VATIS Update Waste Management . Jan-Mar 2015

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Waste Management Jan-Mar 2015

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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E-waste management market to rise by 2020

According to a report from Allied Market Research, the global e-waste management market is expected to reach $49.4 billion by 2020, a CAGR of 23.5% from 2014. Much of the reason for expansion in the market is the ever-growing need for the newest technology. The Asia Pacific region contributes to the largest revenue share in the global e-waste management market, followed by European countries. Other key findings of the study includes:
  • Presently, trashed e-waste holds a larger percentage share than recycled e-waste;
  • In the global e-waste management market, household appliances account for approximately 46% of e-waste as compared to other sources, followed by the IT and telecommunications sector; and
  • The e-waste management rate in Asia-Pacific and European regions is higher than developed countries such as the US, Canada and Mexico.

Human health concerns and environmental hazards caused by e-waste production are leading to the rise of e-waste management programs all over the world.

Pesticide banned under Stockholm Convention

The Persistent Organic Pollutants Review Committee (POPRC) of the UN Stockholm Convention has adopted recommendations to ban the wood preservative pentachlorophenol (PCP), chlorinated naphthalenes and hexachlorobutadiene. The recommendation said that PCP, its salts and esters, should be added to Annex A of the Convention. If adopted, this would lead to a ban on its production and use in countries that are parties to the Convention. The decision would have no binding effect on the US, which has not ratified the convention.

PCP is a complex mixture used industrially for treating utility poles, wood pilings, fence posts and lumber or timber for construction. In discussions at its tenth meeting (POPRC10), last week, the Committee cited PCP’s persistence, bioaccumulation and toxic impacts as reasons behind the decision to recommend a ban. The Annex A entry would specifically exclude the production and use of PCP for utility poles and cross-arms. Specific exemptions under Annex A run for 5 years from the date that the amendment enters into force. This should allow time to switch to alternatives, such as steel poles or other preservatives.

The meeting adopted a draft risk profile for c-decaBDE and decided to establish an ad hoc working group to prepare a draft risk management evaluation for the substance. The Committee concluded that components in the flame retardant are likely to lead to significant human health and environmental effects, “warranting global action”. The Committee recommended a revision to its guidance on alternatives to PFOSF, PFOS, its salts, and their related chemicals, to incorporate new information on alternatives.

World’s oceans clogged by plastic trash

The world’s oceans are clogged with plastic debris, but how much of it finds its way into the seas annually? Enough to place the equivalent of five grocery bags full of plastic trash on every foot (30 cm) of every nation’s coastline around the globe.

In a report released by scientists from Sea Education Association, the United States, and University of Georgia, the United States, have estimated that a staggering 8 million metric tons of plastic pollution enter the oceans each year from the world’s 192 coastal countries based on 2010 data. Based on rising waste levels, they estimated that more than 9 million tons would end up in the oceans in 2015. Experts have sounded the alarm in recent years over how plastic pollution is killing huge numbers of seabirds, marine mammals, sea turtles and other creatures while sullying ocean ecosystems.

China was responsible for the most ocean plastic pollution per year with an estimated 2.4 million tons, about 30 percent of the global total, followed by Indonesia, the Philippines, Viet Nam, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Egypt, Malaysia, Nigeria and Bangladesh. The United States was the only rich industrialized nation in the top 20, and it ranked No. 20. Coastal EU nations combined would rank 18th. The trash encompasses just about anything imaginable made of plastic including shopping bags, bottles, toys, food wrappers, fishing gear, cigarette filters, sunglasses, buckets and toilet seats.

The estimates were based on information including World Bank data for trash generated per person in all nations with a coastline, coastal population density, the amount of plastic waste countries produce and the quality of their waste-management practices. The researchers calculated that 275 million tons of plastic waste was generated in the 192 coastal countries that year, with an estimated 8 million tons entering the ocean and a possible range between 4.8 million and 12.7 million tons. The research has been published in the journal Science.

Thailand plans to clean up harmful garbage

In an official statement, Thailand’s Interior Ministry has confirmed the government’s aggressive plan to clean up hazardous garbage in the Sara Buri, Nakhon Pathom and Lop Buri provinces. A successful model has already been implemented in Ayutthaya, and the government has plans to expand further into 24 new provinces in the future. “200,000 tonnes of garbage had been removed from a dump site. The removed garbage will be buried at a new site in the Bang Ban district according to sanitary regulation by March,” said Maitri Inthusut, Deputy Permanent Secretary.

Approximately 150,000 tonnes of garbage are already underground. An RDF plant and power plant will be built soon to help combat the problem. According to Maitri, the ministry now has the budget and go-ahead to urgently remove garbage from these three provinces, which has reached a critical point. A Term of Reference for the plan is in the works. The ministry and agencies are working together to create a roadmap to clear cumulative garbage from the 24 other provinces. The goal is to find a location to build a modern waste management facility. Of the 32 potential areas for power plant sites, only two were up and running. The rest are still under construction. The new project is being called “Clean City, Happy People”.

Thailand is aiming to eliminate as much garbage as possible by 2016. Thus far, efforts to reduce waste in the country has been paying off. Total household garbage in Thailand shrunk to 26.2 million tonnes in 2014, down from 28.2 million tonnes in 2013. The 2013 report of 28 million tonnes of garbage sparked an effort to clean up the country and make efforts to eradicate waste properly. A little over 14 million tonnes of waste was disposed at the country’s 2,450 dump sites, but only half of the waste was eradicated properly.

Waste management roadmap in Thailand

Following a guideline given by Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha, Thailand is considering a roadmap on solid waste management for the whole country. According to the roadmap, six provinces in critical waste situation will undergo a systematic procedure to deal with waste materials in three stages namely upstream, mid-stream and down-stream management. These provinces are Ayutthaya, Nakhon Pathom, Saraburi, Lopburi, Pathum Thani and Samut Prakan.

Provinces which are not in critical situation will deal with the problem in three steps. The first step is for them to dispose waste materials in a proper landfill in order to ensure fire control and make it ready to be brought up for electricity production. The second step involves permanent waste disposal in which waste materials are transferred to standardized incinerators. The other step involves cooperation with the private sector in producing refuse-derived fuel stick for power generation and the disposal of new solid waste.

At present, there are 5 provinces in Thailand having over 1 million tonnes of accumulated solid waste, 7 provinces having 500,000-1,000,000 tonnes, 25 provinces having 100,000-500,000 tonnes, 10 provinces having 50,000-100,000 tonnes, 20 provinces having 100-50,000 tonnes and 5 provinces having fewer than 100 tonnes. Udon Thani, Amnat Charoen and Chumphon are provinces setting themselves to dispose all of the accumulated solid waste within six months.

