Transforming Waste into Valuable Energy Resource

Refuse Derived Fuel (RDF) is from processed municipal solid waste (MSW) and industrial wastes. RDF is burned in dedicated RDF incinerators or is co-incinerated with coal or oil in multi-fuel boilers or cement kilns. The calorific value of raw MSW is around 1000 kcal/kg while that of fuel pellets is 4000 kcal/kg. On an average, about 15–20 tons of fuel pellets can be produced after treatment of 100 tons of raw garbage. The biggest challenge in sourcing RDF from MSW is the prevalent high moisture content in MSW; which can be overcome in ERS through Rapid Fermenting and Drying process.
Energy Recovery from Municipal Solid waste
High calorific fractions, better known as Refuse Derived Fuel (RDF) are from processed municipal solid waste (MSW) and industrial wastes. RDF is burned in dedicated RDF incinerators or is co-incinerated with coal or oil in multi-fuel boilers or cement kilns. Many countries like Spain, Mexico, and China have approved the co-incineration of industrial and municipal wastes in cement kilns. This has made cement kilns a major market for RDF.
The total quantities of RDF produced from MSW in the European Union have been estimated to amount to about 3 million tonnes. The capacity for RDF production from MSW is on the increase globally. In Europe, waste and RDF contribute 20% of the energy needed by cement plants (15% from fossil origin and 5% from biomass).

RDF is typically made in the form of pellets, bricks, or fluff. Its manufacture starts with the collection of un-segregated municipal waste, including organic waste (primarily food waste) and materials like paper, cloth, plastic, and wood that provide the calorific value required to burn.
The calorific value of raw MSW is around 1000 kcal/kg while that of fuel pellets is 4000 kcal/kg. On an average, about 15–20 tons of fuel pellets can be produced after treatment of 100 tons of raw garbage. Since pelletization enriches the organic content of the waste through removal of inorganic materials and moisture, it can be very effective method for preparing an enriched fuel feed for other thermo-chemical processes like pyrolysis/ gasification, apart from incineration.
 

Challenges in Conventional method of processing RDF

There are serious challenges in processing RDF in conventional manner, particularly in less developed or tropical countries.
 
  • The biggest challenge being is high moisture in MSW, since organic materials are not separated out at source.
  • RDF plants store freshly-collected waste for up to a week, often spraying it with strongly scented chemicals and enzymes to cover odors and hasten the de-composition process. This not only produces toxic leachates (juices of decomposing organic matter) but also contaminates compost produced later in the process
  • The Inorganic refuse requires segregation. Handpicking of refuse is perhaps the most prevalent MSW handling technique; it is also the only technique for removal of PVC plastics.
  • The partially decayed waste is dried, either under the sun, by hot air, or by a combination of both. This important step in the process differs in each facility depending on the investment or land availability. Solar drying is not possible during rainy seasons, and most facilities run at a fraction of their capacity during the rains, sending most of the waste to landfills.


ERS method for Processing MSW and sourcing RDF

  • Un-segregated Municipal Solid Waste can be fed directly into the ERS unit thereby eliminating the necessity of handpicking of refuse.
  • The ERS manages the moisture content in MSW in most efficient manner with no waste water discharge. The moisture content is recycled for cooling process. Different amount of moisture contents in different materials does not effect the operation of the machine.
  • For the purpose of RDF separation of light polythene, the ERS plant will incorporate density-based separators. The most common of these is the ballistic separation technique. Ballistic separation is based on a fast moving conveyor belt which flings items into the air. Those that carry furthest tend to be denser.
  • Furthermore, the Compost is sieved in order to recover fine granules of RDF for pelleting.

 
RDF fluff segregated from MSW in Conventional process

 
RDF processed from ERS

ERS Process Flowchart                      

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