VATIS Update Waste Management . Jan-Feb 2008

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Waste Management Jan-Feb 2008

ISSN: 0971-5665

VATIS Update Waste Management is published 4 times a year to keep the readers up to date of most of the relevant and latest technological developments and events in the field of Waste Management. The Update is tailored to policy-makers, industries and technology transfer intermediaries.

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United Nations examines mercury pollution

Governments must speed up efforts to deliver an international agreement on mercury, said Mr. Achim Steiner, executive director of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) at a major summit examining ways to reduce environmental sources of the poisonous metal. He said scientists have been warning about the dangers to human health, wildlife and the wider environment for well over a century but a global response has yet to be mounted. He pointed out that a comprehensive and decisive response to the global challenge of mercury was not in place and that needed to be urgently addressed.

UNEP has urged governments to begin setting clear and ambitious targets to reduce global mercury levels. It suggested these targets could include phasing out mercury from products and processes by 2020 and reductions in emissions of the metal from coal-fired power stations. A recent report released by UNEP points out that coal burning and waste incineration account for almost 70 per cent of the total quantified emissions of mercury.

The working group is expected to meet again in 2008 and campaign groups have called for action at that meeting. Mercury is linked to a wide range of health effects, such as irreversible damage to the human nervous system, including the brain. Everyone has at least trace levels of the metal in their tissues.


Indian guidelines for e-waste management

The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) of India has published the ‘Draft Guidelines for Environmentally Sound Management of E-Waste’ for the State Pollution Control Boards and Pollution Control Committees of the Union Territories and the industries handling electrical and electronic waste (e-waste). A Task Force has been set up by the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) for their finalization.

MoEF has notified the Hazardous Waste (Management & Handling) Rules 1989, as amended in 2000 and 2003 under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986. These rules regulate collection, storage, treatment, disposal and import of hazardous wastes. The residues and wastes generated by the electronics industry are considered as hazardous wastes and are listed in Schedule 1 of these rules. Furthermore, the export and import of e-waste is regulated under Schedule 3, which also covers electrical and electronic assemblies. Under this category, the import of wastes is permitted only for direct reuse and not for recycling or final disposal.


China’s  wastewater treatment industry set to take off

The water and wastewater treatment industry of China is expected to expand rapidly, with international and domestic venture capitalists showing great interest in the business opportunities offered by the deteriorating water quality and the severe water shortages, especially in northern China. Mr. Liu Junjie, general manager of the Duoyuan Global Water Operation Co. Ltd. says that about 80 per cent of the surface water and 40 per cent of underground water in China is contaminated.

The officials of various venture capital and private equity firms said that water and wastewater projects have become their central focus in the search for investment opportunities in China’s clean technology industry. The country’s water and wastewater projects received US$ 90 million in venture capital in 2006 and the first quarter of 2007, and are forecast to attract US$100 million in investment in 2008, said a research report recently published by Cleantech Network. 

Mr. Guo Youzhi, general secretary of the China Desalination Association, said that only 20 per cent of industrial wastewater in the country is efficiently re-utilized and 80 per cent is being simply discharged. He said economic rather than technological issues currently pose the biggest obstacle to the widespread adoption of water treatment practices. Mr. Guo said, “Artificially low water prices as well as lack of preferential policies from the central government mean that it doesn’t make economic sense for companies to adopt costly technologies to improve water usage efficiency and re-use wastewater”. China’s water prices are still only about a third that of average global prices, adds Mr. Liu. 


Sri Lanka gets Swedish aid to clean up industrial pollution

The Swedish government has given Sri Lanka a soft loan to set up wastewater treatment plants in two of the suburbs of Colombo city known for clusters of factories that discharge untreated waste into waterways, said a statement from Sri Lanka’s Finance Ministry. The US$91.9 million dollars for the project, implemented through the National Water Supply and Drainage Board, is free of interest. The amount will be used to manage pollution by collecting industrial and domestic wastewater, treating in central plants, and disposal in environmentally safe ways. About 204 industries and 35,000 residents in Ratmalana and Moratuwa, south of Colombo, and about 130 industries and 28,500 residents of the northern Ja-ela and Ekala suburbs would come under the project.


Pakistan to take legal action against polluting hospitals

The Environmental Protection Department (EPD) of Pakistan is taking legal action against Lahore’s public and private sector hospitals, which have failed to implement “in letter and spirit” the Hospital Waste Management Rules (HWMR) 2005. As a first step, EPD will start issuing Environmental Protection Orders (EPO) to the respective hospital administrations. The decision was prompted by EPD’s concern over the failure of the Environmental Wing of City District Government of Lahore in enforcing HWMR.

According to EPD sources, hardly any hospital has implemented the Rules. This failure has converted the provincial metropolis into a hub of hospital waste recycling industry, which poses a serious threat to the public, as well as the workers involved in this industry. The sources claimed that only 10 to 15 per cent waste, generated by the major city hospitals, is destroyed. EPD had earlier sent notices to the city hospitals for not complying with Section 31 of the Pakistan Environment Protection Act. The section requires all hospitals to dispose of their waste properly according to the provisions of HWMR.


Japan to assist others with e-waste recycling

The Environment Ministry of Japan plans to help five South East Asian countries – Viet Nam, Thailand, the Philippines, Malaysia and Cambodia – to recycle used home electronics appliances. The Japanese government will also seek ways to help the countries neutralize toxic materials such as polychlorinated biphenyls, including those generated by hospitals. The initiative is in line with the Japanese cabinet policy adopted last June to encourage international co-operation in the field of recycling.

The Ministry is sending experts to the five countries to gather information on how used goods are being handled so that new recycling routes can be established. The plan is to pass on to Japanese companies for processing the equipment collected in the countries, as “these countries lack recycling techniques and have yet to develop systems to collect used equipment from households and corporations,” said a government official. Smelters and other facilities in Japan boast advanced techniques for extracting precious metals such as gold from cell phones and computers.


