Waste Management, Inc. and InEnTec LLC recently announced the formation of S4 Energy Solutions LLC, a joint venture to develop, operate and market plasma gasification facilities using InEnTec's Plasma Enhanced Melter (PEM) technology. The joint venture is expected to process waste from the country's increasingly segmented commercial and industrial waste streams to produce a range of renewable energy and environmentally beneficial fuels and industrial products as well as to generate electricity.
S4 Energy Solutions' initial focus will be to process medical and other segregated commercial and industrial waste streams. The company's future commercialization plans may also include the processing of municipal solid waste once the technology has been demonstrated to be economical and scalable for such use.
"We see waste as a resource to be recovered, and this joint venture with the PEM system will help Waste Management's commercial and industrial customers maximize high energy value waste streams to generate valuable renewable energy products based on their unique environmental and logistical considerations," said Joe Vaillancourt, managing director at Waste Management. "With InEnTec, Waste Management has found a partner with a promising technology as well as strong management, research and development capabilities to address the hurdles to implementing a new technology."
With the PEM process, waste materials are fed into a closed chamber where they are superheated to temperatures of between 10,000 and 20,000 degrees Fahrenheit using an electricity-conducting gas called plasma. The intense heat of the PEM rearranges the molecular structure of the waste, transforming organic (carbon-based) materials into an ultra-clean, synthesis gas (syngas). The clean syngas could be converted to transportation fuels such as ethanol and diesel, industrial products like hydrogen and methanol or used as a substitute for natural gas for heating or electricity generation. In a secondary stage of the PEM process, inorganic (non-carbon-based) materials are transformed into environmentally beneficial products.
"Our PEM systems are the leading technology for commercial plasma gasification, and Waste Management will provide much of the process knowledge that will help make our joint venture successful," said Jeff Surma, president and chief executive officer of S4 Energy Solutions. "The PEM(TM) technology has demonstrated its ability to process a number of waste streams, and we are looking forward to developing more projects that sustainably manage waste while recovering valuable energy and resources."
The joint venture, combining Waste Management's industry leadership and expertise in the collection and management of a wide range of segmented commercial and industrial waste streams with InEnTec's PEM technology could produce a variety of environmentally beneficial end products, which will be key to the advancement, commercial development, and scalability of the PEM technology. It is also complementary to Waste Management's comprehensive waste services in the areas of recycling, landfill, and waste-to-energy and consulting services capabilities.
Together with Waste Management's other renewable energy initiatives, this joint venture will move Waste Management toward meeting two of its sustainability goals: doubling its renewable energy production to provide enough power for the equivalent of two million homes by 2020, and investing in emerging technologies for managing waste.
For more information, visit www.S4EnergySolutions.com.
SOURCE: Waste Management, Inc.