A Heavy Metal Story

By Anna Simet | August 30, 2012

Although it’s still sweltering hot out in North Dakota—pushing 100 degrees Fahrenheit where I am—we’re busy working on the October issue of Biomass Magazine. I’ll probably have a change of heart during the middle of winter, but I’m really looking forward to the cool fall weather.

Speaking of the October issue, it’s going to be a great one. I’m working on an article about metal recovery at energy-from-waste (EfW) plants, something we haven’t really delved into in the past. Pun is indeed intended in the title of this blog because the article is just that—heavy.

But in a very good and interesting way.

On Tuesday, I interviewed Steve Bossotti, VP of Organic Growth & Innovation for Covanta Energy, and well, they’re lucky to have him. Having been in the business for 25 years, he was quick to thoroughly answer every question I had about metal recovery. I actually got the idea for the article when I became aware that Covanta has formed a partnership with Steinert US to install advanced metal recovery systems at its plants, systems that are specially designed to recover very small particles of non-ferrous metal. That includes precious metals such as gold, silver, etc.

Yes, it’s true. Precious metals recovery contributes to the additional revenue stream that non-ferrous metals provide to EfW plants. Bossotti said that a person would not believe what gets thrown away and ends up at a landfill.

While all of the company’s plants have some form of metals recovery, Covanta is making a big push to improve it (I will also mention that I’m including Wheelabrator’s perspective in the article, too). As I mentioned in a short article I wrote several weeks ago, just to give you a perspective of how significant metals recovery is at EfW plants, last year Covanta’s 41 facilities in North America recycled over 400,000 tons of ferrous and over 15,000 tons of non-ferrous metal, the equivalent amount of steel that would be used to build five Golden Gate Bridges and in the production of over one billion aluminum beverage cans,

So, if you want to learn the ins and outs of metal recovery at EfW plants—how it’s done, why it’s done, how it affects plant performance and technological innovation being made—you need to check out the October issue of Biomass Magazine when it comes out.