Malaysia drafts new solid waste rules

The Housing and Local Government Ministry of Malaysia is drafting new regulations related to solid wastes after Parliament passed the Solid Waste and Public Cleansing Management Act last July. The Minister Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting said the new rules will be fine-tuned by the Attorney-General’s office before its implementation from April 2008.

The ministry, Datuk Ong said, was also recruiting to fill up posts in the Solid Waste and Public Cleansing Management Corporation so that it has enough staff to implement the legislation. Only after the new regulations are ready and posts in the corporation filled will the ministry take over the management of solid wastes and public cleansing.

To promote recycling, Datuk Ong said, it has been proposed that the manufacturers of goods be tasked to collect for recycling the containers used – such as bottles and cans – for their goods. The Ministry was also studying how the manufacturers would be taxed to finance the disposal of goods and their containers which could not be recycled, the Minister said.


India’s e-waste generation on a new high

India generated 330,000 tonnes of e-waste in 2007 as dumping from developed countries and informal recycling added to environmental degradation, says a recent study. E-waste in the country is expected to touch 470,000 tonnes by 2011, revealed the study commissioned by the Manufacture’s Association for Information Technology (MAIT), the apex body representing India’s IT sector, and GTZ, Germany’s Technical Cooperation Agency. Said to be a first to inventorize e-waste in the country, the study focused only on the waste stream of television sets, computers and mobile handsets. It revealed that of the total 330,000 t of e-waste generated annually, only 19,000 t are recycled owing to the high refurbishing and reuse and the poor recycling infrastructure.



Shredding plastic film

Vecoplan LLC in the United States has launched an industrial shredder for the rapid shredding of plastic film. The RG42K-XL F features SureCut shredding system that delivers built-in, two-stage auxiliary size reduction in a single pass. Among other features are a specially reinforced, close-tolerance screen configuration, and an application-specific ‘wedge’ fixed counter knife. Designed for high throughput, the shredder also has built-in metering capabilities and thermal monitoring controls.

The SureCut system prevents film from wrapping around the cutting rotor during processing, and delivers precise cut lengths. The RG42K XL F’s 107 cm x 132 cm hopper in-feed opening provides true dump-and-run operation for a wide variety of loose or baled plastic films, as well as short-pile carpet. The shredding chamber employs a Vecoplan single-shaft rotor powered by a 60 hp motor. Contact: Vecoplan LLC, P.O. Box 7224, High Point, North Carolina, NC 27264, United States of America. Tel: +1 (336) 861 6070; Fax: +1 (336) 861 4329; E-mail: info; Website: www.


Agglomerating thermoplastic waste

PFV Plast-Agglomerator, from the German size reduction machinery manufacturer Pallmann, is built for recycling thermoplastic waste and compounds for reintroduction to the production stream. The throughput capacities range from around 60 kg to more than 300 kg per hour.

Plastic waste is pre-cut to 8-10 mm and then introduced into the agglomerator where it is plasticized by means of frictional heat, pressed through a die and cut at the outer circumference by rotating knives. The agglomerated material is transported pneumatically and is size- equalized in downstream hot-melt granulator, thereby creating free-flowing granules of high bulk density while minimizing heat and thermo-degradable damage. Contact: Pallmann Maschinenfabrik GmbH & Co. KG, Wolfslochstrasse 51, oder Postfach 1652, 66466 Zweibrücken, Germany. Tel: +49 (6332) 8020; Fax: +49 (6332) 802401; E-mail: manage



Reclaiming plastics from junkyard cars

Once plastics have been built into a car, they are rarely recycled. The shredded plastic parts, compressed into granulate material, are usually too indiscriminately mixed to permit any further use. In a joint project with Toyota and Sicon, researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Process Engineering and Packaging IVV in Germany have now found a way of separating the different plastics. The researchers laid the foundation with CreaSolv® and developed a special solvent that removes polyolefins from the granulate. The polymer dissolves in the solvent, while the other plastics remain in the granulate. The solvent is separated from the polyolefin and re-used.

The researchers have already been using the idea behind CreaSolv for about a year, with great success, to recover styrene copolymers from electrical appliances such as TVs and computers. Still, a great deal of development effort was necessary before it was possible to process the plastics from cars because of the different polymers used in cars. The researchers have already put the basic process into practice. In future, they intend to recycle other types of plastic from cars in addition to the polyolefins.


Dry-cleaning waste plastic to reduce water consumption

A novel ‘dry cleaning’ technology for plastic waste could lead to significantly less water consumption. Developed by Germany’s GmbH, the machines remove paper labels and adhering dirt from the plastics. The dry mechanical cleaning system for dirty plastic flakes and films can reduce water consumption by up to 90 per cent, and cut waste levels by half, compared with wet washing plants.

The unit is “good at recycling the film fraction of mixed plastic, which is one of the trickier steps in the whole process,” said Mr. Keith Freegard, Technical Director of Axion Recycling, the distributor for in the United Kingdom. “’s technology is useful for recyclers who can use it to open up new sources of raw material,” he added. Contact: GmbH, Frankfurter Straße 720-726, D-51145 Köln, Germany. Tel: +49 (2203) 907 0735; Fax: +49 (2203) 907 0733; E-mail: info@plato-tech


Optical colour sorters for plastics recycling

Colour plastics sorters from Buhler Sortex, the United Kingdom, are an obvious choice for the plastics recycling industry and are rapidly becoming an industry standard. Its Sortex Z+ range of optical colour sorters are specially equipped for the PVC recycling industry. These machines can sort by colour and shape a wide variety of plastics, including PVC, PET, HDPE, LDPE, PVB and PP. They have the ability to remove foreign materials such as rubber, metal, paper, glass, wood and many other contaminants.

