Home > FAQ
What types of medical waste can be treated?
Does the EWS process meet current North American and European air emission regulations?
How will new US EPA air emission requirements for incineration affect the use of EWS’s process?
What is the daily throughput of the MD-1000?
What are the volume and weight reduction factors of the process?
Is the process deemed sterilization or disinfection? What is the difference?
Can the residue go straight to landfill?
How much energy is required to treat 1 kg of typical medical waste?
What is the footprint of the MD-1000?
What is the composition of a typical passenger tire?
What does the process do to a scrap tire and what are the products?
What types of hydrocarbons are produced?
What is the quality of carbon black produced?
What is the potential to produce energy from oil/gas?
What are feed rates for EWS’ s models?
What is the plant footprint?
1. What is Reverse Polymerization?
Reverse Polymerization is the break down of organic compounds to simple molecules resulting from the direct application of high-energy microwaves in a nitrogen environment. The nitrogen environment is key, as it prevents oxidation from occurring; therefore, the nitrogen environment prevents the formation of undesired and potentially hazardous by-products from forming.
2. How does Reverse Polymerization differ from pyrolysis and incineration?
There are several characteristics that differentiate Reverse Polymerization from incineration and/or pyrolysis; however, the four key differences are the following:
- The microwaves are applied in a nitrogen environment (oxygen depleted); therefore, oxidation of the waste does not occur. Organic wastes are broken down to simpler molecules. Incineration is an oxidation process and hazardous by-products, such as dioxins and furans, can be produced.
- The Reverse Polymerization reaction occurs at relatively low chamber temperatures of 150°C to 350°C, depending on the application. This differs from pyrolysis and incineration, which generally occur at much higher temperature.
- Reverse Polymerization is highly controlled as the microwave energy is focused and the energy input is variable, allowing the desired amount of energy input per unit mass of waste to be applied. This high degree of control is not possible with incineration and pyrolysis.
- The application of microwaves energy heats the waste uniformly. Pyrolysis and incineration heat the materials from the outside inward.
3. How do microwaves interact with materials?
The microwaves interact directly with the object being heated. The interaction is related to the chemical properties of the object and it is possible to apply heat in ways that are not achievable by conventional means (convection heating, conductive heating or radiant heating).
Microwaves penetrate materials and release the energy in the form of heat as the polar molecules vibrate at high frequency to align with the frequency of the microwave field. As a result, microwaves heat materials that interact well with this form of energy relatively uniformly throughout. Conventional heating involves energy transfer from the outside inwards.
1. What types of medical waste can be treated?
The technology can process virtually all medical or bio hazardous wastes. Extensive testing was conducted in our Ajax facility on medical waste including pathological, anatomical, bodily fluids and blood products; however, independent verification testing will be conducted at the installation in Liverpool shortly to include body fluids, body parts, blood products and pathological wastes (“red bag”). In addition, testing will also be conducted to confirm that cytological wastes and waste solvents can also be processes.
2. Does the EWS process meet current North American and European air emission regulations?
Testing conducted at our facility in Ajax confirmed that the MD-1000 meets Canadian and U.S. ground level requirements without final off-gas treatment. With a small thermal oxidizer, with an efficiency of 99.99%, all known emission requirements are easily met and exceeded by at least an order of magnitude (10x). The peak flow from the Model MD-1000 is 60 cubic feet per minute (CFM). This is a very low flow and to put this in perspective, a typical bathroom fan discharges 200 CFM. Incinerators and pyrolysis units discharge many times this flow volume which can be in the tens of thousands of CFM. The testing conducted at the Liverpool site confirmed that with the twin 30kW turbines installed, the system also meets, and is well within the requirements of E. U. emission standard.
3. How will new US EPA air emission requirements for incineration affect the use of EWS’s process?
New U.S. EPA requirements for incineration will have a profound positive effect on EWS and our medical waste treatment system. The U.S. EPA estimates that the new requirements will cause 80% of existing medical waste incinerators to close and will prevent as many as 80% of those planned to be cancelled. The cost of retrofitting many of these older medical waste incinerators with the pollution control devices to meet the requirements will be too high. We believe that this will significantly increase the need and the demand for Reverse Polymerization units.
4. What is the daily throughput of the MD-1000?
The MD-1000 processes 1,230 kg/day (2,700 lb/day), operating 24 hours per day. Larger models have been designed and custom configurations can be accommodated.
5. What are the volume and weight reduction factors of the process?
The system reduces mass and volume by approximately 80%. The final reduction values are dependent on the nature of the load. Reductions of greater than 80% can be achieved with very high water contents.
6. Is the process deemed sterilization or disinfection? What is the difference?
Reverse Polymerization achieves 6 Log10 reduction of viable spores which is classified as sterilization. This is the highest level of spore inactivation as defined in most industrialized countries and is required for certain types of medical wastes. The lower levels of spore inactivation, 4 Log10 and 5 Log10 are called disinfection and are generally acceptable for some medical waste types but not other types. Many alternative medical waste treatment technologies can not achieve sterilization.
7. Can the residue go straight to landfill?
The waste is essentially a carbonized residue, with ground (blunted) glass and metal sharps included. The waste is completely acceptable for disposal in municipal landfills as defined in Canada and the U.S. The waste can be disposed with the standard kitchen and housekeeping refuse. This eliminates the need for special handling and eliminates the special hauling required for medical waste.
- Carbon Black – 28%
- Synthetic rubber – 27%
- Steel – 14-15%
- Natural rubber – 14%
- Fabric, fillers, accelerators, antiozants, etc. – 16-17%
2. What does the process do to a scrap tire and what are the products?
Reverse Polymerization breaks down scrap tires (or any other rubber product) to its basic components, carbon black, steel and hydrocarbons. A typical 20 lb (9.1 kg) scrap tire is converted into 7.5 lb (3.75 kg) of carbon black, 2.0 lb (0.91 kg) of steel and 10.5 (4.8 kg) of hydrocarbons.
3. What types of hydrocarbons are produced?
The hydrocarbons produced are 60% gas and 40% oil. The gas consists of methane, ethane, propane, butane and nitrogen with a heating value of 1,600 British thermal units per standard cubic foot (BTU/SCF). This is a very high heating value as commercial grade natural gas has a heating value of 1,000 BTU/SCF. The oil is similar to a synthetic crude and is mainly “lighter-end” components, with a heating value of 19,000 BTU/lb.
4. What is the quality of carbon black produced?
The carbon black produced from Reverse Polymerization is a combination of the carbon blacks that were used in the original scrap tire feed; therefore, EWS carbon black does not fit into the traditional industry classifications. Nevertheless EWS has had very positive feedback from several major tire manufactures about the potential use of the product.
5. What is the potential to produce energy from oil/gas?
The system produces a significant amount of energy. The hydrocarbons produced from a Model TR-6000 (4 processing lines) are sufficient to drive a 6 MW steam turbine. The Reverse Polymerization process and all plant parasitic loads use 3 MW, leaving approximately 3 MW available for sale to the grid. This is approximately enough power to service 3,000 North American homes.
6. What are feed rates for EWS’ s models?
The system is very modular with the TR-1500 being the basic unit (single processing line). A model TR-1500 processes 1,500 scrap tires per day or 500,000 scrap tires per year. Large models are multiples of the TR-1500. The model TR-6000 processes 6,000 scrap tires per day or more than 2 million scrap tires per year.