Recovered Energy, Inc. Presents the
                      Recovered Energy System TM

The Recovered Energy System™



As of 2000, there were approximately 102 "Waste to Energy" facilities using some form of combustion process operating in 31 states in the United States. These "Waste to Energy" facilities include the following technologies:
  • Mass Burn (MB) "Waste to Energy" plants generate electricity and/or steam from waste by feeding mixed municipal waste into large furnaces dedicated solely to burning trash and producing power. 70 of the 102 "Waste to Energy" facilities in the U.S. utilize this process.
  • Refuse-derived fuel (RDF) "Waste to Energy" plants remove recyclable or unburnable materials and shred or process the remaining trash into a uniform fuel. A dedicated combustor, or furnace, may be located on-site to burn the fuel and generate power; or the RDF may be transported off site for use as a fuel in boilers that burn other fossil fuel. 19 of the 102 "Waste to Energy" facilities utilize this technology.
  • The remaining 13 "Waste to Energy" facilities are Modular "Waste to Energy" plants, which are similar to Mass Burn plants, but are smaller mobile units that may be quickly assembled where needed.
These "Waste to Energy" plants currently process more than 30 million tons of trash each year or about 14% of America's solid waste. Electric power generated by these plants is approximately 2,816 megawatts per hour. These technologies are the most widely used technologies for converting large volumes of municipal waste into energy.

The average capital investment for "Waste to Energy" combustion plants is $3,570 per installed kWh of capacity.

Typical plant performance of "Waste to Energy" Combustion plants is as follows:
  • Combustion temperatures can be as high as 2000° F with high combustion efficiency and CO emissions of 15 to 40 ppm. Reactor exit temperatures are less than 1200° F.
  • Waste VOLUME reduction of 90%, depending on the type of waste. The amount of ash on a WEIGHT basis is as high as 25% of the input. The ash from earlier plants was considered toxic and required disposal in a class B landfill. However, with higher operating temperatures the ash is generally considered non-hazardous for all plants that have made the environmental changes. A small portion (<4%) of the ash is used in roadbeds and for other uses, however, the vast majority has to be disposed of in a landfill.
  • Emission systems now satisfy current EPA emission requirements. Early plants (historically referred to as "Incinerators") did not have adequate emission control devices and had very high emissions and gave the industry a bad reputation. Most plants have either upgraded their emission control systems or have been forced out of business. "Waste to Energy" plants still produce high levels of tars, dioxins, furans and char when compared to the air emissions from IGCC plants or the Recovered Energy System™. However, "Waste to Energy" plants prevent the release of new greenhouse gasses. "Waste to Energy" plants prevent the release of more than a million tons of methane into our atmosphere, assuming the same amount of trash now processed at "Waste to Energy" facilities is disposed in a landfill without methane recovery.
Most of the "Waste to Energy" facilities in the U.S. became operational between 1980 and 1996. Only three new plants have come on line since 1996 (2 in 1997 and 1 in 2000). To our knowledge, there are no new plants currently under construction. The primary reason for the slow-down in new "Waste to Energy" plants is the environmental concern involving existing plants. Most of these plants were installed without adequately addressing the environmental issues. Due to new emission standards some of these facilities have closed while the majority are undergoing major renovation. The "Waste to Energy" industry is currently in the middle of an $800 million plant upgrade to install adequate air quality control systems that will allow the facilities to meet current EPA standards. Because of their historical emission problems, the Incinerator plants have received and continue to receive significant resistance from environmental groups and negative reviews in the press. "Waste to Energy" Combustion processes have the following disadvantages when compared to the Recovered Energy System™:
  • Emissions of tars, furans, dioxins, char, VOC's, particulates and SOX are higher.
  • Combustion processes can only produce steam and electricity, whereas the synfuel from a gasification process can be used for many other applications. These processes use steam turbines are only half as efficient as combined cycle gas/steam turbines that are used by the Recovered Energy System™.
  • All of the inorganics contained in the waste come out as ash, which contains char and tars. The amount of inorganics can be as much as 25% by weight which means that landfills will continue to be required to dispose of the ash. The ash has very little use except as a road base because even though it is considered non-hazardous it still has an environmental impact and very few people will use it. The vitrified glass from the the Recovered Energy System™ process has no environmental impact and can be used in numerous applications.
  • Most "Waste to Energy" facilities require some form of pre-sorting. In order to reduce the volumes of ash, inorganics are sorted out. They cannot handle all types of waste as the Recovered Energy System™ does.

Related Link: Not Incineration - Frequent Questions

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