Ecoloop is Xella’s brand name for the generation of gas from waste material. The patented Ecoloop process allows the ecologically and economically beneficial conversion of residual materials into pure synthetic gas (syngas). This syngas can be used in industrial processes as a substitute for fossil fuels such as natural gas.
The use of Ecoloop therefore protects natural resources and even generates a triple value contribution: Energy savings are achieved through the significantly lower production cost of the syngas compared with fossil fuels. Disposal costs are reduced because Ecoloop represents the most cost-efficient reprocessing option. And for specific applications additional income is obtained through the recovery of valuable materials such as metals and phosphor.
Examples of useful residual waste products include plastics containing chlorine that have received little processing, fractions of household waste or residual products from automobile recycling. However, sewage sludge and sulfurous fossil fuels that cannot be used in conventional combustion processes can also be utilized. Ecoloop can therefore efficiently reprocess residuals that have no better or more ecological use.
In addition to conserving fossil fuels and solving recycling problems, the Ecoloop process has further positive effects on sustainability – in particular when compared to traditional means of disposal using thermal treatment. Ecoloop binds the chlorine found in residual waste to the lime and functions as a “chlorine sink”. Furthermore, as a result of binding with lime, the formation of dioxins and furans is prevented, making flue gas scrubbing unnecessary. The whole process is also a closed-loop system with no environmentally damaging emissions or negative effects on the ground and water. Finally, Ecoloop achieves a higher thermal efficiency compared with other processes, which means that a given amount of energy can be generated from a lower volume of residual waste – with a consequent reduction in CO2 emissions. The degree to which the Ecoloop process is environmentally friendly is highlighted by the awards it has received: The German Innovation Prize for Climate and the Environment (IKU) and the Hugo Junkers Innovation Prize. The Ecoloop plant is located at the Fels Kaltes Tal site and is currently still at the trial stage.