Treatment Options For Wastes To Avoid Toxic Residues

A technology to avoid toxic pollutants from the incineration of waste has been identified by a national program managed at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Idaho National Engineering & Environmental Laboratory.

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho, US, 2002-01-15 [] Incineration of biomass waste is often claimed as a method of producing renewable energy, but is criticized for the pollutants it can produce, such as dioxins. The Transuranic & Mixed Waste Focus Area, sponsored by the DOE Office of Science & Technology, has chosen the AEA Technology Engineering Service’s ‘Silver II’ method for further testing. The process chemically oxidizes molecules, and operates at low temperature, is easy to control, treats most organic wastes, reduces waste volume, produces no dioxins or low-emission volumes containing polyaromatic hydrocarbons, and does not require pretreatment for small solids, slurries or liquid wastes. Pretreatment of larger solid organic waste may still be required. The U.S. Army was testing ‘Silver II’ at the Aberdeen Proving Ground to destroy chemical weapons agents, and recently tested surrogate waste types to assist DOE in effort to find effective and affordable alternatives to incineration. “We jumped at the chance to test this technology because the pilot plant is already built,” says Vince Maio of INEEL. “That enables us to do a quick, cost-effective test of one of the top technologies we identified as an alternative to incineration.” Several years before the INEEL began managing the national TMFA program for DOE in 1995, scientists began looking into methods of treating waste without the need for incineration. Research efforts to find alternatives intensified late last decade after DOE announced plans to close two incinerators, including one at INEEL.

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