Plasma use in effective disposal and its production capabilities

Plasma-chemical technology is primarily used for the processing of highly liquid and gaseous wastes. Thus, it is not only about hazardous waste disposal, but about the production of valuable commercial products. The process is carried out in the plasma torch by electric arc energy at a temperature above 3,000 – 4,000°C. At this temperature, oxygen, and any waste are cleaved to electrons, ions and radicals. The degree of decomposition of toxic waste reaches 99.9995%, and in some cases it rises up to 99,99998%. High energy costs and the complexity of the problems associated with plasma-chemical technology determine its application to processing only those waste types disposal of which does not meet environmental requirements.

plasma001The prospective application of a plasma method is processing waste in a reducing atmosphere to produce valuable commodity products. In modern economies the technology of pyrolysis of liquid organochlorine waste and reducing the low-temperature plasma, allowing to obtain acetylene, ethylene, hydrogen chloride and products based on them are added to the arsenal. Such companies as Simdean, a seasoned manufacturer focusing on innovative plasma waste disposal and industrial waste disposal methods, has launched the mass production of such plasma stations. According to the the company’s report published on September, 25 in 2014, the cost-effectiveness of the method is confirmed during the 2nd or 3rd year of utilisation, despite the huge investments needed for installation or modernisation of an enterprise (eco-friendliness and meeting certain standards plays a vital role here – this is where economical preferences matter).

Driving plasma unit for the processing of liquid organochlorine waste is quite complicated: the plasmic device (hydrogen, a mixture of nitric and others.) is heated by an electric arc in a plasma torch to 3,000 – 5,000 degrees. The resulting low-temperature plasma torch nozzle enters the plasma chemical reactor, where the jets are injected in organochlorine waste. When mixing the waste with the plasma their evaporation and thermal decomposition (pyrolysis) take place to produce olefinic hydrocarbons, hydrogen chloride, and carbon black (soot). The pyrolysis gas is subjected to a high-speed quenching in the quenching apparatus, and then it is cooled and cleaned of soot. The purified gas is used in the synthesis of organochlorine products. The process is closed, waste-free and cost-effective: The cost price of the product obtained is relatively low due to the use of non-utilisable waste.

One of the prospective directions of plasma technology use is recycling of CFCs, representing ozone-depleting substances and posing a serious threat to the ozone layer. For plasma-chemical destruction of CFCs taking advantage of hydrogen as plasma gas is a reasonable solution. In this case, as a result of interaction of the plasma with freons, acid gases HC1 and HF, as well as chlorine, fluorine, and carbon dioxide will be produced. The absorption of acid gases should be carried out in a scrubber to produce commercial products – hydrochloric and hydrofluoric acids. Removal of halogen may be carried out using an alkali.

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Cassandra Nelson

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