IFC invests in Chinese wastewater treatment

International Finance Corp., the World Bank’s private-sector financing arm, has invested in China Everbright Water Ltd., to back the water-treatment company’s expansion and help reduce pollution. With the $35 million investment, Everbright Water is expected to extend service to 1 million new residential customers in China and treat 1.8 billion tons more wastewater a year by 2018 by increasing capacity in sewage and wastewater treatment as well as water re-use.

With China “facing a severe water shortage caused by its fast-growing economy, large population and rapid urbanization,” the water supply-demand gap in China will reach about 200 billion tons a year by 2030. According to IFC, water pollution from sewage, livestock and poultry operations is also a concern. In 2012, more than half the groundwater in almost 200 Chinese cities was graded as “bad” or “extremely bad”.

“A robust water sector is crucial to China’s sustainable urbanization, providing access to critical services and helping reduce pollution. The IFC is “keen to provide tailor-made financing and knowledge to industry leaders such as Everbright Water,” said Simon Andrews at IFC. Everbright Water was formed by the merger of wastewater operators China Everbright International and HanKore Environment Tech Group Ltd. It owns 32 wastewater-treatment plants, 4 reusable water projects, a 56-kilometer (35-mile) pipeline network and 10 pump stations across China.

An innovative model for disposal of e-waste

Attero Recycling, India, and International Finance Corporation (IFC), has launched its e-waste consumer take-back model ‘Clean e-India’ in Delhi. The model has been launched with an aim to collect and responsibly recycle the electronic and electrical waste. According to a report by Assocham, Delhi produces around 67,000 metric tons of e-waste annually and India overall, generates nearly 12.5 lacs metric tons of e-waste every year. Clean e-India initiative is already operational in the cities of Hyderabad and Ahmedabad and now, the model is all set to make its mark in Delhi. The success of the initiative depends on the end consumer and their willingness to give away their old and used electronic items.

Public awareness campaigns are being rolled out in print, radio and social media to create a buzz among the consumers about responsibly disposing their e-waste. Another important aspect of the initiative is the inclusion of the informal sector, wherein the last mile collectors (kabadiwallas, etc), who are at bottom of the e-waste management chain, are trained to collect, handle and dispose e-waste in a responsible manner. This ensures sustainability of the Clean e- India project as it envisions educating and training them in responsible e-waste disposal methods.

“With new electronic gadgets being launched in the market every other day, electronics are getting obsolete faster. Without a user-friendly and environment-friendly mode of disposal, the volume of electronic waste is growing rapidly. The Clean E-India initiative is designed to provide a sustainable solution for this problem, not only in India but also for other emerging nations,” said Subrata Barman, at IFC. The e-waste collected under the Clean e-India initiative is processed in an environmentally responsible manner using Attero`s clean technology. Attero Recycling is a NASA recognized technology innovator and India`s largest electronic asset management company.

Pakistan establish wastewater treatment technology

The Capital Development Authority (CDA), Pakistan, in collaboration with the Pakistan Agricultural Research Council (PARC) has established Pakistan Bioremediation Model for Wastewater Treatment at Rose & Jasmine Garden and F-9 Park Islamabad to clean the wastewater of streams passing at these places. “The bioremediation technology will help to save our drinking water and to protect the environment and beauty Islamabad city. There was need for utilizing new technology to overcome water scarcity challenges facing the country. The demand of drinking water was increasing day-by-day and the country could face water scarcity if measures were not taken and the bioremediation technology is a good tool to overcome the impending crises,” said Maroof Afzal, Chairman CDA.

In Pakistan, it has been replicated at 80 sites of different climatic and soil conditions, whereas internationally it has been chosen by the Standing Committee of Economic & Commercial Cooperation (COMCEC) of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), which funded a project entitled “Pakistan Bioremediation Model for Waste Water Treatment and Capacity Building Program” among OIC Member Countries. The technology called the ‘Pakistan Model of Bioremediation’ will be used to reduce strain on fresh water on the one hand and reclaim used water for its utilization in agriculture on the other. It is cheap and cost effective as compared to commonly used conventional physical and chemical methods of treatment of domestic and industrial wastewater.

ELV generation issues rising in ASEAN countries

According to a report entitled ‘Automotive Recycling in 6 ASEAN Countries’ from Yano Research Institute, Japan, the surveys show a total end-of-life vehicle (ELV) generation of 422 000 units in Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia, Viet Nam and Myanmar during the course of 2013. The think-tank forecasts that ELV generation across these countries will rise to 983 000 units in 2020 on the basis of long average service lives and increasing new vehicle sales. At present, the total number of vehicles in operation in these countries is approximately 50 million.

Environmental concerns are becoming more of an issue because adequate processes and infrastructure for the proper recycling of ELVs are not in place in ASEAN countries. Also, an increase in ELVs is expected to boost generation of strategic metals such as rare earths, thus rendering resource collection an ever more important undertaking. In the field of ELV recycling, there is a wide gap between the performances of developed and developing countries. At the International Roundtable for Automotive Recyclers held in Japan, there was a shared recognition of the need for Japan and other developed nations to take the initiative in building basic recycling structures in developing countries.

Recycling project launched in Bangladesh

Bangladesh has finally launched, the first phase of a Norwegian-funded International Maritime Organization (IMO) recycling project. Originally announced in April 2014, when a memorandum of understanding was signed between the IMO and the government of Bangladesh, ‘Safe and Environmentally Sound Ship Recycling in Bangladesh - Phase I’ aims to improve standards at the country’s yards and ensure their sustainability.

Phase I has five action points: studies on economic and environmental impacts; studies on managing hazardous materials and waste; recommendations on strengthening the government’s system for handling ship recycling (known as the ‘one-stop service’); a review and upgrade of existing training courses; and a detailed ‘project document’ to enable a possible follow-up implementing recommendations from Phase I.

The IMO Secretariat will lead the project, working closely with the United Nations Industrial Development Organization and the International Labour Organization. Financial support will come principally from the Norwegian Agency for Development Co-operation, but the Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam, and Stockholm Conventions (collectively known as BRS) will provide support funding for works related to the management of hazardous materials.

