Clinical waste poses a serious threat to public health and the environment if improperly treated, stored, or transported, a problem that has been further exacerbated by the COVID-19 crisis. Incineration is the principal technology used for destruction of clinical waste, however its application is beset with issues relating to available plant capacity, fluctuating gate-fees, plant emissions, waste miles and limited energy recovery.
With the global clinical waste market forecast to rise with CAGR of 5-5.2 % between 2016-2023, driven by an ageing population, the COVID-19 crisis, regulations and the overall growth in the healthcare industry, development of an alternative to incineration presents a significant opportunity.
Stopford has developed a novel Microwave Induced Plasma (MIP) Gasification process (Plasmergy) in order to provide the clinical waste management sector with an economically, environmentally and socially sustainable alternative to incineration.
Stopford’s proprietary Plasmergy process enables clinical waste to be disposed of onsite, avoiding waste miles and reducing disposal costs, whilst negating the requirement to store waste ahead of offsite treatment. Through employing a continuous high temperature process, the clinical waste is transformed into a calorific synthetic gas, enabling the generation of low-carbon energy, through an integrated fuel cell package.
The resultant heat and power generated is used to serve the parasitic requirements of the plant, with excess power exported for local use, offsetting grid-based demand. Packaged within an ISO-container, the 1,000 tpa modular systems can be readily deployed and integrated with existing energy centre and waste management infrastructure at medical facility sites, whilst enabling rapid expansion in capacity.
Through the adoption of a distributed approach to clinical waste management, each module presents the NHS with the opportunity to reduce costs associated with waste disposal, whilst avoiding the emission of CO2 that would otherwise be associated with fossil-fuel energy demand. As a result, Stopford’s Plasmergy technology presents the NHS with a significant opportunity to contribute towards achieving net-zero emissions targets by 2040, whilst aligning operations with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG3, SDG7, SDG11, SDG12 and SDG13).
In summary the Plasmergy technology presents a disruptive approach to enhance the safety and sustainability of clinical waste management whilst reducing operational costs and carbon emissions.