Environment and the Plasma Gasification of Garbage

The Discordant

I wanted to bring to your attention a very interesting article that I read on the New York Times. The link is: Garbage Plasma Gasification.

It was a while ago when I read it, but didn’t have time to write about it! So here it is:

The first thing I saw was the word “Garbage”… I didn’t really give much attention to it because even though it is something really important, and that people should be aware of, I already know what most articles usually say about it. Things like: “Oh, the toxins from incinerating the garbage are bad”, “We have to start disposing of medical/toxic garbage in safe places”, “Soon there will be a shortage of places where to dump garbage and it will have to be thrown into space” or “Everyone should recycle because it will help the world by producing less waste and save money”.  These are all…

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One thought on “Environment and the Plasma Gasification of Garbage

  1. There are several ways for ‘cracking’ of the hydrocarbons in waste. The first stage is pyrolyses, where most of the ‘easy’ gases are developed. The second stage is a thermal cracking system of the remaining waste after the pyrolyses stage. This converts the other remaining carbons and hydrocarbons into raw gases.
    This first pyrolyses phase is ‘energy demanding’ while gasification is due to the small amount of oxygen ‘energy delivering’ and this thermal energy is applied for the pyrolyses stage. There is a balance between ‘used heat’ and ‘developed heat’ in the coupled processes. In countries with high costs for electrical energy this is the most cost-efficient way. In countries where electricity is very cheap plasm arcs can be applied to heat and gasify the waste.
    This is process wise very efficient. If it is ‘environmental wise’ is still the question. The amount of consumed electricity is significant, the ecological footprint of oilfired or coalfired powerplants has to be added to the ecological foorprint of the choosen process. And in many cases you will see that the ‘normal way’ of heating by the internal heat of the coupled processes of pyrolyses and gasification is favourable in terms of ecological footprint than the plasm arc systems.
    I go for the traditional way in most cases.

    Melle B. van der Meulen

    Managing Director / Senior Consultant
    MHV Consultancy Ltd

    Cardiff UK Rijssen NL Jeddah KSA

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