RePower South starts up advanced recycling system using BHS technology
BHS system capable of processing close to 200,000 tons of mixed waste annually
RePower South (RPS) has begun processing material at the company's new recycling and recovery facility in Berkeley County, South Carolina. The recycling system, provided by Eugene, Oregon-based Bulk Handling Systems (BHS), is one of the most advanced in the world. The highly automated system is capable of processing more than 50-tons-per-hour (tph) of mixed waste to recover recyclables and produce a fuel feedstock.
The facility receives material from throughout Berkeley County, processing a minimum of 120,000 tons annually. Prior to this system coming online, county residents were required to opt in and pay for household recycling or utilize drop-off recycling sites that only accepted paper and cardboard. All other recyclables were sent to landfill.
Advanced technology, including NRT optical sorters and Max-AI® AQCs (for Autonomous Quality Control) enable the system to run with minimal manual sorters. The BHS FIberPure™ process features screen, air, optical and artificial intelligence (AI)-powered robotic sorters to completely automate the production of clean fiber. Plastics and metals are also separated without manual sorting. In total, the system contains seven NRT optical sorters and nine Max-AI AQCs.
"With NRT optical and Max-AI technology, we have an almost unlimited degree of flexibility to create a wide variety of high-quality products to serve multiple markets," said RPS President Scott Montgomery. "The technology maximizes the recovery and quality of those products and with Max-AI technology there's no real need to expose people to this work during the QC process."
The plant also makes use of non-recyclable papers and plastics by producing ReEngineered Feedstock™ (ReEF), a clean, low-carbon renewable fuel sold to industry, cement, and utility customers to replace coal in production processes. ReEF undergoes several quality control steps, including two NRT optical sorters, which remove plastic and metal contamination. The product has been designated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as a non-waste fuel.
The fuel system utilizes a Loesche Energy Systems RocketMill to dry, purify and size the ReEF. Also employed in the plant are two Kadant PAAL balers. Kadant PAAL balers claim nearly half the market share in Europe, and were introduced to North America through an exclusive relationship with BHS. A PAAL Konti 500 bales all commodities headed to the secondary market, including ferrous, aluminum, cardboard, paper, and plastics; a PAAL Dokon 500 bales fuel.
"After years of due diligence, planning, negotiating and financing, we're very excited to be processing material at our second facility," said RPS CEO Brian Gilhuly. "We think we have a great solution for communities looking to recycle more, landfill less and do so in an economically sustainable way. It is great to be here in Berkeley County recovering materials for re-use that were previously going to the landfill. We're thankful for the opportunity and appreciative of the partnership with government leadership and the support from the community."
"RePower South is showing that it is possible, today, to help communities increase recycling of the existing waste stream while also providing the flexibility to adjust to any market condition or opportunity," said BHS CEO Steve Miller. "The system is built to run with low operating costs over multiple shifts and has the ability to adjust its outputs to meet demand. The waste stream in Berkeley County is a resource which can be fully managed; Berkeley County and RePower South had the foresight to create value from this resource and we appreciate the trust they have in us to help actualize their vision."
Traditionally, waste management companies have operated using a simple "management of waste" approach to operating a MRF. Throughput targets and continuous operation (minimal downtime) were the main driving forces. The industry has changed however, and the focus moving forward is now on optimizing system performance and reliability, in conjunction with increasing recycling rates and a drive for a "greener" and more sustainable tomorrow.
When considering the addition of, or upgrade to, an "intelligent" MRF, for municipalities or private operators, the main factors should always be the client's (operator) current requirements, and evolving market needs, which include throughput, reliability, output quality, and adaptability. Equally important is a full understanding of what is really expected from any proposed system. Having an engaged and focused mindset for the project with the client from the beginning, will impact and drive the entire design process. This then impacts the overall project result, through to the productive, efficient, ongoing operation of the facility itself.