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Municipal Solid Waste Incineration. Combustion Types. Incineration (energy recovery through complete oxidation) Mass Burn Refuse Derived Fuel Pyrolysis Gasification Plasma arc (advanced thermal conversion). Gasification.

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combustion types
Combustion Types
  • Incineration (energy recovery through complete oxidation)
    • Mass Burn
    • Refuse Derived Fuel
  • Pyrolysis
  • Gasification
  • Plasma arc (advanced thermal conversion)
  • Partial oxidation process using air, pure oxygen, oxygen enriched air, or steam
  • Carbon converted into syngas
  • More flexible than incineration
  • More public acceptance
  • Thermal degradation of carbonaceous materials
  • Lower temperature than gasification
  • Absence or limited oxygen
  • Products are gas, liquid, solid char
  • Distribution of products depends on temperature
waste incineration advantages
Waste Incineration - Advantages
  • Volume and weight reduced (approx. 90% vol. and 75% wt reduction)
  • Waste reduction is immediate, no long term residency required
  • Destruction in seconds where LF requires 100s of years
  • Incineration can be done at generation site
  • Air discharges can be controlled
  • Ash residue is usually non-putrescible, sterile, inert
  • Small disposal area required
  • Cost can be offset by heat recovery/ sale of energy
environmental considerations
Environmental Considerations
  • Tonne of waste creates 3.5 MW of energy (eq. to 300 kg of fuel oil) powers 70 homes
  • Biogenic portion of waste is considered CO2 neutral (tree uses more CO2 during its lifecycle than released during combustion)
  • Should not displace recycling
waste incineration disadvantages
Waste Incineration - Disadvantages
  • High capital cost
  • Skilled operators are required (particularly for boiler operations)
  • Some materials are noncombustible
  • Some material require supplemental fuel
  • Public disapproval
    • Risk imposed rather than voluntary
    • Incineration will decrease property value (perceived not necessarily true)
    • Distrust of government/industry ability to regulate
three ts
Three Ts
  • Time
  • Temperature
  • Turbulence
system components
System Components
  • Refuse receipt/storage
  • Refuse feeding
  • Grate system
  • Air supply
  • Furnace
  • Boiler
energy mass balance
Energy/Mass Balance

Energy Loss (Radiation)

Flue Gas


Mass Loss (unburned

C in Ash)

flue gas pollutants
Flue Gas Pollutants
  • Particulates
  • Acid Gases
  • NOx
  • CO
  • Organic Hazardous Air Pollutants
  • Metal Hazardous Air Pollutants
  • Solid
  • Condensable
  • Causes
    • Too low of a comb T (incomplete comb)
    • Insufficient oxygen or overabundant EA (too high T)
    • Insufficient mixing or residence time
    • Too much turbulence, entrainment of particulates
  • Control
    • Cyclones - not effective for removal of small particulates
    • Electrostatic precipitator 
    • Fabric Filters (baghouses) 
  • Removed with particulates
  • Mercury remains volatilized
  • Tough to remove from flue gas
  • Remove source or use activated carbon (along with dioxins)
acid gases
Acid Gases
  • From Cl, S, N, Fl in refuse (in plastics, textiles, rubber, yd waste, paper)
  • Uncontrolled incineration - 18-20% HCl with pH 2
  • Acid gas scrubber (SO2, HCl, HFl) usually ahead of ESP or baghouse
    • Wet scrubber
    • Spray dryer
    • Dry scrubber injectors
nitrogen removal
Nitrogen removal
  • Source removal to avoid fuel NOx production
  • T < 1500 F to avoid thermal NOx
  • Denox sytems - selective catalytic reaction via injection of ammonia
air pollution control
Air Pollution Control
  • Remove certain waste components
  • Good Combustion Practices
  • Emission Control Devices
  • Electrostatic Precipitator
  • Baghouses
  • Acid Gas Scrubbers
    • Wet scrubber
    • Dry scrubber
    • Chemicals added in slurry to neutralize acids
  • Activated Carbon
  • Selective Non-catalytic Reduction
role of excess air control three ts


Insufficient O2

Excess Air

Role of Excess Air – Control Three Ts


Amount of Air Added

role of excess air cont d


Insufficient O2

Excess Air

Role of Excess Air – Cont’d

Increasing Moisture

Amount of Air Added

role of excess air cont d22
Role of Excess Air – Cont’d




Optimum T


(1500 – 1800 oF)


Insufficient O2

Excess Air

Amount of Air Added

  • Bottom Ash – recovered from combustion chamber
  • Heat Recovery Ash – collected in the heat recovery system (boiler, economizer, superheater)
  • Fly Ash – Particulate matter removed prior to sorbents
  • Air Pollution Control Residues – usually combined with fly ash
  • Combined Ash – most US facilities

combine all ashes

ash reuse options
Ash Reuse Options
  • Construction fill
  • Road construction
  • Landfill daily cover
  • Cement block production
  • Treatment of acid mine drainage

Refuse Boiler

Fabric Filter


Spray Dryer



Ash Conveyer

Metal Recovery

Mass Burn Facility – Pinellas County

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Updated August 2005