Industrial waste cleaner launched in Malaysia, Brunei

PJ Energy Services (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd (PJ Energy), has launched industrial waste biotechnology solution ‘KEEEN’, to be officially distributed in Malaysia and Brunei. KEEEN is a bio-liquid formulation product which uses a bio-remdediation agent which comprises eight strains of oil degrading microbes, enzymes, and biosurfactants capable of digesting molecules and organic substances. The KEEEN bio-remediation agent is a green innovation which is said to potentially be a key in resolving industrial and domestic waste management issues globally.

“Microbe is an important bio agent which is able to clean pollutant in various forms. The product is in the form of liquid which can neutralise the content of any liquid. I recommend the use of this product because it promotes a clean and liveable city,” said Tourism Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Abang Openg. KEEEN’s products can be used for general cleaning, degreasing, VOC decontamination, recovering oil spills and pollutants as well as inducing self-remediation before discharging to sewage systems.

E-waste recycling programme in Viet Nam

The Vietnam Recycling Platform launched the Vietnam Recycles programme to collect and recycle used, end-of-life and broken electronic equipments in Viet Nam for free. The platform is a consortium established by American technology giants Hewlett-Packard and Apple.

The programme helps manufacturers and customers to follow regulations on collecting and recycling of waste, which were issued by the Prime Minister on August 9, 2013, and took effect from January 1, 2015. It also aims to raise the responsibilities of manufacturers for collecting and recycling end-of-life electronic products and electrical household appliances.

Since the end of January 2015, the programme has been providing free e-waste collection and recycling services to governmental agencies, organisations and enterprises in Ha Noi and HCM City. From July, the people living in the two largest cities will be offered free services.

According to the Institute for Environmental Science and Technology, the amount of e-waste in Viet Nam has been increasing due to the development of technology and high demands made on electronic equipments. However, the people have limited awareness of e-waste. “This is a meaningful programme for Viet Nam,” Deputy Director of the Vietnam Environment Administration Hoang Duong Tung said. “There have been several waste recycling programmes held in the past few years, but generally, they have been small in scale and were carried out for a short period. People are not fully aware of e-waste, and financial resources are limited for building a standardised e-waste recycling system.


New efficient recycling technique

Researchers from Hong Kong Institute of Education, China, have developed a new method of breaking apart polymers that is faster and produces less waste. If this process gains widespread adoption, it could greatly enhance recycling efficiency and would necessitate the purchase of new material handling machinery that could deal with the new system. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), cracking is a process that breaks complex hydrocarbons down into more manageable polymers. This action is useful throughout the polymer manufacturing and recycling process, as it allows for either the creation of new polymers that have more favorable characteristics for manufactured items or makes simpler polymers that are easier to recycle than their more complex originators.

While cracking is an important process, it is time-consuming and produces environmentally harmful waste gasses, such as carbon dioxide. However researcher Stephen Chow, a professor at Hong Kong Institute of Education, have solved these issues with a new process that will crack polymers more quickly and without the harmful byproducts. Chow embarked on his quest for an eco-friendly cracking system to help Hong Kong cope with its massive waste problem. The tiny nation produces an enormous amount of garbage, and recycling systems that can reduce the amount of waste in landfills are at a premium.

Chow is currently checking whether the process generates deadly gasses such as nitrous oxide, and barring unexpected findings. Improved cracking methods will be beneficial for recycling, but they could also help fuel producers. Cracking is used to refine oil into the gasoline used in cars, so a development that lessens the cost of cracking operations would have far-reaching impacts. Whether Chow’s research provides a solution to the issue or is merely a first step toward an improved system, it’s evident that there will continue to be developments in polymer creation and recycling for years to come.

Water-free plastic recycling technology

Ak Inovex, Mexico, has developed a new recycling technology that enables plastics to be recycled without the use of water, with less energy compared to previous systems, and produces plastic pellets of the same or better quality. In addition to processing 90% of any type of plastic, it can also process PET, ABS, Styrofoam, and polystyrene. Even more impressive, aside from not wasting water and using less energy, this green technology requires less space because of the simplicity of its method. According to Ak Inovex, the new method can produce plastic pellets of equal or superior quality.

The water-free and energy-reduced system, utilizes special walls that, on contact, can simultaneously mould plastic into the desired pellet shape and cool the pellets it produces. Ak Inovex has a pending patent registration of the three technologies that integrate the development, which are responsible for cooling the plastic through contact with special walls and form the plastic beads.” Ak Inovex is seeking to expand its prototype system’s recycling capabilities. In an effort to lowers costs even further, the company wants to employ an ecological washing machine for plastics. This unique washing machine would use a special biodetergent instead of lye, which is the more commonly used product.

To make this possible, the company is partnering with ALINSA group, which specializes in manufacturing biodegradable chemical cleaning products that are environmentally friendly. Currently, recycling plastic is a long and difficult process that consumes many resources, particularly water. Plastic must be thoroughly washed to remove any impurities. It must then be dehydrated inside an oven and later cooled by water when the newly formed plastic is cut into small pellets. Thus, the plastic recycling technology developed by Ak Inovex is a process that is not only better for the environment, but is also one that has the potential to be notably simpler and cheaper than current recycling methods.

Tertiary recycling of plastic waste

After conducting a successful experiment on recycling plastic waste, researchers in Pakistan are now looking to commercialise the process named ‘tertiary recycling’ as it is not only the best option to solve the problems concerning disposal of plastic waste. The test was conducted in 2014, at the Hussain Ebrahim Jamal (HEJ) Research Institute of Chemistry, Pakistan, under the supervision of King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals (KFUPM) Professor Dr Farhat Ali. Tertiary recycling, also called feedstock recycling, returns plastic to their constituent monomers or to their basic hydrocarbon feedstock. The resulting raw material is reprocessed either into plastic or other products of the oil refining process.

In Pakistan, plastic is recycled via primary and secondary recycling, also known as mechanical recycling. “This is a thriving industry that provides an opportunity to scavengers to collect, do kerb-side sorting of different plastic goods and sell them to different manufacturers. Our proposal of converting plastics to fuels is tertiary recycling and to the best of my knowledge there is no such industry in Pakistan,” said Farhat Ali. This concept of feedstock recycling is based on thermal and/or catalytic breakdown of plastic waste to a mixture of basic hydrocarbons, which can be valuable either as a fuel or in raw form. The main issue is the collection and segregation of plastic material from the other stuff found in mixed waste

Solid waste in Pakistan is generally composed of plastic, rubber, metal, paper, cardboard, textile, glass, food, animal waste, agriculture waste, wood and bones. The management of solid waste as a whole is very inefficient as only about 50% of total waste is collected. There is no separate arrangement for recyclables. In order to put up a processing plant for tertiary recycling of plastic waste, a constant supply of feedstock is essential. Therefore, it is necessary to establish an efficient system for the collection of plastic waste. The present arrangement of mechanical recycling is, therefore, more attractive and profitable for the domestic industry.

