Chemical rate and heat transfer theory indicates that the combustion performance and productivity of a moving grate waste-to-energy boiler should be enhanced by means of pre-shredding of the MSW, thus reducing the average particle size, homogenizing the feed, and increasing its bulk density by an estimated 30%. However, the capital, operating and maintenance costs of the shredding equipment should be low enough so that existing or new WTE facilities consider pre-shredding of the MSW. In cases where MSW is transported to a central WTE from a number of Waste Transfer Stations (WTS), pre-shredding may take place at the WTS, thus increasing density and decreasing transportation costs. This is a mechanical engineering study that examined the evolution and present state of shredding equipment since 1994 when the last WTE shredder in the U.S. was installed at the SEMASS facility. The quantitative benefits realized through the pre-processing of MSW by means of modern shredding equipment are evaluated both for the traditional high speed hammermills and the new generation of low-rpm, high-torque shredders. The combustion characteristics of shredded MSW were analyzed and compared to those of the “as-received” material that is presently combusted in mass burn WTEs. The emphasis of the project has been on equipment that can be integrated in the traditional flowsheet of a WTE and serviced readily. The most important criterion in the final design will be that the economic and energy benefits of pre-shredding be clearly greater than the conventional operation of combusting as received MSW.

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