Tetronics (International) Limited

Plasma Technology


Our technology is driven by our expertise. In today’s competitive marketplace, success at Tetronics is increasingly driven by our expertise in technology. We build on 50 years of experience to deliver our best-in-class clean plasma technology to meet the often complex needs of our customers across a number of material recovery and treatment challenges. As a result of the investment in technology development, Tetronics currently has 109 patents either granted or pending across 12 families.

Compact and Controllable

Due to their compact and controllable nature, Tetronics’ plasma systems provide a unique opportunity for industrial processing. In fact, plasma is one of the cleanest thermal processing technologies available.  This enables Tetronics’ systems to support an extensive range of applications, from recovery of precious metals and platinum group metals from spent catalysts, mining ores and electronics waste, to removing the toxicity of industrial materials such as asbestos and air pollution control residues.

The plasma process transforms spent materials into substances that are benign to the environment and produces valuable by-products for use elsewhere in industry, thereby closing the recycling loop. Plasma technology is highly beneficial in metal recovery processes, generating a higher recovery rate than alternative technologies.

Plasma: a controllable, clean, high temperature and versatile heat source.

Plasma is simply an ionised or electrically charged gas, and is often described as the fourth state of matter, i.e. when energy is added to a solid (first state) it becomes a liquid (second state); with more added energy it becomes a gas (third state) and when further energy is added it eventually disassociates to become a plasma. Examples of plasma are lightning, sparks coming from static electricity, fluorescent lights, arc welding and the aurora borealis (northern and southern (polar) lights). 99.9 percent of the Universe is made up of plasma.

The superb operating performance of plasma technology combined with its unmatched environmental compliance characteristics provides the secure business option for the treatment of and recovery from waste streams.

Waste Disposal and Treatment – How it Works

The intense temperature and ultra-violet light applied in the plasma process results in an extremely high resource recovery rate and maximum Destruction and Removal Efficiency (DREs) of hazardous components.

The Process for Waste Treatment

Tetronics’ plasma‐enhanced process allows material feedstocks to be fed into a sealed furnace and heated in a controlled environment using a plasma arc created by either a single or multiple plasma electrodes/torches.

The process chemistry is designed to preferentially separate and recover the valuable metals, minerals and other materials from the feedstock while destroying the hazardous elements, leaving behind a non‐hazardous vitrified material. This vitrified material, called Plasmarok, can be employed as a building product for the construction industry.

Tetronics’ plasma trials facility, the most comprehensive in Europe, has a unique suite of highly flexible pilot scale furnaces for conducting plasma trials across a wide range of material processes including:

  • Resource recovery
  • Hazardous material treatment

What this means for our customers

Taking advantage of our trials facility means our customers can undergo a comprehensive trial on their specific material or waste, validating the capital investment in the technology. These furnaces are supported by all the necessary services and utilities, under the appropriate regulatory approvals from the UK Environment Agency, and backed up by comprehensive data acquisition systems and external chemical analysis services.

This enviable combination of facilities continues to enable Tetronics to investigate the plasma treatment of an enormous number of materials in support of client and government‐sponsored programmes.

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