Synthetic fuel for imitation of municipal solid waste in experimental studies of waste incineration

Sukrut S. Thipse, Chad Sheng, Michael R. Booty, Richard S. Magee, Edward L. Dreizin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Synthetic fuel is prepared to imitate municipal solid waste (MSW) in experimental studies of incineration processes. The fuel is composed based on the Environmental Protection Agency reports on the materials contained in MSW. Uniform synthetic fuel pellets are prepared using available and inexpensive components including newsprint, hardwood mulch, low density polyethylene, iron, animal feed, sand, and water to imitate paperbound, wood, yard trimming, plastic, metal, food wastes, and other materials in MSW. The synthetic fuel preparation procedure enables one to reproduce and modify the fuel for a wide range of experiments in which the mechanisms of waste incineration are addressed. The fuel is characterized using standard ASTM tests and it is shown that its parameters, such as combustion enthalpy, density, as well as moisture, ash and fixed carbon contents are adequate for the representation of municipal solid waste. In addition, chlorine, nitrogen, and sulfur contents of the fuel are shown to be similar to those of MSW. Experiments are conducted in which the synthetic fuel is used for operation of a pilot-scale incinerator research facility. Steady-state temperature operation regimes are achieved and reproduced in these experiments. Thermodynamic equilibrium flame conditions are computed using an isentropic one-dimensional equilibrium code for a wide range of fuel/air ratios. The molecular species used to represent the fuel composition included cellulose, water, iron, polyethylene, methanamine, and silica. The predicted concentrations of carbon monoxide, nitric oxides, and oxygen in the combustion products are compared with the respective experimental concentrations in the pilot-scale incinerator exhaust.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1071-1077
Number of pages7
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2001

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • General Chemistry
  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


  • Combustion of solid fuels
  • Municipal solid waste incineration


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