Summary of Biomass Combustion Technologies

Direct combustion is the best established and most commonly used technology for converting biomass to heat. During combustion, biomass fuel is burnt in excess air to produce heat. The first stage of combustion involves the evolution of combustible vapours from the biomass, which burn as flames. The residual material, in the form of charcoal, is burnt in a forced air supply to give more heat. The hot combustion gases are sometimes used directly for product drying, but more usually they are passed through a heat exchanger to produce hot air, hot water or steam.


The combustion efficiency depends primarily on good contact between the oxygen in the air and the biomass fuel. The main products of efficient biomass combustion are carbon dioxide and water vapor, however tars, smoke and alkaline ash particles are also emitted. Minimization of these emissions and accommodation of their possible effects are important concerns in the design of environmentally acceptable biomass combustion systems.

Biomass combustion systems, based on a range of furnace designs, can be very efficient at producing hot gases, hot air, hot water or steam, typically recovering 65-90% of the energy contained in the fuel. Lower efficiencies are generally associated with wetter fuels. To cope with a diversity of fuel characteristics and combustion requirements, a number of designs of combustion furnaces or combustors are routinely utilized around the world

Underfeed Stokers

Biomass is fed into the combustion zone from underneath a firing grate. These stoker designs are only suitable for small scale systems up to a nominal boiler capacity of 6 MWth and for biomass fuels with low ash content, such as wood chips and sawdust. High ash content fuels such as bark, straw and cereals need more efficient ash removal systems.

Sintered or molten ash particles covering the upper surface of the fuel bed can cause problems in underfeed stokers due to unstable combustion conditions when the fuel and the air are breaking through the ash covered surface.

Grate Stokers

The most common type of biomass boiler is based on a grate to support a bed of fuel and to mix a controlled amount of combustion air, which often enters from beneath the grate. Biomass fuel is added at one end of the grate and is burned in a fuel bed which moves progressively down the grate, either via gravity or with mechanical assistance, to an ash removal system at the other end. In more sophisticated designs this allows the overall combustion process to be separated into its three main activities:

  • Initial fuel drying
  • Ignition and combustion of volatile constituents
  • Burning out of the char.

Grate stokers are well proven and reliable and can tolerate wide variations in fuel quality (i.e. variations in moisture content and particle size) as well as fuels with high ash content. They are also controllable and efficient.

Fluidized Bed Boilers

The basis for a fluidized bed combustion system is a bed of an inert mineral such as sand or limestone through which air is blown from below. The air is pumped through the bed in sufficient volume and at a high enough pressure to entrain the small particles of the bed material so that they behave much like a fluid.

The combustion chamber of a fluidized bed power plant is shaped so that above a certain height the air velocity drops below that necessary to entrain the particles. This helps retain the bulk of the entrained bed material towards the bottom of the chamber. Once the bed becomes hot, combustible material introduced into it will burn, generating heat as in a more conventional furnace. The proportion of combustible material such as biomass within the bed is normally only around 5%. The primary driving force for development of fluidized bed combustion is reduced SO2 and NOx emissions from coal combustion.

Bubbling fluidized bed (BFB) combustors are of interest for plants with a nominal boiler capacity greater than 10 MWth. Circulating fluidized bed (CFB) combustors are more suitable for plants larger than 30 MWth. The minimum plant size below which CFB and BFB technologies are not economically competitive is considered to be around 5-10 MWe.

Role of Food Waste Disposers in Food Waste Management

Food waste is a global issue that begins at home and as such, it is an ideal contender for testing out new approaches to behaviour change. The behavioural drivers that lead to food being wasted are complex and often inter-related, but predominantly centre around purchasing habits, and the way in which we store, cook, eat and celebrate food.


Consumer Behavior – A Top Priority

Consumer behaviour is a huge priority area in particular for industrialised nations – it is estimated that some western societies might be throwing away up to a third of all food purchased. The rise of cheap food and convenience culture in recent years has compounded this problem, with few incentives or disincentives in place at producer, retail or consumer level to address this.

While it is likely that a number of structural levers – such as price, regulation, enabling measures and public benefits – will need to be pulled together in a coherent way to drive progress on this agenda, at a deeper level there is a pressing argument to explore the psycho-social perspectives of behaviour change.

