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Jul 14, 2000

Local firm pursues plasma waste converter for SA

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© Reuse this An alternative solution to waste disposal and management, known as the plasma waste converter, has been launched on the South African market by local company Amandla Environmental, a subsidiary of Mauritian technology company Amandla International.

The company aims to commercialise this technology by entering into partnerships with relevant industry members or waste- management service providers for the installation and operation of the technology.

Operation director Andri Hugo reports that the company has received a positive response from various industries for the disposal of a variety of waste, from industrial sludge to medical waste. The technology underpinning the plasma waste converter was developed by US company Startech Environmental, which commercialised a plasma waste converter in the US.

Amandla Environmental has an agreement with local company Honeywell, a supplier of integrated control-technology solutions for industrial, commercial and environmental-control applications, which will deliver a turnkey control-system interface for the plasma waste converter. One of the first institutions in the world to put the technology to test was the US army at its facility in Maryland, where chemical weapons are being destroyed in a plasma waste converter.

“The plasma waste conversion constitutes technology that converts hazardous and non-hazardous wastes, organic and inorganic, into safe valuable commodity products, such as plasma-conversion gas,” says Hugo.

It is claimed that the converter can achieve volumetric reduction at a rate of 300:1.

“For example, 300 drums of medical waste are, in effect, reduced to one drum of inert and harmless glass-like stone and plasma-converted gas.

“For each unit of energy consumed by the converter in processing waste, the energy value contained in the plasma-converted gas produced can exceed four units,” explains Hugo.

Because of its high carbon and hydrogen content, the gas can be used as a feedstock for chemical plants, fuel for power generation and heating and cooling applications.

Elemental recycling through a process of molecular dissociation is achieved through a controlled high-temperature process – a result of the integration between the material-handling and operating system, the plasma gas technology and the plasma-gas scrubbing system.

Waste is converted by plasma – a gaseous matter that conducts electricity, providing energy for the conversion process.

Plasma makes up 99% of all matter in the universe, and is found in the sun, lightning bolts, electric arcs, the aurora and fluorescent light.

The technology, which does not produce air pollution or bottom or fly ash, can handle any waste, including municipal solid-waste, liquid-effluent abbatoir waste, hazardous sludges and low-level radioactive waste.

The plants are built in accordance with the tonnage of waste required to be processed, and can vary from two tons of waste a day to plants that can process thousands of tons of waste a day.

The large plants will consist of several smaller units to ensure minimum downtime owing to maintenance requirements.

Smaller plasma waste conversion systems can be made mobile.

It is believed that each facility will create about six jobs, which is not including truck drivers delivering waste or personnel operating the facility.

Edited by: System Author
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