Moscow. The city is seized in the circle of gigantic, ugly landfills located 10-15 rm away from each other. They contaminate soil, water and air. The waste problem in Russia has long gone over the accepted limits. The authorities have offered us a solution – waste incineration plants. Almost two billion dollars will be spent on purchasing the outdated technology of waste incineration. A lot of countries have been shutting down waste incineration plants recently because of high environmental risks. On top of that this technology is too expensive and many waste incineration plants have gone bankrupt. Europe is still burning waste, but they spend a lot money to make the exhaust as safe as possible. In Russia, due to corruption, it is highly likely that waste incineration plants will be very unsafe for the environment and for people’s health.
However, in Russia alternative technology of waste treatment have existed for decades. Pyrolysis is a good example of such technology. To see a pyrolysis production plant, we went to the town of Klin in the Moscow region. The production area is located on the territory of Klin’s treatment facilities and belongs to Mr.Lavrov who, back in the 80s, was an honored miner and worked in the coal mines of Kuzbass. At that time Mr.Lavrov, being a mine manager, conducted coal sludge treatment. Many years later, using that professional experience he conducted mounting and installation of a technological system for sewage sludge and municipal garbage treatment. In 2016 Mr.Lavrov registered a patent for a technological line based on low pyrolysis technology with the title EKUOT.
In the production premises in Klin we saw sample equipment in the scale of one to two. A truck drives inside and dumps the garbage on the screen where heave pieces are sorted out. Then large pieces are taken to shredders and turned into dust for later use in cemented blocks. The sorted garbage gets onto the sorting belt where sorted garbage is sorted by hand. Mr.Lavrov thinks that automated sorting belts are not the best choice. First, because they are very expensive. Second, the sorting facilities are not ready for automated sorting. All the attempts to implement automated sorting have failed. So far, it makes sense to teach people to sort garbage manually and later slowly implement automated sorting.
After the sorting facility the garbage is taken to the pyrolysis reactor. The first jump is done with a burner and later on emitted pyrolysis gas is used to keep the process going.
There are two major pyrolysis methods – low temperature and high temperature. Mr.Lavrov uses the low temperature method in his reactor. Maximum temperature in a pyrolysis reactor is 450 degrees Celsius. During 1.5 hours the burner heats the barrel . After that emission of pyrolysis gas starts. This gas gets onto the heat exchangers and is condensed into liquid fuel. The other part of gas goes back into the burner to keep heating the barrel. At this stage additional fuel is not needed anymore. In four hours the temperature reached its maximum and decomposition of waste mixture starts. Plastic and biological waste decompose at 200 degrees. Tires decompose at 300 degrees. After that the temperature starts dropping. The whole process for 10-12 tons of waste takes 8 hours. Six reactors can process up to 80 tons of garbage in 24 hours.
Low temperature pyrolysis gives gas and liquid and solid fuel fifty-fifty. Liquid fuel can be used in boiler rooms and is similar to mazut. Solid fuel doesn’t have an odor and looks like carbon residue that contains 85 percent of carbon. At the end of the structure there’s a small oil refinery for condensing emitted gas and refining pyrolysis water.
Therefore, it is possible to get fuel from old tires, municipal garbage and sewage sludge. The emitted gas gets onto a turbine for generating heat and electricity that would be many times cheaper that energy produced at energy plants.
Pyrolysis is safe for environment and dioxin free technology because it doesn’t involve burning oxygen which is a key factor for dioxin formation and is an essential part of waste incineration.
Pyrolysis seems to be ideal for implementing everywhere. However, it id not happening. The question is why? Why do the Russian authorities choose to make new landfills and super expensive waste incineration plants?
Sergey Lavrov is experiencing a lot of pressure from the local administration that is stepping on his toes and is not allowing him to work and to develop his pyrolysis production. Last in March they shut off electricity and is trying to squeeze him out of his building and dismantle all his equipment. That is an absurd decision and it has been made in favor of financial interest of waste oligarchs. Nevertheless, pyrolysis technology is a way out for Moscow drowning in its own waste, for Russia and the whole world.