Individual or collective behaviours often exist within a broader cultural context of values and attitudes that are hard to measure and influence. Simple one-off actions such as freezing leftovers or buying less during a weekly food shop do not necessarily translate into daily behaviour patterns. For such motivations to have staying power, they must become instinctive acts, aligned with an immediate sense of purpose. The need to consider more broadly our behaviours and how they are implicated in such issues must not stop at individual consumers, but extend to governments, businesses and NGOs if effective strategies are to be drawn up.

Emergence of Food Waste Disposers

Food waste disposer (FWDs), devices invented and adopted as a tool of food waste management may now represent a unique new front in the fight against climate change. These devices, commonplace in North America, Australia and New Zealand work by shredding household or commercial food waste into small pieces that pass through a municipal sewer system without difficulty.

The shredded food particles are then conveyed by existing wastewater infrastructure to wastewater treatment plants where they can contribute to the generation of biogas via anaerobic digestion. This displaces the need for generation of the same amount of biogas using traditional fossil fuels, thereby averting a net addition of greenhouse gases (GHG) to the atmosphere.

Food waste is an ideal contender for testing new approaches to behaviour change.

The use of anaerobic digesters is more common in the treatment of sewage sludge, as implemented in the U.K., but not as much in the treatment of food waste. In addition to this, food waste can also replace methanol (produced from fossil fuels) and citric acid used in advanced wastewater treatment processes which are generally carbon limited.

Despite an ample number of studies pointing to the evidence of positive impacts of food waste disposer, concerns regarding its use still exist, notably in Europe. Scotland for example has passed legislation that bans use of FWDs, stating instead that customers must segregate their waste and make it available curbside for pickup. This makes it especially difficult for the hospitality industry, to which the use of disposer is well suited.

The U.S. however has seen larger scale adoption of the technology due to the big sales push it received in the 1950s and 60s. In addition to being just kitchen convenience appliances, FWDs are yet to be widely accepted as a tool for positive environmental impact.

Note: Note: This excerpt is being published with the permission of our collaborative partner Be Waste Wise. The original excerpt and its video recording can be found at this link

The Future of Gas Boilers – Hydrogen or Heat Pumps?

Due to the international crisis of global warming, the majority of western countries are now set on a course to become carbon neutral and at the Paris Accord, they agreed to achieve this by 2050. This is an impressive feat for countries still so reliant on fossil fuels for major industries like heating and transport.

Residential heating is one area that is currently in the spotlight, for instance, in countries like the UK, it is currently responsible for around one-third of carbon emissions. As a result and understandingly it is set to undergo major reform over the next 10 years.

What’s the problem with current heating?

Heating in the UK is still heavily reliant on fossil fuels, either directly or indirectly. For instance, the vast majority of homes are supplied with natural gas which is burned in fireplaces and gas combi boilers to provide homes with heat.


The major issue is that burning natural gas releases carbon into the atmosphere, which is a gas that doesn’t leave the atmosphere, resulting in heat being trapped in the atmosphere, leading to global warming.

Therefore, the UK government is looking at low carbon heating alternatives as a route to transforming the current situation, which includes the likes of heat pumps, hydrogen boilers and solar.

As Heatable states, residential boilers have already been under considerable scrutiny and the government has banned non-condensing boilers, driving up the efficiency of boilers to above 90%, as well as a total outlaw on all gas boilers in new homes from 2025.

Yet, it’s important to note that most industry commentators consider replacing gas boilers with solar and heat pumps completely unrealistic. Major concerns include their expensive and disruptive installation, as well as their reliability when compared to conventional boilers.

As a result, replacing the fuel is seen as a much more realistic approach with the fuel of choice being hydrogen. This can be fed into the current infrastructure and used with hydrogen-ready boilers, which are almost identical to current natural gas versions.

Hydrogen Boilers vs. Heat Pumps

There are many issues when it comes to the transition from high to low carbon heating technologies. So much so, that the Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) estimated that it would take almost 1,000 years to make the switch if the current trajectories continued.

Even worse, the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) highlighted that it would cost on average £26,000 for each home to install a low carbon heating alternative, rending the whole idea completely unviable.