Researchers create eco-friendly plastic

A group of researchers at the Institute of Chemical and Bioengineering at the university ETH Zürich, Switzerland, led by Professors Konrad Hungerbühler and Javier Pérez-Ramírez, has discovered a way to make biodegradable plastic from a pesky waste product of biofuel. The market for PLA, a form of plant-derived, biodegradable plastic that’s already being used in food packaging, is projected to grow from 360,000 tons in 2013, to over 1.2 million tons by 2020. But PLA is derived from plants like corn, sugar and tapioca roots. So making megatons of plant-based plastic might mean setting aside millions of acres of land that could otherwise be used to grow food.

However, researchers have outlined a new process for making PLA using glycerol, a waste byproduct of biofuel production. This technique saves energy by using a product that is otherwise commonly disposed of in rivers or fed to livestock (despite concerns over its effects), while also producing 20 percent less carbon dioxide than traditional methods. Rather than using fermentation to create PLA, as is commonly done, the researchers teamed up with university’s Advanced Catalysis Engineering group to create a custom catalyst. Made from a microporous mineral, and developed in large part, the catalyst’s structure specifically promotes the desired chemical process.

Of course, with the rising demand for bioplastic, this method wouldn’t be all that useful if the amount of available waste glycerol couldn’t keep pace. Biodiesel production is expected to reach nearly 40 million tons by 2020, and that crude glycerol waste will make up roughly 10 percent of that weight. For any industry to take off, profit is, of course, also important. The team said that, by lowering costs, their method could increase profits of PLA production by as much as 17 times or more. Even if the bioplastic market booms, there will still be a substantial need for petroleum-based plastics for the foreseeable future.

Fungi turns biodegradable plastic into mushrooms

Microbiologists from Utrecht University, the Netherlands, and two designers from Livin, an Austrian design studio, have come up with a device dubbed the Fungi Mutarium, which is capable of turning biodegradable plastic into edible mushrooms. The experiment is a prototype that deploys fungi to break down plastic and grow edible fungal biomass or mushrooms. The device uses cups that are made of agar, which is an algae-based gelatin. The cups hold the fungus, which is used to digest the plastic which, in turn, has been sterilized by dousing it in UV light. Once the plastic has been digested, the agar cups and the content inside it become digestible.

This process usually takes several months for the fungi to decompose all the plastic, but with the device, the team aims to create a single solution that would address a host of issues ranging from pollution to food waste. “We were both really inspired about the idea that something digests plastic but then still creates edible biomass,” said Katharina Unger, who is one of the designers. Unger also revealed that the harvested pods have a mild taste; the fungi that is used is from the root of two of the most popular mushrooms around: oyster and split gill. However, the team asserts that the “neutral” taste is what makes the pods versatile in nature.

The Fungi Mutarium faces a few hurdles before it can make its way to consumers. A major drawback is that it takes several months for the plastic to break down.


New recycling process to develop precious metals

In a collaborative project between UK based resource recovery specialist Axion Consulting, Johnson Matthey Fuel Cells and high performance nonwoven materials manufacturer, Technical Fibre Products (TFP), a new recycling process has been developed to recover high value materials from end-of-life fuel cells that enter the waste stream. Funded by the UK’s innovation agency, Innovate UK, Axion explained that the objective of the ‘Recover’ project is to establish the technical and economic feasibility of recovery and re-use of high value materials from fuel cell membrane electrode assemblies and ultimately to establish the potential for a new UK-based global recycling business.

Having proven the initial process steps, Axion said that further research is underway on evaluating the viability for commercial operation and developing a take-back system for end-of-life fuel cells – such as those from forklift trucks, mobile phone masts, electric vehicles and in small portable power packs for laptops and other products. “The ability to recycle fuel cells is important as they will be powering the vehicles and technology of the future, which needs to be cost-effective if they are to be acceptable to both consumers and manufacturers,” said Roger Morton, at Axion.

According to Axion, one innovative feature of the project involves design for recycling so the products are easier to recycle in the first place. Key challenges, however, are said to involve the collection of widely-distributed fuel cells and the technical hurdles presented in material recovery. For example, a high yield is essential for platinum while carbon fibres need to be separated from other components. Meanwhile, Axion said that experimental trials are continuing at laboratories in its Salford recycling facility alongside on-going market investigation.

‘Green’ precious metals recovery formula

‘Green alchemy’ company UWin Nanotech, Taiwan (Province of China), has engineered an ‘exclusive environmental recycling technology’, namely a freshly-patented gold stripping formula. Its Full Environmental Gold method enables precious metals to be stripped from other material without involving cyanide. As per United Nations statistics, e-scrap volumes will amount to 65.4 million tonnes by 2017. If it is not effectively dealt with now, it will create a major ecological disaster in the future, but UWin believes that existing e-scrap processes can create dioxins and suspended micro-particulates, as well as toxic substances like cyanide and potassium ferricyanide.

According to UWin, it can counter ‘low-quality recycling methods’ through an electrolyte-based technology that effectively strips anything from gold, silver, palladium, platinum, nickel, copper, tin, aluminium, indium, titanium and stainless steel. “Each bottle of UW-700 formula contains 600 grams of power, which can strip 70 grams of gold. Furthermore, each UW-700 is priced at NT$ 4000 (roughly US$ 130) and can create NT$ 91,000 (US$ 2880) in gold stripping,” said Kenny Hsu at UWin.

Precious metals from electric waste

A new method, patented by the Italian National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development (ENEA), will allow to recover precious metals from electric and electronic devices which are no longer used. Through this innovative process, this waste category could soon become an important source of supply of metals such as gold, silver, lead and tin in Italy, which currently has limited amounts of mineral resources. Computers, cell phones, photovoltaic panels and lithium batteries which are no longer used are today classified as Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE), a waste category from which it is possible to recover minerals useful for the production of increasingly requested new electronic equipment.

The innovative method, recently patented by ENEA, will allow to “recycle” these precious metals by using an extraction process carried out at almost room temperature, with limited gas emissions in the air. This technique can also be carried out in small plants and is extremely advantageous as compared to the methods used so far, which require high temperatures and produce polluting emissions. In order to show and test the new technology potential, an experimental plant is being built at the ENEA Research Centre of Casaccia, that will be useful for the early demonstration campaigns, and will also be available to enterprises working in the WEEE field that are interested in implementing plants for the recovery of precious metals from unused equipment.


