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Publication numberUS3626874 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateDec 14, 1971
Filing dateOct 22, 1968
Priority dateOct 22, 1968
Publication numberUS 3626874 A, US 3626874A, US-A-3626874, US3626874 A, US3626874A
InventorsLloyd R Grant
Original AssigneeAction Concepts Technology Inc
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
System for collecting and disposing of ordinary refuse by converting it into useful energy, without pollution
US 3626874 A
Abstract  available in
Previous page
Next page
Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

[72] Inventor Lloyd R. Grant Penfield, NY.

[21 Appl. No. 769,547

[22] Filed Oct. 22, I968 [45] Patented Dec. 14, I971 [73] Assignee Action Concepts Technology, Inc.

Rochester, N.Y.


[51] Int. Cl F233 3/00 [50] Fleld oISearch 110/7, 8,

[56] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 5/1961 lirandtetal.

FUEL SOURCE PACKER TRUCK III 4 GRINDER TRUCK Primary Examiner- Kenneth W. Sprague Attorney-Schovee & Boston ABSTRACT: Ordinary refuse is collected, ground-up, oxidized by the liquid environmental combustion thereof, the combustion being controlled to generate heat in excess of that required to maintain the combustion, and the excess heat is converted into useful energy, such as electricity and steam.


STOAGE TANK ' TANKER TRUCK mam Patented Dec. 14, 1971 2 Sheets-Sheet 1 VGDMP mwQZEw INVENTOR mumaow E2; EE

2955 60 52 momjow ma LLOYD R. GRANT ATTORNEY SYSTEM FOR COLLECTING AND DISPOSING OF ORDINARY REFUSE BY CONVERTING IT INTO USEFUL ENERGY, WITHOUT POLLUTION BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION 1. Field of the Invention This invention relates to the fields of refuse collection, disposal, energy generation, and pollution reduction, and in particular to a system accomplishing all four at the same time. I 0

2. Description of the Prior Art It has been estimated that the United States alone, presently generates one-half million tons of refuse per day. This refuse explosion" comes at a time when increasing emphasis is placed upon reducing the pollution of our air, water and land.

Prior art refuse disposal systems are not capable of disposing of refuse without generating pollution, and the prior art systems are becoming more expensive.

Prior art refuse disposal systems include (I) picking up the refuse, (2) transporting the refuse to a remote area, and (3) 2 which the refuse is disposed of produces obnoxious odors and generally lowers property values in the area. As communities= grow in size, the distance which the refuse must be hauled in-- creases.

Prior art disposal is accomplished, for example, by incineration and landfill. Incineration produces great amounts of air pollution, leaves an unsightly "dump" area, and lowers surrounding property values. Landfill requires land to fill; as ci-,

ties grow, additional land becomes more expensive, less 1 available, and more distant from the point where the refuse is generated.

- Regarding the energy-generating aspect of the present in-.

vention, it is estimated that the rate of increase of the need fori useful energy in the world exceeds even the rate of increase of SUMMARY OF THE PRESENT INVENTION The present invention is a new method and apparatus (l) for collecting refuse, (2) for disposing of refuse, (3) for generating useful energy, (4) for reducing pollution, and (5) is also a new system combining various of the above listed l-4) aspects of this invention.

In the preferred embodiment, the collecting is accomplished by means of grinder trucks for picking up and for grinding up the refuse and by means of large tanker trucks for receiving the ground-up refuse from the grinder trucks and for I transporting it to a large storage tank, conveniently located in the community.

In the preferred embodiment, the collected refuse is disposed of and converted to useful energy; without pollution, by continuously feeding it into a liquid environmental combustion reactor, along with water and air. The temperature and pressure in the reactor are controlled such that the oxidizable matter in the refuse is oxidized generating heat, carbon dioxide, water, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen, and some light ash. The heat is used to generate both electricity and steam.

