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Pitch

Waste-to-Energy: MSW recycling through innovative technology to generate thermal briquettes without separating the waste components


Description

Summary

During MSW recycling, depending on the variety and mechanical structure of waste, a great difficulty arises with separation of components from one another. Various countries solve this problem differently: 1) the waste is pre-sorted by residents and collected in bags of different colors and afterwards handed over to a factory’s garbage-collecting vehicle; 2) disconnection of waste components is done at garbage-recycling factories, where the waste received undergoes automatic separation.

Either solution yields high transportation costs, incineration with gas emission, construction of garbage-recycling factories, landfill practice, etc.

Due to carbohydrates contained in the waste it stands as potential energy carrier, hence it should be used in national economy. However, every day thousands of tons of household waste are transported by vehicles and dumped into landfills, for which large land parcels and resources are allocated. Some time later the collected waste is incinerated, thus polluting the environment. Over time certain toxic substances penetrate into the subterranean waters, thus causing various diseases.

The household waste recycling mobile device will produce thermal briquettes through recycling the waste right on the site where it is generated. The to-be-burnt briquettes will be transported to the thermal power plant (TPP), subject to combustion in special furnaces. During the briquette-making process the liquid glass functions not only as a binding substance, but also as a catalyst for the combustion process, which allows having high temperature in the furnace, by means of which the level of utilization of thermal capacity of the waste is increased.

MSW recycling is a vital problem not only in Armenia, but in most of the developed Western countries, too. Upon trial introduction and piloting of the proposed device as innovative technology (not realized and tested yet, but having a registered copyright), it can be exported as a finalized and complete product.


Is this proposal for a practice or a project?

Project


What actions do you propose?

The developing climate change provides a framework for the humanity to think harder and deeper on innovative ways for waste recycling that reduce pollution, conserve energy, create jobs, and yield new manufacturing industries, thus generating new markets for new products. The proposed technology is a feasible and cost-effective alternative to the waste landfilling practice (the landfills are filling up at various speed, depending on the approach utilized), for the waste collected will be recycled into an add-on product (energy-carrying raw material), whereby landfills will become obsolete or diminish to very small sizes and capacity.

By creating job opportunities and generating profit, MSW recycling can become both a thriving business opportunity and major achievement in environmental protection in Armenia and elsewhere.

The technological process of making thermal briquettes from waste consists of the following phases:

  1. separation of metal parts from the waste and breaking the waste mass into small pieces in the jaw crusher,
  2. repeated grinding of the broken waste mass, pressing, and separation of the liquid component in the twin-jaw crusher,
  3. drying the generated waste mass in the rotating furnace and moving to the twin-jaw press,
  4. mixing the waste with the binding substance, pressing, shaping the thermal briquettes and collecting them in the bin,
  5. purification of the generated kiln gases and emission.

The thermal briquettes can be used at boiler-houses, as well as they can serve as construction materials after being sprayed with cement mortar.

According to the preliminary estimates of the developers' group, the approximate dimensions of the MSW-recycling mobile device will not exceed 6 meters in length, 2.5 meters in width and 3 meters in height. Due to its size the MSW-recycling mobile device can fit the body of a regular truck or function as a truck trailer. Moreover, the mobile device can be operated both on land and on board of ships surfing the ocean waters to clean marine litter.

According to the developers’ group, the operation of the MSW-recycling mobile device will not differ much from operating any regular garbage-collecting truck. Due to its user-friendly operation mode the operating personnel will need just basic training on how to use the MSW-recycling mobile device upon approaching the garbage site and start the garbage in-taking process. During the R&D activities phase the MSW-recycling mobile device will be designed to be easily adjusted and adapted to the existing system of sorted and non-sorted waste collection system, when bins for either mixed or pre-sorted waste are used. This additional advantage will contribute to the replication of the MSW-recycling mobile device through batch manufacturing and its sales in the global market, for it doesn’t require advanced professional skills to operate and high maintenance costs.

The estimated dimensions (6m long, 2.5m wide, 3m high) of the MSW-recycling mobile device will allow its shipping to the different parts of the world just as a usual truck will be shipped.

These types of projects and technologies are critical worldwide, especially in developing countries. In developed counties there exists an established practice of first separating the household waste components from one another: metal, glass, plastics, paper, all of them being mixed with organic and non-organic waste. The separation function is arranged at either household level or municipal level, complemented by centralized, industrial-scale separation, followed by recycling (mostly incineration) to various extents, e.g. up to 90% and higher in Sweden. In Sweden and other similar countries the ultimate goal is collect more waste, even import it to reach the maximum critical mass and achieve highly effective economies of scale, in order to recycle more and generate more energy. Such business model proves effective for developed countries with already established infrastructure for MSW separation at either level.