Colour sorters use camera-based systems to view products at varying wavelengths (colours). The appearance of a defective product starts a reject system, usually an ejector that uses a short blast of compressed air to blow the offending item out of the product stream. A typical monochromatic sorter uses only one waveband of light, while more sophisticated bi-chromatic versions can compare the intensity of light reflected in two of the primary wavebands (red/green or red/blue). The Sortex Z+ is capable of sorting 1 to12 t/h on input contamination of 1-30 per cent and removing colour granules, extruded black seal and other contaminant. Contact: Buhler Sortex Limited, 20 Atlantis Avenue, London E16 2BF, United Kingdom. Tel: + 44 (207) 557777; Fax: + 44 (207) 557700.


Scrap tyres as a roofing medium

A co-operative venture in the United Kingdom, involving the Airport Business Centre (ABC), Crumb Rubber Ltd. and London’s Queen Mary University, has developed a new roof tile employing recycled rubber from used tyres. Successful trials conducted by the three organizations have proved that ultra-fine vulcanized crumb rubber derived from post-consumer truck tyres can be used to make a composite roofing slate.

According to Mr. Steve Waite, Project Manager for Tyres at the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP), which financed the trials, “The material that can be broken down from used tyre rubber offers unique properties. These trials have demonstrated that ultra-fine recycled rubber material is suitable for a variety of end uses.” A full report on the research is available at www.


New granulator for PVC window profiles

Hosokawa Alpine, which forms part of Japan’s Hosokawa Group, has introduced the 45/71 PM Profile Granulator to assist PVC window profile manufacturers’ in-house recycling activities. The granulator is at the heart of a complete system designed to comminute mitre sections, small parts as well as reject profiles up to a length of 7 m.

The Profile Granulator is driven by a 55 kW motor and is equipped with eight rows of rotor knives, measuring 450 mm in diameter and 710 mm in width, and three rows of stator knives. The size and shape of the screen perforations are selected to suit the particular application needs. The system is equipped with a feed chute and inclined conveyor belt, as well as a suction tank for pneumatic product discharge. Other benefits include a tamperproof feed chute, quietness of operation and ease of maintenance. Contact: Hosokawa Alpine, PO Box 101 151, DE 86001, Augsburg, Germany. Tel: +49 (821) 59060; Fax: +49 (821) 5906101; E-mail:



E-waste separation with e-Sort

The e-Sort, designed specifically for automated sorting of electrical and electronic waste materials (WEEE), is a high-speed, optical system that separates individual plastic resins, printed circuit boards and metals from shredded material, says its manufacturer MSS Inc., the United States. The machine combines the latest near infrared and metal identification technology (colour optical) in a computerized system for accurate sorting of WEEE materials.

From a vibratory feeder, a single input stream of shredded and sized scrap is fed into a high-speed acceleration conveyor. Using proprietary optical sensing technology, the e-Sort then analyses and classifies all materials and particles according to their specific ‘signatures’. The e-Sort’s central computer receives the information and precisely fires air jets to eject targeted particles into designated output chutes, generating three output products from one input stream. Feed rate is 450 to 2,700 kg per hour and approximate dimensions are 4 × 1.5 × 2 m. Contact: MSS Inc., 3738 Keystone Avenue, Nashville, Tennessee, TN 37211, United States of America. Tel: +1 (615) 781 2669; Fax: +1 (615) 781 2923; E-mail: info@magsep. com; Website:


CRT recycling plant

CRT Recycling Limited, the United Kingdom, has opened a new £1.5 million recycling plant for cathode ray tubes (CRTs) in Flintshire, North Wales. The plant uses state-of-the-art technology developed jointly with RTG of Germany to process 25,000 tonnes of CRTs each year, including CRTs received in a broken state. The process allows funnel glass and panel glass to be separated mechanically, allowing processed glass to be used in markets other than CRT manufacturing.

The plant’s new technology assures that the splitting of individual CRTs can be avoided, which the company claims would cut costs for electronics producers and their compliance schemes seeking to comply with the WEEE regulations. CRT Recycling and RTG will jointly market the glass processed at the plant, taking advantage of RTG’s position as a European supplier of companies like Samsung.


E-waste processing and materials recovery

Electrovac–Fabrikation Elektrotechnischer Spezialartikel Gesellschaft, Austria, has been assigned a United States patent on a method of processing electronic and electrical scrap to recover materials such as base metals, precious metals and ceramics. The invention aims at optimized recovery of non-ferrous materials from different e-scrap, by providing the capability of changing the process parameters for optimum recovery of selected materials.

The processing of e-scrap is initiated with two preliminary steps. In the first step, a thermal treatment separates the plastic substrate from the electronic or electrical components. The components then are sent into a mechanical press that changes the integrity of the components. The pressed components are fed into a crusher and then to a two-screen vibrating separator. The size-separated particles are sent to a magnetic separator, where they get separated into non-magnetic and magnetic lines. These are then subjected again to size separation and size reduction, after which they are further segregated using magnetic and electrostatic separators into plastic, ceramic, and non-ferrous and ferrous metals.



Multi-process phytoremediation system for POPs

In the last few years, the University of Waterloo in Canada has been studying multi-process phytoremediation system (MPPS) for removing persistent organic pollutants (POPs) and metals from contaminated soils. University researchers have recently demonstrated POP degradation through MPPS based on accelerated remediation kinetics from multiple physical and biological processes. Greenhouse and pilot tests have indicated that the process removes polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, total petroleum hydrocarbons (TPHs) and chlorinated hydrocarbons (CHCs) from soils while stabilizing metals.

The process employs land farming for aeration, physical volatilization, besides photochemical degradation; microbial inoculation to begin the contaminant degradation process; and rapid growth of plants with the plant-growth promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR) to help partition POPs and metals out of the soil. Testing indicates that the PGPR reduces stress-induced ethene production by microbial populations and promotes microbial synthesis of auxin, a significant promoter of root growth.

