The dominant technology for large Waste-to-Energy (WTE) facilities is combustion on a moving grate of “as-received” municipal solid wastes (MSW). However, there are circumstances where a low-capacity plant (<100,000 tons per year) is required. This study examines the technical, economic, and environmental aspects of some small-scale WTE technologies currently in operation. The Energos technology was developed in Norway, in order to provide relatively small communities with an economically efficient alternative to mass-burn incineration with equally low emissions to the atmosphere and flexibility in feedstock. All operating plants treat MSW plus additional streams of commercial or industrial wastes. Prior to thermal treatment, the materials are shredded in a high-torque, low-rpm shredder and ferrous metals are removed magnetically. The feedstock is partially oxidized on a moving grate in the gasification chamber where the fixed carbon is completely burnt off. The volatilized gases are fully combusted in a second chamber and the heat is transferred to a heat recovery system for steam generation. The Energos gasification technology is currently in operation at six plants in Norway, one in Germany, and one in the UK. As expected, the capital cost per ton of annual ton of capacity increases with decreasing plant capacity, while there is a linear relationship between energy recovery and capacity. Some other small-scale technologies are investigated in this study and will be reported at the NAWTEC meeting. Low capacity (<80,000 tons) WTE facilities require a relatively small footprint (1.5 to 2 acres; <1 hectare) and it is believed that these facilities can be built at a capital cost per ton that is as low, or lower, than that of large mass burn WTE facilities.

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