The only sensible solution is the adoption of hydrogen fuel as an alternative to natural gas instead. This fuel is able to make use of the current gas networks infrastructure which is already connected to the vast majority of properties.

From an environmental standpoint, hydrogen is also seen as highly desirable.

Why? When hydrogen is burned it produces only vapour and absolutely no carbon dioxide making it ideal for a carbon-neutral future.

Disadvantages of Heat Pumps

As well as that, there are also other issues with heat pumps, of which there are three main types: air source, ground source and hybrid. All of which works by sucking in heat from the surrounding air, ground or water and are able to supply heat to water and central heating.

Hybrid heat pumps are different in that they utilise a boiler to provide supplemental heat if the weather becomes severely cold.

The good point of heat pumps is that they only use small amounts of electricity to operate and combined with the fact that they absorb heat from the environment, they are extremely efficient. In fact, they can achieve energy efficiency ratings exceeding 300%, compared to modern gas boilers that are around 94%.

However, it’s not all positive sadly and heat pumps are unable to provide the same, consistent heat output that gas boilers are able to. For this reason, they are usually installed with oversized radiators and/or underfloor heating and only in properties that are extremely well insulated.


Heating is without a doubt going to change and countries like the UK are going to transition away from gas boilers, but what will win – heat pumps or hydrogen?

It seems that hydrogen has the advantage from a feasibility standpoint, but there’s little doubt that heat pumps will be part of the mix too.

It’s becoming more common for gas boilers to be installed with a hybrid heat pump system.

The first homes fitted with hydrogen boilers and appliances are going to be installed in Fife, Scotland from next year, so progression is certainly accelerating.

Use of PKS in Circulating Fluidized Bed Power Plants

Palm kernel shells are widely used in fluidized bed combustion-based power plants in Japan and South Korea. The key advantages of fluidized bed combustion (FBC) technology are higher fuel flexibility, high efficiency and relatively low combustion temperature. FBC technology, which can either be bubbling fluidized bed (BFB) or circulating fluidized bed (CFB), is suitable for plant capacities above 20 MW. Palm kernel shells (PKS) is more suitable for CFB-based power plant because its size is less than 4 cm.


Palm kernel shells is an abundant biomass resource in Southeast Asia

With relatively low operating temperature of around 650 – 900 oC, the ash problem can be minimized. Certain biomass fuels have high ash levels and ash-forming materials that can potentially damage these generating units.

In addition, the fuel cleanliness factor is also important as certain impurities, such as metals, can block the air pores on the perforated plate of FBC unit. It is to be noted that air, especially oxygen, is essential for the biomass combustion process and for keeping the fuel bed in fluidized condition.

The requirements for clean fuel must be met by the provider or seller of the biomass fuel. Usually the purchasers require an acceptable amount of impurities (contaminants) of less than 1%. Cleaning of PKS is done by sifting (screening) which may either be manual or mechanical.

In addition to PKS, biomass pellets from agricultural wastes or agro-industrial wastes, such as EFB pellets which have a high ash content and low melting point, can also be used in CFB-based power plants. More specifically, CFBs are more efficient and emit less flue gas than BFBs.

The disadvantages of CFB power plant is the high concentration of the flue gas which demands high degree of efficiency of the dust precipitator and the boiler cleaning system. In addition, the bed material is lost alongwith ash and has to be replenished regularly.

A large-scale biomass power plant in Japan

The commonly used bed materials are silica sand and dolomite. To reduce operating costs, bed material is usually reused after separation of ash. The technique is that the ash mixture is separated from a large size material with fine particles and silica sand in a water classifier. Next the fine material is returned to the bed.

Currently power plants in Japan that have an efficiency of more than 41% are only based on ultra supercritical pulverized coal. Modification of power plants can also be done to improve the efficiency, which require more investments. The existing CFB power plants are driving up the need to use more and more PKS in Japan for biomass power generation without significant plant modifications.

Biochemical Method for Ethanol Production

Ethanol from lignocellulosic biomass is produced mainly via biochemical route. The three major steps involved in the biochemical method for ethanol production are pretreatment, enzymatic hydrolysis, and fermentation. Biomass is pretreated to improve the accessibility of enzymes. After pretreatment, biomass undergoes enzymatic hydrolysis for conversion of polysaccharides into monomer sugars, such as glucose and xylose. Subsequently, sugars are fermented to ethanol by the use of different microorganisms.


