Waste Conversion Technologies and Waste Management

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Waste Accumulation Problems and Opportunities

Zoltan Kish, Ph.D.

September 2018


The increasing amount of waste is one of the most challenging problems facing the world. We are killing our planet by dumping 2.12 billion tons of garbage every year and polluting the oceans, land, and air. Consequently, we need sustainable and effective waste management to protect our environment and save our world. After China banned foreign waste acceptance, more garbage ends up in landfills and water resources creating enormous environmental problems. Advanced and effective waste conversion technologies can be a path to a working circular economy. Contaminated waste products are challenging to recycle and reuse. The waste can be transformed into various forms of sustainable and clean energy products utilizing effective waste conversion technologies in the circular economy. The underlying scientific/technology base is the essence of the successful waste conversion technology applications. The advanced and effective Waste-to-Energy technologies in combination with a reliable scrubbing/cleaning system can provide a solution to waste disposal, clean energy production, and sustainable product regeneration.  The waste, potentially, can be converted into various forms of high-value clean energy products, such as electricity, hydrogen, liquid synthetic fuels, and chemicals. Trash can be a cost-effective and environmentally sound supply of clean energy source and replace a portion of fossil fuels. It is essential that sustainable waste management become an integral part of urban development. 


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Circular Economy and Waste Conversion

Zoltan Kish, Ph.D.

January 2018


A circular economy is not only based on simple recycling and reuse of the produced waste. The purpose the recycling is to redesign and convert waste into forms retaining as high value as possible in a circular economy. Contaminated waste products (e.g., plastic, paper, MSW, industrial byproducts) are challenging to recycle and reuse in a conventional way. Garbage can be converted into high-value products by mechanical/physical, thermochemical, and biochemical processes (e.g., Waste-to-Energy, Waste-to-Gas, and Gas-to-Liquids technologies) to produce usable products. Consequently, efficient waste conversion technology applications can be a path to a working circular economy. Advanced emerging waste conversion technologies in combination with a reliable scrubbing/ cleaning system can be added to the list of technologies to provide a solution for waste disposal, clean energy and sustainable product regeneration. The waste, potentially, can be transformed into various forms of sustainable products, such as electricity, hydrogen, liquid synthetic fuels, and “green” chemicals and food-based products. The waste feedstock can be a cost-effective and environmentally sound supply of clean energy source and replace a portion of fossil fuels. 

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Clean Energy: Steam Reformation Technology

Zoltan Kish, Ph.D.

June 2016


The steam reformation technology represents a potential alternative to the traditional treatments of waste feedstocks (e.g. biomass, MSW, sewage sludge, plastic) to produce higher heating content syngas, which contains no noxious oxides and higher hydrogen concentration than products produced by gasification. The chemistry is different due to the high concentration of steam as a reactant and the total exclusion of air and, therefore, oxygen from the steam reformation process. The high quality of the produced syngas and residual waste heat can be used to power combined cycle gas turbines, reciprocating gas engines or potentially fuel cells for the generation of electricity and “green” hydrogen. In addition, because of high hydrogen to carbon monoxide ratio of the syngas, the technology can potentially be coupled with a Gas-to-Liquids technology (e.g. Fischer - Tropsch process) to produce higher value liquid synthetic fuels, such as synthetic diesel, methanol, and “green” chemicals. 

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Perspectives on Waste-to-Energy Technologies

Zoltan Kish, Ph.D.

March 2016


In response to global environmental challenges, there has been a requirement towards Waste-to-Energy technologies to produce alternative/ clean energy from waste feedstocks, such as MSW, industrial waste, biomass waste, sewage sludge, used tires, etc. The primary challenge of these technologies is the heterogeneous nature of MSW, which creates a widely varying chemical constituency of the energy products generated from these processes. A solution for waste disposal and clean energy production is an effective Waste-to-Energy technology application. The waste feedstock can be converted into higher value energy products by the physico-chemical (including biochemical) interactions, such as thermo-chemical and/or biological processes without or with additional reactants (e.g. water, oxygen, air, etc.). Perspectives of the Waste-to-Energy technologies, such as Incineration, Gasification & Plasma Enhanced Gasification, Pyrolysis, Anaerobic Digestion, and Stem Reformation have been reviewed. The produced product type depends on the types of feedstock and reactants, and the applied physico-chemical interaction conditions in the system. 

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Pure Steam Reforming of Municipal Solid Waste

Ernie Dueck, Zoltan Kish and Donald Kirk

October 2013


In response to global environmental challenges, Elementa Group Inc. (Elementa) has developed a pure steam reforming process for Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) and other waste feedstock materials to produce clean and efficient renewable energy. The Elementa technology is a novel patented Waste-to-Gas conversion technology and is based on a unique pure steam reforming process that uses an indirectly fired rotary kiln at a high temperature and non-oxidizing environment. This technology thermo-chemically breaks down carbon-based materials into a high-quality synthesis gas (syngas), leading to a greater than 95% conversion of carbonaceous content in the waste feed into a useful and clean syngas. The developed process effectively diverts MSW from landfills, converts it into clean energy and significantly reduces greenhouse gases. Elementa's technology will be able to generate not only a very clean syngas which can be used most directly for generating combined heat and electrical power and/or alternately synthesized into liquid fuels, where feeds can be sourced from a variety of wastes and renewable sources.

Novel Concept for New Development

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Novel Concept for New Materials and Technology Development

Zoltan Kish, Ph.D.

