'The rebirth of waste'
The waste will be transported on a conveyer belt to the gasifier where the waste will be transformed from solid matter into gas at a temperature of 800 degrees. From here it goes into the pacifier, where it will be heated to 1500 degrees and blasted with Plasma. Plasma is an ionized gas that generates a magnetic field. This process can be compared with processes in nature, such as the sun, lightning and the northern lights. The plasma torch that’s inside the machine can reach a higher temperature than the surface of the sun. The intense heat causes gases inside the machine to be broken down in to atomic elements. Advanced Plasma Power tested the plant with different kinds of waste streams.Regardless of the waste put though the machine it will always output syngas, heat and plasma rock.
Plasma Rock is a mixture of waste that was broken down to its atomics elements and then fused together.
Plasma Rock is closely related to ‘a new geological period’ called Anthropocene that is characterized by the human influence and power on environment, climate and ecology
The slag left over by the plasma gasification process is called Plasma Rock. Plasma Rock is the waste of waste.
While the coastal historic landfill waste was toxic the Plasma Rock is virtually un-bleachable that means that any hazardous materials are inert and will not dissolve out of the material. The quality of this nearly undiscovered material is that it is mechanically strong, very dense and environmentally stable. During the cooling down process of the slag it becomes fully vitrified which gives the rock sharp edges. Some rocks look rough and contains little elements of undissolved metals caused by the cooling down process. Besides the aesthetic differences, the rocks have differences in the number of elements, this depends on the type of waste. The main elements in the rock are Silica, Lime and Alumina, other elements are Iron Oxide, Titania, Magnesia, Sodium Oxide, Potash and Phosphate. 100 kg of landfill waste will result in 20 kg of the Plasma Rock.
Coastal historic landfills
‘Landfills are viewed as ticking time bombs. With the land eroding, away and the sea levels rising quickly we have no idea what is in the landfills and are currently doing nothing to stop them from polluting the ocean’ (Sorensen et al., 1984).
It is important to start defining the term coastal historic landfills, these landfills where used between 1890 and 1990 and are located in coastal or river areas. The reason for selecting this landfill type is because it is the most dangerous version.
In contrast to later landfills which are already known as the worst solution for our waste streams, are these landfills unprotected. Unprotected means that waste comes directly in contact with. Besides that, there isn’t any report of what is inside these landfills. As a result, we don’t know what kind of dangerous reactions are happening inside these landfills and which gasses are leaking inside the bottom soil. These coastal historical Landfills are a huge problem and there are many of them. In the U.K. alone there are 2946 different coastal historic landfill areas. From these 2946 landfills it is known that 1655 contain dangerous materials. 1000 landfills in the U.K are already eroding which means that the toxic waste is seeping into the environment.
These landfills also have negative influence on climate change. These landfills are producing greenhouse gasses which have a negative effect on climate change:
• 60% methane (that’s 41% of the total UK emission)
• 40% carbon dioxide
An even more shocking fact is that the biggest groundwater pollution in the UK is caused by the leachate of the landfills. This means that it is more toxic than chemical and metal processing industries and petrol stations. In some areas, the ground water is so toxic that it kills all surrounding vegetation. Even in areas where conservation has taken place.
The reason why there isn’t a big sign of protest, is because these landfills are mostly invisible. Literally invisible because they are covered up with ‘nature’ parks, houses or shopping centres. It’s also an invisible topic in the news and communication streams. As it is in human’s nature to hide and ignore difficult problems. But it’s important to make these ticking time bombs visible before all the 2946 landfills erode with all the consequences, now it’s time to act!
“The aim of this project is changing the way coastal historic landfills are seen. By using the materiality of the Plasma Rock as a tool to start mining the landfills”. We humans have had a dominant influence on the climate and environment. So, it’s time to delete our traces or even better evolve and transform them in to a new purpose!”