Plasma-Arc Gasification and Other Air Emissions

Emissions, Waste To Energy Add comments

Last week, we discussed and demonstrated how plasma-arc gasification nearly eliminates dioxin formation, this entry looks to address semi-volatile heavy metal compounds and other air emissions.

The high temperatures at which plasma gasification processes operate can result in the generation of volatile inorganic constituents (i.e. metals and metal oxides), sometimes at a higher level than compared to convention thermal treatment processes, particularly if the waste feedstock comes in direct contact with the very hot plasma gasification plume as these compounds may become volatized and carried downstream with the syngases generated. While many are removed by the gas cleaning and conditioning systems, in plasma gasification processes where the off gases are not cooled (i.e. plasma combustion, which is not utilized by PEAT) these heavy metal compounds could be carried out in the stack gases, increasing the levels of potential contaminants that are emitted.

Downstream of any quench system or syngas cooler, any entrained particulate matter and/or acid gases (H2S, HCl, etc.) are scrubbed with water typically using either a packed-bed tower/Venturi scrubber or through a dry filtration system. Additional equipment in the form of HEPA or baghouse filters may also be utilized.

The results presented in the below reflect emissions from PEAT International plasma gasification waste-to-energy systems where the syngas was not utilized and ultimately processed in a thermal oxidizer or secondary reaction chamber.


Emission /
Waste Stream
methyl pyrazolone,
(High Sulfur (20%),
High Chlorine (14%))
Gujarat, India
Incinerator fly ash
and medical waste
in Tainan, Taiwan
Medical Waste
in Gujarat, India
PM (gr/scf) 0.00817 0.004806 0.01057
CO (ppmv) ND
(DL: 0.08 ppm)
(DL: 2.8 ppm)
NOx (mg/nm3) 0.35 48.95 129.32
SOx (mg/nm3) 13.1 55.03 22.72
(DL: 0.00671 ppm)
(DL 5.1 ppm)
(DL 1 ppm)
Lead (μg/nm3) NR 43.46 ND
(DL 1.0 μg/m3)
Cadmium NR 1.94 μg/nm3 19.51 μg/m3
Mercury NR 6.4 μg/nm3 ND
(D.L. 1.0 μg/m3)
(D.L. 1mg/m3)
APC system for each system only included wet venturi scrubber and baghouse filter


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