The world on the brink of nuclear war

Trident submarine warhead deployed in Georgia

Federation of American Scientists revealed that U.S. Navy deployed a submarine equipped with a low-yield nuclear warhead from Kings Bay Submarine Base in Georgia in late 2019. Trident warhead is a new nuclear weapon and it carries one third of explosive power of the bomb dropped on Hiroshima.

The International campaign to abolish nuclear weapons already called the news «an alarming incident rising the risk of a nuclear war». However, it received little coverage. William Artkin, a journalist and writer, focusing on the issue of military and nuclear policy, says that this is the first incident of a new nuclear weapon deployment. This warhead is usable not only against China and Russia, but also against North Korea and Iran. The low yield of this weapon is, in fact,  not do low. America possesses warhead even smaller than this one – only 5 to 6 kilotons. One such strike will totally destroy twenty city blocks with radiation coming from this place for many years to come. This is the smallest charge that exists in strategic nuclear warheads. The real reason for Trident warhead deployment is that American nuclear planners realized that the U.S. doesn’t have a quick response for Russia and other adversaries  quick meaning that it can reach the target within 30 minutes.

Trident deployment may be denounced by Russia, but it will not affect Russian-American situation because Russia already has two thousand low-yield warheads opposite Europe. One of the justifications for the deployment of Trident warhead was numerical advantage of Russia over Europe. The U.S. – Russia situation is certainly tense, but Trident warhead is about showing Iran and North Korea our readiness for a preemptive strike. Such weapon in the hand of President Donald Trump is believed to be even more dangerous. U.S. – American situation is in deep crisis while Iran has no limits to develop and produce nuclear weapons. The U.S. have increased their presence in the Persian Gulf and in case Donald Trump is re-elected, Iran will become the main strategy of the U.S. to develop the defense industry.

Doomsday Clock hands have moved twentry minutes closer to midnight – the beginning of a nuclear war – indicating that there are only 100 seconds left. Never before since the moment they were created in 1947 has the world been so close to a catastrophe. However, what’s more important than the Doomsday Clock is the lack of public activism regarding nuclear weapons. Russia and the U.S. are spending billions of dollars on the modernization of nuclear weapons while the U.S. are in the middle of a crisis with North Korea and Iran. However, we do not see any public movements that would say “no” to a nuclear war.

Doomsday Clock showing two minutes to midnight

William Artkin started writing about nuclear weapons in 1981 when Ronal Reagan was president. Back then there was a great movement against nuclear arms. There were marches with tens of thousands of people in Europe, in the U.S. and in the whole world. Today, we see nothing like that. However, William Artkin thinks that it’s important to involve in that fight more and more people around the world.

Australian bushfires and global warming

Australian koala. In 2015 686 koalas were killed in Australia due to their excessive numbers and lack of food.

#global_warming #koala #bushfire

No one wants to pay for their carbon footprint. Children’s crusade led by Greta Thunberg impressed the world’s community, but not so much as to make people want to pay increased taxes for their carbon footprint. In the last winter Yellow Vests were protesting in France against the increase of fuel costs. In the meantime the story of global warming happening due to greenhouse emissions is so incoherent that even poorly informed person finds it hard to believe considering extremely cold weather that has set in Europe in recent years. This year’s fires may be more extensive than those that occurred in previous years, but they definitely have no connection with the global warming.

Australian bushfires are believed to have led to the death of one billion animals, birds and reptiles.

However, lobbyists of the newly emerged industry of renewables are looking for new ways to work with their target audience. Now we see how they are trying to link Australian bushfires to the global warming and are actively promoting this story on the Internet. We are shown heartbreaking images of animals injured in the fire and vast areas of used-to-be forests burned to the ground. The scientists believe that over one billion animals, birds and reptiles have been injured or orphaned in the bushfires and lost their homes. Later a lot of animals will likely die due to the lack of food.

They either kill or try to save. Nevertheless, the attempt to impress the Internet audience through showing images of dead or injured animals and crying women, wildlife carers and volunteers is failing the moment you open a Wikipedia page on Australian koalas. There you read about the increase of koala population in the recent years to twenty animals per one hectare. In 2015 the Victoria State government had to kill 686 koalas in order to prevent them from starving to death. It is a known fact that koalas eat eucalyptus leaves. Therefore, if there are too many animals on a piece of land, they end up having nothing to eat.