Pretreated biomass can directly be converted to ethanol by using the process called simultaneous saccharification and cofermentation (SSCF). Pretreatment is a critical step which enhances the enzymatic hydrolysis of biomass.

Basically, it alters the physical and chemical properties of biomass and improves the enzyme access and effectiveness which may also lead to a change in crystallinity and degree of polymerization of cellulose. The internal surface area and pore volume of pretreated biomass are increased which facilitates substantial improvement in accessibility of enzymes. The process also helps in enhancing the rate and yield of monomeric sugars during enzymatic hydrolysis steps.

Pretreatment methods can be broadly classified into four groups – physical, chemical, physio-chemical and biological. Physical pretreatment processes employ the mechanical comminution or irradiation processes to change only the physical characteristics of biomass. The physio-chemical process utilizes steam or steam and gases, like SO2 and CO2. The chemical processes employs acids (H2SO4, HCl, organic acids etc) or alkalis (NaOH, Na2CO3, Ca(OH)2, NH3 etc).

The acid treatment typically shows the selectivity towards hydrolyzing the hemicelluloses components, whereas alkalis have better selectivity for the lignin. The fractionation of biomass components after such processes help in improving the enzymes accessibility which is also important to the efficient utilization of enzymes.

The pretreated biomass is subjected to enzymatic hydrolysis using cellulase enzymes to convert the cellulose to fermentable sugars. Cellulase refers to a class of enzymes produced chiefly by fungi and bacteria which catalyzes the hydrolysis of cellulose by attacking the glycosidic linkages. Cellulase is mixture of mainly three different functional protein groups: exo-glucanase (Exo-G), endo-glucanase(Endo-G) and ?-glucosidase (?-G).

The functional proteins work synergistically in hydrolyzing the cellulose into the glucose. These sugars are further fermented using microorganism and are converted to ethanol. The microorganisms are selected based on their efficiency for ethanol productivity and higher product and inhibitors tolerance. Yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae is used commercially to produce the ethanol from starch and sucrose.

Escherichia coli strain has also been developed recently for ethanol production by the first successful application of metabolic engineering. E. coli can consume variety of sugars and does not require the complex growth media but has very narrow operable range of pH. E. coli has higher optimal temperature than other known strains of bacteria.

Lower GHG emissions and empowerment of rural economy are major benefits associated with bioethanol

The major cost components in bioethanol production from lignocellulosic biomass are the pretreatment and the enzymatic hydrolysis steps. In fact, these two process are someway interrelated too where an efficient pretreatment strategy can save substantial enzyme consumption.

Pretreatment step can also affect the cost of other operations such as size reduction prior to pretreatment. Therefore, optimization of these two important steps, which collectively contributes about 70% of the total processing cost, are the major challenges in the commercialization of bioethanol from 2nd generation feedstock.

Enzyme cost is the prime concern in full scale commercialization. The trend in enzyme cost is encouraging because of enormous research focus in this area and the cost is expected to go downward in future, which will make bioethanol an attractive option considering the benefits derived its lower greenhouse gas emissions and the empowerment of rural economy.

Breaking Down the Process of Biofuel Production

Biofuels are renewable and sustainable forms of energy. They can reduce greenhouse emissions by almost 30%, which means that although they do release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, they do so in a very limited manner.

With the aim of building a green new world, and eliminating the need for fossil fuel and other traditional energy sources, people are now turning towards biofuel to meet their daily needs. Thus, we see biofuel being used for transportation in many countries. It’s also being used to generate electricity. The rural areas in many underdeveloped and developing countries will use biofuel for their cooking purposes as well. All in all, this particular fuel has diverse uses.

Biofuel is produced from biomass, which itself is treated as a clean energy source. We can produce biofuel from biomass through a series of steps. These steps can be performed even in our houses if we have the right materials. A quick overview of the whole biofuel production process is described below.


1. Filtration

The purpose of the filtration process is to get rid of the unnecessary particles from the biomass. In this step, we take the waste vegetable oil and then heat it to a certain degree. Once the liquid has been heated, the waste particles will automatically separate themselves from the main mixture. Afterward, we just have to filter it with a regular filter paper.