MPPS field tests show successful results: a 60-70 per cent reduction of TPH was achieved over a two-year treatment period in soil containing 15 per cent TPH at a site in Sarnia, Ontario, and a 30 per cent CHC reduction in soil over just three months at a DDT-contaminated site near Simcoe, Ontario. Contact: Mr. Bruce M. Greenberg, Department of Biology, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, ON N2L 3G1, Canada. Fax: +1 (519) 7460 614; E-mail: greenberg


Preparation of a catalyst for dioxin removal

SK Corporation from the Republic of Korea has secured a European patent on a process for the preparation of a catalyst for removing dioxin. The catalyst is prepared by recycling a spent catalyst discharged from a hydro-desulphurization process of an oil refinery in which the spent catalyst comprises an alumina support (preferably, g-alumina) with a large specific surface area and impregnated with vanadium. The spent catalyst is mixed with titania impregnated with tungsten to prepare a catalyst comprising suitable metal components. The catalyst has excellent dioxin removal performance and low cost because of recycling the spent catalyst.

The catalyst may comprise, for instance, vanadium, nickel, tungsten and molybdenum, on a support consisting essentially of 10-50 wt per cent of alumina and 50-90 wt per cent of titania. The catalyst preparation comprises the following steps:

• Thermally treating and washing the spent catalyst discharged from hydro-desulphurization process at oil refinery;
• Thoroughly mixing the spent catalyst with titania impregnated with 1-20 wt per cent of tungsten, adding water and acid;
• Dehydrating the mixture to remove excess moisture and active metal components;
• Drying and grinding the dehydrated mixture; and
• Forming a catalyst body by extruding or coating the grinded mixture to a support structure, followed by drying and then calcining that dried structure.


Sequential thermal desorption and decomposition

An onsite process that combines indirect thermal desorption (ITD) with base-catalysed decomposition (BCD) is operating in semi-process mode at the former Spolana chemical manufacturing complex in Neratovice, Czech Republic. Over the course of operation, the plant will treat POPs in 35,000 t of soil and contaminated building rubble, 1,000 t of contaminated concentrate generated by first ITD stage, and 200 t of pesticide waste intermediate compounds. Site characterization had identified high levels of POPs in soil, with about 1,300 mg/kg hexachlorobenzene, 45,000 ng/kg dioxin toxic equivalency (TEQ) and 200 mg/kg lindane.

In the first stage of treatment, 30-kg batches of contaminated soil and other media are transferred to an ITD chamber (rotating kiln) to remove organic contaminants. The desorption chamber is electrically heated to 600ºC and above, as required. Continuous introduction of nitrogen to the desorption chamber ensures exclusion of oxygen, thereby preventing formation of dioxins. Heated nitrogen gas containing gaseous desorption products is filtered and condensed.

In the second treatment stage, collected or condensed contaminants are fed into a BCD reactor for non-combustion destruction in the presence of a reagent mixture of sodium hydroxide, a hydrogen donor and a catalyst. Blending of this mixture at 290º-350ºC within the reactor’s nitrogen-rich environment releases highly reactive hydrogen capable of cleaving chemical bonds in target compounds. Depending on contaminant concentrations, treatment duration ranges from several to 90 minutes. This process releases no greenhouse gases and creates by-products containing non-toxic carbon residue and sodium salts that are disposed of. Treatment through sequential ITD and BCD reduces target contaminants by 99 per cent in system out-feed.


Process for treating contaminated solid-liquid mixture

The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization of Australia has patented a process for treating a contaminated solid and liquid mixture. The method can be applied to the decontamination of liquids such as water and solids such as soils or other substrates containing contaminants such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and certain pesticides. It has two main steps: subjecting the mixture to cavitation wherein a portion of the contaminant gets chemically decomposed; and then introducing a pre-determined biological species into the treated mixture to complete the decontamination.

Cavitation can be effected by ultrasound, which can provide high temperatures followed immediately by a quenching of the decomposition products thereby preventing the reformation of the substance or the formation of by-products, as is the case with PCBs. The introduction of the bacteria, enzyme or biota to give a desired biological outcome can result in at least one of a bio-remediation step, or a phytoremediation step involving the use of certain plants. Other biological materials can also be added to support the bio-remediation or phytoremediation step.


Combo mechanical and chemical soil treatment

In New Zealand, the Ministry for the Environment and Tasman District Council are collaborating in clean-up and reuse planning for the Fruitgrowers Chemical Company (FCC) site, the country’s most highly contaminated area. In 2004, an onsite demonstration was held to evaluate an innovative technology that uses mechanical energy to promote reductive dehalogenation of POPs in soil and sediment. Successful results of the demonstration of Mechanochemical DestructionTM (MCD) led to full-scale application of the technology later that year to treat surface and sub-surface material containing high concentrations of DDX (DDT, DDD and DDE) and ADL (aldrin, dieldrin and lindane).

Site characterization on a 15 m grid at a 2 m depth confirmed hot spots exceeding 12,000 ppm DDX and 400 ppm ADL. Approximately 85 per cent of the soil exceeding the soil acceptance criteria (SAC) has been remediated using MCD to levels 50 per cent below the SAC – 200 ppm DDX and 60 ppm ADL at more than 0.5 m depths; 5 ppm DDX and 3 ppm ADL at depths less than 0.5 m.

MCD involves blending commercial reagents, collectively less than 2 per cent by dry weight, with contaminated soil/sediment. The reagent blend contains a base metal (typically an alkali-earth metal, such as iron) and a hydrogen donor. The reactor uses conventional vibratory ball-mill technology to rupture soil crystals and form reactive free radicals on the ruptured soil surfaces. This rupturing is accompanied by emissions of electrons and photons as well as creation of electrostatic charges, a combination known as “triboplasma”. An organic pollutant within the triboplasma zone typically becomes excited and reacts with the highly reactive free radicals, forming inorganic halides and graphite.

Dried material of particle size less than 10 mm is fed into the reactor on a continuous basis. After a residence time averaging 15 minutes at a temperature of 70°-100°C, the material is transferred out of the reactor. It is and analytically sampled prior to on-site placement.


