THE PLASMA CONVERTER SYSTEM (PCS)
The PCS Solution
The PCS is the centerpiece of the integrated processing facility model that is intended to be networked in a grid-like fashion throughout populated regions as well as stand-alone models for individual use. It can be configured to be mobile as well as stationary.
All waste is safely and effectively destroyed by this process, no matter how hazardous, toxic or lethal they may be. It is not enough to destroy hazardous waste; hazardous waste must be destroyed irreversibly. We produce machines that process "materials previously regarded as wastes," because once those materials enter the PCS, they are no longer wastes...they are known as "feedstocks." The system turns those material feedstocks into safe, valuable products such as Plasma Converted Gas (PCG), obsidian-like silicates and recyclable metals.
Creating Commodities from Previously Unusable Resources
Of all the compounds that exist in nature, the most important to humankind as a source of chemical energy are those containing carbon. Life as we know it would be impossible without it. All the traditional fuels (eg. coal, oil and gas) are products of once-living things and the by-products of plants and animals. This is the primary storehouse of chemical energy that has been produced by the radiant energy of the sun.
PLASMA ARC FLOW TECHNOLOGY
The Plasma Arc Flow™ is a patented technology based on flowing the target liquid waste through a submerged electric arc between two electrodes. The arc decomposes the liquid molecules into atoms and forms a plasma around the tips of the electrodes at about 10,000°F / 5,500 °C. The Plasma Arc Flow moves the plasma away from the electrodes and controls the formation of “MagneGas”1 that rises to the surface for collection.
« MagneGas » is a cost-competitive synthetic gas made from many liquid wastes such as sewage, sludge, animal manure, glycerin, used antifreeze, some oil-based liquids and waste water. MagneGas is a hydrogen-based fuel that has a combination of hydrogen, carbon monoxide and inert trace gases.
MagneGas exhaust has been certified by an automotive laboratory accredited with the US Environmental Protection Agency (E.P.A.) to surpass all E.P.A. requirements without a catalytic converter, and is the only fuel that produces oxygen when it burns, making it dramatically cleaner than gasoline, diesel, and natural gas. MagneGas is composed of hydrogen (55-65%), carbon monoxide (30-35%), carbon dioxide (1-2%), water vapor (2%), and trace gases (0.5-1%
Plasma gasification is an emerging technology which can process landfill waste to extract commodity recyclables and convert carbon-based materials into fuels. It can form an integral component in a system to achieve zero-waste and produce renewable fuels, whilst caring for the environment. Plasma arc processing has been used for years to treat hazardous waste, such as incinerator ash and chemical weapons, and convert them into non-hazardous slag.
Utilizing this technology to convert municipal solid waste (MSW) to energy is still young, but it has great potential to operate more efficiently than other pyrolysis and combustion systems due to its high temperature, heat density, and nearly complete conversion of carbon-based materials to syngas, and non-organics to slag.
Syngas is a simple fuel gas comprised of carbon monoxide and hydrogen that can be combusted directly or refined into higher-grade fuels and chemicals. Slag is a glass-like substance which is the cooled remains of the melted waste; it is tightly bound, safe and suitable for use as a construction material.
Plasma torch technology has proven reliable at destroying hazardous waste and can help transform environmental liabilities into renewable energy assets.
Plasma gasification process
Plasma gasification is a multi-stage process which starts with feed inputs ranging from waste to coal to plant matter, and can include hazardous wastes. The first step is to process the feed stock to make it uniform and dry, and have the valuable recyclables sorted out. The second step is gasification, where extreme heat from the plasma torches is applied inside a sealed, air-controlled reactor. During gasification, carbon-based materials break down into gases and the inorganic materials melt into liquid slag which is poured off and cooled. The heat causes hazards and poisons to be completely destroyed. The third stage is gas clean-up and heat recovery, where the gases are scrubbed of impurities to form clean fuel, and heat exchangers recycle the heat back into the system as steam. The final stage is fuel production the output can range from electricity to a variety of fuels as well as chemicals, hydrogen and polymers.
Gasification has a long history in industry where it has been used to refine coal and biomass into a variety of liquid fuels, gases and chemicals. Modern clean coal plants are all gasifiers, and so were the earliest 19th century municipal light and power systems.
Plasma gasification refers to the use of plasma torches as the heat source, as opposed to conventional fires and furnaces. Plasma torches have the advantage of being one of the most intense heat sources available while being relatively simple to operate.
Plasma is a superheated column of electrically conductive gas. In nature, plasma is found in lightning and on the surface of the sun. Plasma torches burn at temperatures approaching 5500ºC (10,000F) and can reliably destroy any materials found on earth with the exception of nuclear waste.
Plasma torches are used in foundries to melt and cut metals. When utilized for waste treatment, plasma torches are very efficient at causing organic and carbonaceous materials to vaporize into gas. Non-organic materials are melted and cool into a vitrified glass.
Waste gasification typically operates at temperatures of 1500C (2700F), and at those temperatures materials are subject to a process called molecular disassociation, meaning their molecular bonds are broken down and in the process all toxins and organic poisons are destroyed. Plasma torches have been used for many years to destroy chemical weapons and toxic wastes, like printed circuit boards (PCBs) and asbestos, but it is only recently that these processes have been optimized for energy capture and fuel production.
Americas Westinghouse Corporation began building plasma torches with NASA for the Apollo Space Program in the 1960s to test the heat shields for spacecraft at 5500C. In the late 1990s, the first pilot-scale plasma gasification projects were built in Japan to convert MSW, sewage sludge, and auto-shredder residue to energy. The Japanese pilot plants have been successful, and commercial-scale projects are under development now in Canada and other countries.
The economics of MSW plasma gasification are favourable, although complex. Waste gasification facilities get paid for their intake of waste, via tipping fees. The system then earns revenues from the sale of power produced. Electricity is the primary product today, but liquid fuels, hydrogen, and synthetic natural gas are all possibilities for the future.
Sorting the MSW to capture commodity recyclables, such as metals and high-value plastics, presents a third revenue stream. Minor revenue streams include the sales of slag and sulphur. Slag has the potential to be used for a number of construction products, such as rock wool, bricks and architectural tiles, and sulphur has some commodity value as fertilizer.
Additional costs are avoided by diverting waste from landfills and minimizing transportation of waste. Government subsidies for renewable energy or carbon credits may be substantial in the future, but are difficult to project.
The economics of waste gasification heavily favour recycling inorganic materials like metal and glass have no value as fuel and make the gasification process less efficient, even though plasma torches have the ability to melt them. High-value plastics and papers that can be readily separated are far more valuable as recyclables than as fuel.
Wide variety of inputs and outputs
There are additional waste streams available in certain locations which earn higher tipping fees than MSW because they are toxic and yet have excellent fuel value. Refinery wastes from petroleum and chemical plants, medical waste, auto-shredder residue, construction debris, tyres and telegraph poles, are all examples of potential fuels that can earn high tipping fees and provide good heat value. Additionally, there are millions of tonnes of low-grade waste coal that exist in massive piles throughout that can be utilized for gasification.
Multiple outputs can be produced from a single facility. Heat and steam can be sold, and electricity production can be combined with ethanol or hydrogen production to maximize resources. Hydrogen can be readily produced from syngas by separating it from the carbon and oxygen, while synthetic natural gas can be produced by upgrading the methane content of syngas.
Liquid fuels are typically produced from syngas through catalytic conversion processes such as Fischer-Tropsch which has been widely used since World War II to produce motor fuels from coal. Biotech methods to produce liquid fuels are also being developed to use enzymes or micro-organisms to make the conversion.