The given business model with a MSW-recycling mobile device proposed by the developers' group doesn't require the establishment of an infrastructure with modern facilities and highly expensive transport services to move the waste around. Nor does it require behavioral and/or societal change in developing countries, such as India, to shift to a totally different paradigm and new culture of separating the waste at the household level. The MSW-recycling mobile device will collect the waste as is, separate only metal parts into a special built-in bin, recycle the remaining waste in its entirety with both organic and non-organic components and produce thermal briquettes through crushing, grinding, drying, binding the waste into standard briquettes right on the site where the waste is generated, i.e. at the time when municipal service of garbage collection is being performed. The necessary procedures of gas treatment, emission handling and combustion will be performed inside the device itself, whereby all gases will be filtered and purified.

The developers' assumption is that such MSW-recycling device will be very popular with developing countries, e.g. India and Bangladesh, where municipal waste is generated in enormous quantities and is poorly managed/recycled; or even with some European countries, like Greece, Albania or some regions in Italy, where waste management is underdeveloped and doesn’t meet the targets set by the EU Waste Framework Directive and Landfill Directive by 2020. The city of London, UK, annually produces 7 million tons of waste, and only half of it is currently recycled, while the other half is directed to landfills, which will run out of their capacity by 2026. It is hoped that higher recycling standards envisaged for Londoners will cut the waste volume and help send zero waste to landfills, but there is no guarantee that London's waste bill, now in excess of £2 billion a year and still rising, will decrease as well.

The developers' group is looking for funding from various sources, be it public financing or private investment, to realize the project and introduce the final product to the global market with its two competitive advantages: first, the MSW-recycling mobile device doesn't require arrangement for the front-end separation; second, MSW-recycling mobile device produces thermal briquettes as an add-on product for energy raw materials market.

The technology is currently in its concept stage and wasn’t realized and tested yet, but has a registered patent. Based on the technical and/or research cooperation agreements concluded with potential international partners the issue of intellectual property and copyright for both the innovative technology and the MSW-recycling mobile device as a machine will be discussed and agreed in accordance with the provisions of the international law on IPR and legislation of all countries respectively represented in the developing group.

Potential options for utilization of the technology for recycling the household waste

According to the preliminary estimates of the developers’ group, about 500 tons of household waste produced daily by the population of Yerevan can be recycled in a day and converted into thermal briquettes by 20 mobile devices, each processing 25-30 tons of waste per day.

Option I: mobile device utilization

The total amount required for construction of 20 mobile devices is estimated as follows:

20 × $100,000 = $2,000,000

The amount of USD2,000,000 required for construction of 20 mobile devices makes around 6% of the overall economic benefit derived from converting into thermal briquettes the waste produced just in Yerevan during a year (see below the section "Economic effect of the device" and estimates for economic effect).

Option II: stationary factory utilization

The same principle is utilized to construct a similar, but more powerful device with multiplied capacity, which will operate as a stationary factory located next to the existing landfill. Currently the garbage-removing trucks regularly transport the household waste to the landfill site, and will do so in future to the stationary factory, where the on-site conversion of waste into thermal briquettes will take place. Upon converting, the same garbage-removing trucks will transport the produced thermal briquettes to thermal power plants (TPP), boiler-houses or other utilization sites.

The preliminary estimations of the stationary factory, including its manufacturing capacity, technical and economic feasibility, physical dimensions, as well as its construction in terms of both required financing and necessary time frame will become possible only after the prototype, or the 1st experimental mobile device is designed and constructed.

Economic effect of the MSW-recycling mobile device

The calculations are based on the volume of the household waste produced by the population of Yerevan city, whereby it is considered that on average 0.5kg of household waste is produced in Yerevan per capita per day, whereby the volume of the municipal waste produced by food-and-beverage organizations, retailers, and all other social services, such as greening and landscape management services, is also taken into account.

In this case, the annual volume of waste is calculated as follows:

0.5 kg × 365 days × 1,000,000 population = 182,500 tons

According to studies conducted in terms of the household and municipal waste structure, the dry part within the waste structure makes on average 70% of the total mass of the entire waste, whereby the heat-generating capacity of its catalytic combustion is more than 4,000 kcal/kg.

The annual heat-generating capacity of the household waste produced by the population of Yerevan city can be estimated as follows:

1.825 × 10 8 × 0.7 × 4,000 kcal/kg = 51.1 × 10 10 kcal,

or by considering 1 kW/hour of electricity being equivalent to 864 kcal, we receive,

51.1 × 10 10 : 864 = 591.4 mln kW/hour of electricity.