Kangaroo steak at an Australian food store

As far as kangaroos are concerned… Australia is the main producer of kangaroo meat and supplies it to many countries including Russia where kangaroo meat is used for production of sausage. In Australia kangaroo meat is not very popular with consumers and is often used as dog food. If you feel so sorry for injured kangaroos, then why do you not feel sorry for them when people kill them to eat them?

Boyan Slat, the Dutch inventor

Why do they say so little about waste? The problem of waste accumulated in the whole world – chemical, radioactive and all kinds of toxic waste, including huge plastic islands in the oceans – is in fact one of the most serious problems that it threatens the very existence of the humankind. So, why do the world’s media say so little about it? Why is the world’s community not concerned with the problem of waste as much as it is concerned with the global warming? Why is the weird girl Greta Thunberg that spreads disinformation is presented the the person of the year while the Dutch scientist Boyan Slat who invented a machine for collecting waste from the oceans is hardly mentioned at all? The answer is this: the story of the global warming is promoted by those who want to make profit out of it. Make no mistake.

Pyroxel, safe waste treatment technology

Pyroxel, technology based on high-temperature pyrolysis

Environment protection from the negative impact of industrial and municipal waste is becoming more and more important. Society development depends on finding solutions to this problem. Waste treatment including medical and chemical waste is solved differently in the world. Thermal destruction is one of the most effective technology. However, waste incineration that is widely used today does not provide ecological solutions leaving toxic residue in the form of ashes and dust that have to be buried.

VNIIETO company run by Mr. Alexander Popov, an academic of The Russian and International Engineering Academies, offers a systematic approach to handling environmental challenges.

Mr.Popov: Institute of Electrothermal Equipment has celebrated its fiftieth anniversary and continues to keep the leading position in the field of thermal processing equipment, metallurgy equipment, new processes of strengthening of materials and creation of new materials. In the recent years, thanks to extensive experience in metallurgy we have gotten to create totally new types of equipment for processing medical, municipal and a variety of industrial products of low and medium toxicity. I can say that at all stages of our work we received financial support for research and development from the Moscow Government through the Moscow Committee of Science and Technology.

Pyroxel waste thermal destruction technology includes the following stages: drying of the waste mixture in a turbine by a flow of high-temperature smoke gases low-temperature pyrolysis, burning of the organic part of waste in the furnace, processing of hard residue in the sludge melt at 1400-1500 degrees C, dividing waste into sludge and metal that are periodically let out of the melting chamber; thermochemical decontamination of smoke gases in a three-stage reactor with a principle of chemical treatment of the gas phase in the afterburning chamber of carbon dioxide and residue carbon at the temperature of 1200 degrees C, in the acid gas neutralization chamber through injection of soda solution, in the chamber of reduction of nitrogen oxides in the presence of urea; sharp cooling of smoke gases to prevent formation of dioxin and utilization of extra heat of the gas phase; cleansing of emitted smoke gases from dust in the sleeve gas filter.

Pyroxel technology has a number of advantages compared to other methods of waste thermal destruction:

  1. Non-toxic exhaust without using sorbents;
  2. No toxic residue that needs to be buried;
  3. Processing of different kinds of waste without their preliminary preparation;
  4. Production of different useful products – sludge and metal – for further production of construction materials;
  5. Low investment and maintenance fees.

Kosarev: Pyroxel technology and equipment for waste treatment will allow to create a united production complex “Regional Environmental Center Of the South-West of Moscow”. The center will include several production areas – waste-free principle is their common thing. Products of processing of one area are themselves products for sale or raw materials for processing on another production area. In the end, a variety of products for sale can be received from the waste coming in for processing into the center.

The First Regional Environmental Center was created on the territory of the joint stock company with an active support of the South-West Moscow Region Administration. The Regional Environmental Center includes:

  1. Pyroxel thermal destruction area;
  2. Tires and rubber processing area;
  3. Coagulant production and halvanic flows decontamination area;
  4. Halvanic sludge certification;
  5. Pigment production;
  6. Snow melting facility;
  7. Metallic fibers production;
  8. Pyrocite production;

The main technological part of the center is a thermal destruction facility with the capacity of 25 thousand tons per day. The waste mixture without preliminary sorting is dried in a turbine, burned and processed in a furnace. The emitted gasses are consequently treated in a thermochermical reactor, cooled in a scrubber with the dust removed in a sleeve filter.

