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Posted By kenora,
Apr 25, 2018 at 8:53 AM
Just saw this in the news... looks exciting..
I suspect it will be sometime before this product goes mainstream assuming it is commercially successful. Burning trash in a pellet form. Interestingly I spent most of my career in the trash burning to energy field.
This business has been up and running in northeast Wisconsin for some time.
The small pellets look quite familiar. I worked in a facility that produced RDF (refuse derived fuel). It was 6 inch or smaller in size, burnt in boilers. It has the same homogenized look as those small pellets. MSW (municipal solid waste) to fuel is a very interesting field. I was heavily into it for many years. Various processes and technologies have been tried over the years.
That plant is in the heart of Wisconsin's paper mill zone. I imagine a lot of paper mill screenings get pelletized ... I know Marathon County in central Wisconsin also runs a waste pellet plant that uses paper mill sludge.
The International Paper Mill in Jay Maine .Put a pellet manufacturing plant in the late 80's early 90's .We were making pellets out of waste paper and cardboard from local towns and all our reject paper product to which we added paper mill sludge from our water filter plant .These pellets were about 5/8 of an inch in diameter. by 2 to 4 inches long .We would incorporate into the bark and waste wood and pulp ,to be burned our waste fuel incinerator ,which was one of the five boilers we used to produce steam for the paper machines and electric production for the whole mill .THIS TYPE OF PELLET IS GOOD FOR COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS ONLY .
Usually the "secret sauce" for these commercial pellets is waste plastic. It really cranks out the heat and is good binder for the pellets. As long as its polyethylene and burned in a commercial boiler it burns pretty cleanly. Unfortunately burning plastic has a really bad rep. If you look at the link note they are very careful not to say exactly what wastes they are mixing in. Most waste streams can be broken down and much of it can be recycled but usually the stuff left over is plastic so they can get it for cheap or free as they otherwise would need to pay to landfill it.
If and when someone comes up with an economical way of making bio coal (terrified wood), that's the next step for home pellet burners. High btus and they don't absorb moisture.