Glossary of Terms

A

Acid Hydrolysis
The chemical decomposition of waste using acid and water to split chemical bonds.
Aerobic digestion
Essentially, composting of organic matter.
Anaerobic Digestion
The bacterial breakdown of organic materials in the absence of oxygen. This biological process produces agricultural fertilizer and a gas, sometimes called biogas, principally composed of methane and carbon dioxide, which can be used as a fuel to generate electricity of steam.

G

Gasification
A process that uses heat, pressure, and steam to convert materials directly into a gas composed primarily of carbon monoxide and hydrogen. Three primary products result: hydrocarbon gases (also call syngas), hydrocarbon liquids (oils) and char ( carbon black and ash). Syngas can be used as a fuel to generate electricity or steam, or as a basic chemical building block for a multitude of uses.

H

Hydrolysis
A chemical decomposition process that uses water to split chemical bonds of substances. Material in our solid waste that is derived from plants have structural components composed of lignocellulosic fibers, which in turn are comprised of three major fractions: cellulose, hemicellulose, and lignin. Cellulose and hemicellulose are chains of sugar molecules that can be broken down chemically or biologically into the component sugars. The sugars are then fermented using yeast or bacteria to produce ethanol, which is then distilled to a higher concentration for final use.

P

Pyrolysis
The thermal processing of waste using indirect heat in the absence of oxygen.

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