2. Water removal

Next, we need to remove water from the residual gangue. If the water is allowed to stay in the mixture, it’ll end up delaying the overall process. By removing all the water, we can make the reaction move a lot faster. The easiest way to remove water from the mixture is by heating it steady at 212 degrees F for some time.

3. Titration

Titration is conducted on the mixture to determine the amount of chemical catalyst (like lye) that will be needed. The catalyst is a key component in any chemical reaction. It pretty much determines how fast and how much of a product we’re going to receive. Thus, this step is very important in the biofuel manufacturing process.

4. Sodium methoxide preparation

In this step, we take methanol (18-20% of the waste vegetable oil) and mix it with sodium hydroxide. This gives us sodium methoxide, which is also used as a catalyst in the reaction. It helps perform synthesis reactions on the reagents and facilitates the overall reaction process. Sodium methoxide is a key ingredient in this manufacturing process. It’s considered to be a standard substance used to accelerate the reaction, and yield better results.

5. Mixing and heating

Next, we heat the residue between 120-130 degrees F. Afterward, we mix it properly. This process aims to evenly distribute the mixture. This will help the mixture to settle down later on, and cool off, after which we can begin the extraction process. In a way, the mixing and heating stage can be seen as the final preparation before extraction.


6. Setting

Once the mixing is completed, the liquid is allowed to cool and settle down, after which we can extract the final product, i.e. the biofuel.

7. Separation

After the liquid has cooled, the biofuel can be extracted from the top of the mixture. It’ll be found floating on top, like oil in water. To get the biofuel, we’ll have to remove the glycerin underneath it. This can be done by simply draining it out from the bottom, and keeping the fuel afloat. The biofuel is finally ready.

The whole process described above is for a small-scale operation. However, it can be scaled up as needed, given that you have the right tools, ingredients, and setup.

It should also be noted that chemical catalysts (such as lye) are used in the manufacturing process as well. Recently, however, scientists and researchers are looking into the use of ultrasonics as additional catalysts. According to recent observations, a combination of chemicals and ultrasonics can lead to a higher yield of fuel, and reduce the overall processing time. This also leads to better utilization of biomass.

Companies such as Coltraco ( are now using ultrasonic systems and technology in a wide variety of fields, one of which is the renewable energy industry. And while the technology’s use in other fields has gained more traction in recent times, it shouldn’t be long before it’s used in biofuel manufacturing, as well as in other renewable energy sectors, in full swing.

Why Eco-Friendly Industrial Coatings Deserve Your Attention?

Industrial plants and facilities have been instrumental in propelling the modernization of human society. From that pen you use to sign your cheques to the knife you use to cut fruits for breakfast – almost every object of daily use has been manufactured at a production unit.

However, despite the numerous benefits of industries, they’ve been responsible for a wide array of environmental issues, including greenhouse gas emission, global warming, and air pollution. Also, improper waste management at manufacturing plants has adversely affected biodiversity in various regions.

The good news is that today’s industrial units are becoming more aware of their environmental impact and taking various steps to reduce their carbon footprint. This change has been propelled by increasing consumer demand for sustainable business practices, as well as federal and state regulations.

But while you’re striving to reduce energy consumption and waste generation at your plant, you’re likely ignoring the crucial aspect of industrial paint. That’s right! The paint that’s used for industrial plants, machinery, and tools is a key contributor to environmental degradation.


This, in turn, has compelled manufacturers and plant managers to look for eco-friendly industrial paint options from established distributors, such as Promain Paints. But if you’re new to the world of eco-friendly industrial paint, you might be skeptical about making the switch.

Is eco-friendly industrial paint worth the cost? Is it going to have the same characteristics as traditional industrial coatings? Is it mandatory for industrial units to use eco-friendly coatings?

If you’re looking for answers to these questions, we’ve got you covered. In this blog, we’ll delve deeper into the concept of industrial paints and understand their environmental impact. We’ll also explore the benefits of replacing traditional industrial paint with eco-friendly alternatives. Let’s get started.

Industrial Paint: A Closer Look

Industrial paint or industrial coating is specifically formulated for machinery, equipment, structural facilities, and end products at manufacturing plants and other industrial units. It’s also used to coat floors and other surfaces that endure the stress of heavy machinery.

