Waste to energy systems play an important role in producing clean, renewable energy.
While waste to energy systems offer several benefits, from reducing gas emissions to reducing a company’s dependence on fossil fuels, they are also successful in harnessing untapped sources of energy from waste.
Below we’ll explore how waste to energy works, how it contributes to generating renewable energy and some of the additional benefits waste to energy systems provide.
How Waste To Energy Works
There are various types of waste to energy systems in use.
The most frequently used process involves the incineration of waste in an effort to turn solid waste into gas. During this process, chemical energy transforms into thermal energy. Organics collected from waste are thermally destroyed at very high temperatures.
Although the incineration process is often thought to include plumes of black smoke, federal regulations work to ensure toxic smoke is not emitted. In fact, these regulations impose emission standards that require stack output to meet a nearly 100% purity standard. In other words, waste to energy emits clean water vapor.
There are a handful of other types of waste to energy systems that are designed for more specific purposes.
Depolymerization breaks down waste materials into crude oil products using thermal decomposition.
Gasification converts carbonaceous substances into carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide and small amounts of hydrogen. Synthesis gas that is created is then used to produce a source of heat and electricity.
Pyrolysis subjects organic or agricultural waste to elevated temperatures to create pyrolysis oil, which is then used to generate heat and electricity as a renewable industrial fuel.
How Waste To Energy Helps Produce Energy
Waste to energy plays an important role in the closed loop recycling of waste. The circular economy focuses on eliminating waste and reducing the use of valuable resources.
At Temarry Recycling, the closed loop recycling process takes industrial solvents and recycles them with useful waste byproduct.
Here’s how it works:
Waste to energy begins the process by converting BTU organic solids to steam. To accomplish this:
- Waste is fed by a conveyor into the primary stage for thermal destruction at 1500 degrees F.
- All vapors and gases are then directed to secondary thermal treatment at 1500 degrees F.
- Inorganic solids, or ash, from the primary stage is quenched and falls into an ash hopper.
- Heat is directed to a 200-horsepower steam generator.
- Remaining gases are directed to a modern two-stage venturi scrubber to ensure that only clean water vapor is emitted to the atmosphere.
Next, the solvent distillation process begins. Using the steam from the waste to energy process as energy to power the recovery stills, spent solvents are re-manufactured. This allows them to be able to be sold back into industry for their original solvent properties.
Finally, the water treatment process extracts usable water from industrial hazardous wastes. In turn, treated water is used on-site for industrial needs, including the waste to energy equipment and a cooling tower.
You can read more about how the circular economy works in our article, The Circular Economy Diagram Explained.
How Waste To Energy Improves Sustainability
When incorporated into a circular economy, waste to energy helps to ensure nothing is wasted. All components are used and reused, and all recycled solvents are reintroduced back into industry.
It is also important to note that in California, companies can take advantage of economic incentives through grant, payment and loan programs. These programs reward businesses that reduce their environmental impacts.
One of the ways they can reduce their environmental impact is by reducing their carbon footprint. For example, companies that partner with Temarry Recycling for the recycling of their waste can significantly reduce the amount of truck loads that are transported off site for secondary recycling at a cement kiln. The fewer truck loads that travel offsite, the fewer fossil fuel resources are used for transportation.
In fact, for each 60 cubic yard box thermally treated on site at Temarry, one cubic yard of ash is generated.
For each 100 gallons of typical solvents distilled, 30 gallons of still bottoms are generated to be blended with ash.
By taking advantage of Temarry’s True Recycling technology, companies will realize a reduction in both transportation costs and their carbon footprint.
The Push Toward Renewable Resources
Waste to energy offers manufacturing companies the opportunity to increase their corporate sustainability while keeping materials at their highest value. Waste to energy also allows companies to take advantage of a process that is successful in harnessing untapped sources of energy.
Need more information about whether waste to energy is right for your company’s waste management plan? Our article, Should You Convert Waste To Energy?, explores some of the reasons behind why many companies are taking advantage of the innovative technologies waste to energy facilities are using to increase their sustainability and improve their bottom line.