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Thermal process of fluff: Preliminary tests on a full-scale treatment plant

Waste Management
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1016/j.wasman.2010.01.037
  • Design
  • Ecology
  • Geography
  • Law
  • Physics


Abstract Until only recently fluff has been largely disposed of in controlled landfill sites. However, in Europe environmental regulations, including the EU Landfill Directive 1999/31/EC and ELV (End of Life Vehicle) Directive 2000/53/EC, have dramatically increased the pressure on all stakeholders to develop alternative solutions. As increasingly stringent legislation forces Shredder Residues (SR) to be diverted from landfilling, newly developed technologies will be in a position to compete for the market value of disposing of the waste. However, the fluff waste stream is so variable that it cannot be automatically assumed that processes developed for one type of fluff will prove to be suitable for other fluff streams. This situation has contributed towards convincing stakeholders to withhold investment funds or delay taking decisions as to how best to proceed; as a consequence, very few technologies have been fully developed on a commercial basis. It is of particular interest therefore that commercial alternatives to be used in dealing with this complex waste stream should be identified. The present paper illustrates the findings of a full-scale thermal treatment performed on SR samples obtained from various shredding plants. The outcome of the study provides an important contribution towards assessing the feasibility and reliability of the process, thus constituting a basic prerequisite for process performance evaluation. The full-scale plant, designed for the thermo-valorization of tyres, was purpose-modified to allow for fluff combustion. Three different fluff compositions (car fluff with different percentage of shredding, whites and 100% car fluff) were taken into consideration. Both the raw samples and solid products were thoroughly characterized. Combustion emissions were continuously analyzed during the test period, alternatively operating for tyre and fluff combustion. Classification of combustion residues for landfill disposal was carried out indicating only 2% (ashes) as hazardous waste. Preliminary results, obtained from a unsophisticated thermodynamic analysis of the process, indicated a value of 0.61 for energy efficiency parameter calculated in accordance with the Directive 2008/98/EC. To conclude, the thermal treatment investigated may be deemed an appropriate technique for use in managing fluff. Indeed, values obtained for all organic and inorganic contaminants released into the atmosphere were lower than legal limits prescribed, and a significant energy content was recovered from waste fractions.

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