Municipal solid waste, or MSW, can be recovered and turned into biofuel. This process of turning garbage into fuel works twofold: it lessens the world’s dependence on fossil fuels and it keeps trash out of landfills. When MSW is burned rather than buried in landfills, the volume of waste is reduced by about 87%.
In honor of Earth Day 2019, we’re taking a closer look at the process of waste-to-energy conversion and the benefits it provides.
When a waste management truck hauls away non-recyclable waste from residences or businesses, it is taken to a waste-to-energy plant to be converted into energy. Once it arrives by truck, the load is deposited into a trash storage bunker, where it will be sorted by an overhead crane. Once sorted, the waste is ready to go through the combustion process, which is the most commonly used and oldest thermal process.
Other methods of energy conversion include:
Since combustion is the most commonly used conversion technology, however, that’s the process many waste-to-energy plants are interested in.
During the combustion process, sorted waste is lifted into a combustion chamber to be burned. The heat released during mass burning converts water to steam. The steam then produces electricity through a turbine generator. Early waste combustion systems were more simple, producing heat and carbon dioxide as well as other pollutants. Now, most incinerators have air-pollution control systems in place to clean flue gases before they are released into the air.
As water is converted into steam, flue gases are treated to remove pollutants like mercury, acid gas, and particulates. After undergoing pollution control tests, cleaned flue gases and water vapor are released. At the same time, ash from the burned waste is collected and transported via conveyor through the plant, using equipment like the SYNCRO-COIL Bottom Ash Vibratory Conveyor. The ash is then taken to a landfill for further processing.
At a landfill, a filtering system captures particulates, where more than 99% of particulate matter is removed. The captured ash particles are collected and transported to the ash discharger, where they are wetted to prevent dust. After mixing with bottom ash from the grate and screened for bulk material with machines like our FINGER-SCREEN for Waste to Energy, the ash residue is loaded into covered trucks and taken to another landfill designed to protect against groundwater contamination.
Our waste-to-energy equipment produces clean, renewable energy from handling and transporting MSW materials and residual ash. General Kinematics’ systems require less horsepower and therefore less energy consumption and electrical costs. Whatever reusable products you work with, General Kinematics has solutions for the reclamation process. Learn more about our environmentally responsible designs today.