Finally, the facility provides ecologically clean exhaust. Tires and rubber decompose and turn into crumbs. Rubber crumbs become a product and metal and textiles go into a thermal chamber.

Waste from metal processing go into the coagulant production area. Ready coagulant is used for halvanic flows cleansing. Sludge from this waste is used for pigment preparation or processing.

Cleansed water can be used for technical needs. The basalt sludge is used for preparing pyrocite – a type of clayite. Metal received from waste processing is used for preparation of metal fibers.

Heat excess coming from the facility can be used for melting snow collected on the city streets: water is dumped and the sludge is processed.

Therefore, Pyrolex technology and equipment provide production of ecologically clean products fit for industrial use and emitted gases cleaned to meet of European standards do not have a harmful impact on the environment.

Pyrolex technology and equipment have passed the state ecological estimation. The production facilities can be set up in urban industrial areas and vacant production areas.

The suggested approach to solving ecological problems both provides normal life in the regions and makes sanitary cleansing economically profitable.

Moscow’s contaminated water

Anna and Veronica, the local activists, with Timohovo dump in the background

In the Moscow region, so called landfills contain over 300 mln tons of waste. In reality, those are not real landfills that should have strict maintenance requirements. Huge mountains of waste that we see here and there around Moscow are in fact city dumps. Usually they are located in former quarries where sand and clay had been mined years ago. In the 90s, Moscow dumps turned into lucrative business. Waste was brought to quarries and rammed without any sorting, decontamination or at least covering layers with soil, not to speak of isolating garbage mixture from underground water. Back in the 90s, plastic packaging first appeared in Russia. Plastic bags, boxes, bottles and stickers came to every household. From there, they made their way to city dumps. Now, almost thirty years later, Moscow authorities say that the potential of Moscow dumps has been exhausted. With it, the potential of underground water turned out to be exhausted as well. In the Moscow region, there are no places left that would receive local water of good quality.

The hardest hit area is the east, south-east and south of the Moscow region where there are tens of notorious dumps. Among them is «the pride» of the region – Timohovo dump – the biggest dump in Europe with the area of 110 hectares.

The history of Timohovo dump dates back to 40 years ago when clay was mined on this spot. Later the 30-something-deep quarry started to be filled with waste. That was biological waste, for the most part. Apart from putrefactive odor there was not much trouble with it. By the late 80s, the dump had grown and in 1989 it was about to be shut down. However, it didn’t happen in due time. And a few years later in the early 90s, control over the dump was lost completely. Criminal organizations started to bring waste not only from households, but also toxic waste from hospitals, chemical plants and even radioactive waste. As a result, the dump turned into a time bomb.

Under the pressure of millions of tons of waste, the layer of clay, that had been thinned out by mining, stopped to keep the dump leachate from getting into the water, and the toxic mixture first filled the neighboring quarries and later went deeper underground and contaminated underground water used for drinking.

Now water from 80-100 meter deep wells is forbidden for household use, let alone drinking. According to local people, tap water has the same horrible smell as the dump gas, blown by the wind and causing mass poisoning.

Some time ago, at a distance of several hundred meters wells were drilled and underground water sample were taken for lab tests. It turned out that underground water is contaminated many kilometers around the dump.

“My tap water can’t be used for washing, let alone drinking. Don’t even ask, says Andrey who lives 6 km off the dump. It comes out white and then it turns yellow”.

The wind brings the disgusting dump gas every day. It has the same stench as the tap water. Andrey has come to the dump to make sure that the smell comes from here and not from the industrial area in the neighboring town.

Veronica, a local woman, says the issue of contaminated water is never brought up in the federal media. It’s forbidden. However, everyone knows what caused such enormous environmental disaster. Veronica says all local wells are shut down and the area is getting water from the neighboring region of Vladimir.

“This is an environmental disaster of tremendous proportions, sighs Veronica. The whole area is lost forever. Since the dumps continue to function and, on top of that, we will soon have a waste incineration plant here, there’s no hope it will ever get better”.