Industrial paint can be in the form of a liquid, powder, or paste. When exposed to natural air, the paint gets cured and dried, thus forming a protective layer over the surface on which it’s been applied.

The primary purpose of industrial coating is to protect equipment, goods, and other substrates from physical and chemical damage. Depending on its chemical composition, the paint can also prevent the accumulation of dirt and grime. It even goes a long way to improve safety by making surfaces, such as floors, less slippery.

Typically, industrial paint comprises the following components:

  • Pigments
  • Binders
  • Solvents
  • Additives

Pigments are the chemicals or dyes that give the paint its color. Commonly used pigments include titanium oxide, iron oxide, and phthalocyanine derivatives. Binders are polymers, such as alkyd and acrylic resins, that allow the paint to adhere to the substrate and form a protective film on drying.

A solvent is a liquid that’s added to the paint to reduce its viscosity and improve its consistency so that it can be sprayed or applied with a brush. Typical solvents used in industrial paint include aliphatic hydrocarbons, aromatic hydrocarbons, esters, ethers, alcohols, ketones, etc.

Additives are special chemicals that give specific characteristics to the paint. Common examples of industrial paint additives include wetting agents, drying agents, fungicides, biocides, and plasticizers.

Effect of Industrial Coating on the Environment

The solvents used in industrial paint contain toxic chemicals known as volatile organic compounds (VOCs). VOCs have low boiling points and react with other gases present in the air when exposed to sunlight. They’re also responsible for giving paint its characteristic smell.

Short-term inhalation of VOCs can cause a wide array of health problems, including headaches, nausea, dizziness, and skin rashes. Prolonged exposure to these chemicals can lead to serious diseases, including cancer and liver ailments, as well as damage the central nervous system.

However, the impact of VOCs isn’t restricted to health-related disorders. They also adversely affect the environment and cause air pollution. It’s because these chemicals react with nitrogen oxides present in the environment in the presence of sunlight. This, in turn, results in the formation of tropospheric or ground-level ozone.

Ground-level ozone is a harmful air pollutant that creates smog and damages plants. It could affect the natural habitat of various animals and, in turn, destroy biodiversity. Also, it acts as a greenhouse gas, thereby contributing to global warming. That’s why increased use of conventional industrial paint is proving to be catastrophic for the environment.

The Search for Eco-Friendly Options

The harmful effects of industrial coating have forced manufacturers to look for environmentally-friendly alternatives. Eco-friendly industrial paint usually contains special solvents that emit negligible or very low amounts of VOCs into the air.


The biggest benefit of using eco-friendly paint is that it helps you comply with the environmental regulations in your area. The Environmental Protection Agency has outlined specific limits for VOC emissions in different regions. Non-compliance with these regulations could result in legal ramifications.

Also, many eco-friendly paints are formulated to be more durable. Some of them are even made using bio-renewable or post-consumer waste raw materials. This further reduces the environmental impact of your unit and takes you a step closer to creating sustainable business operations.

What other steps are you taking to minimize the environmental impact of your business? Share your suggestions in the comments section below.

An Essential Guide to Catalytic Converters

In the early days, cars were way more toxic than they are today. As vehicles became more widespread and their pollution more prevalent, manufacturers decided that it was necessary to install catalytic converters to keep cars exhaust fumes out of our bodies and the environment. Today, catalytic converters are used around the world in all vehicles. Many online shop even sell the Honda Jazz Catalytic Converters for replacement to your car. This is the part of a car that converts toxic gases into less harmful pollutants.

Catalytic converters, like cars, only have a certain lifespan and will to be replaced at some point. Given that they are required by law all around the world, it is important to know when your car’s needs replacing, but how can you tell? And, just as tricky, what should you do about it?

Here’s an essential guide to determine when your catalytic converter needs replacing.

Signs of a Failing Converter

Catalytic converters use precious metals such as rhodium, platinum and palladium. These are the catalysts to transform pollutants into less harmful gases. As gases from the engine fumes pass over the catalyst, the pollutants break down into gases that are safe enough to be expelled. Over time, however, converters can become damaged, blocked or contaminated, which reduces the engine’s performance.

