Demand-driven management of waste flows in incineration plants based on volume monitoring with LiDAR
EEW Energy from Waste GmbH stores the energy source waste in its thermal residual waste treatment and energy generation plant TREA in a bunker of impressive dimensions: With a length of 42 meters, a width of 14 meters, and a depth of 33 meters, up to 10,000 m³ of material can be stored before it is energetically utilized in the boiler. To ensure optimal loading of the facility and material dispatch as required, the production department has to know how much waste is in the bunker. Doing so ensures that enough material is available to run the plant efficiently.
Blickfeld LiDAR sensors have replaced previous measurements and continuously record the volume of stored waste. 3D data generated in real-time thus helps to optimize the plant operation economically.
Previously, the stored material was recorded manually once a day. For this purpose, the height position of the waste gripper was measured at various points in the waste bunker, and the stored volume was determined from this.
In addition, the input and output were also recorded via scales. However, since only the weight, i.e., the mass of the waste, was recorded, the energy content of the waste could not be reliably estimated. The energy content is derived from the mass and volume since both values combined provide information about the density and, subsequently, about the thermal value of the material.
To ensure efficient and environmentally friendly operation of the plant, it was also essential to have access to reliable data even on weekends or holidays and to adjust the throughput according to the material available.
Three Blickfeld Cube 1 LiDAR sensors are installed to survey the entire bunker. They record the material’s surface in detail in a 3D point cloud. Based on this data, the corresponding perception software calculates the volume in the bunker. In combination with the mass data recorded via material input and output, the energy content of the waste can thus be determined approximately. All the data is made available in a specially developed mobile app, which can be used to control the waste flows as required.
EEW plans to use the collected data not only to control the incinerator more efficiently but also to make it available to its sales force through the mobile app so they can respond to the current situation.
About EEW Energy from Waste
EEW Energy from Waste GmbH (EEW) is one of the leading companies in Europe in the field of thermal waste and sewage sediment recycling. Today, EEW Energy from Waste already makes an important contribution to climate and resource protection and is thus an indispensable part of the circular economy. At the currently 17 locations of the group of companies, we are able to utilize around 5 million tons of waste per year for energy recovery. More than 1,400 employees are responsible for harnessing the energy of waste, reducing the volume of waste, eliminating the hazards posed by waste safely and harmlessly, and recycling scrap metals and composites. We also make efficient use of the energy contained in waste to generate process steam for industrial plants, district heating for residential areas and environmentally friendly generated electricity. As part of our sustainability strategy, we have set ourselves the goal of operating on a climate-neutral basis by 2030 and on a climate-positive basis by 2040. In addition to CO2 reduction, a key measure will be CO2 capture in our plants. Some of the captured CO2 will be stored underground or used as a valuable raw material for chemical products in a climate-neutral economy of the future.
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