Algae to recycle biofuel from polluted water

Researchers from the University of Bath, the United Kingdom, are working on a process to produce biofuel by using algae to clean up contaminated water at a former tin mine in Cornwall, while also recycling heavy metals such as cadmium. The university explained that is conducting the research as part of a the GW4 research project, which is the South West Research Alliance that brings together the South West and Wales’ four research intensive universities: Bath, Bristol, Cardiff and Exeter. Researchers from all four universities, in collaboration with Plymouth Marine Laboratory (PML), UK, are now working with the Coal Authority and waste and UK’s recycling firm, Veolia, to take untreated mine water samples from Wheal Jane tin mine in Cornwall into the laboratory and grow algae in them.

The research will explore whether algae is effective in removing materials such as arsenic and cadmium from the mine water. The project will the look to convert the algae into a solid from which it’s expected that precious heavy metals could be extracted and recycled for use in the electronics industry. The remaining solid waste will then be used to make biofuels. “It’s a win-win solution to a significant environmental problem. We’re putting contaminated water in and taking out valuable metals, clean water and producing fuel. This technology could be applied to any type of mine or could even be used to clean up industrial effluent in the future,” said Dr. Chris Chuck, from the University of Bath.

New technology for purifying wastewater

Researchers Lappeenranta University of Technology (LUT), Finland, have found that freezing technology can be utilized in waste water treatment. When waste water freezes, it can be purified through the formation of a cleaner layer of ice. The clean layer of ice can be removed from the rest of the waste water, and the remaining waste water is more concentrated. The new energy-efficient method of purification is based on the natural freezing process of water: energy is required only for breaking the ice and transporting it from the waste water pool.

The method being developed at LUT for application is mainly for the extractive industry, which produces large amounts of waste water. The freezing of water – or to use chemical terminology, its crystallisation – requires seven times less energy than its evaporation. Equipment developed by LUT researchers includes a winter simulator which makes it possible to study how the temperature of cooling air affects freezing. The simulator has been used to study the growth rate of the layer of ice that emerges, and the degree of purity when salt solutions of different concentrations are used. Last winter researchers also took samples on the ice of Lake Saimaa.

“We took samples of both the lake water and the ice and we examined the amount of impurities that they contained. The result was that the lake water contained about ten times more impurities than the ice. Another finding in the research was that the slower the layer of ice grows, the cleaner the ice is. Therefore, the purity of the ice is directly dependent on its rate of growth,” said Professor Marjatta Louhi-Kultanen at LUT. According to Professor Louhi-Kultanen, future research will be aimed at an extensive examination of different types of waste water pools and the purity of their layers of ice and the implementation of freezing experiments with waste water samples in mining areas.

Novel low-cost wastewater treatment technology

Mitsubishi Electric Corporation, Japan, a company that manufactures and sells electrical and electronic products and system, recently announced that it has developed a novel water treatment technology that enables industrial wastewater and sewage to be recycled on a low-cost basis. The technology efficiently removes persistent organic substances in wastewater by using hydroxyl (OH) radicals generated through an electric discharge created at a gas/liquid interface. Mitsubishi Electric, aiming to contribute to sustainable water recycling, will apply the technology in an industrial wastewater reuse system that it plans to commercialize by the fiscal year ending in March 2019.

The system’s reactor uses several inclined plate electrodes in humid oxygen over which the wastewater flows. A pulsed corona discharge generated at the interface of the humid oxygen gas and wastewater produces OH radicals. Due to the OH radical’s high reactivity, persistent substances such as surfactants or dioxane decompose into carbon dioxide (CO2), water molecules and other inorganic compounds. The effective generation of OH radicals makes the treatment twice as efficient as conventional advanced oxidation processes, such as the combined use of ozone and ultraviolet irradiation (O3/UV). Oxygen gas consumption is reduced significantly by up to 90 percent due to gas recycling. The modularized structure of the discharge units makes the equipment more simple and cost-effective than the O3/UV method.

Population growth and improving living standards are expected to increase the global need for wastewater reuse. In the western United States, Singapore and other water-deficient regions, the installation of water reuse systems is already under way. Since water, like electricity, is an essential part of every society, there is a compelling need for low-cost water reuse systems. Persistent organic substances dissolved in industrial wastewater discharged from various types of production facilities must be treated before reuse, but conventional water treatment methods are usually ineffective. Special processes have been developed to remove these substances, such as adsorption with active carbon or decomposition using the O3/UV advanced oxidation process, but they are costly.

Nano-absorbents for cleaning chemical pollutants

Researchers at Shaheed Beheshti University, Islamic Republic of Iran, have designed Nano-absorbent separating chemical pollutants by high percentage. “The Nano-absorbent is separated from the environment in less than a second and can be reused,” said Sarah Karimi Behzad, a mineral chemistry student at the university. The outcomes of the study can be adopted in different industries, including water and wastewater treatment. Heavy metals including lead and cadmium are not removed from the body and deposit in tissues such as fat, muscles, bones and joints, leading to different diseases. The issue also raises probability of neural disorders such as parkinson’s, alzheimer’s, depression, schizophrenia, cancer.

The study is focusing on use of magnetic nano-particles to concentrate and adsorb the pollutants. The research is also measuring the lead and cadmium ion in certain food by solid phase extraction method, adding the synthesized nano-combination showed high capability in concentration and absorption of pollutants (roughly 90 percent). The method enjoys certain advantages including simplicity, high speed in separating and determining metal ions in natural samples. The results of the study have been appeared in Microchimica Acta Journal.

New system to treat wastewater developed

Dr. Jianmin Wang, professor of civil, architectural and environmental engineering at Missouri University of Science and Technology (Missouri S&T), the United States, has developed multiple wastewater treatment technologies that produce freshwater that is not only cleaner than wastewater treated using traditional methods, but also requires less maintenance and energy. Additionally, his inventions can be used to retrofit existing wastewater treatment plants. Although his technology is too new, in regulatory terms, to be of use in the grant recipient communities, Dr. Wang said his technology is superior to existing ones in terms of cost and treatment efficiency.

According to Dr. Wang, 0.8 percent of America’s energy use is spent on wastewater treatment. Much of that energy is used to aerate the tanks where wastewater is treated. The energy is used to feed oxygen to the microorganisms that consume the waste, and traditionally wastewater treatment plants maintain an oxygen concentration of 2 mg/liter to feed the bugs in the tanks, which makes them happy. The prevailing thought has been that providing less than 2 mg/liter of oxygen would make the microorganisms “unhappy.” But Dr. Wang does not believe that is an issue, if you feed them at a lower concentration, such as 0.5 mg/liter, it makes them a little less happy, but the microorganisms will live longer and enrich more plus you use 30% less energy during oxygen infusion to produce the same results.