February 2016


A novel research and development concept is proposed to optimize the development of new materials and technologies by analyzing and changing the materials system state to obtain new materials with desirable properties. The state of the material system depends upon the interconnections among the different chemical and physical factors, such as type and structure of the particles, chemical bonds, and physical-chemical interactions.  New material and/or process (technology) can be developed according to the new market and application requirements by optimization of materials composition, changing chemical bonds, and the physico-chemical interactions in the materials systems. This proposed concept of the research and development can be used for any materials process and product development to accelerate the innovation implementation in corresponding industrial sectors, which need new materials and technologies for a variety of applications, such as clean energy, transportation, electronics and other fields. 

Advanced Materials

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Formation, Crystallographic Classification and Properties of Compounds in AI - BIII - CVI Systems

Zoltan Kish, Ph.D.

January 2007


The complex compounds in the AI - BIII - CVI systems (AI - Li, Na, K, Rb, Cs, Ag, Cu; BIII - Ga, In, Tl; and CVI - S, Se, Te) are promising semiconductor, electro-optic, nonlinear-optic, luminescence, pyroelectric, and piezoelectric materials. Especially, compounds of the AIBIIIC2VI – type can be used for practical applications. Many of these have not been synthesized and investigated yet, which is related, to a significant extent, to technical difficulties in producing these compounds. Therefore, this work was dedicated to overview the research of the ternary compounds in the AI - BIII - CVI systems including syntheses, single crystal growth, phase equilibrium, properties; theories of formations of the complex compounds, crystallographic classification, and changing properties; and predicting the possibility of the existence of the new compounds and their crystal structure and properties. The analysis of the ionic-radii ratios and the crystal structural types of the compounds shows that the variation in the crystal structure of the AIBIIIC2VI type compounds in the systems AI - BIII - CVI directly depends upon the magnitude of the ionic-radii ratio of alkaline metal (AI) to chalcogen (CVI). The crystal structures of the AIBIIIC2VI type of compounds can be classified into three crystal structural types: ZnS, NaCl, and TlSe. The developed theory allows performing the prediction of crystal structures of non-investigated AIBIIIC2VI compounds. It was discovered that the density, melting point, and width of the band gap directly depend upon the sum of the atomic numbers of the elements (Σz) for compounds of the same type of crystal structure, which allows predicting some properties for non-investigated compounds. The decrease in the melting point and the band gap widths (E) of the compounds with increasing Σz indicates a weakening of their stability as the metallic component of the chemical bonding increases.

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Preparation and Properties of High-Temperature Superconductors in Bi,Pb-Sr-Ca-Cu-O and Y-Ba-Cu-O Systems

Zoltan Kish, Ph.D.

January 2007


This article is dedicated to overview the research of High-temperature (High-Tc) superconductors including syntheses, films preparation, and investigating properties of superconducting phases in the Bi,Pb-Sr-Ca-Cu-O and Y-Ba-Cu-O systems. It was determined that the optimum compositions of the investigated materials are Bi2-XPbXSr2Ca3Cu4O12+Y and YBa2Cu3O7-X forming in the Bi,Pb-Sr-Ca-Cu-O and Y-Ba-Cu-O systems correspondingly. The best samples of the system Bi,Pb-Sr-Ca-Cu-O showed an onset of the superconducting transition at 170 K and the zero electrical resistance was achieved at 116.5 K. The film of YBa2Cu3O7-X also showed the superconductor behaviour and the zero electrical resistance was achieved at 92 K. 

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Advances and Benefits of Newly Developed Ceramics for Industrial Applications

Zoltan Kish, Ph.D.

January 2007


Industry demands high-performance materials that exhibit high thermal shock and corrosion/oxidation resistance, superior mechanical, electrical, optical, and magnetic properties. Ceramics can fulfill the demand of industry in high-performance materials. In response to the increased demands of higher performance materials for industrial applications, a novel patented materials process - ASPRO Conversion Technology has been developed to produce new advanced ceramics with superior properties. The developed technology is able to modify the atomic structure and chemical bonds in the treated materials leading to the unique combination of properties. These include combinations of high thermal shock resistance with high density, high level of toughness, hardness, chemical and wear resistance, and modified thermal and electrical properties required by structural and electronic applications. The ASPRO Conversion Technology exhibits the potential to extend the performance of advanced ceramic materials and subsequent products in structural uses, including automotive and aerospace components, pumps, power-generating equipment, ceramic cutting tool inserts, materials processing, and electronic applications while increasing efficiencies and achieving very favorable cost/benefit ratios.

Cosmology and Materials Science

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Forms of State of Matter

Zoltan Kish, Ph.D.

October 1989


In this monograph, it is proposed that in the universe, the state of matter exists in more forms than traditionally determined, such as solid, liquid, gas, and plasma. The forms of state of matter are determined by interactions of forces among particles in the materials system. The interaction summary of the forces can be considered as actions of the opposite forces. On the one side, these forces are repulsive forces (F), on the other side, these are attractive forces (P) among the particles in the materials system. The forms of state of matter correlate with the value of the |F|/|P| ratio in the universe. When the value of |F|/|P| is changing from 0 to ∞, the forms of state of matter are transforming in the following order: “Super-black-hole”, “Black-hole”, “Hyperon”, “Neutron”, “Super-solid”, “Solid”, “Liquid”, “Gas”, “Plasma”, and “Super-plasma”. Most matter transforms from one form to other at certain critical values of the |F|/|P|. In the universe, the chemical elements mostly exist in a relatively limited range of the |F|/|P| value. Based on this new concept of transformation of the states of matter, the possible evolution of the universe was reviewed.