A Chance To Survive

by Natalia Chernihovskaya, October 13, 2019

Mr.Igor Mazurin, Doctor of Technical Science

In the last three years waste incineration plants that RT-Invest is constructing in the Moscow Region have become a key topic in the media. There are serious concerns that these plants will cause major damage to people’s health and to the environment. These concerns have raised a wave of protest actions in the areas adjacent to the plants. Opinions have split. Some are certain that waste incineration is safe enough because this technology has been used in Europe for a long time. Others believe waste incineration plants are silent killers because exhaust from chimneys and incineration residue will contain a huge amount of dioxins which are highly poisonous and are more toxic than some warfare agents.

Hitachi Zosen Inova technology purchased by RT-Invest Moscow-based company is a waste-to-energy (W2E) technology of grate incineration. It was developed in the middle of the 20th century and until recently was widely used in Europe and Japan. Europeans were proud of their waste incineration plants and, being certain of their safety, placed them near settlements, villages and even in cities. It was believed that after restructuring of waste incineration industry conducted in the 70s-90s, waste incineration plants became totally safe for the people and environment. However, a few years back, some shocking facts came out and disproved that belief.

Since 1997 until 2007 Spanish experts collected medical statistics on cancer patients who lived near waste incineration plants in Spain. After the research over, the Spanish experts published an article with heavy arguments proving that 90 thousand people died from 33 forms of cancer in the ten year timespan. The article came out in 2013 and four years later EU environmental institutions strongly recommended to stop investments in new waste incineration plants and gradually replace waste incineration with other ways of waste treatment – thermal destruction, recycling and waste reuse.

In the meantime, $2 billion have already been spent on four Hitachi Zosen W2E plants. They will be constructed in Timohovo, Mogutovo, Svistyagino and Solnechnogorsk and will process 2,8 million tons of waste per year. That will be tailings left over recycling of all of 11 million tons of Moscow municipal waste. Accordingly, 8,2 million tons will be partly recycled and partly taken to landfills.

W2E Hitachi Zosen plant in Svistyagino

Construction of the first plant in Svistyagino is in full swing. It will be launched in 2021. However, it has already become obvious that, first, Hitachi W2E plants are a money pit, not only because of the original high cost, but also because of high maintenance costs; second, W2E plants will produce dangerous dioxin exhaust in the amount of 400 thousand square meters per hour and dioxin ash residue in the amount of 35% of one load. The exhaust and the residue will have to be treated too. The cost of treatment is not included in the cost of W2E plants. Moreover, Hitachi Zosen technology does not provide for exhaust control and ash residue treatment. Different parts of the technological chain need to be replaced every two years which will cost up to 40-50% of the basic W2E plant value. This explains high maintenance costs of W2E plants. Considering one plant costs $500 mln, replacement of parts will cost additional $200-250 mln. It turns out that the cost of waste fuel will exceed $1000 per one ton. Such rate will burn an enormous hole in the budget of Moscow and in the pockets of the citizens.

According to the original plan, ash residue was supposed to be taken by rail to the city of Tomsk, Western Siberia, where there are special enterprises technologically equipped for dangerous substances treatment. However, later it became clear that is not an option because on the way to Tomsk a vast territory will be exposed to dioxin contamination. Another thing is that Tomsk enterprises are not designed for such enormous amounts of toxic waste brought from Moscow W2E plants.

Once RT-Invest owners realized the scale of the catastrophic failure they were facing, they desperately started looking for the way out. And they lucked out – two Russian old school scientists Mr. Igor Mazurin and Mr. Sergey Ognyov – came to their aid.

It turns out that in the Soviet Union by the 70s there was a number of fully worked out waste treatment technologies, but they were majorly used for industrial purposes. By the early 90s with the transition to the market economy and total commercialization those technologies was neglected. Now that we found ourselves in the dead end of waste management crisis it’s high time to bring those technologies back to life.

Mr.Mazurin and Mr.Ognyov have similar backgrounds but in different industries. Now they decided to pool resources to “cure” W2E Hitachi plants purchased by RT-Invest. They found the remedy – the technology of electric arc melting and catalytic afterburning. Read on to learn what this technology is about.

