Asbestos-containing debris generated by the tsunami after the Great East Japan Earthquake of March 11, 2011, was processed by microwave heating. The analysis of the treated samples employing thermo gravimetry, differential thermal analysis, X-ray diffractometry, scanning electron microscopy, and phase-contrast microscopy revealed the rapid detoxification of the waste by conversion of the asbestos fibers to a nonfibrous glassy material. The detoxification by the microwave method occurred at a significantly lower processing temperature than the thermal methods actually established for the treatment of asbestos-containing waste. The lower treatment temperature is considered to be a consequence of the microwave penetration depth into the waste material and the increased intensity of the microwave electric field in the gaps between the asbestos fibers resulting in a rapid heating of the fibers inside the debris. A continuous treatment plant having a capacity of 2000 kg day-1 of asbestos-containing waste was built in the area affected by the earthquake disaster. This treatment plant consists of a rotary kiln to burn the combustible waste (wood) and a microwave rotary kiln to treat asbestos-containing inorganic materials. The hot flue gas produced by the combustion of wood is introduced into the connected microwave rotary kiln to increase the energy efficiency of the combined process. Successful operation of this combined device with regard to asbestos decomposition is demonstrated.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Environmental Chemistry