It is with great sadness that we announce the death of V. Brian Jackson, our business partner in AJT Enterprises, Inc. Brian passed away on Sunday, March 28, 2010. He was a good friend and will be greatly missed.
The process is a result of a joint effort involving Clemson University, AJT Enterprises, Inc. and the United States Department of Energy's Albany Research Center. It is a very practical alternative to current waste remediation and disposal techniques, including landfilling and capping.
All of the stories and articles on the AJT Enterprises part of this website are listed on the page, AJT Contents. They are all also listed as links in individual articles. However, the AJT Contents page shows links to all of the stories in one place.
How it works -The process used is as old as the earth itself. It duplicates the intense heat that occurs deep inside a volcano. This heat melts rocks, absorbs minerals, vaporizes organic materials and produces a molten material that flows almost like water.
The process is called VITRIFICATION and is a technical term for a form of glassmaking. The contaminated material is melted, not in a volcano, but in an electric arc furnace.
Electric power is supplied to large carbon electrodes inside the furnace. The resulting electric arc melts the contaminated material. Other common glass additives (e.g. lime, silica) are mixed with the contaminated material to make it easier to melt and form into glass.
Feed materials to this process can range from solids, such as concrete blocks, dredge and sediments, to liquidous waste streams The process can handle a wide range contaminants.
The contaminated material and its additives will melt into a white hot glassy puddle. This glass will absorb and transform the hazardous materials. Organic components are decomposed to their elements. Some of the soil, along with some of the hazardous material, will be vaporized and turned into hot gases. These gases will be drawn off the furnace, cooled and then passed through a series of chemical purifiers called scrubbers. These scrubbers will remove any remaining harmful materials. Only clean air will be allowed to pass into the atmosphere.
If the contaminated material contains metal, such as lead, the metal will melt. However, most will not mix with the molten glass but will collect in a pool below the glass. It can be tapped off separately, sold as scrap and recycled.
The remaining clean material, now in the form of molten glass, will be poured out of the furnace. One very promising use of this molten glass is to use it in the production of mineral wool. Mineral wool is used as insulation and in the field of hydroponics in raising plants with out soil. There is a vast world market for mineral wool and it is a valuable product. Initial investigation points to the possibility that the production of mineral wool may be the most lucrative product that can be produced by the process. See Mineral Wool for more details.
The molten glass can also be poured into a water bath. The water will cool the glass instantly and cause it to break up into small pieces. These pieces, now called aggregate, are environmentally clean. The glass is very similar to the glassy rock sometimes produced by volcanoes called "obsidian". This aggregate will pass the stringent tests of the US Environmental Protection Agency to prove that it is not harmful to the environment. This aggregate is a marketable product and has many commercial uses. One promising use is to take the place of stone gravel in construction. Testing has found that this aggregate exceeds the requirements of gravel used in construction.
A Proven Process - The process has been demonstrated to work in a joint venture involving Clemson University, AJT Enterprises, Inc. and the United States Department of Energy's Albany Research Center. In this demonstration, over 10 tons of contaminated material from the former Charleston Naval Base and dredge spoil material from Charleston harbor was processed and recycled. All test results of the final material were satisfactory. The vitrified product was subjected to leaching and toxicology tests to fully assess the safety of the product to the environment. Material was also tested for its suitability in construction. Click on the button for:
Full description of Demonstration Project funded by US Department of Energy.
More information on the leaching and regulatory limits testing.
More information on toxicology testing of material at University of South Florida.
More information on testing of material at Clemson University for potential as construction material.
Pictures of material produced.
A description of how the AJT Process differs from other vitrification processes.
Frequently asked questions about the process.
Major Benefits of Recycling by Using the AJT Process
No long Term Liability - The principal method now being used for hazardous waste up clean up involves placing the material in a hazardous waste landfill. In addition to being very expensive, these landfills pose long term environmental threats. Also, under present law, the generator of the waste, or its successors, will still be liable for the stored material. If they disappear as a company, the state and federal government still have the problem of long term environmental damage. The AJT procedure completely eliminates these problems. The material produced is not hazardous but has useful purposes.
Less Landfills Required - The quantity of hazardous waste materials that must be disposed of in this country will require huge, expensive landfills. These could be eliminated if the AJT process is widely used.
Reuse of Valuable Land - Much land in this state and country is now used for landfills or is capped to cover contaminated material. What capping and landfilling really does is to defer the problem to a future generation. The process offered by AJT could fully reclaim this valuable property. The AJT Process has the capability to reclaim this property for use not only as an industrial areas but as pristine residential property if desired.
A United States Patent on the process is held jointly by AJT Enterprises, Inc. and Clemson University. As a result of the Demonstration the process has been designated as Legitimate Recycling by both the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and South Carolina DHEC.
Potential Applications of Process
The process can be used to remediate, reclaim and recycle:
Abandoned industrial locations and brownfield sites
Former military bases that are contaminated
Hazardous waste landfills
Dredge Spoil areasMine tailings
Coal Ash or Fly Ash dumps
Coal Ash or Fly Ash from Power Plants
The accumulation of fly ash from electrical generating power plants has become a serious problem all over the United States and the rest of the world. The ash is produced when coal is burned to produce steam to generate electricity. The AJT process has great potential in the recycling and reuse of flyash. A very lucrative opportunity exists if the AJT Process were used to produce mineral wool from the fly ash dumps.
While not presently regulated by the EPA, the fly ash is not a harmless material. It contains heavy metals like arsenic, lead, mercury and selenium. This policy is now under review by the EPA and a change in the classification to make fly ash a hazardous waste may come in the next few months.
There are millions of tons of fly ash now in storage in South Carolina and the United States at more than 1,300 sites. In addition, more than 131 million tons are produced by 460 power plants in the US every year. This vast amount of fly ash poses a serious problem of water pollution and health threats to people living near the dumps.
There was a catastrophic rupture and spill from a fly ash dump in Tennessee in December of 2008. This covered an adjacent area of 400 acres to a depth of 6 feet. This spill volume of 2.6 million cubic yards was 48 times the volume of the spill of oil from the Exxon Valdez. The spill polluted the nearby Emory River. It also made many homes in the area and along the river unfit to live in.
There have been 34 spills at US fly ash dumps over the last 10 years.
The Charleston Post and Courier Newspaper recently ran a series about the danger of pollution caused by fly ash waste from power plants in South Carolina. AJT sent a letter to the editor explaining how the Clemson/AJT process could be used to clean up the ash waste and remove the hazard. Read the letter at Ash Reuse.
Cities and communities around the country are faced with similar problems about dealing with these sites. Click on the button below for typical situations and how the AJT Process can be of help in solving these problems.
Stimulate Industrial Development
The AJT Vitrification Process can be a powerful tool in your community's effort to recruit industry to locate in your area. Click on the button below for more details.
For more information click on the following links:
About AJT Enterprises, Inc.
US Department of Energy's Albany Research Center
For further information about the process or about the opportunities in partnering with AJT Enterprises, Inc. contact:
AJT Enterprises, Inc.
2419 Santee River Road
St. Stephen, South Carolina 29479
(843) 567-4633; (843) 567-4833 Fax
This site does not list email addresses because of complications caused by spammers. We apologize for any inconvenience. Written correspondence will be answered promptly. This web page is developed and maintained by AJT Enterprises, Inc.