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Gasification vs incineration

The most common question we encounter in our practice, is the comparison of waste-to-energy technologies: gasification and incineration. While the incineration is the most prevalent and approved technology in the world, many clients are interested in gasification in hope to have cleaner and cheaper waste-to-energy plant. In our article “Why incineration?” we showed benefits of incineration, from practical, and technical side. And nothing has changed from the time of publication of the aforementioned article.

But what about economy efficiency? Maybe here gasification plant has an advantage?

We had our opinion for a long time, and recently we encountered a professional report on it by KTH School of Industrial Engineering and Management, Stockholm. This report fully confirms our knowledge of the situation. The study considers 3 cases: incineration (i), gasification with steam turbine (s), gasification with combined cycle (cc):

Online Financial Model

We have launched a new service – online calculation of a waste-to-energy project. Please visit our Waste-to-Energy Model page to get immediate results of calculations. You will have calculated:

  • IRR (internal rate of return)
  • ROI (return of investment period)
  • Net Cashflow
  • NPV (net present value)

Definitely, project depends on a number of parameters, and we ask more that 30 questions related to project in Model Input Form. Please fill it out and click on Send button. Form will be submitted to our calculation server and in 10-30 seconds a .pdf file will be shown on this page (or downloaded by your browser). Results of calculations for free are “noised” with some arbitrary coefficients. If you send several times a form with the same values, you will have a number of different results in .pdf files returned.

To get exact calculations, please select “Yes, I need exact results” in “Bill me” field. Shortly you will receive a bill on EUR 599. Upon receipt of the payment, we will send you by email another .pdf file with exact results.

Even test mode, with “noised” coefficients, you can have a general “feeling” of the project and prevent yourself from rough mistakes in estimation of the economic efficiency.

Try online financial model in test mode for free and get first estimation of your waste-to-energy project!

This model supports online calculations for MSW (municipal solid waste) only so far. You can order calculations for almost any type of waste, technology (incineration or pyrolysis), for production of electricity or synthetic fuel. Please fill out the form Project Questionnaire: Waste-to-Energy.

We also have services for wind and solar power projects financial calculations, as well as full-featured “what if” calculation scenarios. Please refer to our Financial Model page.

We can consider also some non-standard approaches like combined credit from 2-3 banks taken on different conditions and interest rates. Or, sculpture debt repayment profile can be implemented. Some times it is needed to attract working capital. All of these custom cases is subject of additional negotiations and time.

The first step is most important, so protect your time and efforts and know for sure what is the real efficiency of your project.

Why NOx reduction is important

Why-NOx-reduction---tableThe EPA (Environmental Protection Agency [ USA ]) and the EEA (the European Environmental Agency) are both in clear agreement, NOx is bad for people’s health.

The European Environment Agency (EEA) estimated that in 2015 over 72,000 premature deaths[1] in the 28 EU member countries were a consequence of NO2 levels in the atmosphere.

But NOx does not only mean NO2. NOx is a shorthand term referring to the oxides of nitrogen. Some of these are formed naturally, but the majority of the oxides that plague our atmosphere in our towns and cities are products of our society, and most notably come from combustion. At the high temperatures found in combustion processes, the nitrogen molecules in the combustion air (N2) are broken into ions, that then react with oxygen molecules (O2) to form oxides of Nitrogen (NO, N2O, NO2…). Of these oxides by far the most common that is formed during combustion is NO (nitric oxide).

As it goes, NO is quite dangerous as it is. Exposure to nitric oxide gas in low concentrations produces an irritating effect on the mucous membranes of the eyes, nose, throat and lungs, which can include choking, coughing, headache, nausea and fatigue.

But it does not stop there, The NO molecules react together with UV light and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the atmosphere. This reaction reduces the size of the VOC molecule and converts the NO to NO2 (Nitrogen Dioxide). NO2 is a particularly nasty air pollutant and causes significant respiratory problems even at the 40 – 100 µg/m3.

