High-Temp Cutting Fuel to the RescueMay 19, 2014
Traffic disasters leave everyone scrambling for solutions, and a collision on U.S. 19 in Tampa earlier this month was a typical example. Or, perhaps not quite so typical.
When two semitrailer trucks hit an exposed steel girder on an overpass scheduled for demolition, traffic was stopped in two directions blocking traffic traveling between Tampa and Clearwater. Motorists were advised to avoid the area, and prolonged traffic delays — perhaps for a few days — were expected.
As it turned out, the demolition contractor brought in to demolish the structure and clear the obstruction -- Sonny Glasbrenner Inc. -- was a MagneGas Corporation customer.
MagneGas is the developer of a hydrogen-based formulation that can be processed from industrial, municipal, agricultural, and military liquid wastes, with the appropriate governmental permits. MagneGas Corp. commercialized its waste-to-fuel conversion method about four years ago, and it has stated the “clean burning” hydrogen fuel may be used for various commercial or process applications, such as welding or cutting, process gas, metal working, cooking, heating, even powering bi-fuel automobiles.
The refining technology is called Plasma Arc Flow™ and it is based on flowing the liquid waste — sewage, sludge, agricultural waste, leachates, oil-based or industrial waste liquids (some of which require further testing or mixing with water or other liquids to process) — through a submerged electric arc between two electrodes. The arc decomposes the liquid molecules into atoms and forms a plasma around the tips of the electrodes at about 10,000°F / 5,500 C. The Plasma Arc Flow moves the plasma away from the electrodes and controls the formation of MagneGas that rises to the surface for collection.
The obvious appeal of MagneGas is that is its low greenhouse-gas component, compared to fossil fuels.
The chief advantage of MagneGas fuel in the demolition of the bridge structure was the high cutting temperature, and reportedly the contractor specifically chose MagneGas fuel for this project.
"MagneGas played a crucial role to ensure we could safely and efficiently cut out the bridge girders,” according to Daniel Krajacic, production manager at Sonny Glasbrenner. “The girders posed a unique problem in that they were coated with fire retardant coating and layers of paint that made it difficult to cut with traditional acetylene torches. Fortunately, last year we were introduced to MagneGas® and we were able to use it to cut apart this steel and open this crucial intersection."
"We made multiple deliveries of MagneGas to deal with the situation,” noted Ermanno Santilli, MagneGas CEO.
In the event, the fuel’s effectiveness helped the demolition team clear the obstruction in just one day.
“First of all we are pleased that nobody appears to have been hurt and proud that MagneGas was part of the solution to re-open this critical Clearwater-Tampa connection," Santilli concluded.