Thermal destruction of municipal solid waste (MSW) can provide an effective solution for the volume reduction of waste and energy recovery. Effective thermal destruction of waste depends on several factors including the operating temperature, excess air, heating rate, as well as physical and chemical properties, feed size and moisture content of the waste.
Different processes associated with thermal destruction of waste have been identified. Prominent thermal destruction processes evaluated in this study include: pyrolysis, gasification and combustion. The kinetics and thermochemical analysis of these processes has been carried out. It is found that the maximum operating temperature and heating rate to which the waste is subjected determines the operational regime of a particular thermal destruction system.
The thermal destruction systems evaluated are: rotary kiln, mass burn incinerators, fluidized beds, electrically heated reactors and plasma arc reactors. Challenge associated with each system reveals urgent needs for basic data, in particular under conditions of well defined environments and waste characteristics. Basic data on the surrogate waste fuel (e.g. cellulose) pyrolysis and oxidative pyrolysis under well defined conditions of time, temperature, surrounding chemical composition of the gases, rate of heating of the fuel and the product species evolved is urgently required for designing a better thermal destruction system.