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RePower South Starts Up Advanced Recycling System in South Carolina

The facilty’s BHS system can process nearly 200,000 tons of mixed waste annually.

RePower South (RPS) has begun processing material at the company’s new recycling and recovery facility in Berkeley County, S.C. The recycling system, provided by Eugene, Ore.-based Bulk Handling Systems (BHS), is a highly automated system capable of processing more than 50 tons per hour (tph) of mixed waste to recover recyclables and produce a fuel feedstock.

The facility receives material from Berkeley County, processing a minimum of 120,000 tons annually. Prior to this system coming online, county residents were required to opt in and pay for household recycling or utilize drop-off recycling sites that only accepted paper and cardboard. All other recyclables were sent to landfill.

Advanced technology, including NRT optical sorters and Max-AI AQCs (Autonomous Quality Control), enable the system to run with minimal manual sorters. The BHS FiberPure process features screen, air, optical and artificial intelligence (AI)-powered robotic sorters to completely automate the production of clean fiber. Plastics and metals also are separated without manual sorting. In total, the system contains seven NRT optical sorters and nine Max-AI AQCs.

“With NRT optical and Max-AI technology, we have an almost unlimited degree of flexibility to create a wide variety of high-quality products to serve multiple markets,” said RPS President Scott Montgomery in a statement. “The technology maximizes the recovery and quality of those products, and with Max-AI technology, there’s no real need to expose people to this work during the QC process.”

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The plant also makes use of non-recyclable papers and plastics by producing ReEngineered Feedstock (ReEF), a clean, low-carbon renewable fuel sold to industry, cement and utility customers to replace coal in production processes. ReEF undergoes several quality control steps, including two NRT optical sorters, which remove plastic and metal contamination. The product has been designated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as a non-waste fuel.

The fuel system utilizes a Loesche Energy Systems RocketMill to dry, purify and size the ReEF. Also employed in the plant are two Kadant PAAL balers. Kadant PAAL balers claim nearly half the market share in Europe and were introduced to North America through an exclusive relationship with BHS. A PAAL Konti 500 bales all commodities headed to the secondary market, including ferrous, aluminum, cardboard, paper and plastics, and a PAAL Dokon 500 bales fuel. 

“After years of due diligence, planning, negotiating and financing, we’re very excited to be processing material at our second facility,” said RPS CEO Brian Gilhuly in a statement. “We think we have a great solution for communities looking to recycle more, landfill less and do so in an economically sustainable way. It is great to be here in Berkeley County recovering materials for reuse that were previously going to the landfill. We’re thankful for the opportunity and appreciative of the partnership with government leadership and the support from the community.”

“RePower South is showing that it is possible, today, to help communities increase recycling of the existing waste stream while also providing the flexibility to adjust to any market condition or opportunity,” said BHS CEO Steve Miller in a statement. “The system is built to run with low operating costs over multiple shifts and has the ability to adjust its outputs to meet demand. The waste stream in Berkeley County is a resource that can be fully managed; Berkeley County and RePower South had the foresight to create value from this resource, and we appreciate the trust they have in us to help actualize their vision.”

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