How Does an Incinerator Work?

An incinerator is one of the most commonly-used mediums for processing household garbage. Incineration is essentially a controlled process of burning waste materials. Disposal of garbage through incineration is regarded useful. It reduces the total volume of the waste materials, making it easier for the public authorities to manage public garbage. Further, the incineration process is able to kill the harmful pathogens that are found in garbage. This makes the processed or incinerated garbage safer to dump in landfill sites. Many contemporary garbage incinerators have been introduced that have a green aspect—they are eco-friendly. These incinerators produce steam that is later converted towards producing electricity. This is a remarkable format for converting waste materials into an energy-producing resource. Incineration is regarded as one of the most affordable waste-treatment process. There are various kinds of incinerators, each capable of handling a particular kind of waste-product. Chemical incinerators burn wastes collected from industrial processes while municipal or household incinerators collect garbage collected from residential neighborhoods. There are various other kinds of incinerators, categorized according to their additional functionalities. While some compress sludge, others are capable of sorting solids from liquid wastes before incinerating them.

Understanding Configuration of Waste Incinerators

Most waste incinerators have a similar configuration. This consists of a kiln or the combustion chamber. Most kilns today have a rotational motion to ensure uniform burning of the waste matter. The second combustion chamber is called the after-burner. To ensure that the harmful fumes aren’t released into the environment, there is an air-quality check or air-pollution control mechanism.

Understanding Working of Waste Incinerators—Sorting & Incineration

The collected waster matter is sorted according to the basic constructional material and level of toxicity. Many times, the garbage is further shred. This makes it easier to introduce the garbage into the kiln. The sorted and shred waste matter is dumped into the rotary kiln. The amount of waste matter dumped into the kiln is calculated according to total volume considerations and any expected expansion/contraction during the burning process. Rotary kilns are maintained at very high temperatures. Thus, any kind of garbage is completely burnt, ensuring that minimal amount of residue is created. During the incineration, ash and gases are produced. The ashes or the solid residue starts settling at the bottom of the kiln. The kiln has connecting pipes that direct the gas towards the afterburner. The solid residue is collected in separate containers. The afterburner too is maintained at extremely high temperatures—higher than the kiln’s temperatures. This helps to breakdown the gases into useful byproducts like water. Other by-products of incinerating the gas include lighter gases like carbon dioxide (CO2).

Understanding Working of Waste Incinerators—Dumping By-products

All the incineration by-products discussed above are put through a quality check. This is done to ensure that they pose no serious threat to the environment. Small samples of the ash are collected and analyzed. Similarly, water produced through the condensation process is checked to gauge its contamination levels. If the ash or solid residues are found to have dangerous levels of toxins, they are further processed. This is called leaching, wherein the toxicity of the matter is slowly leached-away through chemical treatment. The treated water is directed for further use according to its environmental marking. The treated ash is then carried-away to dumping sites.