By Andrew Nusca
Posting in Energy
U.K. defense technology firm Qinetiq has been awarded a three-year, $2.4 million contract to supply the United States Army with a system that can generate electricity from garbage.
Called PyTEC, the system includes a pyrolysis tube capable of consuming up to 220 lbs. of waste -- which includes food, medical and sanitary, paper, plastics, tin, oil and glass -- each hour. The PyTEC system also reclaims up to 500 kW of the thermal energy from the waste per hour, some of which is used to sustain the system itself.
The "containerized" system produces five times more energy than is used to power the system.
The system works by heating mixed waste to high temperature in the pyrolisis tube. Doing so releases combustible gases, which are stored and, later, burned to generate electricity.
This type of process differs from other systems because the heating takes place without oxygen, allowing it to handle untreated mixed waste.
In contrast, aerobic systems generally need waste to be a single type and diced before incineration. To boot, aerobic systems have trouble handling certain waste, such as tin and glass.
Aside from energy, the byproduct of the PyTEC system is a glassy waste product that is 5 percent of the volume of the original garbage.
The U.S. Army will commission and test the system next spring through early 2012. Up to ten systems are expected to be deployed, many of them in Iraq and Afghanistan, in an attempt to stem the army's use of fossil fuels and augment waste disposal efforts.
Oct 12, 2009
Sorry to double post just an after thought. Paging all investors ! As Peter said it could be the ultimate. I was just thinking of the global implications even if the big cities run out of waste to burn hmmm fancy that what a moral dilema :-) Gee that would be flip side of the coin. Anyway even in countries plagued with our waste aswell as they're own well they could power the towns and have major processing plants in well situated locations eg enviromental impact minimisation to the hilt jst to be sure. One wonders how this thing goes with E waste? Sounds like most of it would turn to gases or carbon origins. High temperature burning is nothing new by any means and this technique is no doubt far more efficient than a lot of prior projects. The cost to build and so on being the crucial part. Any govt can look at this and go yep thats money well spent as they spend more than that at conferences just for lunch money :P The generators used would also be very efficient no doubt cogen units ? Very nice indeed that way even third world countries get to work with absolutely top class equipment win win. With any luck could this mean an end to illegal dumping ? Heres wishing. When dumps start runnning out of the stuff like some do now that are actually being mined for they're contents will dumps be paying you for your waste? lol now that will be the day ! Bring it on ! Better to burn it on the spot than have it in/on the ground even with liners waiting painfully extracting the methane most of which has seeped through the ground also not ideal. This puts a lemon in the mouths of all those who said nahhh sorry it's just not viable. Ba humbug they said ! Paging Mr Rudd Paging Mr Rudd i have discovered some much needed infrastructure worthy of budgeting for in our nation building efforts. Transmission ends.
Goodwork the syngas or producer gas and all the other variants also tie to the coal gas techniques used prior to exploration of natural gas reserves. Very interesting stuff and with any luck we can hope to see more of these adding to the worlds baseload grid power needs. Sure it might not be a major contributor towards baseload in big cities but every little bit helps even if it's just for peak load balancing. Great to see everyone doing they're bit. Regards.
History Channel had something about using a plasma to do much the same thing. The plasma rips apart the molecules so that even hazardous medical waste is rendered non-toxic. The heat drives a generator, and produces gas used to feed the plasma. Once it's initiated, it has a high net useful energy and materials yield.
reply to GuntherGump: Information provided is sketchy, but the two systems appear to be similar ideas. It could be that Startech simply did not make a presentation of their product to the Army.
Why would we award something like this to the Brits?! Why not Startech Environmental Corporation (Founder CEO is an old Army guy!) Visit http://www.startech.net/