Palm Beach Renewable Energy Facility 2

The SWA's Renewable Energy Facility 2 (REF 2) is a $672,000,000, state-of-the-art waste to energy facility. The REF 2 project is the first of its kind in more than 15 years and the most advanced and cleanest waste-to-energy power plant in North America.
Facility Highlights
REF 2 is estimated to reduce the amount of waste going to SWA's landfill by up to 90 percent, ensuring the landfill lasts until 2043-2045. While reducing waste, it generates 100 megawatts of electricity for the people in Palm Beach County. That is enough electricity to provide power for an estimated 44,000 homes and businesses, or about all the homes in Boca Raton.

At capacity, REF 2 will process more than 1 million tons (907,200,000 kg) of post-recycled municipal solid waste annually and 3,000 tons a daily - more than 660 curbside trucks worth of trash every day!

How the Plant Works
Unlike REF 1, where post-recycled municipal solid waste is processed into refuse-derived fuel, REF 2 is a mass burn facility. Post-recycled municipal solid waste is unloaded directly into "the Pit," which is designed to handle up to 7 days (21,000 tons/19,100,000 kg) of waste or 4,200 curbside trucks of garbage.

From REF 2’s pit, the waste is fed by grapples that look like giant claws into one of three boilers. These grapples can hold 9 tons of garbage, or about twice the garbage held in one full curbside truck. The claw could pick up a Tyrannosaurus Rex!

There, the waste is burned to generate steam. Each of the three Babcock & Wilcox boilers can process 1,000 tons (907,000 kg) of waste per day due to state-of-the-art Volund Wave Grate system which allows for more complete combustion and greater volume reduction of the waste. Each boiler generates 284,400 pounds per hour of superheated steam which drives a turbine generator to produce electricity.

REF 2 recovers about 90 percent of ferrous metals and 85 percent of nonferrous metals from the ashes of the after the incineration process. It is expected to recover more an estimated 27,000 tons of steel, aluminum, copper and other metals annually after the trash is burned. 

Environmental Innovations and Pollution Controls
REF 2 benefits from the best available pollution control technology, ensuring very low air emissions. In fact, REF 2 meets emission permit limits that are the lowest of any renewable energy facility currently combusting municipal solid waste in the United States.

Pollution control measures at REF 2 include:
  • The use of carbon powder to remove mercury and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from ash after combustion.
  • Utilization of lime slurry to control acid gases in the Spray Dryer Absorbers (SDA).
  • Baghouses that filter fly ash, lime and carbon powder and prevent the release of particulates.
  • The use of ammonia to turn nitrogen oxide (NOx) into harmless nitrogen and water (H2O) vapor in the Selective Catalytic Reduction System (SCR). REF 2 will be the first waste-to-energy facility in the United States to reduce NOx emissions using SCR.
REF 2 features a unique rooftop rainwater collection system that includes a 2 million gallon cistern. This system provides a portion of the water necessary to operate the facility, reducing REF 2's use of treated water.