Currently, the small hydroelectric power plants in Armenia are mainly operated with the tariff of $0.06, therefore the amount of the overall economic effect equals:

591.4mln kW/hour x $0.06 = $35,500,000

If the opportunity of agricultural utilization of the land parcels occupied by landfills, as well as the opportunity of utilization of the metal mass, which is separated from the general waste and saved, is taken into consideration, it will multiply and increase the economic efficiency.

And most importantly, the air space of the countries utilizing this technology will become free from pollution caused by incineration of the household waste.


Who will take these actions?

An Armenian university (with SME status) through its Research and Development (R&D) activities and innovative technology designs an MSW-recycling mobile device to produce thermal briquettes through recycling the waste right on the site where it is generated. All gases are filtered and purified inside the device. The briquettes are transported to the thermal power plant (TPP) for combustion in special furnaces to generate energy.

The project will be implemented by a group of specialists led by Mr. Vahe Babayan, General Manager and Leading Engineer of the project, co-author of the proposal. The group consists of various scientists, researchers, engineers, mechanics, chemists, physicists, etc.

This group of specialists, representing different partners from private sector, academia, research institutions, and civil society, stands as an external innovation network institutionalized at a higher education institute in Yerevan, Armenia, with long-term cooperation with multiple stakeholders in R&D.

International partners are sought for technical and/or research cooperation agreements with the subsequent commercialization of the innovative technology: to advance the R&D activities further to design and construct the model/mock-up of the prototype mobile device with its respective working drawings, followed by construction and testing of the prototype as the 1st experimental MSW-recycling mobile device.


Where will these actions be taken?

The project will take place in Yerevan, Armenia, and will use constituent materials and parts from multiple factories, both from local and external markets.

The project will be implemented primarily at a workshop on the premises of the Medical Institute after Mehrabyan in Yerevan. Here a group of various scientists, researchers, engineers, mechanics, chemists, physicists, and other staff can work together and make corresponding experiments to design and construct the model/mock-up of the prototype mobile device with its respective working drawings, followed by construction and testing of the prototype itself, or the 1st experimental MSW-recycling mobile device.

Some experiments, e.g. to test certain chemical processes, will be implemented at specific laboratories and facilities of research institutions in Yerevan that are members and stakeholders of the innovation network.

The developers' assumption is that such MSW-recycling device will be very popular with developing countries, e.g. India, Bangladesh, and many others, where municipal waste is generated in enormous quantities and is poorly managed/recycled.


In addition, specify the country or countries where these actions will be taken.

Armenia


Country 2

No country selected


Country 3

No country selected


Country 4

No country selected


Country 5

No country selected


Impact/Benefits


What impact will these actions have on greenhouse gas emissions and/or adapting to climate change?

The Waste-to-Energy concept of this project aims at environmental protection, climate change mitigation, decrease of soil, water and air space pollution in Armenia, as well as offers an alternative source of energy generation in Armenia with potentially subsequent replication of the technology to other parts of the world, primarily to the developing countries like India, Bangladesh and others, where municipal waste management is of utmost importance.

The MSW-recycling device consists of a power-operated subassembly for loading, a subassembly for separating and removing metal parts and collecting them into a separate bin, a screw crusher for initial grinding of the waste, a filter press for separating and collecting the liquid component, a rotating furnace for partial incineration and drying of the waste mass, a bin envisaged for mixing the waste and binding substances, an appliance for subsequent compression and formation of the mass, as well as an appliance for purification of the gases generated during the drying process.

Gases generated during partial incineration and drying of the waste mass are purified, thus mitigating gas emissions. The proposed technology contributes to combating the climate change and reduction of green gas emissions when the waste management practice through land-filling is shifted and replaced by recycling practice through various approaches and business models.

The MSW-recycling mobile device can fit the body of a regular truck or function as a truck trailer. Due to this fact, the mobile device can be operated both on land and on board of ships surfing the ocean waters to clean marine litter (the enormous islands of garbage) drifting around the globe with the ocean waters.


What are other key benefits?

The development and application of the MSW-recycling mobile device has the following objectives:

  1. Derive great technical and economic benefit.
  2. Save the soil, air space and water space of Armenia from pollution, which is achieved by means of excluding the option of constructing a large waste-recycling factory (which, in addition to its own costs, also requires transportation costs for waste removal) and using the land parcels cleared from waste landfills for agricultural purposes, as well as accumulating additional energy in the form of thermal briquettes.

 

With production of thermal briquettes as an add-on product a new product for energy raw materials market is created. These can be incinerated at thermal power plants (TPP), thus generating more cost-effective energy. Alternatively, in developing countries, e.g. in Asia and Africa, where central heating is not practiced and most of the population is poor and socially vulnerable and can't afford paying high bills for electricity and/or gas, these energy-carrying thermal briquettes can be the best solution for widely used wood stoves to eliminate gas emissions.

