional incineration, and with it they’re not just simply tossing waste on a fire. When trash is incinerated – like it used to be some of the time – the fuel (household trash) burns with oxygen to release waste gases (typically carbon dioxide, steam, and various kinds of air pollution) and heat energy. By burning it in a closed container at extremely high temperatures as many toxic chemicals as possible are destroyed, but there’s still air pollution created obviously.

When pollution from the smokestack is trapped and ‘scrubbed’ clean with an electrostatic smoke precipitator there’s less pollution, and that’s even more true when a very tall smokestack is used. The energy created from conventional trash incineration is used to boil water, drive steam turbines, or generate electricity.

But the combustion itself was what was needed to be taken out of the equation, and plasma arc recycling does just that. There’s nothing ‘burning’ at all even though the applied temperatures are much hotter than with conventional trash incineration. What those super hot temperatures is melt and vaporize the waste, and instead of flame doing that is an electrical device known as a plasma arc.

Plasma arc recycling doesn’t involve combustion. Instead of simply burning the waste (at a few hundred degrees), the waste is heated to much higher temperatures (thousands of degrees) so it melts and then vaporizes. This is done by an electrical device known as a plasma arc, which is a kind of super-hot torch made by passing gas through an electrical spark.

Waste to Syngas Via the Torch

How waste is turned to syngas in a typical plasma torch pyrolysis plant, from US Patent 5,634,414 by Plasma Technology Corporation.

Waste enters through a hopper where it’s compacted into small bales and freed of air by a hydraulic ram before being pushed up the chute. Bales of waste are gradually pushed by the smaller hydraulic rams into the reactor until the photoelectric sensor indicates levels are high enough. The plasma torch pivots around to turn the waste into useful syngas before that gas exits through the pipe on the right.

We’re talking about some serious heat here too. The plasma arc in a waste plant heats the waste to temperatures anywhere from about 1000–15,000°C (1800–27,000°F) in order to melt the waste and then turning it into vapor. After that simple organic (carbon-based) materials cool back down into relatively clean gases and metals and other inorganic wastes fuse together and cool back into solids.

2 usable products emerge from this; syngas (energy-rich mixture of carbon monoxide and hydrogen) and a kind of rocky solid waste that is said to resemble broken glass. The syngas is most commonly burned to create energy while the glass-like material is often used as an aggregate for roadbuilding and other types of construction. In practice, the syngas may be contaminated with toxic gases such as dioxins that have to be scrubbed out and disposed of somehow, while the rocky solid may also contain some contaminated material.

Plasma recycling may be relatively new, but as you would guess there is a large amount of interest in the technology. Plants are now appearing in countries all around the world, and very notable in the UK is Advanced Biofuels Solutions (ABS) who have developed a syngas technology called RadGas. It turns household waste into a substitute form of natural gas capable of being used in the ordinary gas grid.

The US military has also experimented with gas plasma technology, as they are interested in reducing the waste generated in war zones. And here in Ontario APP won a contract to build a 20MW gas plasma plant in Hamilton in 2014, which was estimated to be able to provide the power for 17,000 homes. Unfortunately this plant never came to be, but the technology is something we may see incorporated around here again.

Worksite cleanup in Trenton and Colborne with dumpster rentals delivered by Load and Lift is the quick and easy way to collect whatever it is you need to get rid of, and then have disposal bin collected and taken away with nothing more required of you than to fill it. We make it simple for you and for dumpster rentals in Brighton or Hilton we’ve got you covered there too. We can be anywhere along the 401 in this area of the Province with same-day disposal bin delivery and we’ll pick them up on your schedule too.

Plus, don’t forget that every bin rental puts the renter into a draw for $250 that we make 4x a year. All the more reason to call Load and Lift first when you need a dumpster rental in Trenton and Colborne for waste disposal.

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