Bimetallic treatment for PCBs removal

To address limitations of traditional abatement methods for polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in paints, researchers at the Kennedy Space Centre of the United States National Aeronautics & Space Administration (NASA) and the University of Central Florida have developed and patented the “bimetallic treatment system” (BTS) for paints. This innovative technology consists of a solvent solution (such as ethanol or d-limonene) that contains a catalysed zero-valent metal (such as magnesium coated with palladium). BTS is first applied to the painted surface. The solution then extracts the PCBs from the paint, while the micro-scale metal catalysts in the solution degrade them into benign by-products.

This technology can be applied without removing the paint or dismantling the painted structure, and the surface can be re-used following treatment. Other applications of BTS include removal/destruction of PCBs found in old caulking and adhesive materials, treating materials slated for disposal or recycling, including soils, waste oils, electrical transformers, waste clothing, capacitors, and other debris.



Biological treatment of wastewater

WaterStax biological treatment systems, from Water Maze in the United States, employ the latest biotechnology for treating and recycling commercial and industrial wastewater. The natural, chemical-free bioremediation technology economically removes oils, hydrocarbons, grease, herbicides, pesticides and insecticides. A blend of microbes literally eats contaminants, converting them into water and carbon dioxide. However, as there are some human allergens that may not be treated by bioremediation alone, WaterStax also offers:

• Discharge systems in which the treated water is directed away from human contact, absorbed harmlessly into sewer or for dam irrigation; and
• Closed loop recycling systems, which offer final water polishing by means of UV-generated ozone, effectively sterilizing pathogens from the water to protect workers.

The WaterStax systems are cost-effective in applications where the organic content in the wastewater is high. They are particularly recommended for installation in resorts, golf courses, etc. for recycling water for plants, lawn, trees, etc. Contact: Enware Australia, P.O. Box 2545, Taren Point, NSW 2229, Australia. Tel: +61 (2) 9525 9511; Fax: +61 (2) 9525 9536.


Recovery of organic carbon from industrial wastewater

A joint research by scientists from Kasetsart University, Thailand, and University of Tokyo, Japan, applied a photosynthetic bacterial pond system for the treatment of wastewater from the food industry and recovery of carbon in the form of purple non-sulphur bacteria (PnSB). The effect of infra-red transmitting filter on the selection of microbial groups in the system was investigated.

The research team found that more than 90 per cent of organic removal could be achieved when the system was operated at HRT of 3-10 days, even though some fluctuations were observed at lower HRT. Infra-red transmitting filter could suppress the growth of microalgae in the system and allow PnSB to grow in the system. Nevertheless, they could be outgrown by sulphate-reducing bacteria (SRB) at higher organic loading rates. The growth of purple sulphur bacteria associated with SRB was also observed. Oxidation reduction potential (ORP) is a crucial operating factor to control the system under micro-anaerobic conditions which is preferred to the growth of PnSB.


Wastewater system for FGD scrubber

Siemens Water Technologies (SWT) will provide a system to treat wastewater from a flue gas desulphurization (FGD) scrubber being built at Allegheny Energy’s Hatfield Ferry Power Station in Pennsylvania, the United States. The system will de-saturate the wastewater as well as remove suspended solids and heavy metals from the scrubber’s waste stream to allow the safe discharge of the water.

Flue gas systems frequently employ limestone-forced-oxidation (LSFO) scrubbers to convert sulphur dioxide (SO2) in the flue gas to gypsum. The proper design of wastewater treatment systems and the selection of materials of construction can have a major impact on the operation and reliability of the treatment plant. SWT will provide the physical/chemical wastewater treatment system on an equipment design-supply basis and provide start-up, training and commissioning services.

The wastewater system will include storage tanks and reaction tanks, chemical feed systems, a clarifier, gravity sand filters and filter presses. An equalization tank receives the waste stream and equalizes the flow to eliminate spikes in flow rates and concentration. Next, two reaction tanks in series continue the treatment to de-saturate the wastewater, reduce heavy metals and prepare the wastewater for clarification. The treated wastewater then enters the clarifier, where suspended solids are coagulated and settled. Solids from the clarifier are dewatered in the filter presses. The treated water that remains is sent to a gravity sand filter for final treatment prior to its discharge.


Bio-augmentation technology for wastewater treatment

A researcher from Jai Hind College, Mumbai, India, has studied the use of bio-augmentation for enhancing the biodegradation of organic matter in wastewater. Mr. M.T. Pandya has concluded that the biodegradability of organics can be enhanced using bio-augmentation and advanced oxidation processes (AOP) for aerobic/anaerobic treatment programmes.

Two wastewaters – one from a bulk drug (cresol) plant with high levels of TDS, COD and BOD, and another from a pigment plant with low TDS, COD and BOD – contained organic matters difficult to degrade. AOP using hydroxyl radical generated in 1 litre glass reactor using ultraviolet rays and hydrogen peroxide efficiently oxidized phenol and cresol. Reduction of COD and sulphite in cresol-containing wastewater was 20-60 per cent in 1-6 h. A 20-30 per cent reduction in copper phthalocyanine pigment effluent was achieved in 6 h using AOP.

Strains of Micrococcus, Pseudomonas and Nocardia degrading phenol and cresol were isolated from soil and sludge. Mixed biomass of these organisms removed phenols (1,000 ppm) and cresols (500 ppm) totally in 24 h and 72 h, respectively. The COD and BOD reductions under the optimum nutritional and physiological conditions were in the range of 70-90 per cent. When added to the bioreactor, 20 per cent of the developed biomass of mixed strains of the microbes increased the rate of COD and BOD reduction gradually, stabilizing at 80-90 per cent. Contact: Mr. M.T. Pandya, Department of Microbiology, Jai Hind College, A Road, Churchagate, Mumbai 400 0202, India.