After burning on the grate, three components are formed – ash residue, dust and smoke gases. All three are highly toxic and contain a huge amount of dioxins. That’s why they need to go through several stages of cleaning. The first stage implies capturing ash residue, dust and smoke and directing them into a special chamber for electric acr melting: carbon electrodes enter the chamber, electric current is supplied and an electric acr appears between the electrodes. The mixture begins to melt. Slowly the temperature rises to 1600-1800 degrees C and the melting mass turns into a liquid, so called melt. In the pyrolysis process, different gases are emitted – they have the temperature of 1300-1400 degrees C – and two liquid fractions are formed – pig iron and basalt melt. They sink through special holes to the bottom of the chamber. After gases are emitted, the chamber can be refilled, for example, with methane, necessary for formation of basalt melt which can later be used for production of expanded clay basalt used in construction.

Okay, let’s go back to emitted gases. After they leave the electric melting chamber, they go to a reactor where they pass through the second stage of cleaning, called oxidation: gases are mixed with a lime suspension (CaCO3) which leads to formation of air and finely dispersed dust – nitrogen and oxygen with particles of dust; in the meantime nitrogen oxides (NOx) end up being neutralized. The flow moves with the speed of 3 to 6 seconds. Sometimes it can take up to 8 seconds.

Later on the gas mixture cools down and passes the third and the forth stages of cleaning – wet and dry scrubbers. In the scrubbers, two types of the cleaning process happens – mechanical cleaning and water cleaning. After the scrubbers the mixture is fed into a sleeve filter where it is cleaned with a special fabric that catches particles of dust. After that, they get shaken off with an air flow. This is the fifth stage of cleaning. This dust looks like regular ashes, but it contains a huge amount of contaminants including dioxins. This dust is loaded back into the electric melting chamber and the whole process starts over with a new load of sludge. After the sleeve filter cleaned gases are not thrown out into the atmosphere. They are directed onto two catalytic processes. As a result, they get transformed into a liquid phase. Later they will be taken to different Russian plants where there is technology and equipment for treatment of poisonous biological and chemical agents. At the end of the procedure all contaminants are neutralized which makes waste incineration totally safe for the people and the environment.

Thus, Mr.Mazurin and Mr.Ognyov will be able to correct the mistake of the authorities with Hitachi Zosen plants, save lives and a lot of money. This tactical move will allow to eventually give up on waste incineration landfills and in the near future start using safe pyrolysis based technology for waste treatment completely excluding grate incineration.

That said, the scientists believe that recycling plants also need additional cleaning of emitted gases and other waste and the pyrolysis based technology can be used in this case too.

Now we can take a breath of relief. There’s a way out. All we need is to wait a little bit until our scientists test their technology within W2E Hitachi plants and launch it into work in the next two years.

Pyrolysis is a technology that will save the world

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.

A dump on the water

March 26th we visited the village Tshelkanovo located in the west of Moscow region on the border of Rusa and Volokolamsk areas, where there is a poisonous dump right on an aquifer. According to the project, it was supposed to be a temporary dump and after 11 months it was supposed to be removed. On top of it it wasn’t supposed to contain dangerous waste. In fact activists that stopped vehicles with garbage had found waste from biological, medical and chemical activity which means very dangerous and poisonous waste that under no circumstance could be dumped into the environment.

By means of two industrial pumps, the water from under the dump is taken to the river Gryada that flows into the Moskva river. On March 28th we took probes of water and one month later we recieved the first results of the analysis. They showed excess of manganese (heavy metal), bacteria and hydrogen sulphide on the outer limit. Now that the snow has melted and heavy rains started, and also with the rise of air temperature, we have every reason to believe that dangerous bacteria and hydrogen sulphide have exceeded the norms.

Hazards of waste in Russia

Europe first faced the problem of waste back in the beginning of the previous century. The first waste-burning plant appeared in 1904 in Switzerland. In the 70s the waste industry started to improve significantly by means of implementing new environment friendly technology. Today waste-burning plants in Europe and Japan, with the latter being the leader of waste industry, are complicated systems the biggest part of which consists exhaust purification facilities.

Apart from being technologically backward country, Russia is spoiled by its huge territory and while a lot of countries have long started working on the problem of waste management, Russia is only beginning to realize the problem of waste and the necessity of recycling instead of burying or burning waste. However, due to high level of corruption in Russia the problem of waste management is not solved efficiently. This explains many toxic dumps like Yadrovo, Tshelkanovo, Kolomna, Balashiha and other.

