Mikhail Krasnyansky, PhD, retired professor

Recycling of Municipal Waste by Means of the Floating Factory

It is suggested to convert the used marine ships (oil-tanker, large dry-cargo ship, suitable military vessel) into floating factory for thermal recycling of the municipal waste (including worn-out automobile tires). A few such marine-ships will be able to make “a small revolution” in a waste-management and global waste recycling market.
Keywords: municipal waste, waste recycling, marine ship, floating factory.

It is a well-known fact that problems of the of the municipal solid waste (MSW) has not yet been solved in any country of the world. Hundreds of billions cubic meters of MSW have been accumulated there. Only about 15-20% from all it is being subjected to recycling in North America and Europe but in a lot of countries of Africa, Asia, South America it is 5-10% only or less. Billions of tons of MSW in these countries are kept in unequipped or illegal dumps that threatens purity of environment and health of the population [1]. For example, in Brazil from 2003 up to 2011 1.5 million tons per year of CO2 (an average) were emitted into the atmosphere from dumps [2] because about 80% Brazil’s MSW dumps don't have any management including gas and infiltrate collection.

In order to recycle the MSW and worn-out tires it is suggested to convert the used ocean ships (oil-tanker, large dry-cargo ship, suitable large military ship, etc.) into floating factory for thermal recycling of the municipal waste and of worn-out automobile tires.
On the ship the following equipments and facilities will be installed:
A) The MSW sorting line;
B) The special furnace for high-temperature incineration of MSW;
C) The equipment for low-temperature pyrolysis of worn-out automobile tires;
D) The equipment for deep purification of ejected toxic gases and waste sewage;
E) The equipment for manufacture of a compost from nutrition waste.
Such a recycling floating factory can come into the seaport of any country, and will be able to accept aboard a lot of MSW. Pressed domestic waste and old-tires will be collected in any nearest marine-port in the specially equipped terminals. Further the ship can sail into the open waters (sea, ocean) to carry out the recycling. The energy produced will be used for own needs of the ship. Annually each ship will be able to process about 150 thousand tons MSW. It is enough for service of city with the population of 200-250 thousand
Realization of this project gives the following advantages:
A) It will not demand new land allotment (with a big sanitary zone!) to build MSW-factory;
B) The floating factories during of MSW-processing will be located afar the cities with the high density of population (in open sea);
C) Many large military-ships and cargo-ships will find “the second life”;
D) Each floating factory can solve the MSW-problems of the several nearby cities in one of which there is a seaport.

Fig. 1. Schema of the floating factory for thermal recycling of MSW
1 - Body of the ship; 2 - Holds for warehousing MSW and of worn-out tires; 3 - Conveyor-line for sorting MSW and selecting the secondary raw material; 4 - Holds for warehousing of slag and secondary raw material; 5 - Machine for pressing and briquetting of the sorted secondary raw material; 6 - Furnace for high-temperature-incineration of MSW; 7 - Hold for produced compost from nutrition-waste; 8 - Furnace for low-temperature-pyrolysis of worn-out automobile tires.

It should be profitable business, because:
-each evacuated ton of MSW or tires will bring $150 (it is an average payment);
-each utilized ton of MSW or tires will give 20-30% of secondary raw material which will be sold;
-each utilized ton of MSW or tires will give energy (8000 KJ/kg) and it will reduce energy needs for work of the ship.
Realization of this project will lead to solution of sharp MSW-problems for “marine and ocean countries” of South Europe which have such problems (Italy, Greece, Spain, Portugal, Turkey, Israel, others), and also a lot of countries of South America with “transitional economics”: (Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Peru); South-East Asia including China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia; many of African countries. It will lead also to more pure environment and more good health of population. Besides, it will bring hundreds jobs.
A few similar ships will be able to make “a small revolution” in waste management and on a global waste recycling market.

1. Mazza, A., Piscitelli, P., Neglia, N., Rosa G.G., Iannuzzi, L. (2015). Illegal Dumping of Toxic Waste and Its Effect on Human Health in Campania, Italy. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health. 12(6), 6818–6831.
2. “Methane Emissions from Waste Treatment and Disposal”. (2011) First Brazilian Inventory of Anthropogenic Greenhouse Gas Emissions Background Report. Environmental Sanitation Technology Company (CETESB), Ministry of Science and Technology, Brazil.