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Hazardex 2017 Conference - Turnkey Plasma Gasification Solution for the destruction of Hazardous Wastes

Author : Kevin Willerton / Richard Fish

17 November 2016

Traditionally, landfills have been the accepted method for waste disposal. Economically efficient in theory, landfills have created environmental issues for a majority of municipalities. As unknown and unplanned waste streams find their way into landfills, negative impacts occur to ground water tables in the adjacent areas. In many jurisdictions, landfills are reaching its capacity that demands additional land for waste disposal. 

The growing potential problem of waste disposal via landfill (and its consequential environmental impact) will quickly eclipse initial disposal savings.

As an opportunity, the waste hierarchy can be restructured to make a substantive generational change while treating waste as a renewable source of energy. As waste streams have energy value, thermal processing - such as Plasma Gasification - provides a successful conversion of these waste streams into usable energy products and offering the following advantages:

* Reduce landfill needs and subsequent environmental contamination issues
* Safe disposal of hazardous wastes that endanger human health
* Lower greenhouse gas emissions from landfill and other fossil-fuel fuel sources
* Create low cost, stable and predictable energy supplies as an alternative to fossil fuels
* Support a circular economy that focuses on reduction of waste, resource recovery, reuse, and recycling

Plasma gasification is a clean and efficient option to manage and divert ‘post-recycled’ waste from landfills in an environmentally responsible manner. In the plasma gasification process, the molecular structure of any carbon-containing materials are broken down and converted into a valuable source of energy – synthesis gas (syngas). Gasification occurs in an oxygen starved environment where waste is vaporized and not incinerated. The plasma gasification solution offers the following advantages:

* Completely converts the waste into useful gas, slag, and molten metals while destroying and/or vitrifying any harmful components within the waste
* Reduces emissions and greenhouse gasses compared to other solutions 
* Is suitable for the destruction of heterogeneous and hazardous waste streams
* In many geographies, provides significant economic benefits for generating power, liquid fuels or syngas, and to replace fossil fuels

This presentation will describe the deployment of turnkey and modular plasma gasification solution for the destruction of hazardous wastes; the opportunities and challenges encountered, and lessons learned.

About the author:

Kevin Willerton is Vice President, Business Development (EU), at Alter NRG, which is headquartered in Calgary, Canada.

Kevin has been working with Alter NRG in a business development role since 2006.  He is responsible for the company’s marketing and sales activities throughout Europe and his company’s relationship with Air Products, the company currently building a 2,000 tonne per day plasma gasification facility in NE England.

Before moving to Alter NRG, Kevin had 20 years of experience in the electricity industry, the majority of which was in a business development capacity.  He was responsible for one power company’s entry into wind power.  He held numerous roles at another major power company including business development, marketing, commodity risk management and engineering.  Kevin has worked in countries around the globe, including China, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and throughout Europe.

Kevin is a Professional Engineer, has a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from the University of Saskatchewan and an MBA from the University of Calgary.

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