New non-chemical process to clean up produced water

ONGC, India’s state-owned oil company, recently patented a process to remove oily effluent from produced water. The chemical-free electro-flotation method assures additional oil recovery from a process stream with low manpower demand. While conventional flotation methods use a separate gas source to pump gas bubbles into the liquid, the electro-flotation process generates the gas on site.

An anode and a cathode are typically arranged in the flotation cell holding the water to be treated, and a power source applies a low direct current through them. This current causes electrolysis of the produced water, generating hydrogen and oxygen bubbles. As the bubbles rise, they collide with oil droplets dispersed in the water, adhere to them and then carry them to water surface. As with other flotation systems, a skimmer removes the concentrated oil-laden foam from the cell, leaving the produced water behind.

While electroflotation has been used for years in wastewater treatment for both municipalities and process industries such as the electroplating and paper industries, it has not found widespread use in the oil and gas industry. Along with Keshavdev Malviya Institute of Petroleum Exploration and the Institute of Oil & Gas Production Technology, ONGC has configured the technology for the oil field. Contact: Dr. S. Kapoor, Head, IOGPT, IOGPT Bldg., ONGC Complex, Phase-II, Panvel, Navi Mumbai 410 221, India. Fax: +91 (22) 2745 1690; E-mail: Kapoors


Electro-catalytic oxidation of oily wastewater

Electro-catalytic oxidation (ECO) relies on injection of suitable biological and chemical catalysts to aid further separation and coagulation of the wastewater components. The catalysed process stream is pumped through a Venturi-eductor aeration unit. Then the pre-catalysed and pre-aerated flow is subjected to a controlled DC electrical field within an electrode contact chamber, similar to ordinary electrolysis, in either a batch or a process mode.

Oily wastewater is composed of lipid droplets suspended in water, interspersed with solid particles and with dissolved compounds, each having different molecular weights, chemistries and electrical charges. These electrical charges form a difficult-to-separate semi-stable, emulsion. However, under suitable conditions of pre-catalysis and pre-aeration, with the application of a controlled and carefully applied DC voltage and current (such as in ECO) several unique physio-chemical effects result:

• Coalescing super coagulation – ECO neutralizes the charges surrounding the lipid droplets, allowing them to quickly coalesce and ‘super-coagulate’ out of an emulsion;
• Chemical oxidation – ECO gen-erates free hydroxyl radicals, which rapidly and aggressively combine with, and then oxidize, lipids, particulates and dissolved compounds;
• Biological inactivation – Free hydroxyl radicals combine with and destroy microbes and other biological contaminants, better than the result of using ozone.

According to Aquatic Technologies, the United States, ECO has many applications such as water bottling operations, water pre-treatment, hotels and tourism industry, fresh water aquaculture, oily wastewater and process wastewater treatment, etc. Contact: Aquatic Technologies, 1301 NE Highway 99W, Suite 292, McMinnville, Oregon 97128, United States America. Tel: +1 (541) 557 4108; Fax: +1 (541) 994 3228; E-mail:



Indigenous plants for bioremediation of closed mines

Shinil Corporation, the Republic of Korea, has developed a technology for the phytoremediation of soils polluted by heavy metals which involves creating mugwort (Common Wormwood or Artemisia vulgaris) cover on the polluted soil. Sulphur, which synthesizes chelate in plants, is supplied through soil improvers (pig manure and sewage sludge) to reduce toxicity and increase resistance when plants absorb heavy metals. The technology was successfully tested in an abandoned zinc mine.

Contact: National Environmental Technology Information Centre, No. 613-2, Bulgwang-dong, Eunpyeong-gu, Seoul, Republic of Korea 122-706. Tel: +82 (2) 3800 553; Fax: +82 (2) 3800 545



Solar bioreactor for groundwater remediation

A pilot-scale recirculation bioreactor has been operating at the Altus Air Force Base (AFB) in Oklahoma, the United States, since late 2003 to address a hotspot of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in groundwater residing in weathered shale and fractured clay. A solar-powered pump operating in the extraction / collection trench keeps the groundwater recirculating through the 283 m3 bioreactor and into the aquifer to generate high-carbon leachate and enhance VOC biodegradation. Since its start-up, the system has transferred about 1,300 m3/year of organic carbon-enriched leachate from the bioreactor into the aquifer. Groundwater recirculation through the bioreactor has achieved a 98 per cent reduction in trichloroethene (TCE) concentration within the bioreactor and a 90-97 per cent reduction in plume toxicity in hotspot wells between the bioreactor cell and the extraction trench.

Solar pump for groundwater circulation

Prior to project start-up, TCE concentrations in the hotspot were 19 mg/litre, and the plume extended nearly 1,000 m down-gradient of the landfill. The bioreactor was constructed immediately up-gradient of hotspot wells in an excavation of 9 m 9 m extending 3.4 m below ground surface (bgs). The cell was filled with a 1:1 mixture of sand and organic mulch consisting of woody material and cotton-gin trash. At the top of the cell a ground-water distribution system was set up between two layers of geotextile fabric. The cell was capped with a soil and native grass cover.

The bioreactor relies on groundwater recirculation from down-gradient of the hotspot, which is located in the shallow aquifer 3.0-5.5 m bgs. The sites remote location and average solar radiation of 4-5 kWh/m2/day dictated the use of solar power to cut down construction and energy costs. Groundwater recirculation is carried out by a single, photovoltaic-powered, 3 inch submersible pump that maintains an average groundwater flow rate of about 3,500 litres/day. Pollutant degradation is monitored through a network of 18 wells.
Evaluation of the bioreactor performance indicates dissolved organic carbon concentrations increased from <6 mg/litre prior to start-up to 120 mg/litre in shallow wells and 30 mg/litre in deeper wells.

Increased concentrations of cis-1,2-dichloroethene, vinyl chloride and ethene indicate reductive dechlorination of TCE occurs in the bioreactor. For a more complete reductive dechlorination of TCE, a semi-soluble carbon substrate and a bioaugmentation culture were added to the bioreactor.


