Dow Corning's Plant to Use High-Tech Waste Recycling System

"Plasma-enhanced melter" will convert formerly hazardous waste into useful products and reduce transportation and incineration costs.

Dow Corning's plant in Midland, Mich. will be fitted with Plasma Enhanced Melter (PEM) technology, produced by Integrated Environmental Technologies (IET). The PEM facility, operated by Veolia Environmental Services, will use the nation's first plasma-based gasification process to recycle hazardous waste, according to Dow Corning.

The new technology transforms hazardous chlorinated organic liquids into aqueous hydrochloric acid (HCl) and clean synthesis gas (referred to as "syngas"). The acid and syngas will then be provided back to Dow Corning for its use to replace raw materials that it would otherwise need to purchase. The project will also remove the need for off-site transportation and incineration of significant quantities of hazardous waste.

The plan is for IET's plant to convert more than 6600 tons per year of liquid hazardous waste, and produce 12 million pounds per year of HCl and 10.5 million BTU per hour of syngas.

Although this is the first PEM deployment in the U.S., it has been being used in Japan for years. In 2003, Japanese manufacturer Kawasaki installed IET PEM technology in Japan to eliminate PCBs. In 2004, Kawasaki purchased non-exclusive rights to market the PEM system in Japan. In 2005, Global Plasma Corp. in Taiwan began operations at a plant using IET equipment to convert medical waste into electric power and to recycle used batteries.

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