For use in the present specification and claims, the term "refuse" is hereby defined to include waste, rubbish, trash, and debris and does not include sewage.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS T he pre s e r rt inve ntion will be more fully understood by reference to the following detailed description thereof, when read in conjunction with the attached drawings, wherein like reference numerals refer to like elements and in which:

FIG. 1a and FIG. lb show a schematic, flow diagram illustrating the various aspects of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS Before describing the method and apparatus of the presentinvention in detail, it is believed that reference to the following table, presenting a breakdown of the composition of .average municipal refuse, will aid the reader in understanding the present invention:

COMPOSITION AND ANALYsrs o'F' ANMAVERAGE MUNICIPAL-REFUSE [From studies made'by Purdue University-completed 1966] Ultimate analysis in percent of drywelght Percent of ture, Vola- Non- Calorlfic refuse percent Car- Hydrc- Oxy- Nltro- Sultlle cornvalue, by by bon glen gen Ngen phur matbus- B.t.u. per Components weight weight C= 12 /2 0. 16 [23 8/32 ter tlble pound Rubbish 64%:

Paper 42. 0 10. 2 43. 4 5. 8 44. 3 0. 30 0. 2o 84. 6 6. 0 7, 572 Wood... 2.4 20.0 50.5 6.0 42.4 0. 20 0.05 84.9 1.0 8,613 Grass... 4. 0 65. 0 '43. 3 6. 0 41. 7 2. 20 0. 05 -7 6. 8 7, 693 Brush... 1. 5 40. 0 42. 5 5. 9 41. 2 2. 00 0. 05 8. 3 7, 900 Greens-. 1. 5 62. 0 40. 3 5. 6 39. 0 2. 00 0. 05 70. 3 13. 0 7, 077 leaves.-. 5. 0 50. 0 40. 5 6. 0 45. 1 0. 20 0. 05 8. 2 7, 096 leather. 0. 3 10. 0 60. 0 8. 0 11. 5 10. 00 0. 40 76. 2 10. 1 8, 850 Rubber. 0. 6 1. 2 77. 7 10. 4 2. 00 85. 0 10. 0 11, 330 Plastics..- 0. 7 2. 0 60. 0 7. 2 22. 6 10. 2 14, 368 0115, paints 0. 8 0. 0 66. 9 9. 7 5. 2 2.00 16. 3 13, 400 eum.-.. 0. 1 2. 1 48. 1 5. 3 18. 7 0. 10 0. 40 65. 8 27. 4 310 0. 6 10. 0 55. 0 6. 6 31. 2 4. 0. 13 93. 6 2. 5 7, 652 Street sweeplngs. 3. 0 20. 0 34. 7 4. 8 35. 2 0. 10 0. 20 67. 4 25. 0 6, 000 t 1. 0 3. 2 20. 6 2. 6 4. 0 0. 50 0. 01 21. 2 72. 3 3, 790 Unclassified 0. 5 4. 0 16. 6 2. 5 18. 4 0. 05 0. 05 i 62. 5 3, 000 Food wastes 1 Garbage 10. 0 72. 0 45. 0 6. 4 28. 8 3. 3 0. 52 53. 3 16. 0 8, 484 Fats. 2. 0 0. 0 76. 7 12. 1 11. 2 0 0 0 16, 700 Non-comb Metals- 8. 0 3. 0 0. 8 0. 04 0. 2 99. 0 124 Glass/ceramics. 6. 0 2. 0 0. 6 0. 03 0. 1 99. 3 Ashes 10. 0 10. 0 28. 0 0. 50 0. 8 70. 2 4, 172 Composite refuse, as received; all

refuse 20. 7 28. 0 3 5 22. 4 0. 33 0. 16 24. 9 6, 203-9, 048

the population 6? the "66nd. As conventional fuel sources' become used up, more expensive fuels will be used. Further,

i Referring n06 in detail to the preferred embodiments of the invention, the invention-comprises picking up refuse from a electricity generating plants are usually located at large 70 lhome where is collected in garbage comamers distances from population centers, while this is not necessary: in the present invention. The present invention generates useful energy from refuse, which man has, from time immemorial, simply tried to get rid of, primarily by dumping it in someone elses back yard.

