This Month’s Field Trip: Monarch Hill Wheelabrator!

Matthew and Kellie in front of the transformer.
The following post was contributed by SOM high school student, Max Shaller. 


On Wednesday the high school at Space of Mind went to a waste management plant to learn about the Wheelabrator. The Wheelabrator is a facility that converts garbage into energy.


This fascinating process starts with the incoming trucks dropping off their trash in concrete storage pits. Overhead cranes move the trash from the pits to a feed hopper and then to the boiler. Inside the boiler an inclined reciprocating metal grate slowly moves the trash through, where temperatures reach over 2000 degrees. The boiler recovers thermal energy in the form of high pressured steam that is converted into energy in the turbine generator. The energy produced is used to power the entire facility, and the remaining energy is sold back to Florida Power and Light!
SOM high school students in the crane control room
with the Wheelabrator operators.


Our high school students explored the facilities and examined the Wheelabrator. “It was really cool and big but also gross and smelly,” high school student,  Zoe Fioravanti said.


Students toured through various parts of the process, including getting to visit the control center, the boiler and the massive concrete storage pit where two operators control massive cranes that mix and deposit the waste into the feed hopper.

Chandler in front of the 2300 degree boiler!
“Seeing trash burn at 2,300 degrees was awesome!” high school student Chandler Kerrigan said. “I think its amazing that the wheelabrator process reduces the amount of trash going into the landfills by 90%.”


We also asked one of our coaches what she thought about the tour. “Our trip to the wheelabrator was really fascinating.” SOM creative programming director, Allie Hasson said. “It was amazing to have a behind the scenes look at the process of converting waste into energy. Seeing a massive quantity of trash all in one place is a stark reminder of the consequences of the way we generate waste.”
For more information about the Monarch Hill Wheelabrator, click HERE!
SOM students touring the Wheelabrator facility.
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