Dr. Louis J. Circeo is a Principal Research Scientist and the Director of Plasma Research in the Electro-Optical Systems Laboratory, Georgia Tech Research Institute(GTRI) at the Georgia Institute of Technology. He holds a Ph.D. in Civil Engineering with Nuclear Engineering Minors from Iowa State University. He has extensive research and development experience relating to construction and environmental engineering, and is a registered professional engineer. Dr. Circeo began his career with the Plowshare Program at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory conducting research into the peaceful industrial uses of nuclear explosions. He has been involved with plasma arc technology research since 1971, and holds five U.S. patents relating to plasma technology applications. He established the plasma applications research program at Georgia Tech in 1990, and is now conducting an active research program principally directed toward engineering and environmental applications of plasma arc technology for the treatment and energy recovery of municipal and hazardous/toxic wastes. Related interests include the subterranean plasma remediation of contaminated soils, municipal landfills, and buried hazardous /toxic debris deposits; and the subterranean vitrification and stabilization of weak foundation soils and unstable landslide-prone regions.
In the future, Dr. Circeo believes that plasma arc technology is poised to create groundbreaking innovations in the fields of liquid fuels production, coal gasification and oil, oil shale and tar sands recovery processes.
What is Plasma? It's the "Fourth State" of matter. It is ionized gas at high temperatures, between 4,000 and 7,000 degrees centigrade. Plasma is capable of conducting electrical current.
Loads in 15 seconds
Plasma gasification technology in the US is developing fast, and could be the perfect way to divert Municipal Solid Waste from landfills and produce valuable by-products. Dr. Circeo says this article by Ed Dodge correctly captures the current state-of-the-art of plasma waste-to-energy gasification technology in a clear and comprehensive manner.
Discovery Channel Online; December, 2008
The scoop: Plasma is a collection of charged particles that respond to an electromagnetic field (think lightning and the sun). In Florida and California, cities are looking at ways to use plasma to obliterate garbage and use the heat to generate power. But initial plans in Florida to build the largest plasma arc gasification plant in the world have been scaled back by about 80 percent. And in Sacramento, the proposed plant has been put on hold because of a lack of details about just how much electricity would be produced and how much trash would be gasified by plasma. But why were folks looking into plasma in the first place? Expert Louis Circeo gives a list of his top 10 reasons for zapping garbage with plasma.
1. It reduces the need for landfills.
Sometimes called "artificial lightning," plasma can have temperatures that can exceed 7,000 degrees centigrade -- that's three times hotter than fossil fuels and hotter than the surface of the sun.