means of a grinder truck 6. The grinder truck 6 includes a grinder 8, a storage tank 9, and an inventory tank 10. A number of different grinders can be used, but the grinder 8 is preferably of the type which uses a steel bowl grinder tank on the bottom of which is a large rotating impeller disc with pieces of tungsten carbide imbedded and welded therein, similar to that shown in U.S. Pat. No. 3,188,942. Grinding is accomplished by rapid rotation (for example, 600-],800 r.p.m.) of the impeller disc. Clogging does not occur.

The ground-up refuse in storage tank 9 is periodically conveyed to a large tanker truck 12 having a storage tank 13, through a conduit 14, preferably connected to and unrolled from the tanker truck 12. The refuse can be forced through the conduit 14 by means of vacuum, a screw, a screw pump,

etc., as will be understood by one skilled in the art. During the time that the refuse is being conveyed from the storage tank 9, to the'tanker truck 12, the grinder 8 can continue to operate tank '10, through a conduit 11. After the storage tank 9 has been emptied, the conduit 1 l is closed (by a valve not shown), the inventory tank 10 is emptied into the storage tank 9, and the conduit (not shown) from the grinder 8, to the tank 9 is opened. The volume of tank 13 of tanker truck 12 is much greater than the volume of tank 9 of truck 6, whereby many grinder trucks 6 can be serviced by a single tanker truck 12.

The tanker truck 12 transports its load, received from a large number of grinder trucks 6, to a large storage tank 16, by

means of a feed conduit 18, preferably attached to the storage tank 9, for attachment to and removal from the tanker truck 12. The feeding through the conduit 18 can be accomplished by any of a screw, screw pump, vacuum, etc. The storage tank 16 can be so located that the truck 12 can drive on top of the tank 16 to use a gravity feed system. The volume of the stationary storage tank 9 is much greater than the volume of tank 13 of tanker truck 12. A plurality of storage tanks 16 can be used, depending upon the quantity of refuse being processed.

Another refuse pickup method can also be used, along with the method described above, as shown in the drawings. in this method, refuse from a source such as a house 20, collected in deposited into a packet truck 24, of the type employing means for compacting the mass of refuse carried by it. The packer truck 24 unloads the compacted mass of refuse at a grinder building 26, having a conveyor 28 for feeding the compacted mass of refuse into a grinder 30. The ground-up refuse from grinder 30 is fed to storage tank 16 through feed line 32, by means for example, of a slurry pump 34, which includes a source of dirty" water for mixing with the ground-up refuse to form a slurry. The term dirty water" as will be understood by heat engineers, is to be distinguished from water" meaning demineralized water. Alternatively, the refuse can be transferred from grinder 30 to tank 16 in solid form; it need not first be formed as a slurry.

The ground-up refuse in the storage tank 16 is fed continuously into a reactor 36, by means of, for example, a slurry pump 38, and a feed line 40. The ground-up refuse in the storage tank 16, is preferably formed as a slurry by introducing dirty water into the tank 16 from a source 41, through a pipe 43, for example. This is not necessary; the ground-up refuse can be fed into the reactor 36, as a solid. When the refuse is fed as a solid into the reactor 36, the water, or other liquid used, must be separately fed into the reactor 36. Air is also introduced into the reactor 36, preferably by means of a compressor 46 and air line 48 In addition to using refuse as a fuel, it can be desirable at times to add other fuel values also into the reactor 36. This is accomplished by means of an alternative feeder 42 and feed line 44. The feeder 42 can include a grinder, for example, for grinding up trees, seaweed and any other oxidizable matter which may be available.

