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Title: Restaurant food waste management using microwave plasma gasification technology
Author: Karunamoothei, V.
ISNI:       0000 0004 7228 0881
Awarding Body: Liverpool John Moores University
Current Institution: Liverpool John Moores University
Date of Award: 2018
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The novelty of this research is that it investigates an on-site solution for the treatment of restaurant waste using a microwave generated plasma for pyrolysis and gasification. The developed system has been used to treat waste from a city centre fast food restaurant. The system was designed with the aim of reducing the amount of waste being sent to landfill by approximately 94%. The waste is mostly food based but also includes paper waste such as napkins. It was separated into three categories: mixed food, paper and fries. Samples of the mixed food and paper waste were analysed for chemical composition and calorific value. A 2.45GHz magnetron was used to supply 1kW of microwave power to a plasma cavity that had an argon flow rate of 1.5 litre per minute. The design of the microwave plasma cavity was performed using the simulation software, COMSOL. The cavity consists of a tapered waveguide section that is shorted at one end to produce a stationary wave with a large electric field at the gas nozzle. The field is strong enough to produce a self-striking argon plasma when the power is applied. Nitrogen was used to keep the plasma cavity clear of smoke, vapours and other hot gas. The best nitrogen flow rates were found to be around 2 litres/minute, although 5 litres/minute was used in the test to avoid the CO sensor saturating. The combination of the argon and nitrogen was used to purge the gasifier of oxygen. The pressure inside the gasifier was held at 200mbar during the experiments. The resulting plasma jet was used to produce syngas from the waste samples inside a thermally insulated, steel-walled reactor. Temperature profiles were recorded to find the best gas flow rates. 10g samples of the three waste categories were tested in triplicate and the results are presented. Syngas production was recorded using a Quintox gas analyser that measured CO, CO2 and O2. The data was captured every 10s during testing using a PC running a custom-built LabVIEW program. This program was also used to set the microwave output power and record the reflected power and temperatures using National Instruments cDAQ modules with analogue to digital converters. The CO and H2 in syngas can be used as a fuel to offset the cost of running the plasma jet. The results reveal that it is possible to generate the syngas using waste food materials. This study has included an investigation of some of the parameters, including power and flow rates of argon and nitrogen, on the plasma created. Others effects were taken into consideration throughout the research such as the study of the sample moisture levels and the final reduction of mass after the experiment. The ashes produced by the tests were investigated using SEM/EDX analysis. These results are also presented and analysed.
Supervisor: Wylie, S. ; Shaw, A. ; Al-Shamma'a, A. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: HD28 Management. Industrial Management ; TD Environmental technology. Sanitary engineering