MTA-BME Research Group

Developing advanced technologies for processing and energy recovery for municipal solid waste

Project ID:
Supported by:
Nemzeti Kutatási, Fejlesztési és Innovációs Hivatal (NKFIH)
1 January 2020 - 31 December 2022
Supervisor (BME):
Dr. Kornél Pölöskei
Participant researchers (BME):
Dr. Pölöskei Kornél
Dr. Bárány Tamás
Consortium partners (BME):
3B Hungária Kft. (Konzorciumvezető)
BME GPK Áramlástan Tanszék (BME témavezető)
BME GPK Energetikai Gépek és Rendszerek Tanszék

Project summary

Only in Hungary 2.7 million tons of municipal solid waste is generated annually and the majority of that is landfilled. According to the World Bank’s data more than 2 billion tons of municipal solid waste (MSW) is generated worldwide (0.75 kg/day/person) and that amount is continuously increasing: in 2050 3.4 billion tons/year is probable. There are not enough capacities for utilizing the secondary solid fuel fractions, having high heating value, derived from the waste in the existing utilities, which makes worse the Hungarian situation. There is a need in the international market for systems processing the mixed collected municipal solid waste that are able to accommodate in a flexible way to the various waste compositions appearing in different countries. The selective collection practice varying in time makes more complex the situation in point of view of the packaging materials. The energy utilization of the MSW needs multiple and complex process steps: grinding, sieving, separation of the ferrous and non-ferrous metals, separation of the inert and the unwanted materials (e.g. PVC). During the waste processing it is problematic if the waste is heterogeneous and multi phased. In such case the first step of the process is the sorting. If the multifarious material were packaged in a body during the process of waste treatment the recycling would became impossible. The sorting processes have enormous human work and energy needs and actually it would be economical only if the resulting materials of the sorting have enough value in a separated, homogenous state for the concerned process manufacturing industry. We are developing a technology that helps the circular economy, the local energy utilization and the EU directives related to the landfilling. 3 highlighted areas: Automated sorting of the incoming waste: classification by density based on air technology, which sorts some components of the waste in a targeted way. The separator’s capacity will be increased and the precision of the classification will be enhanced. The filtering of the air used in the air technology classification will be worked out thereby the dusting can be avoided. The air classification is equipped by sensors in order to make the operation and controllability of the engine more accurate. Through the developed separation technology the materials recyclable to the economy as secondary raw materials can be sorted effectively. 2)After the separation of materials recyclable as secondary raw materials when the remaining waste has been dried out we produce from that a solid secondary fuel. The drying technology of the waste will be elaborated of the highest available energy utilization indices. 3)From the solid secondary fuel a gas of high heating value will be basically obtained by thermal process. By this gas heat will be generated, which is utilized in district heating systems, on the other hand electricity will be also produced. The gas and slag treatment will be also managed. The thermal process will be developed further so the order of magnitude of the actual processing capacity will be increased in order to serve the larger settlements in a reliable way. The leader of the consortium (3BH) has got a significant experience in the installation and development of waste processing facilities. It built the first sorting facility in Hungary in 2001. In the next 14 years it realized 64 waste processing facilities then it delivered the technology to 5 MSW preparatory plant. The consortia project partner of 3BH is the Budapest University of Technology and Economics. The cooperating departments of BME have got special knowledge and laboratory infrastructure on the field of process engineering, measurement technology and material science recognized by the industry. BME supports the aims of the project in a suppletory way on the fields of separation technology, drying technology and combined heat and power generation (CHP) using fuel from waste processing.

Project results

Section 1
1 January 2020 - 31 December 2020
We have developed energy flow diagrams and energy balances to evaluate the energy potential of RDF, the different mechanical solutions of the utilization, taking into account the utilization of the by-products. We evaluated the environmental impact related to the different solution variants, the measurement requirement for pollutant emissions, with special regard to pyrolysis. Numerical thermal and flow modeling was used to reveal the details of the processes inside the pyrolysis reactor and to investigate the effect of the steel ball set to be used as the heat transfer medium. Preliminary experiments were performed on representative RDF samples to contribute to the design of a future pyrolysis plant. We modeled the chemical transformation of RDF. We established the operational optimization of the pyrolysis reactor based on numerical modeling. Preliminary experiments were performed on wastes to determine physical characteristics. Numerical flow modeling was performed to explore the details and increase the efficiency of the HVAC separation, with special regard to the novelty-containing details. Based on the modeling, we proposed to smooth the velocity distribution of the slit nozzle. We have developed two alternative concepts to replace the large settling chamber currently used for 2D product / air separation: vacuum belt and rotary cell technology. For the SWOT analysis of these, we designed, built and operated experimental equipment, based on the results of which we chose the vacuum belt technology. Based on multi-level design and procurement work phases, the new 5F experimental separator equipment is currently in production.

Section 2
1 January 2021 - 31 December 2021

Section 3
1 January 2022 - 31 December 2022

© 2014 BME Department of Polymer Engineering - Created by: Dr. Romhány Gábor