Treatment of ship sludge oil using a plasma arc waste Destruction system (PAWDS)

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The Plasma Arc Waste Destruction system (PAWDS) uses a plasma torch to quickly gasify solid  waste on board ships. Developed under the support of the US Navy, this compact one deck system has been in commercial operation on board a cruise ship for more than three years. With the support of Carnival Cruise Lines and the National Research Council of Canada, the PAWDS was recently modified in order to process, in addition to solid waste, sludge oil, a mixture of heavy fuel oil, lubricating oil, water and grit collected from the ship’s hull.

In the PAWDS process, solid waste is pre-treated to render it into a lint-like material which is rapidly gasified in a patented plasma fired eductor. Liquid sludge oils are fed, through a specially designed injector, into the plasma plume for rapid gasification in the same plasma fired eductor. The system can treat mixed solid or sludge oil wastes as well as co-fired mixtures.

Surrogate oil mixtures and actual sludge oil waste were processed using the US Navy PAWDS prototype located at PyroGenesis’ facility in Montreal, which is essentially identical to the commercial unit in operation on board a cruise ship. Feed rates of up to 200 litres per hour were successfully processed.

In November 2005, demonstration tests were performed under the supervision of a Lloyd’s Register surveyor and with a certified laboratory sampling the emissions from the system. The purpose of these tests was to obtain certified data needed for obtaining a Lloyd’s Register Marine Equipment Directive Type Approval Certificate. The emission results were shown to be well within the MARPOL (International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, “MARine-POLlution”) guidelines with CO emissions being exceptionally low at 3 mg/MJ, which is less than 2% of the MARPOL limit (200 mg/MJ). Although not yet required by MARPOL, the system was shown to be able to obtain SOx removal efficiencies of 95%. The formal certification was obtained from the Lloyd’s Register offices in London on November 2006 for larger and smaller capacity PAWDS for the processing of solid and sludge oil wastes.

PyroGenesis believes that the ability to process sludge oil from ships opens up the possibility of using PAWDS on land-based applications for processing oily wastes and oily muds produced by other industrial sectors.

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