Moscow produces over 35 tons of waste daily. The mayor Sobianin, instead of changing paving slabs in the whole city, should have started working on the problem of waste ten years ago when he took office. However, Moscow officials continue to choose a quick buck, authorizing new dumping sites instead of investing in waste industries and saving people’s lives.

In this video, Doctor of Chemical Science Andrey Koldobsky talks about the risks of waste burning industry in Russia and about the hazards of dioxins.

What is pyrolysis?

Pyrolysis reactor

Pyrolysis is a technology of thermal decomposition of organic and inorganic substances without access of air and exhaust gas. Pyrolysis can happen at low temperatures and at high temperatures. A human body that digests food and breaks it up into proteins, fats and carbs is in fact a pyrolysis factory.

Pyrolysis is perfect for waste treatment. Sorted waste mixture is loaded into a cistern and heated. Low temperature pyrolysis starts at 450C. Decomposing waste produces exhaust gas channeled into a separate column. Thus pyrolysis gas is formed which can be used for pyrolysis process to heat the reactor and it also be cleaned and used as fuel. Exhaust gas can be pumped onto a turbine to produce energy. In pyrolysis process water is formed which can be cleaned to receive H2O. The remaining mixture turns into diesel fuel and at higher temperatures and with deeper cleaning it turns into water and coal. Therefore, incineration does not happen at all in pyrolysis process, nor does formation of dioxins.

When garbage is burned exhaust gas containing a huge amount of dioxins gets onto dust filters where dioxins stick to dust molecules. Since this process does not involve chemical adsorption, but physical adsorption, there’s not enough energy to keep the molecules together. Dioxins can easily detach and get into the air and soil when the residue is buried. This presents a huge hazard for the environments and the people living in the neighborhood and working at waste incineration plants.

It turns out that pyrolysis is a waste-free and environmentally safe technology that does not produce any atmosphere contamination. Waste incineration plants are not equipped with chimneys because they do not need any chimneys to throw out gas. Also, pyrolysis plants do not produce any dioxin slag that has to be buried afterwards.

Pyrolysis is not a new technology. In Nazi Germany, before hydrocarbon prices dropped, there were four pyrolysis plants for fuel production. In the Soviet Union, pyrolysis technology was successfully implemented in various industries, for example, in coal mining industry with the purpose of raising productivity of mines. Nowadays, many scientists say that with pyrolysis plants Russia can effectively solve the problem of waste. However, due to corruption, pyrolysis technology does not get any progress.

In the last few years, China has been quite successful in using pyrolysis for treatment plastic waste and tires. In Europe, pyrolysis is not so popular, although many countries, especially in Eastern Europe are paying more and more attention to pyrolysis technology as the only efficient and safe option to waste incineration and landfills.

Russia purchases plastic garbage

Plastic garbage

When Sweden purchases garbage abroad in order to keep their recycling plants running, it doesn’t seem strange. The Swedes have solved the problem of their own waste a long time ago. They have very effective separate garbage collection, recycling and incineration at waste-to-energy plants. However, when we hear that Russia has started to import plastic waste, it seems absurd. Russia drowning in its own waste does is a backward country regarding waste management and does not have either a system of recycling or regulated landfills. In Russia, what they call landfills is actually city dumps of different sizes. Such dumps cause contamination of the environment and the people living in the neighborhood.

Europe’s biggest landfill in Shies

In the meantime, Russian waste industries have purchased plastic garbage by 32% more in 2018 than a year before, with the total cost of $20 mln. According to experts and entrepreneurs, the import of plastic garbage is growing due to the absence of efficient system of separate garbage collection. According to Green Peace. 94% of waste is taken to landfills instead of being recycled. That is recycling plants are compensating the lack of domestic plastic garbage with imported plastics.

Meanwhile, the construction of a landfill in Shies, Arkhangelsk region, that will become the largest landfill in Europe, have already cost about $100 mln, including the cost of guarding it from the local protestors. Evidently, that money could have been spent on organizing and effective system of separate garbage collection. The experience of all progressive countries shows that the most economically efficient way is development of domestic separate garbage collection infrastructure and recycling system. Also, this way is the most environmentally friendly. In Russia, we have enough of domestic plastic garbage. Moreover, we have domestic technology of waste treatment. However, the waste problem in Russia is going in the suicidal direction which only shows how corrupted and biased the structures involved in waste management are.