The term Waste-to-Energy
(also known as “WTE”) describes the process of using waste as a
source for production of energy. This definition encompasses three pillars –
the waste; the process that waste undergoes; and the energy that is produced as
a result of that process. In this paper we will briefly discuss each one of
these pillars and show how Co-Energy’s module can maximize the potential of
each step in itself and of the process as a whole.
Municipal Solid Waste,
also known as MSW, is the main source of the waste-to-energy process. Modern
life generates huge amounts of waste on a daily basis. Along with desired
education and raising public awareness to the importance of limited consumption
and recycling; waste treatment strategies are becoming a growing concern for
Waste-to-energy as a
waste treatment strategy is a great way turning a nuisance into a resource.
Furthermore, when done properly, waste-to-energy has a sound economic rationale
that can produce significant income from the selling of energy. Using
Co-Energy’s solution, the expected return on investment is dramatically short
and the profit projections are high.
MSW is usually composed
of the following nine types of materials: (1) papers including uncoated
corrugated cardboard, paper bags, newspapers etc.; (2) glass including
flat glass and various colors of glass bottles and containers; (3) metal including
steel cans, major appliances, used oil filters etc.; (4) electronics
including brown goods, computer related electronics etc.; (5) plastics
including PETE containers, HDPE containers, plastic trash bags etc.; (6) other
organics including food, leaves and grass, manures, textiles etc.; (7) construction
and demolition including concrete, asphalt paving, lumber etc.; (8) household
hazardous waste including paint, used oil, batteries etc.; and (9) special
waste including ash, treated medical waste, tires etc.
Sorting MSW to its
different components so that each could be treated is a long and costly
process. One of the key advantages of using Co-Energy’s plant is that sorting
is not required, thus saving time and money to waste treatment entities. It
also shortens the process, making it efficient and simple in terms of the
logistics it requires.
The process of turning
waste into energy can take several forms. The most common method is by
incineration, in which organic waste is combusted and energy is produced as a
result. Incineration was originally adopted as an advanced alternative to
landfilling, in which waste is buried underground, a method that is widely
regarded as inefficient and damaging to the environment.
The process of waste to
energy we at Co-Energy use is pyrolysis, a chemical process known since the 18th
century. Pyrolysis is the thermos-chemical decomposition of material at 400° Celsius, in an aerobic environment,
that is in a complete lack of oxygen.
required for pyrolysis are substantially lower than those required for
conventional gasification or other methods like plasma arc. This is another advantage
of the pyrolysis method. It lowers the costs of the process, enhances the
lifespan of the plant, and contributes to safety aspects of the plant’s
In addition, the emissions
level generated as a result of the pyrolysis are significantly lower than those
generated by incineration based processes.
The two most common
forms of energy generated at the end of the Waste-to-Energy process are fuel
and electricity. The future development of Co-Energy’s plant will also enable
the production of methanol and hydrogen, thus bringing it in line with the
evolving trends in key markets such as vehicle and transportation.
The low costs of the
process allow the producer to sell the energy, whether fuel or electricity, at
competitive prices. It is worth mentioning that some of the energy produced by
Co-Energy’s plant can also be used to power up the plant itself, making the
whole process self-sustained.
methods is a vital part in a full and comprehensive perception of
sustainability. It complements other important segments like recycling and
educated consumption habits. It enables us to continue rely on a continuous
supply of clean green energy, while not exhausting Earth’s natural
Having said that, in an
economically driven world, waste-to-energy models have to prove they are
economically profitable otherwise they won’t realize their potential.
meets each of the challenges that rendered waste-to-energy methods not
attractive as business models, first and foremost the reliance on sorting of
waste. It takes waste-to-energy to the next level and offers a sound prediction
with a significantly fast return on investment predictions.