New process for bioremediation of contaminated soil

Canon Kabushiki Kaisha of Japan has been assigned a United States patent on a new process for remedying a contaminated soil. The new process involves freezing the contaminated region, and then injecting a micro-organism and a liquid/gas agent that is required to augment the micro-organisms ability to decompose the pollutant more rapidly and efficiently. The frozen region is then allowed to gradually thaw.
A possible explanation, yet to be proved, for the process is as follows. When the soil is frozen and then thawed as a pre-treatment, freeze expansion in the pore space will widen the fine pore space of the soil into which the liquid agent will diffuse. Agitation of the soil water retained between the soil particles by this freezing and thawing will accelerate the contact between the injected liquid agent and ground-water. The process, well known in civil engineering field, causes swelling on freezing and consolidation on thawing in the soil.

While a problem to be overcome in civil engineering works, it is favourable for the uniform distribution of a micro-organism. By adopting this freezing step, the present invention can promote the remediation efficiency and shorten the soil remediation period.


Enhanced bioremediation technology

Microbial Groundwater Circulation Wells (mGCW), a concept from IEG Technologie GmbH, Germany, accelerate the natural biodegradation of organic compounds under aerobic or anaerobic conditions. These systems are specifically designed and configured to provide accelerated aerobic, enhanced anaerobic or sequential anaerobic/aerobic reactions. The special design of the wells produces a groundwater convection cell in the aquifer around the remediation well. The groundwater that circulates constantly transports both contaminants and existing degrading bacteria to the well.

Small biologically active carbon reactors can be used inside the well for continuous growth, acclimation and augmentation. These reactors are found to have much higher levels of biodegradation and higher specific growth rates than other attached growth systems. Contaminants are selectively retained in the reactor, facilitating the selection and enrichment of micro-organisms that are capable of degrading pollutants. If necessary, added nutrients can be supplied to the accumulated micro-organisms.

Another advantage of the mGCW is the oxygen-enriched groundwater generated by the system, which enhances the population growth of the micro-organisms in the aquifer, thus accelerating the degradation process. System variations include discontinuous circulation flow, reversing the circulation direction and installing different bioreactor configurations. These variations enable the technology to be easily customized to different contamination sites.

Contact: IEG Technologie GmbH, Hohlbachweg 2, Gruibingen73344, Germany. Tel: +49 (7335) 96976-0; Fax: +49 (7335) 96976-40



Bioremediation of hydrocarbon-contamination

Exxon Research and Engineering Company, New Jersey, has secured a United States patent on its invention that provides an enhanced biodegradation process by applying to petroleum-contaminated water or soil microbial nutrients in controlled release. The process is capable of releasing the microbial nutrients over a sustained period of time, for example 1-6 months, which at 25C is a substantially linear rate.

The rate of release of microbial nutrients, which is typically less than 5 per cent per day, can be increased by raising the temperature.

The nutrients may include one or more nitrogen sources, such as urea and ammonium nitrate, and optionally phosphorous sources such as phosphates. Typically the nitrogen and phosphorous sources will be combined to provide an N:P ratio, preferably, of 10:1. Optionally, the nutrient cocktail may also contain micronutrients such as magnesium, iron, manganese and calcium at very low levels. The nutrients are coated with a material like an elastomeric sulphonated polymer such as ethylene-propylene diene terpolymer or EDPM that controls the release of nutrients to the environment.


Vegetable oil as a bioremediation amendment

At University of Waterloo, Canada, biologists have studied the feasibility of using peanut (groundnut) oil as a cost-effective, non-toxic and biodegradable extractant for the remediation of soil contaminated by polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). The scientists found that extraction efficiency was higher than 90 per cent when peanut oil at concentrations of 2.5-20 per cent was used to remove anthracene from garden soil. Optimal pH values for these extractions were 6 and 7.

When soil spiked with a combination of 10 PAHs at 100 g/g was extracted with peanut oil at different temperatures, total PAH extraction efficiency increased from 51.5 per cent at 20C to 81.4 per cent at 60 C. A double extraction of weathered soil from a creosote-contaminated site using 5 per cent peanut oil, followed by another extraction with 5 per cent oil was better than a single 10 per cent oil extraction. Based on the results of the study, a process was conceptualized for the treatment of PAH-contaminated soil.



Carbonation ash reactivation process for pollutant removal

The Ohio State University Research Foundation has obtained a United States patent on an invention that relates to methods and apparatus useful in mitigating major air pollutants – sulphur oxides (SOx) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) – and trace toxins from coal-fired combustors. Using this method or apparatus, a coal-fired combustor may be retrofitted to accommodate combined SOx/NOx removal technology for solid waste reduction and environmentally responsible use of dry flue gas desulphurization (FGD) product.

Using a desulphurization process with selective catalytic reduction technology for NOx, the combined SOx/NOx control technology may integrate enhanced removal of sulphur dioxide (SO2) at medium to high temperatures. The reactivation of spent sorbent and dry FGD product results in more complete utilization of the ash and sorbent in the reduction of SO2 emissions, thus reducing the amount of sorbent used and the volume of by-product. The process is modular and thus has great flexibility and applicability to various operating conditions.

The patent includes a reactivation technique that takes advantage of the porous structural properties of calcium carbonate (CaCO3) and calcium hydroxide [Ca(OH)2], along with calcination and sintering. Substantial reactions between the fresh Ca(OH)2 and recycled fly-ash from spray dryer result in the formation of hydrated calcium silicates. Their subsequent reaction with SO2 lead to increased efficiency. The process also includes a suspension-based carbonation process in which the unreacted CaO is converted into CaCO3 instead of Ca(OH)2.

Along with reactivation of unreacted CaO, this process provides a better distribution/exposure of available calcium than the reactivated spent sorbent from hydration alone. The process has been successfully applied to the reactivation of partially utilized sorbents generated in the laboratory.


