Turning Hazardous Waste Into Usable Energy

An emerging Washington state company InEnTec LLC (Integrated Environmental Technologies) has made some innovative plans for confronting the foulest problems from our industrialized world. Not only is the method environmentally responsible, but it unearths a potential energy source from waste products while reducing expensive liabilities. Hazardous, medical, radioactive, and even common garbage waste may soon become unlikely energy sources thanks to an revolutionary hearth developed by InEnTec called a Plasma Enhanced Melter (PEM).

Resembling something between a hot water tank and an old-style steam engine with varying size, these PEM systems operate as a low polluting oven. Industrial garbage is sent through a feed system and into a steel process chamber. Entering into a superheated plasma fuel reacting between electrodes of direct current and alternating current, chemical bonds are separated, spawning several usable materials.

Glass and metal, reduced to well-defined molten masses between 1,200 to 1,400 degrees Celsius, flows from the process chamber through two drains. With each drain leading end products into canister assemblies, the side drain draws the glass while recyclable metal is led into the bottom drain. Cleaned of hazardous contamination, each material can be handled without extraordinary waste disposal measures. In fact, the PEM refined byproducts can be easily reused, preventing chances of any squandered material.

However, the most phenomenal element behind InEnTec's PEM design is the ability to break down waste into a highly potent synthetic gas (Syngas). Consisting largely of carbon monoxide and hydrogen, Syngas can be used as-is for straight combustion or extracted into other fuels such as pure hydrogen. When extracted into hydrogen, this fuel is ideal for supplying future fuel cell vehicle or stationary power units, creating self-sustaining facilities.

Making inroads into the commercial sector, InEnTec PEM units are currently in operation inside the Hawaii Medical Vitrification building along within facilities in Asia. While appealing to industrial interests, foreseeable planning could see a PEM unit serving as an end result for the more difficult to dispose everyday waste. It is estimated by the EPA that 1.6 million tons of household hazardous waste in the United States is generated with much of it being disposed improperly. With municipalities and cities attempting to provide environmentally responsible outlets such as battery disposal depots, the prospects for a PEM could lead to cost effective waste disposal with end products that could be sold or distributed for reducing government operating costs. This result could therefore lead to lower annual tax costs for everyone.

Sources: biomass, inentec, epa

Christopher Nagy
Guest Blogger

Our Guest Blogger, Christopher Nagy, is a well-educated mechanical engineering technology graduate with keen knowledge of advancing power technologies and solutions for the modern world.