Here are the common symptoms of a faulty catalytic converter:

Smell of sulfur

If you begin to smell a rotten egg-like odor coming from your car, that’s an indication your catalytic converter is starting to wear down. A converter in good working order should produce an odorless sulfur dioxide, but this smell means it is no longer converting the hydrogen sulfide produced in the combustion process. The smell of sulfur will often be accompanied by a stream of thick and black smoke coming out of your exhaust pipe. The black smoke alone would be enough to suspect your catalytic converter is not working as it should.

Poor engine performance

A faulty converter will quickly affect your engine because it is built into the vehicle’s exhaust system. As a result, it will reduce engine power, fuel economy, and acceleration. Any of these symptoms could result from either:

  • A clogged converter that is no longer circulating air properly
  • Or a cracked converter that is now leaking harmful gas

A clogged converter is a common reason for losing acceleration or power going uphill. To test if your converter is clogged, ask a friend to hold your car’s revs per minute between 1800 and 2000. If exhaust flow is hot, that means your converter is clogged.

‘Check engine’ light is on

Vehicles today are made with oxygen sensors that monitor a converter’s efficiency at transforming harmful gases. The ‘check engine’ light will appear on your dashboard if the gases aren’t being catalyzed. While the light itself may not indicate it is a problem with the converter, you can check the error number with a car manual or a diagnostic scan tool.

What to do about it?

Catalytic converters should last for about ten years. If you are still looking to hold on to your car at that point, then it will probably be time to replace the converter.

Getting rid of your converter is easy today, as there are firms that will buy your converters to recycle the precious metals inside. All you need is the reference number for your catalytic converter and you can then check to see how much you would earn on a recycle catalytic converter price list.

Changing the converter

Most of the cost involved will be for the converter, which can cost up to $2500, but changing it should take less than an hour. If the catalytic converter is welded in place, then it is best to see a mechanic rather than change it yourself. Unless you are a mechanic, of course!

How Can Oil-Free Air Compressors Benefit The Environment?

If you already have an air compressor, you will be aware of how they are an incredibly valuable tool for industries and DIY enthusiasts. Commonly used to power pneumatic tools but can be used for a variety of applications. Air compressors provide you with complete power over spraying, nailing, sanding and hammering at a fraction of the time it would take with manual tools.

You can also find these smaller sized air compressors everywhere that are very portable and best at doing small work. Bob Robinson of BestOfMachinery swears by these portable tools. “Small air compressors essentially push air from the tank in the unit, into the tools that you want to use for either DIY, hobbies or work purposes without the need to lug heavy stuff.”, he commented.

These machines can also be used for inflating tyres, auto repairs and even creating home-made snow machines. Sandblasters, impact wrenches, grease guns, die grinders and angle disc grindles can also be attached.

We all love our power tools and would be lost without them; however, we are becoming more aware regarding the issue of carbon emissions. Reducing our carbon footprint is one of the most important things companies and individuals can do in their lifetime. Small changes within your business and homes can be a great start to decrease our carbon emissions and help save the planet.

If you are looking to purchase your first air compressor or to update an existing model, Direct Air has created a guide on why an oil-free air compressor is a great choice, not just for the environment, but to help you save on energy bills. You can see their full range of oil-free air compressors at

Every air compressor requires lubrication in order to efficiently and safely draw in air to its cylinder, commonly using a piston movement. The traditional method to achieve this is using oil, while oil-based air compressors do have their benefits as they are more robust and can handle large-scale applications, they are higher in initial cost, harder to maintain and far heavier than their oil-free counterparts.

Oil-free air compressors gain lubrication through a non-stick coating, generally Teflon. As extra elements to hold oil are eradicated from these machines, they are far lighter and smaller than oil-based air compressors which make them ideal for applications that are not static. Due to less components, oil-free air compressors are often cheaper to purchase.

Oil-based air compressors must remain static and upright when in use, oil-free are far more versatile. As you do not need to consider the oil flow, they can be positioned wherever you see fit. They are also operatable at any temperature, oil can become viscous in cooler climates and can cause problems when attempted to start the motor, oil-free erases this issue.