With its high performance, high energy efficiency and low operational costs, on a large scale the technology could help curb global surface water eutrophication, which is one of the grand challenges – the accessibility of freshwater. Eutrophication is the enrichment of an ecosystem with chemical nutrients, typically nitrogen, phosphorus or both. When excessive nitrogen and phosphorus levels are present, undesirable side effects such as algae blooms can occur. When algae die, they decompose. The decomposition consumes oxygen, and with less oxygen, naturally occurring aquatic plants, fish, crustaceans and other organisms can die. Algae blooms also produce algal toxins that directly pollute the source of drinking water intake.

An ingenious method of wastewater treatment

Researchers from D. Serikbayev East Kazakhstan State Technical University (EKTU), Kazakhstan, has developed a new method for purifying wastewater from heavy metals using diatoms. Pollution with heavy metals is nearing critical levels in some regions of Kazakhstan. According to the Regional Center for Ecological Security, in 2013, some areas of Ust-Kamenogorsk had a content of cadmium in soil exceeding the maximum allowable concentration (MAC) by 40-60 times, of lead – by 20 times, of copper – by 30-90 times, and of zinc – by 15 times. The zinc content in the water of the rivers Ulba and Irtysh in the city reached 7.3 MAC and that of copper was as high as 7 MAC.

“The new water purification method developed by the University is more than welcome in this region. It employs diatom algae, which are widespread in the waters of Eastern Kazakhstan. They reproduce well in the waters of Kazakhstan and are quite capable of binding salts of mercury, cobalt, manganese, copper and zinc,” said Oleg Gavrilenko at EKTU. In addition, algal skeleton is capable of binding salts of radioactive elements. This makes the method more or less cheap as well as productive. Certainly, replacing the chemical methods of wastewater treatment with the algae method is hardly possible. The technology has been successfully tested and is being introduced at Kazzinc (Kazakh zinc production plant) sewage clearing site.

New wastewater treatment for mining industry

Virtual Curtain Limited, Australia, has developed an innovative technology that treats wastewater by creating chemical compounds called hydrotalcites, which are similar to stomach antacids, to counter wastewater acidity and absorb pollutants. The breakthrough process is more efficient than treating acidic mine wastewater using the traditional lime method, as it creates less sludge and frees up more water. The technology has been developed by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO), Australia, researcher Dr. Grant Douglas and his team and has been patented and licensed to Virtual Curtain.

The hydrotalcites are created by adjusting the concentrations of magnesium and aluminium in the wastewater. “You can think of the hydrotalcites as being a sort of material ‘sponge’. Toxic elements such as cadmium, radionuclides, copper, zinc and elements like that will very rapidly be absorbed by the hydrotalcites, reducing the toxicity of the water and reducing the acidity,” saif Jeff Moore, at Virtual Curtain. The hydrotalcite technology has been successfully used to treat toxic wastewater at a former copper and gold mine in the Atherton Tablelands in Queensland.

There, some 56 million litres of contaminated pit water were treated prior to reverse osmosis and eventual safe discharge into a stream. The company is investigating tapping into a worldwide demand for treating mine wastewaters. According to Virtual Curtain, the technology can also be used to treat wastewater created by uranium mining and processing, opening a potential market for treating the leakages from thousands of uranium mine sites in the US and Europe dating back to the cold war era.


Enhancing microbial activity effects remediation

The addition of carbon, which is required as a nutrient by the microorganisms in soil and groundwater, was found to be the most promising remediation method in the remediation of soil and groundwater contaminated with the pesticide atrazine. This conclusion is reached in a study conducted in close collaboration with the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI), the Finnish Environment Institute’s partner in India. There is a demand for the remediation method, as atrazine is the most common pollutant found in groundwater in Finland. The substance in question is still commonly used outside Europe. The study compared four bioremediation methods that were used for reducing the amount of atrazine in soil or groundwater.

Factors that must be taken into consideration when choosing the most suitable bioremediation method include land use, the geographic origin of the soil, treatment history and the amount of organic matter.

The degradation of atrazine was enhanced by the addition of decomposer microorganisms or the nutrients they need, i.e. carbon, to the soil. Adding carbon in particular to Finnish subsoil, which is poor in carbon, contributed to the degradation of low concentrations of atrazine as well. The most common pesticide found in groundwater in Finland despite its use being discontinued Atrazine has been one of the most important herbicides for fifty years. In Finland, the use of atrazine was discontinued approximately 25 years ago.

Regardless of this, it continues to be the most common pesticide found in groundwater in Finland. Atrazine, which has also been studied as an endocrine disruptor, was found in 26% of groundwater samples studied in 2002-2005. The EU banned its use in 2004. There is a need for effective remediation methods, as a large part of the contaminated groundwater is situated in water catchment areas. Some groundwater intakes have even been closed due to atrazine. Atrazine is removed at activated carbon filter plants, for example, but they are expensive to build and maintain. The degradation of atrazine was compared in Finland and India from 2009 to 2014. In India, atrazine continues to be used widely as a herbicide.

Effective way for cleaning up contaminants

A team of researchers, managed by DTRA CB/JSTO‘s Dr. Brian Pate including Dr. Joseph Wang from the University of California, the United States, have found that self-propelled, dual-function biocatalytic motors, consisting of unmodified natural tissue and capable of in-motion bioremediation of phenol, provided for a new “on-the-fly” remediation process. This cost-effective measure eliminates the need for expensive isolated enzymes and relies on environmental-friendly plant tissues. These micromotors have a wide spectrum of potential applications in the remediation of industrial aromatic pollutants that might result from chemical manufacturing or from chemical agents and munition components such as detonation cord and fuses.

In their article “Dual-enzyme natural motors incorporating decontamination and propulsion capabilities,” researchers explained how these enzyme-rich tissue motors rely on the catalase and peroxidase activities of their Raphanus sativus radish body for their propulsion and remediation actions, respectively. The continuous movement of the biocatalytic tissue motors through the contaminated sample facilitates the dynamic removal of phenolic pollutants, including explosive or energetic materials such as trinitrophenol (TNP), also known as picric acid, and diazodinitrophenol (DDNP), which is found in some detonators, as a component in ecrasite. Hydrogen peroxide plays a dual role in the propulsion and decontamination processes, as the motor fuel and as co-substrate for the phenol transformation, respectively.

