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Content archived on 2024-04-30

Hazardous waste treatment and valuable products recovered with a pulsed-plasma technology


Objectives and content
Material cracking or decomposition is a basic and
essential process in the chemical industries This process
is a major energy consumer and a cause of environmental
pollution. As such, it is in the focus of permanent
research efforts in order to reduce both energy costs and
hazards. The challenge we face is to provide an
economical and efficient decomposition method for fluid
materials that can be implemented on the manufacturing
lines within the plants. It is aimed to reduce the
energy consumption, to avoid the production of
pollutants, and eventually eliminate the need to
transport hazardous waste from the plants to treatment
centres. The proposed process combines the benefit of a
cost effective and environmentally favourable method.
The market consists of industries such as petrochemical,
plastic, pesticides, electronics, paints and coatings
etc., include hazardous organic compounds in their
processes either as a raw material or product or
intermediate agent. VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds)
halogenated organic materials, phosphorous compounds are
a good example for the utilisation of the proposed
method. The most common treatment method for these
materials is thermal incineration. For example, 1995,
36.8% of the VOC in Europe were incinerated at the cost
of M$138.2 and the market is steadily increasing. The
hazardous waste treatment market in Europe exceeds 1
billion ECU/year.
The aims of this RTD project are to develop a new,
efficient and environmentally friendly processing
technique and equipment that can be used in a closed-loop
process for the recovery of materials. The proposed
process is based on emerging science and advanced
chemical engineering technology that may achieve stepchange decrease in pollution. The method could also be
used for direct material production without intermediate
steps that may involve unwanted by-products.
The basic idea is to crack or decompose a material using
a unique, high-energy pulsed-plasma jet. The plasma
specific features enable a most efficient radiative heat
transfer to the treated material bed (Evaporation-rate
increase by a factor more than 200 was experimentally
demonstrated) Therefore, energy is transferred to
selected chemical bonds and not wasted on global thermal
heating of the treated bed. The process can be defined
as a highly efficient photolysis. Moreover, gas or other
additives can be added during or after the treatment in
order to gain better control on the reaction's products.
The method is protected by a patent application submitted
in 1996.
It is expected that the proposed method will be the best
available technology (BAT) for many fluid wastes:
liquids, slurries powders and gases. 40%-50% lower
treatment price is assumed compared with available
alternative This, does not include the benefit of
material recovery and saving of the costly transportation
of wastes to treatment centres.
The project will verify the validity of the method for
selected fluid wastes such as TCE (trichloroethylene) or
CF (Chlorinated Fluoride Carbons). This will be
accomplished in two steps: Tests will be carried out on a
laboratory test bench with the capacity of about 0.5
kg/hour. Following the success of the first step a
modular, versatile and transportable unit with the
capacity of 5-10 kg/hour will be constructed. This
facility will be used for field experiments with several
select processes within industrial plants in Europe. The
experiments will allowed key problems, such as corrosion,
to be resolve. The outcome will be the design criteria
and process evaluation for a pilot plant, with a capacity
of about 100 kg/hour, that will meet the requirements of
selected prospective clients.
It is expected that within 2 to 3 years after the
completion of the RTD project a pilot plant, with the
capacity of about 0.1 -02 ton/hour, can be installed in
an industrial plant. Such a pilot would provide a
technology demonstration plant for prospective clients.

Call for proposal

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EU contribution
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Nahal Soreq
81800 YAVNE

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Total cost
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Participants (4)