With these benefits in mind, you can achieve even more with your oil-free air compressor by helping to reduce the use of fossil fuels maintain the planet’s natural resources. You can also make a direct impact on your running costs, saving you and your business money on your energy bills.

With an oil-free air compressor, all costs to collect and dispose of oil-laden condensate will be removed, not to mention the initial cost of the oil itself. These compressors are less wasteful as they do not require the replacement of the air/oil separator and filtration elements which are required to get rid of oil aerosols, these parts are notorious for wearing down quickly. You will not needlessly be sending these parts to landfill and be bearing the cost of new ones on a regular basis.

If you are worried about direct harmful emissions from your air compressor, oil-free air compressors produce the purest form of air which will reduce any negative impact into the atmosphere, great for the planet and for those working around it. You will also not have the trouble of potentially contaminated products from oil spills during projects.

A big bonus of oil-free air compressors is that they are safer than their counterparts, as there is no oil, you eliminate the risk of compressed air pipeline fires. An incredibly important factor to consider for the safety of you, your staff and your premises.

Oil-free air compressors can dramatically reduce your energy bills compared to the oil-based counterpart as they require less energy to run which will cut down your environmental impact. Oil-free air compressors do not need increased forces of power when the unit has a drop in the filtration in the downstream pressure, unlike oil-based. Oil-free units can, on average, unload in 2 seconds of your command which only uses around 18% of its full load horsepower.

Of course, all machines come with their downsides and oil-free air compressors are no exception. Oil-free air compressors are known to generate more noise which can be an annoyance and hazard to those using it and those around them.

There is a solution, you can invest in a low-noise air compressor. These reduce noise levels to around 40dB. The lowest safe level is considered 60 dB and anything over 80dB can cause long-term problems with hearing.

With the addition of an acoustic cylinder to contain this noise, opting for a low-noise air compressor is an investment worth making. It is recommended when using any power tool that protective gear is worn to eliminate lasting damage and long-term effects, even with a low-noise machine.

If you were considering purchasing a new air compressor or have simply been doing research on them, you should now have a comprehensive understanding of the benefits an oil-free air compressor possesses.

Incineration of Medical Waste: An Introduction

Incineration is a thermal process that transforms medical wastes into inorganic, incombustible matter thus leading to significant reduction in waste volume and weight. The main purpose of any medical waste incinerator is to eliminate pathogens from waste and reduce the waste to ashes. However, certain types of medical wastes, such as pharmaceutical or chemical wastes, require higher temperatures for complete destruction.

Medical waste incinerators typically operate at high temperatures between 900 and 1200°C. Developing countries of Asia and Africa usually use low-cost, high-temperature incinerators of simple design for stabilization of healthcare wastes.

The most reliable and predominant medical waste incineration technology is pyrolytic incineration, also known as controlled air incineration or double-chamber incineration. The pyrolytic incinerator comprises a pyrolytic chamber and a post-combustion chamber.

Medical waste is thermally decomposed in the pyrolytic chamber through an oxygen-deficient, medium-temperature combustion process (800– 900°C), producing solid ashes and gases. The gases produced in the pyrolytic chamber are burned at high temperature (900– 1200°C) by a fuel burner in the post-combustion chamber, using an excess of air to minimize smoke and odours.

Small-scale decentralized incinerators used in hospitals, of capacity 200–1000kg/day, are operated on demand in developing countries, such as India. On the other hand, off-site regional facilities have large-scale incinerators of capacity 1–8 tonnes/day, operating continuously and equipped with automatic loading and de-ashing devices.

In recent years, mobile incinerators are getting attraction in the developing world as such units permit on-site waste treatment in hospitals and clinics, thus avoiding the need to transport infectious waste across the city.

However, the WHO policy paper of 2004 and the Stockholm Convention, has stressed the need to consider the risks associated with the incineration of healthcare waste in the form of particulate matter, heavy metals, acid gases, carbon monoxide, organic compounds, pathogens etc.

In addition, leachable organic compounds, like dioxins and heavy metals, are usually present in bottom ash residues. Due to these factors, many industrialized countries are phasing out healthcare waste incinerators and exploring technologies that do not produce any dioxins. Countries like United States, Ireland, Portugal, Canada and Germany have completely shut down or put a moratorium on medical waste incinerators.