The cycle continues as NO2 in the air reacts in the presence of oxygen and UV light to create ozone (O3). The same reaction also converts the NO2 molecule back to NO. The molecule of NO is now free again to find more VOC compounds to repeat the cycle. A typical VOC compound can recycle a molecule of NO multiple times (on average 5) before it ceases to be photo reactive.

The gases that are produced during this cycle; ozone, NO and NO2 all cause respiratory issues, and at elevated levels can rapidly cause direct harm to tissues. NO is relatively harmless below 25ppm, but NO2 concentrations higher than 4ppm will already anaesthetise the nose.

Although Ozone is desired in the stratosphere (the higher levels of our planet’s atmosphere) to help protect us from the effect of UV light, tropospheric ozone (that is ozone in the air that is closest to the earth’s surface) has been and continues to be a significant air pollution problem and is a primary constituent of smog. There is a great deal of evidence to show that ground level ozone can harm lung function and irritate the respiratory system. Exposure to ozone NO and NO2 is linked to premature death, asthma, bronchitis, heart attack, and other cardiopulmonary problems.

What does < 1ppm NOx mean?

The Ener-Core Power Oxidizer technology produces heat and power with less than 1ppm in its exhaust stream. It is the only technology available in the world today that can achieve this ultra-low level of NOx. But what does this actually mean? How big of a difference is this really?

Where does the NOx come from?

The majority of NOx emissions come from 2 major areas of human activity[1]:

  • Traffic: 40%
  • Industrial Energy Use and Energy Production/Distribution: 34%

The move from traditional combustion based energy generation to wind and solar exerts a positive effect on the total emissions from the Energy Generation Sector, but this still remains a minority generation capacity and combustion of fuels will remain with us for some time to come.

Traffic remains and will remain the largest single source of NOx pollution until the combustion engine is phased out and electric cars become the norm. The recent scandal concerning emission level cheating by “certain” car manufacturers has highlighted this issue but the real challenge is the total volume of traffic on the roads and the fact that although the latest emission standards for automobiles might be improving the NOx situation, it is far from being eliminated.

How are governments reacting to the NOx problem?

Despite the high associated costs that these emissions cause, the move to tackle them is slow. In most parts of the world there are no limits on the actual amounts of NOx emitted, either by industry or by individual car emissions. Some parts of California in the USA, are leading the way by setting limits for the number of tons of NOx that a company may emit in a single year, as well as limits on emission concentrations (usually specified in mg of NOx per Nm3 of industrial exhaust), but this is the exception and not the norm.

To Pack Better: Round Bales vs. Square

Comparison: Round Bales vs. Square

A number of bale packing systems for waste are offered on the market. Principal difference is the geometry of the bales; and the common opinion is that square bales provide more dense storage. Let us make comparison and find out what is better.

In practice, an often argument about round bales is that they need more place to be stored than square bales. That’s not the truth. So now let us explain why.

Because of the risk to damage the film during transportation by wheel loader, square bales have to be stored with a certain space between each other. Further, at the edges of a square bale the film is stretched extremely, so it is cracking as a result of overstressing.

The edges of square bales are normally less compacted than the rest of the bale because during process of wrapping they get dented. That means, that also square bale storages bring out hollow spaces which are comparable with the volume of a round bale storage. But BPS-2 round bales have a twice as much volume, so in comparison to square bale storages there are less bales and therefore less hollow spaces. In the end, with same floor area around bale storage picks up more wrapped waste than a square bale storage.

The shape of round bales leads to a trigonal shaped hollow space between each other. In comparison to stored square bales, these hollow spaces mean an advantage for stacking and taking bales from the storage by use of a gripping device. They give enough space to absorb the round bales without damaging the film. Further, the round bale shape brings the positive effect that the bales are stored side by side without gaps in between. That provides a stable erection of the bale storage.