The oxidation process, and the start-up of the oxidation process, will be discussed after the following description of the remaining equipment used in the system.

An effluent conduit 50 carries the fluid effluent out of the reactor 36 from a point adjacent the top thereof, to a gasliquid separator 54. Although the liquid component carries away some heat from the reactor 36, approximately 90 percent of the heat is contained in the hotga ses by switching the output from the grinder 8 to the inventory I 3 5 garbage containers 22, is picked up, by hand, for example, and

The liquid component of the effluent, separated out by the separator 54, is fed through a conduit 56 containing a valve 52, to a settling tank 58. The valve 52 is preferably an automatic, pressure activated valve, set to open at a predetermined pressure. The valve 52 helps to maintain the desired pressure in the reactor 36. The material in the settling tank 58 can be periodically emptied through a discharge pipe 59. The component of the efiluent includes sterile water and a light ash (the nonoxidizable matter in the refuse). The ash water can be discharged into a settling pond that empties through a sand filter into a nearby stream, leaving the light ash as a landfill residue.

The hot gaseous component of the effluent is fed through a conduit 60 to a steam generator 62, and then through a conduit 64, to a power recovery turbine 66. A combustion superheater 68 is maintained in the conduit 64 for heating the gases to raise their temperature. The turbine 66 drives both the compressor 46 to supply air to the reactor 36 and a generator 70, to generate electricity. The electricity is distributed via lines 72 to points of use, such as for example, building 74. The exhaust gases from the turbine 66 are fed through a conduit 76 to a cooling tower absorber 78 to prevent thermal pollution, and then to atmosphere.

Returning now to the steam generator 62, water (clean water) is fed into the steam generator 62, through a water inlet pipe 80, from, for example, a water source in a district heating system 82, diagrammatically illustrated in the drawings. The water is heated and converted to steam in the steam generator 62 by the heat contained in the gaseous efiluent from the reactor 36. The generated steam is used, for example, for heating and cooling buildings in the community. The steam can be fed through a steam line 84, to an absorption heat exchanger refrigeration unit 86, connected to the building 74 by a conduit 87. The steam can also be fed directly to the building 74, through a steam line 88 and valve 89, for example, for heating purposes. It is noted that New York City, for example, has about miles of steam lines, of the type illustrated in the drawing by reference number 84.

The above description is that of the system of the present invention during operation. in order to start up the process, the generator 70 is used as a motor to drive the air compressor 46 to feed air into the reactor 36. At the same time, steam is fed through a steam line 90, from an available source in the district heating system 82, to bring the reactor 36 up to starting temperature. After the oxidation process starts, it generates sufficient heat to maintain the oxidation, and a valve 92 in steam line90 is closed.

Regarding the oxidation process carried out in'the reactor 36, the liquid environmentalcombustion process of this invention operates on the principle that oxidizable matter can be oxidized, i.e. combined with oxygen, for combustion in hot, liquid surroundings as opposed to the usual hot air surroundings. The heat value that is available is released to the surrounding fluid, from the combination of carbon and oxygen, hydrogen and oxygen, and sulfur and oxygen, forming carbon dioxide, water and sulfur dioxide, respectively. This flameless burning is accomplished by intrdoucing all of the collected and ground-up refuse into the reactor 36, along with the stoichiometric quantity of air, and along with sufficient liquid, such as water, to control the upper temperature limit of the material in the reactor 36. Other liquids than water that can be used include waste oil, for example. Further, oxygen can be fed into the reactor 36 rather than air.