If the opportunity of agricultural utilization of the land parcels occupied by landfills, as well as the opportunity of utilization of the metal mass, which is separated from the general waste and saved, is taken into consideration, it will multiply and increase the economic efficiency.

And most importantly, the air space of the Republic of Armenia, as well as other countries where this technology is applied, will become free from pollution caused by incinerating the household waste.


Costs/Challenges


What are the proposal’s projected costs?

According to the forecasts of the developers’ group, a time frame of 6 months and investment of around $50,000 is required for conducting the Research and Development activities, as a result of which the model/mock-up of the prototype mobile device with its respective working drawings will be designed and constructed.

Provided funds (up to $150,000) are available as estimated by the developers' group, a prototype mobile device will be actually constructed based on the model/mock-up and its respective working drawings designed during the R&D activities stage. This will require a time frame of up to 12 months when the prototype, or the 1st experimental MSW-recycling mobile device, will then be put into operation and replicated through batch manufacturing and/or scaled up to a large (stationary) waste-processing factory.


Timeline

In the short-term perspective, the MSW-recycling device will change the waste management culture and concept in Armenia and neighboring countries as well. The technology can penetrate to the European and then global markets based on its competitive advantage of not only simply recycling the waste, but generating thermal briquettes with enhanced heat capacity. A new product will be generated for its target markets in Armenia and in the region, which will influence the level of consumption and set tariffs for gas and electricity for heating purposes.

According to the forecasts of the developers’ group, a time frame of 6 months is needed to conduct the R&D activities to design and construct the model/mock-up of the prototype mobile device with its respective working drawings.

As estimated by the developers' group, the phase of R&D activities will be followed by another time frame of up to 12 months to actually construct and test the prototype, or the 1st experimental MSW-recycling mobile device, which afterwards will be ready to be put into operation and replicated through batch manufacturing and/or scaled up to a large (stationary) waste-processing factory.


About the author(s)

Vahe Babayan, co-author of the proposal, General Manager and Leading Engineer of the project, Armenia

Hripsime Martirosyan, co-author of the proposal, Operations Manager of the project, Armenia

Innovation management is part of our strategy and we have already developed an innovation and communication culture oriented towards targets and results. We have the vision of positioning ourselves in innovation networks through partnerships with research institutions and other players from both business and science sectors. Based on our innovation capability and innovation performance, we strive to develop a new product and orientate ourselves to technological progress.


Related Proposals


References

1. Managing municipal solid waste - a review of achievements in 32 European countries, European Environment Agency, 2013https://www.eea.europa.eu/publications/managing-municipal-solid-waste

2. London Environment Strategy, Mayor of London, Draft for public consultation, August 2017http://www.legco.gov.hk/general/english/library/stay_informed_overseas_policy_updates/london_environmental_strategy.pdf

3. Swedish Waste Management 2016, Afvall Sverige,http://www.avfallsverige.se/fileadmin/uploads/Arbete/Remissvar/swm_2016.pdf

4. Recycling of Household Waste in Armenia, Universität Magdeburg, May 2011,https://www.umweltbundesamt.de/sites/default/files/medien/beratungshilfe/long/58-1-A-EN.pdf

5. Advisory Study on the Municipal Solid Waste Management in Yerevan, December 2008,http://s3.amazonaws.com/zanran_storage/www.mineconomy.am/ContentPages/17266642.pdf

6. Municipal Solid Waste Management in Armenia: Current Trends and Steps Forward, thesis by Georgi Arzumanyan, University of Lund, https://lup.lub.lu.se/luur/download?func=downloadFile&recordOId=1329229&fileOId=1329230

7. Solid Waste Management in Armenian Cities, USAID-funded Armenia Local Government Program, Mayis Vanoyan,https://www.pf-armenia.org/sites/default/files/uploads/pfa_uploads/tasima15_beitrag_USAID_2010_08-26.pdf

8. Regional Policy Report on the European Neighborhood Policy and Waste Management in Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia, USAID, DFID, Eurasia Partnership Foundation,http://www.epfound.ge/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/Waste-Management-Policy-Paper.pdf

9. ??????????? ?????????? ???? ?????????? ????? ?????????? ????????????? ? ????????????? ??????????, URBAN Foundation, 2014,http://urbanfoundation.am/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/SWM-Armenia-Overview.pdf

10. ????????? ?????????????? ???? ?????????? ????????? ?????????? ????????? ????????? 2017-2036??. ???????????????, Ministry of Territorial Administration of RA, 2014,http://ace.aua.am/files/2017/04/SWM-Strategy.pdf