Ways to Convert Hazardous Waste into Energy

Did you know that we produce around 13 tons of hazardous waste every second?

 

Yes, that’s right! A single person creates about 130 pounds of hazardous waste every year, and the amount is increasing annually. In just one generation, the earth’s production of man-made chemicals has increased by 40,000% to 400 million tons.

 

We are all aware that hazardous wastes may result in substantial harm to the environment and public health. Scientists have been trying hard to find new ways to maximize how we recycle and reuse waste, including hazardous waste.

Meaning of hazardous waste

Hazardous waste comes with properties which potentially make it dangerous or capable of generating harmful effects on the environment or human health. Hazardous waste is generated from many sources ranging from batteries to the industrial manufacturing process. Hazardous waste may come in many forms that include sludges, solids, gases, and liquids.

 

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) developed a process and regulatory definition that identifies specific substances known to be hazardous and provides objective criteria to include other materials in the regulated hazardous waste universe. Waste is determined to be hazardous when listed on one of the four lists (the F, K, P, and U lists) found in title 40 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) in part 261.

Is it possible to transform hazardous waste?

Although hazardous waste is not recycled or reused as often as regular (non-hazardous, municipal) waste, the process is becoming more common. Currently, the volume of hazardous waste converted into energy is tiny compared to the overall volume of hazardous waste produced, but the amount increases each year. Recycling hazardous waste is desirable because otherwise the materials often get dumped into landfills. This process can allow hazardous materials to seep into the ground/soil, eventually leaching into and contaminating the water supply.

 

The process most typically used to transform hazardous waste is incineration. When incineration is performed on the hazardous waste in the right manner, it not only destroys the toxic part of waste but also helps in reducing the waste volume and generating energy through the process.

Methods to convert waste into energy

When we talk about turning waste into energy, most incineration facilities turn solid waste into a gas. During this process chemical energy can be transformed into thermal energy. The collected organics from waste are thermally destructed or burned down at extremely high temperatures.

 

Here are 4 different ways to convert waste into energy:

Depolymerization

This process breaks down waste materials into crude oil products. With the use of thermal decomposition, the process takes materials and subjects them to pressure and high temperatures while in the presence of water. Long-chain polymers are broken down into shorter chains that mimic a natural geological process like that which produces fossil fuels.

Gasification

This process converts carbonaceous substances into hydrogen, carbon monoxide, and carbon dioxide. Gasification uses high temperatures but only in the presence of oxygen. The synthesis gas created is helpful to produce a source of electricity and heat.

Pyrolysis

This process subjects agricultural or organic waste to elevated temperatures without using halogen or oxygen. During this irreversible process, gas, liquid, and solids can be produced. The resulting pyrolysis oil generates electricity and heat as a renewable industrial fuel. It can also be upgraded into a specialty chemical or used as a transportation fuel.

Plasma Arc Gasification

During this process, compressing the waste produces gas ionized using a plasma torch. The process does not use combustion and helps to reduce the waste sent to landfills while generating electricity at the same time.

Benefits of converting hazardous waste into energy

Here are a few benefits of converting hazardous waste into energy:

Less landfill waste

Converting waste to energy is crucial to reducing the amount of waste that enters the landfill. Less waste means fewer landfills (or landfills fill up slower) and a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.

Substantial generation of energy

Approximately 550 to 700-kilowatt hours can be produced from one ton of waste. To put this in perspective, this is enough for all the electricity needs of one home for a month.

Helpful in reprocessing excess waste

Waste-to-energy technology also reprocesses excess metals or remains, including steel and aluminum, which further diminishes the overall amount of waste materials on the planet.

A green and sustainable method

Most waste-to-energy processes employ sophisticated technology and are eco-friendly and green. The technology uses cutting-edge pollution control equipment to brush and filter carbon emissions, minimizing their expulsion into the environment.

CWE’s role in industrial waste and handling hazardous waste

Since 1995 Clean Water Environmental has held a RCRA Facility Part B permit to operate a hazardous waste Treatment Storage and Disposal Facility (TSDF). EPA hazardous wastes, as defined in 40 CFR part 261 and OAC 3745-51, presently permitted for management at the facility are listed below. These permitted wastes are accepted for storage and transferred off-site for fuels blending, incineration or stabilization. Some transfers are “as is,” in container while others are bulked up for transport.

 

Waste Acceptance and Processing Criteria

  • The characteristics of the waste must be among those that the facility is permitted to accept.
  • No hazardous waste shipment will be accepted at the facility unless the shipment is accompanied by a hazardous waste manifest which meets the requirement of 40 CFR Part 262.
  • No waste is scheduled for pickup or shipment into the facility without prior analysis (pre-screening) as per our WAP(Waste Analysis and Acceptance Plan Procedures).
  • Incompatible wastes, PCBs, pesticides, explosive, corrosive or reactive wastes are not accepted at this time.

Liquid and solid organic wastes are transferred off-site for processing into energy-efficient, high-Btu combustible fuels for energy recovery. This process provides alternative fuel for cement kiln operations and meets strict federal, state and cement kiln specifications.

 

Clean Water Environmental delivers regulatory compliance and full accountability, with a focus on using innovative technology to responsibly conserve and re-use resources.

 

Handling hazardous waste is a complicated business. We’re here to help you with every aspect of a project to be sure it’s done correctly. For example:

  • Proper container care and using the right container for your waste stream’s characteristics are very important. We have resources to help you choose the proper containers, and we can help with labels and shipping papers.
  • Although waste characterization, profiling, labeling and shipping papers are the responsibility of the generator, we have deep expertise in proper procedures and are happy to help you. Our customer service team is ready to offer the support you need.
  • We create either a Certificate of Destruction or a Certificate of Recycling for all hazardous wastes we receive. We can also supply a Certificate of Recycling for used oils and fuels.

Here are a few other unique characteristics about our Hazardous Waste Management capabilities:

  • We operate one of the region’s few permitted Central Water Treatment (CWT) facilities capable of managing RCRA Hazardous wastewaters.
  • Both our Dayton and Mansfield locations are permitted for the treatment of Categorical Wastewaters and their discharge.
  • Our Dayton waste facility can store containerized hazardous wastes, per our State of Ohio EPA Hazardous Waste Facility Installation and Operation Permit.

We remind all prospective customers that we are fully insured for transportation and at our treatment facilities by Nautilus Insurance Company and Great Divide Insurance Company.

 

Everything we’ve learned from handling hazardous waste is voluntarily applied throughout our facilities, creating a standard of culture that goes above and beyond regulatory requirements. We like to call this the “highest common denominator.”

 

Our entire operation, not only the RCRA-permitted areas, operates under our Waste Analysis and Acceptance Plan (WAP) procedures. Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) at both our Dayton and Mansfield facilities are heavily influenced by hazardous waste procedures. We treat all aspects of our receiving, permitted or not, the same way we treat the most complex material. (See our Waste Analysis Plan (WAP).

 

This extra-step responsibility and stewardship provides customers peace of mind that Clean Water Environmental is your most responsible choice for Hazardous Waste Management solutions.

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