The research team continues to focus efforts on advancing the fundamental understanding of interactions between functionalized nanomotors to develop new motor capabilities and functionalities that will enhance the separation power offered by these self-propelled artificial microtransporters. The recent discovery, which has now been validated through external peer review, is an important contribution toward the program milestone focused on development of multifunctional (separate/ remediate) nanomotors. Future applications for this work could include demilitarization and contaminated environment site remediation, such as former explosive weapons stockpiles.

Bacteria help to treat used water

In collaboration with colleagues from the Center for Environmental Research and Training (CEPEMA), Brazil – a cooperative center for environmental engineering funded by FAPESP – the researcher have found a practical solution for treating this industrial wastewater. The scientists have identified two types of bacteria – Achromobacter sp. and Pandoraea sp. – capable of reducing the concentration of contamination by “acid water” to acceptable levels, allowing its release into the environment or its reuse in industrial processes at refineries. “The bacteria are able to remove all of the contaminants from the refinery wastewater,” said Professor Perpetuo, who received scholarships from FAPESP.

According to the professor, the two types of bacteria were isolated from the air and discovered inadvertently when she worked as a researcher at CEPEMA in Cubatão, near a Petrobras refinery. By leaving a phenol solution of 500 ppm exposed in an open-air processing area of CEPEMA, the researchers realized that several days later, the solution became cloudy, which is a sign of cell growth. To test the effectiveness of the bacteria in degrading the phenols, the researchers conducted two different experiments. In the first experiment, performed in bioreactors, they added 100 milliliters (ml) of Achromobacter sp. biomass to 500 ml of “acid water” and kept the bacteria in the solution for 82 hours.

In the second experiment, they kept strains of Pandoraea sp. in a solution of “acid water” in an Erlenmeyer flask (a glass flask) for 96 hours, under stirring and at a controlled temperature. To turn the “acid water” treated with the bacteria into a clear solution, they used a concentration of 6 grams/liter (g/L) of activated coal, similar to that found in domestic water filters. The results of the experiments indicated that the bacteria were capable of degrading the phenols and compounds such as o-cresol and m-cresol found in the solutions at concentrations of 500 ppm. The Achromobacter sp. bacteria, however, were the most efficient and proved capable of degrading phenols at a concentration of up to 2 g/L of solution. The findings of the analysis have been published in the journal Current Proteomics.

Bioremediation of crude oil polluted environment

In a study done by researchers from Rivers State University of Science and Technology, Nigeria, the effect of physicochemical parameters of various sawdust on the bioremediation of crude oil polluted water environment was carried out to determine the level of adsorption rate of crude oil in water bodies. Various particle size of sawdust were used 0.5 mm, 1.18 mm, 2.80 mm, 3.35 mm and 6.30 mm and the rate of adsorption in order of magnitude is 6.30 mm > 3.35 mm > 2.80 mm >1.18 mm > 0.5 mm for palm tree <mango < bamboo sawdust as revealed in the research work. The results obtained revealed that moisture content influence the rate of adsorption of the crude oil as well as microbial activity for the various samples studied.

The microorganisms present in the different sawdust’s were isolated and identified as Bacillus species with total bacteria count of 1.60 x 106 cell/ml, 1.28 x 106 cell/ml and 1.4 x 106 cell/ml for mango, bamboo and palm tree sawdust. The experimental data obtained from the research was used in simulating the developed mathematical model which leads to the computation of the specific rate of adsorption and the determination of the maximum specific rate of adsorption and the equilibrium rate of the system. These were achieved by the application of LineWeaver Burk plot principle and findings indicated that all the various sawdust used for the studies were capable of enhancing bioremediation of polluted environment in both surface and underground water were sampled for this research work.

Fungi that could solve garbage problem

Of the approximately 251 million tons of trash dropped annually into American landfills, items made of polyurethane are particularly destructive to the planet. The hardy, widely used polymer has long been considered nonbiodegradable because its chemical bonds are so strong. And it is not going away anytime soon; polyurethane production is rising both in America and overseas. However, the pesky plastic may have a natural combatant, found in the most unlikely of places: the Amazon rain forest. In 2011, 20 undergraduates from Yale University’s Department of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry, the United States, travelled to Ecuador with professor Scott Strobel for an annual research trip and discovered a fungus that eats only polyurethane.

It’s the first microbe found to survive exclusively on the plastic, and, most notably, it can do so in anaerobic (oxygen-free) environments, meaning it could potentially thrive at the bottom of landfills.


New technology to reduce greenhouse gases

Petrobras, Brazil, is developing a new technology that reduces the emission of greenhouse gases (GHG). Called CO2 capture, this technology is being tested in a prototype fluid catalytic cracking unit (FCC) – process that transforms heavy oil lighter oil derivatives. This is the first unit to preindustrial scale of FCC in the world using oxyfuel technology for capturing carbon dioxide (CO2) gas released during the industrial refinery processes. The FCCs are very important units in the production process of derivatives, such as gasoline and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), and are the largest single source of CO2 emissions from refineries – represent about 1/3 of the total emissions of gas.

The aim of the tests performed so far is to evaluate the new technology at a scale closer to the industrial and identify areas for development. From the data obtained in the most recent tests, hopes to capture at least 90% of the CO2 emitted when technology is used in industrial units. And also generate a stream of CO2 with a purity of 95%, ready for sale to industries that purchase CO2 injection wells for oil removal (called advanced oil recovery), or injection into natural underground reservoirs where is trapped (called geological storage). The oxyfuel process has proved more economically viable when compared with post-combustion technology, traditionally used for CO2 capture.

An evaluation in the previous stage of the project has shown that oxicombustión would allow a significant reduction of costs, around 40% compared to traditional technology. CO2 capture is still a challenge for companies in the oil sector in the world, this challenge also includes transport and geological storage of carbon dioxide. For the implementation of this technology is developing legislation and rules defining the technical, social and environmental criteria that must be met.

New way to capture CO2

Scientists from the Rice University, the United States, have found the best material to capture carbon dioxide (CO2) from natural gas wells could be in a cheap derivative of asphalt, a material primarily used to build roads. “A substance derived from asphalt appears to provide a compound matched to battle CO2 emissions, and the material could be made cheaply in a few steps,” said Chemist James Tour. The findings have been published in the American Chemical Society journal Applied Materials and Interfaces. Tour’s research team tried several grades of asphalt, some costing only 30 cents/pound.

