A busy city produces an absolutely overwhelming amount of trash on a daily basis. Even with the best recycling and composting programs, there is still a large volume of solid waste that every municipality has to destroy or bury somewhere. With over 260 million tons of municipal solid waste (MSW) produced in the U.S. in 2015 alone, it’s not surprising that incineration is one of the most common methods of disposal now in 2019. In fact, the U.S. has been incinerating more than 15 percent of its total MSW since the 1990s. Not only does incineration break bulky waste down into compact ash, but it also generates value in multiple forms along the way. Yet the ash left behind still requires the right kind of equipment, including heavy-duty slurry pumps, for safe and efficient handling, while ensuring the pump meets the demands of production.
The Value of Incinerating Municipal Solid Waste
Choosing to incinerate MSW does more than just free up space that would otherwise become covered in new landfills. Burning the waste in a controlled and enclosed way generates a surprising amount of heat that is easily transferred into electricity. Most MSW burning programs aim primarily to generate power rather than to specifically keep waste out of the landfill. Advanced incinerators are used with multiple burn chambers and stages to extract as much energy as possible from the waste before only ash is left behind. Scrubbers and particulate control systems prevent this combustion process from creating unnecessary air pollution.
Why Slurries Are the Easiest Way of Handling Ash
While the separate combustion chambers lead to the creation of multiple types of MSW ash, most of it is combined and all processed together. This means that both highly abrasive and less abrasive types are found in the same MSW ash stream. Since the primary reuse opportunities for this kind of ash include concrete formulation, laying fresh road bases, and landfill cover applications, there’s a lot of processing and transferring required after the material is collected. Dry ash is very lightweight and not only difficult to move through pipes or ducts but time-consuming and expensive to move mechanically. Mixing in liquid turns the dry powder into a slurry that is easier to move with pumps and similar equipment, but there’s still plenty of challenges to consider before choosing the correct equipment to handle this kind of mixture.
The Challenges of Working with Municipal Solid Waste Ash
With the majority of U.S. municipal solid waste incinerators processing mixed streams of trash that include everything from organic material to metals, the resulting ash is naturally quite diverse in chemical composition and mechanical characteristics as well. Combined MSW ash, along with fly ash, and bottom ash, tends to be both highly abrasive and prone to triggering corrosion in other materials. The very same abrasiveness that wears out slurry pumps handling the ash is also what makes it appropriate for roadway and concrete aggregate purposes. Even when it is possible to reduce the abrasiveness or corrosive nature of the ash with pre-processing treatments, these changes often make the ashless valuable to the final user of it.
How the EDDY Pump Succeeds at Pumping MSW Ash, Fly Ash, and Bottom Ash Slurries
The EDDY Pump is ideal for challenging MSW ash, fly ash, or bottom ash slurries. First, the combustion process leads to a wide range of particle sizes based on the breakdown of varying materials. Uneven particle size can seize up or wear out other pumps that rely on creating pressure through the compression of an impeller or piston. Since the technology of the EDDY Pump relies on an eddy current created by a highly-recessed, open rotor design, even the largest bits of debris and clumps of particles can pass cleanly through without any extra wear and tear on the pump which leads to far less maintenance and downtime, resulting in less expense and higher profits over the life of the EDDY Pump.
The EDDY pump design also reduces the amount of internal wear caused by the highly abrasive nature of MSW ash. Since there’s less contact between the surfaces and the ash due to the open rotor design, the pump lasts longer with less downtime for routine maintenance to replace worn and damaged impellers. Finally, new titanium pump designs counteract the corrosive effects of MSW ash that can greatly shorten the lifespan of a pump based on stainless steel materials. Not only will an EDDY pump handle the ash slurry itself with ease, but this style of slurry pump also works well for secondary manufacturing uses involving MSW ash like concrete mixing or other high solids pump applications.
Don’t let valuable MSW ash go into a landfill when it was already diverted from that use from incineration. Making new concrete structures and roads with the material is a much better use for it, even when it requires high-end slurry pumps capable of handling its abrasive effects.
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HD (Heavy Duty) Slurry Pumps
Why EDDY Pumps Are Better – Highlights
This video shows how EDDY Pump outperforms centrifugal pumps when pumping high solids abrasive, viscous or corrosive slurries.