The use of biomass to produce renewable energy is one of the forms that can be used to reduce the impact of energy production. Like any other energy resource, there are limitations for biomass use, and it must compete not only with fossil fuels but also with other renewable energy sources such as solar or wind energy. Combustion is currently the most efficient and widely used waste-to-energy process, in the areas where direct use of biomass is possible, without the need to make large transfers of raw material. Many industrial facilities can use agricultural or forestry waste, straw, chips, bagasse, etc. in their thermal systems without making major transformations or adjustments in the feeding to the ovens, making this waste an attractive and cost-effective option in terms of availability, access, and costs. In spite of the facilities and benefits, the environmental reasons (emission of gases and particulate material) are decisive for its use for energy purpose. This paper describes a valorization of residues from forest industry to generate energy, using a case study.
This study evaluates the benefits of advanced waste management practices in unlocking waste-to-energy opportunities within the solid waste industry. The key drivers of sustainable waste management practices, specifically with respect to packaging waste-to-energy technology options are discussed. The success of a waste-to-energy system depends significantly on the appropriateness of available technologies, including those that are well established as well as those that are less so. There are hard and soft interventions to be considered when packaging an integrated waste treatment solution. Technology compatibility with variation in feedstock (waste) quality and quantities remains a key factor. These factors influence the technology reliability in terms of production efficiencies and product consistency, which in turn, drives the supply and demand network. Waste treatment technologies rely on the waste material as feedstock; the feedstock varies in quality and quantities depending on several factors; hence, the technology fails, as a result. It is critical to design an advanced waste treatment technology in an integrated approach to minimize the possibility of technology failure due to unpredictable feedstock quality, quantities, conversion efficiencies, and inconsistent product yield or quality. An integrated waste-to-energy approach offers a secure system design that considers sustainable waste management practices.
A waste-to-energy plasma system was designed by Necsa for commercial use to create electricity from unsorted municipal waste. Fly ash particles must be removed from the syngas stream at operating temperatures of 1000 °C and recycled back into the reactor for complete combustion. A 2D2D high efficiency cyclone separator was chosen for this purpose. During this study, two cyclone design methods were explored: The Classic Empirical Method (smaller cyclone) and the Flow Characteristics Method (larger cyclone). These designs were optimized with regard to efficiency, so as to remove at minimum 90% of the fly ash particles of average size 10 μm by 50 μm. Wood was used as feed source at a concentration of 20 g/m3 syngas. The two designs were then compared at room temperature, using Perspex test units and three feed gases of different densities, namely nitrogen, helium and air. System conditions were imitated by adapting the gas feed velocity and particle load for each gas respectively. Helium, the least dense of the three gases, would simulate higher temperatures, whereas air, the densest gas, simulates a lower temperature. The average cyclone efficiencies ranged between 94.96% and 98.37%, reaching up to 99.89% in individual runs. The lowest efficiency attained was 94.00%. Furthermore, the design of the smaller cyclone proved to be more robust, while the larger cyclone demonstrated a stronger correlation between its separation efficiency and the feed temperatures. The larger cyclone can be assumed to achieve slightly higher efficiencies at elevated temperatures. However, both design methods led to good designs. At room temperature, the difference in efficiency between the two cyclones was almost negligible. At higher temperatures, however, these general tendencies are expected to be amplified so that the difference between the two design methods will become more obvious. Though the design specifications were met for both designs, the smaller cyclone is recommended as default particle separator for the plasma system due to its robust nature.
Entropy, as an outcome of the second law of thermodynamics, measures the level of irreversibility associated with any process. The identification and reduction of irreversibility in the energy conversion process helps to improve the efficiency of the system. The entropy of pure substances known as absolute entropy is determined at an absolute reference point and is useful in the thermodynamic analysis of chemical reactions; however, municipal solid waste (MSW) is a structurally complicated material with unknown absolute entropy. In this work, an empirical model to calculate the absolute entropy of MSW based on the content of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, sulphur, and chlorine on a dry ash free basis (daf) is presented. The proposed model was derived from 117 relevant organic substances which represent the main constituents in MSW with known standard entropies using statistical analysis. The substances were divided into different waste fractions; namely, food, wood/paper, textiles/rubber and plastics waste and the standard entropies of each waste fraction and for the complete mixture were calculated. The correlation of the standard entropy of the complete waste mixture derived was found to be somsw= 0.0101C + 0.0630H + 0.0106O + 0.0108N + 0.0155S + 0.0084Cl (kJ.K-1.kg) and the present correlation can be used for estimating the absolute entropy of MSW by using the elemental compositions of the fuel within the range of 10.3% ≤ C ≤ 95.1%, 0.0% ≤ H ≤ 14.3%, 0.0% ≤ O ≤ 71.1%, 0.0 ≤ N ≤ 66.7%, 0.0% ≤ S ≤ 42.1%, 0.0% ≤ Cl ≤ 89.7%. The model is also applicable for the efficient modelling of a combustion system in a waste-to-energy plant.