1. What are the basic principles of plasma gasification technology and what is it used for?
The “secret sauce” of the plasma gasification technology resides on the ABA Thermal Reduction Unit(TRU). This TRU contains a series of plasmatrons that generate plasma using microwave radiation. When this radiation comes in contact with carbonic material it unleashes such large quantity of energy that a plasma field is generated. Due to this reaction, the incoming solid material and saturated steam go through a phase transformation that forces the carbon, oxygen and hydrogen molecules to break loose. Once these molecules leave the plasma field they attach to each other forming a new molecular structure, called syngas.
The syngas produced by the TRU is fed into a generator to produce electric power. It is worth to note that syngas has multiple applications, and producing electric power is only one of them. Syngas can be converted into hydrogen, methanol and many other petrochemical products depending on the TRU configuration that would be attached to the TRU. Regardless of the application, the byproduct from this process is only 0.5% of the whole output and since it an inert material it can be used as filler in constructions sites.
2. How is Plasma2Energy different from other plasma gasification technologies available today?
Current plasma gasification technologies use an electric arc or a torch to generate the plasma field. These 2 approaches require an enormous amount of energy to function. They can consume up to 80% of the energy generated.
In the case of the ABA gasification technology, the energy required to operate the TRU serves to generate microwave radiation to be applied to the carbonic matter, not plasma. The matter then becomes plasma. It takes a fraction of the other 2 approaches to generate microwave radiation.
3. What are the immediate benefits of microwave-induced plasma gasification? Why should the U.S. invest in it now?
Plasma2Energy presents the opportunity to convert waste of any kind into an unlimited and inexpensive source of clean energy. This proposition is becoming more relevant nowadays because it tackles 2 concerns: energy and environment.
The economy depends on foreign oil for its energy necessities and the global production is reaching its limit. This creates the need to develop local sources of energy that can be exploited without incurring into major costs. Plasma2Energy’s technology solves this problem by offering a different alternative to coal and oil.
For decades, landfills have been the only answer to eliminate waste. There have been numerous attempts to avoid burying trash in the ground, such as recycling or methane capturing systems. However, none of these approaches have been completely successful and we still bury 50% of the trash we generate. It is well known that landfills pose detrimental effects of the environment. Plasma2Energy has the ability to reverse this trend.
4. What would the ROI be for municipalities, landfills, private energy companies that would be willing to invest in microwave-induced plasma gasification?
The return on investment for plasma gasification depends on the size of the processing plant. A plant processing more than 300 metric tons of waste per day will deliver better results than smaller plants. For this reason, the range of the ROI is between 10% and 20%.
5. Why haven’t municipalities in the U.S. embraced this technology?
The ABA Microwave Plasma Gasification is a new technology. The WIPO(World Intellectual Property Organization) publication was in 2008.
Traditional technologies need to build large plants to achieve positive results. The cost of capital is relatively high and the margins are low.
Current technologies are too expensive to operate. They consume a considerable amount of the energy that is generated. The emerging ABA technology is highly efficient and most of the energy generated can be sold to the market.
6. What is the turnaround time for building a working plant?
The TRU takes approximately 6-9 months for delivery. Permitting and Electrical Power Plants could take from 12 to 18 months.
7. Are there currently any plants under construction or in operation in the US or elsewhere?
There are no Plasma2Energy plants in the US. As of March 2011, we have begun due diligence process with a municipality in Texas interested in building the first full scale plant using our technology.
8. What is needed in order to spark interest and investment in plasma gasification?
Plasma2Energy is introducing a disruptive technology to the waste management market. There is no single technology that can deliver the performance that Plasma2Energy can achieve. That is why a third party validation is necessary to attract more attention from investors in this field.
We have begun the process of selecting a technology research institute in the U.S. to validate our TRU. We expect to select a 3rd party validation group in the next 60 days. We anticipate that investors will flock once our 3rd party validation is complete.