In the preferred embodiment, using water and air, the pres sure is maintained between about 600 and 4,500 p.s.i., the temperature is maintained between about and 705 F., and the refuse is ground-up to a particle size of between about one-half and 1 inch diameter. Preferably, at least about 10 percent of the volume of the reactor 36 is in the solid state at any one time. The refuse and the air are introduced adjacent the bottom of the reactor36and the effluent is discharged adjacent the top of the reactor36. The material in the reactor can be agitated, if desired, by ultrasonic agitation for example. The generated steam can be used to generate electricity,

step comprises feeding the gaseous component of said effluent to a steam generator for generating steam.

however steam requires more equipment and is more expensive for this purpose than are the exhaust gases in the conduit 64. Further, the use of the exhaust gases to generate electricity provides about 50 percent more thermal efficiency.

The invention has been described in detail with particular 5 reference to preferred embodiments thereof, but it will be understood that variations and modifications can be effected within the spirit and scope of the invention as described hereinabove and as defined in the appended claims.

collected refuse to a grinder for grinding up the refuse, prior to feeding it to said reactor.

3. The method according to claim 2 in which said oxidizing step comprises:

feeding a liquid into said reactor,

feeding oxygen into said reactor, and

maintaining the pressure and the temperature in said reac-- tor within predetermined respective ranges.

4. The method according to claim 3 wherein said liquid feeding step comprises feeding dirty water into said reactor and wherein said oxygen feeding step comprises feeding compressed air into said reactor.

5. The method according to claim 3 including:

discharging a hot fluid effluent from said reactor, and generating useful energy from the heat contained in said fluid effluent.

6. The method according to claim 5 wherein said generating 7. The method according to claim 2 in which said step of feeding the refuse to said reactor includes converting said ground-up refuse into a liquid slurry, and feeding said slurry to said reactor.

periodically conveying the ground-up refuse from said storage tank in said grinder truck to a larger storage tank in a tanker truck,

transporting the ground-up refuse in said tanker truck to a large stationary storage tank, and

conveying the ground-up refuse from the large storage tank in said tanker truck to said stationary tank.

10. The method according to claim 9 including continuing to grind up refuse in said grinder truck while the storage tank in the grinder truck is being emptied and feeding the groundup refuse, during said emptying, to a smaller inventory tank on said grinder truck.

11. A method comprising:

feeding all of the municipal refuse to be disposed of in a given community to a liquid environmental combustion reactor, and

oxidizing all of the oxidizable matter in said refuse, in said reactor, by the liquid environmental combustion thereof.

12. The method according to claim 11 including:

grinding up, prior to said feeding step, all of said refuse to particles within a predetennined range of particle sizes.

13. The method according to claim 12 including generating useful energy from the excess heat resulting from said liquid environmental combustion.

14. Apparatus for disposing of refuse comprising:

a plurality of grinder trucks, each of said grinder trucks having a refuse grinder mounted on the truck and a storage tank mounted on the truck and adapted to receive ground-up refuse from said grinder,

a tanker truck having a storage tank having a volume substantially larger than that of the storage tank on said grinder truck,

means for conveying ground-up refuse from a grinder truck storage tank to the tanker truck storage tank,

a large stationary storage tank having a volume substantially larger than that of the tanker truck storage tank,

means for conveying ground-up refuse from said tanker truck to said stationary storage tank,

a liquid environmental combustion reactor,

means for conveying ground-up refuse from said stationary storage tank to said reactor,

means for feeding compressed air into said reactor,

means for feeding dirty water into said reactor, and

means for discharging a fluid effluent from said reactor.

15. The apparatus according to claim 14 including:

means for separating the liquid from the gases in said effluent from said reactor,

means for conveying the separated-out liquid component of the effluent to a settling tank, and

means for generating useful energy from the separated-out gaseous component of the effluent.

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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3919837 *Mar 7, 1974Nov 18, 1975Sterling Drug IncMethod and apparatus for startup of a wet air oxidation unit provided with rotating air compressors driven by rotating expanders
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U.S. Classification110/222, 60/39.464, 210/761, 110/233, 110/346
International ClassificationF23G5/02, F23G5/00
Cooperative ClassificationF23G5/006, F23G5/02, Y02E20/12
European ClassificationF23G5/00P, F23G5/02