The asphalt substance “provides an ultra-inexpensive route to a high-value material for the capture of carbon dioxide from natural gas streams. Not only did we increase its capacity, we lowered the price substantially,” said Tour. The findings build on a discovery by Tour’s team last year of a carbon capture material for sequestration at the wellhead. The first discovery sequestered CO2 at ambient temperature, with pressure provided by the wellhead. In the latest discovery, the “best” version is a powder that holds 114% of its weight in CO2. Like the initial discovery, the porous carbon materials capture CO2 molecules at room temperature, while letting the desired methane natural gas flow through.

The basic compound, asphalt-porous carbon (A-PC), is able to capture CO2 as it leaves a wellhead under pressure, which is supplied by the rising gas at about 30 atmospheres, or 30 times atmospheric pressure at sea level. When the pressure is relieved, A-PC spontaneously releases the CO2, which then may be piped to storage, pumped back downhole or repurposed for uses such as enhanced oil recovery. The goal of the research was to simplify the process of capturing carbon from wellheads at sea, where there’s limited room for bulky equipment. The ability of A-PC to capture and release CO2 without degrading it over several cycles makes it practical, said Tour.

Researchers found new method to remove GHG

A team of researchers at Harvard University, the United States, recently unveiled a new method for removing greenhouse gases (GHG) emitted into the atmosphere by power plants. This new method is not only more energy-efficient than current methods, but also safer and less costly. The team designed microcapsules of liquid absorbing materials. In tests, these microcapsules outperformed current methods for removing GHG carbon dioxide from emissions. Carbon dioxide (CO2) is the most common greenhouse gas, and because of it, Earth’s atmosphere traps more heat, which significantly warms up the planet. In 2012, power plants fuelled by coal and natural gas put about a third of all greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

New regulations request that these power plants reduce those emissions, but so far, the only way to do that is with solvents that separate CO2 from the gas that goes up in their smokestacks. However, these current processes have many downsides: not only are they expensive to employ, but they also reduce output and leave toxins behind. However, Harvard’s method is simpler and uses a liquid version of sodium carbonate. Carbonates lasts virtually forever, so rarely need replacing, especially once they’re put in liquid form and encapsulated inside a polymer shell. The microcapsules are safe, as they don’t leave behind any toxic byproducts, and are less expensive to produce.

Harvard has teamed up with other scientists on improving their process so that they can bring it to scale for larger power plants. “Capturing the world’s carbon emissions is a huge job. We need technology that can be applied to many kinds of carbon dioxide sources, with the public’s full confidence in the safety and sustainability,” said Roger D. Aines, of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, the United States. These microcapsules could also be a good solution for other industrial processes that emit a lot of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, such as those involved in steel and cement production.

SOx scrubber developed

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI), Japan, and Mitsubishi Kakoki Kaisha (MKK), Japan, have jointly developed a hybrid SOx scrubber system that efficiently removes sulfur oxides (SOx) from exhaust gas emitted by marine diesel engines. The hybrid SOx scrubber system is the first in Japan to comply with the more stringent SOx emission regulations that will take effect in designated emission control areas (ECAs) in 2015. The system is capable of scrubbing exhaust gas from the combustion of fuels emitted from bunker heavy fuel oil to the level combusting more costly low-sulfur fuel oil. By adopting a modular design, the system also facilitates retrofit installations on ships already in service.

The Hybrid SOx Scrubber System has two scrubbing system: one that uses circulating with freshwater and the other uses one-pass flow with seawater. The freshwater system is capable of scrubbing exhaust gas from combustions of heavy fuel oil with 3.5 per cent sulfur content to that of low-sulfur fuel oil with 0.1 percent sulfur content. The seawater system is capable of scrubbing exhaust to a level of 0.5 per cent sulfur content fuel oil to comply with regulations that are expected to be applied in global marine areas in the future. Washing seawater is discharged outside after treatment, complying with requirements for discharged wash water.

The system includes a SOx scrubber, a container unit housing a wash water processing system and other components, and ISO standard tank containers to store sludge and a caustic soda solution (NaOH) to neutralize circulating fresh water. Modular construction enables flexible arrangement of components, reducing installation time and cost requirements, and making it easier to retrofit the system to ships already in service. Going forward, MHI and MKK will draw on their extensive shipbuilding and engineering expertise to aggressively promote the new high-performance SOx scrubber system for use on both newly commissioned ships and ships already in service, including ships built by other shipyards.

Researchers develop new device to remove CO2

Removing carbon dioxide, a harmful greenhouse gas, from smokestacks doesn’t come up much. The technology, known as carbon capture and storage, could be a compelling alternative because of the sheer number and size of power plants that burn fossil fuels. But the high cost of removing the carbon dioxide those plants create makes the process a hard sell. That prompted researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the United States, to try to develop a lower-cost way to do the job. Last year, they got about $80,000 in funding to make a small-scale commercial prototype.

The MIT project seeks to lower the energy needed to remove carbon dioxide by using an electrochemical device that’s similar in concept to a rechargeable battery. The technique promises to be less expensive and easier to add to existing power plants than current systems. According to very rough estimates made in the lab, the new system could cut energy requirements by as much as 25 percent. But researchers need to get closer to building a commercial system to get a firm idea of the capital costs. Aly Eltayeb, who are leading the research project.


Principles of Membrane Bioreactors for Wastewater Treatment

This book describes the state-of-the-art of MBR technology, principles of MBR and design and operation of plants. Membrane bioreactor (MBR) technology is a wastewater treatment method combining biological pollutant treatment with physical membrane separation. It has gained increasing commercial significance over the last decade, with applications in municipal and industrial wastewater treatment.

Experimental Methods in Wastewater Treatment

This book assembles and integrates the innovative experimental methods developed by research groups and practitioners around the world. The book forms part of the internet-based curriculum in wastewater treatment at UNESCO-IHE and, as such, may also be used together with video records of experimental methods performed and narrated by the authors including guidelines on what to do and what not to do.

For the above two books, contact: IWA Publishing, Alliance House, 12, Caxton Street, London SW1H 0QS, UK. Tel: +44-20-7654-5500; Fax: +44-20-7654-5555

Handbook of Advanced Industrial and Hazardous Wastes Management

This volume provides in-depth coverage of environmental pollution sources, waste characteristics, control technologies, management strategies, facility innovations, process alternatives, costs, case histories, effluent standards, and future trends in waste treatment processes. It delineates methodologies, technologies, and the regional and global effects of important pollution control practices. It focuses on specific industrial and manufacturing wastes and their remediation.

Contact: CRC Press; Tel: +44-1235-400524; Fax: +44-1235-400525; E-mail:,


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