Emissions removal from large diesel engines

The new “Cloud Chamber System” (CCS) technology, from Tri-Mer Corporation, the United States, attains high emissions removal efficiencies operating at flow volumes typical for stationary diesel exhaust from large diesel engines. CCS is engineered to deliver effective air pollution control for any exhaust application that produces coarse, fine or super fine particles – like those contained in stationary diesel engine exhaust. Efficiency levels are typically 99 per cent or greater. CCS simultaneously removes condensables and soluble gases.

CCS systems are manufactured in capacities to 300,000 cfm and larger for applications beyond diesel engine exhaust – including chemical processing or power and steam production. They are also said to offer energy advantages because their charge modules require only 10 W of power per 1,000 cfm. They are declared “substantially more energy efficient than traditional wet electrostatic devices.” Contact: Tri-Mer Corporation, 1400 Monroe Street, P.O. Box 730, Owosso, MI 48867, United States of America. Tel: +1 (989) 7237 838; Fax: +1 (989) 7237 844; E-mail:



Complete treatment of flue gas NOx

The Civil Engineering Department of the Indian Institute of Technology Madras has developed a novel and effective system for the complete treatment of nitrogen oxides (NOx) from flue gases. The system comprises the photocatalytic or ozone oxidation of NOx followed by scrubbing and biological denitrification. Maximum photocatalytic oxidation of NOx is achieved by using powdered titania at a catalytic loading rate of 10 g/h, relative humidity of 50 per cent and a space time of 10 s. The used catalyst was regenerated and reused, while 72 per cent of NOx was recovered as nitric acid/nitrous acid (HNO3/HNO2) in the regeneration process.

It was observed that stochiometrically 10 per cent excess ozone was able to induce 100 per cent oxidation of nitric oxide (NO) to nitrogen dioxide (NO2). Presence of sulphur dioxide (SO2) adversely influenced the oxidation of NO by ozone. Heterotrophic denitrifiers were able to denitrify the leachate with an efficiency of 90 per cent using sewage as electron donor. A biological system for the treatment of combined leachate from SOx/NOx removal units using sulphidogenesis and anamox processes are giving some promising results.

A pilot plant employing the technology has been commissioned and the performance of the system is being monitored. Contact: Dr. Ligy Philip, Associate Professor, Department of Civil Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology, Chennai 600 036, India. Tel: +91 (44) 2257 4274; E-mail:


CO2 capture technology for coal-fired power plants

In the United States, BP Alternative Energy and Powerspan Corp. are working together to develop and commercialize an ammonia-based carbon dioxide (CO2) capture technology, developed by Powerspan and called ECO2, for coal-fired power plants. The post-combustion CO2 capture process is suitable for retrofit to the existing coal-fired, electric generating fleet as well as for new coal-fired plants. The captured CO2 would be sent for long-term storage deep underground.

The ECO2 process integrates with Powerspan’s electro-catalytic oxidation (ECO) technology, which uses aqueous ammonia to absorb high levels of sulphur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxides (NOx) and mercury. The CO2 processing occurs downstream of SO2, NOx and mercury removal steps. Aqueous ammonia process has higher loading capacity than the traditional monoethanolamine (MEA) process, does not pose a corrosion problem, does not degrade in a flue gas environment, needs much less energy to regenerate, and costs much less than MEA. Other advantages include:

• Reduced steam load (500 Btu per lb of CO2 captured);
• More concentrated CO2 carrier;
• Lower chemical cost; and
• Multi-pollutant control with saleable by-products.

Pilot-scale testing of ECO2 technology is expected to begin in early 2008. The ECO2 pilot unit will process a 1 MW slipstream (20 t of CO2/day) from a 50 MW ECO unit. The plan is to provide the captured CO2 for sequestration on-site in an 8,000 ft test well. The ECO2 pilot programme provides the opportunity to confirm process design and cost estimates.


Heavy-duty diesel emissions control

The multinational BASF has developed a selective catalytic reduction (SCR) technology, which enables heavy-duty diesel trucks to comply with the stringent Euro 4 and Euro 5 emission regulations. Euro 4 standards stipulate a 30 per cent reduction of emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx) from heavy-duty diesel vehicles, while an additional 40 per cent reduction in NOx emissions would be needed under Euro 5 standards.

The SCR catalyst comprises a catalytically active component coated on a ceramic honeycomb. The catalyst, in the presence of a reductant, promotes a chemical reaction that converts NOx into water and nitrogen. The SCR catalyst can readily achieve NOx-removal efficiencies greater than 80 per cent (depending on operating conditions), and is easily integrated into an existing truck chassis through technology leveraged from catalytic converters on passenger cars.


Removal of sulphur dioxide

Canada’s Cansolv Technologies Inc. (CTI), markets the Cansolv® System sulphur dioxide (SO2) scrubbing technology. The technology can be applied to flue gas desulphurization (FGD), sulphur recovery unit (SRU) and most other gaseous process streams in the power generation, refining, natural gas, sulphuric acid, smelter, and pulp & paper industries.

The Cansolv System is an aqueous amine-based, regenerative gas desulphurization process capable of removing SO2 down to a few ppm, if desired, from stationary sources. The process can be applied to feed gases with 0.1 to 100 per cent SO2. It is flexible, robust, quickly responsive to changes and easy to operate in gas feed conditions. In many cases, the Cansolv System can be integrated to an existing plant to improve profitability of the process.

Cansolv’s SO2 Safe® SO2 storage technology mitigates the hazard of SO2 by dissolving the gas in a high-capacity solvent, thereby limiting the release of gaseous SO2 in case of a leak or spill. The SO2-rich solvent is produced by capturing SO2 from any convenient source, such as flue gas from the burning of fossil fuel containing sulphur. SO2 is produced for use as required by regeneration from the solvent in an automated unit. Contact: Cansolv Technologies Inc., 2000-8475 Christophe-Colomb Ave., Montréal, Quebec H2M 2N9, Canada. Tel: +1 (514) 382 4411; Fax: (514) 382 5363; E-mail: sarlisj 



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