There have been major steps in the adoption of Waste Conversion/Recycling and Waste-to-Energy technology solutions. ZEN has adopted the following approach to determination associated with project implementation;

  • Technology Independent, based on customer and stakeholder needs

  • Flexible hybrid recycling solutions based on environmental regulation and business drivers

  • Use of Waste Conversion/Recycling and Waste-to-Energy as accepted by the host community


ZEN takes an embracing approach to waste management via waste conversion/recycling and waste-to-energy technologies.  We believe an independent approach is required to be responsive, creative, and risk adverse in relation to our long-term goal of moving towards zero waste. Considering all factors, in cooperation with all stakeholders will lead to the realization of a successful platform, and the implementation of an environmentally sustainable and profitable business model.

The result is a hybrid-solution based on waste composition, evaluation of business drivers (such as tipping fees and steam/power offtake agreements, local and national environmental regulations and financing sensitivities), and along with identification of opportunities to generate related byproducts for sale into the global markets.

Since municipal solid waste (MSW) is a mix of a variety of materials, not just combustible carbon-based materials but also glass, metals, medical and other industrial hazardous waste and more, it is complex to achieve a “zero waste” goal.  MSW streams can be recycled or composted (e.g., through anaerobic digestion). Reuse and waste prevention can significantly reduce the remaining waste stream.  

ZEN also focuses on three non-burning approaches to converting trash into energy — called waste-to-energy (WTE) technologies, such as gasification, plasma gasification, and pyrolysis. These technologies promise cleaner emissions and more flexibility in terms of energy output and, plus in some cases, the virtual elimination of landfilling. 

A significant difference in facility performance is evident at currently operating plants, making the importance of professional waste stream due diligence, front end engineering, and working with a highly experienced development TEAM from ZEN will ensure the right choice to realize your best option for Waste Conversion and WTE ambitions.

ZEN is technology agnostic.  Our approach is to consider all available proven technologies, evaluating each option relative to the specific parameters of a particular project opportunity, thereby ensuring that the proper technology “fit” is achieved for each project.  ZEN has strategic relationships with several leading-edge Waste-Conversion and WTE providers, EPC firms, and related partnerships, allowing ZEN to deliver the best solutions possible in the current economic, socio-political, and technological global environment.


Municipal solid waste (MSW)

MSW is the term for common mixed trash collected from homes, businesses, and institutions, including packaging, food waste, yard waste, and both durable and nondurable goods.

Waste-to-Energy (WTE) technologies

The full suite of WTE technologies includes thermal processes like mass-burn incineration and gasification as well as nonthermal processes like anaerobic digestion and landfill-gas recovery.


Hybrid Recycling Technologies

Waste-to-Energy technologies, with front-end waste recycling based on waste composition, recycling policy and environmental law under processes, such as Processed Refuse Fuel (PRF) or Refuse Derived Fuel (RDF) levels of waste recycling.


Pyrolysis is a form of gasification that occurs at relatively low temperatures of 600–1,400°F (300–760°C) in the absence of oxygen.


Processed Refuse Fuel (PRF) or Refuse Derived Fuel (RDF)

Varying levels of waste recycling, including paper separation, metals removal, tire shredding and steel band removal, colored and clear glass separation, etc.

Synthesis gas (syngas)

Syngas, composed mainly of hydrogen and carbon monoxide, is produced by conversion technology processes. It can be used as fuel for electricity or converted into other salable products such as liquid fuels.


Conversion technologies 

This blanket term encompasses non-combustion processes that convert solid waste into useful products. For the purposes of this discussion, the term refers specifically to gasification, plasma gasification, and pyrolysis, but other conversion technologies include depolymerization, anaerobic digestion, and fermentation.


Gasification is a process that converts any material containing carbon—such as coal, biomass, or MSW—into syngas. In the controlled presence of oxygen, temperatures of 900–3,000°F (480–1,650°C) break the feedstock molecules apart and recombine them into syngas.

Plasma gasification

Plasma gasification uses a plasma torch to provide supplemental heat for the gasification process. Temperatures can reach 5,000–20,000°F (2,760–11,000°C).

Mass-burn incineration

Mass-burn combustion of MSW occurs in an oxygen-rich setting with minimal prior sorting or preparation. The resulting heat is used to produce steam and electricity.