VATIS Update Waste Management . Jul-Sep 2013

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Waste Management Jul-Sep 2013

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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Auto recycling centers in India

India’s fast-increasing vehicle population is giving rise to a typical issue — having to deal with old and unusable vehicles that have reached the end of the lifespan and are sold as scrap. To deal with this problem, the government is looking to set up 10 modern recycling centers by 2014, where these vehicles would be dismantled, useful materials recovered and the remaining recycled. “Even as the auto industry is doing well in India and the number of vehicles has gone up, there is no organized mechanism for the recycling of used vehicles,” a senior official at the ministry of heavy industries told Mail Today.

In Europe and other developed countries, the auto recycling industry goes hand in hand with the automobile production industry. However, in India there is no such regulation to deal with old and non-useable automobiles. Mostly, such vehicles are sold as scrap where auto parts are dismantled and then sold separately. After that the metal parts are recovered. But due to the lack of modern techniques, the process is highly polluting and low on recovery. The new centres will train and help upgrade the current units in the unorganised sector.

Waste-to-energy system

In August 2013, PEAT International, the United States, successfully commissioned and sold a PTDR-100 System in Shanghai, China. To complete the purchase, PEAT completed an acceptance test which included operations of 20 feeding hours within a 24-hour time period.

The highlights from the test illustrates:
 environmental benefits;
 typical volume/weight reductions; and
 waste-to-energy capabilities of the PTDR technology.

The summary represents an average of the three emissions runs conducted during the acceptance test.

Weight reduction over 5-to-1 and volume reductions over 23-to-1 as 1,228 kilograms of waste and additives was processed and only 236 kilograms of vitrified material remained, representing the inorganic portion of the feedstock.

Previously, in late 2010, this plasma gasification system was commissioned in Northern China for a large oil refinery to treat petroleum sludge and other related waste streams. After completing its sludge treatment demonstrations it was moved to Shanghai.

Contact: PEAT International, Inc., 555 Skokie Blvd., Northbrook, IL-60062, USA. Tel: +1-847-559-8567; Fax: +1-847-291-3704

UNU releases China’s e-waste study

The Bonn-based Sustainable Cycles (SCYCLE) operating unit of the United Nations University Institute for Sustainability and Peace (UNU-ISP), Japan, has released an indepth country study on the current state of waste electrical and electronic equipment (e-waste) in China. Developed under a grant agreement on e-waste cooperation between the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the Solving the E-waste Problem (STEP) Initiative hosted by UNU, the study “E-waste in China: A Country Report” is a comprehensive assessment of China’s current e-waste situation.

The study analyses EEE consumption, domestic and transboundary e-waste flows, the e-waste collection and recycling sectors, legislative progress and e-waste stakeholders, in order to “enable better understanding of the e-waste system in China, including actors, projects, policies and other factors, and to facilitate further discussion, project initiation and communication among organizations working on e-waste in China”.

The research investigated e-waste from major home appliances — products with the most consistent household consumption data. Evaluating the period from 1995-2011, the study estimated that in 2011 alone: 56.6 million televisions, 58.1 million refrigerators, 53.0 million washing machines, 94.8 million air conditioners and 73.9 million computers were sold in the formal market of China, along with 250 million mobile phones.

1.2 million tonnes of televisions, 0.44 million tonnes of refrigerators, 0.32 million tonnes of washing machines, 0.99 million tonnes of air conditioners and 0.67 million tonnes of computers were discarded. Taking into account consumer disposal habits, and following the path of e-waste through informal and formal collection and recycling systems, the study acknowledges the blurred sector boundaries of e-waste flows and the challenges of forming sound policy responses.

The study’s appraisal of e-waste stakeholders assimilates the factors influencing consumer preference, national strategy, transboundary e-waste movement, research and environmental protection to build an inclusive foundation for the study’s recommendations. It concludes that: “The Chinese government plays a central role in the planning, administration and monitoring of the e-waste system in China. Other actors, including universities and research institutions, companies, industry associations, NGOs and foreign governments and agencies also play important roles. Improvements in the e-waste management system can thus be achieved through a combination of legislative development and implementation evaluation, technology transfer and innovation, research, knowledge exchange and international cooperation.”

“This work will facilitate better understanding of the whole e-waste system and provide key information and insights that will contribute to the achievement of the goal of reducing the negative environmental impacts from e-waste treatment while improving resource efficiency and the benefits to society.”

Problem with China’s e-waste

The United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) estimates that China absorbs about 70 percent of the world’s unwanted devices but China is creating more e-waste of its own. China’s very own e-waste is already astronomical and growing. This collector says more waste means more business potential. Green experts warn of double trouble. Imported foreign e-waste is still rampant. Even discarded electronics by prominent US institutions could end up in China. Mega million tons reportedly originate from Canada, US, Europe and Japan, and land in two of China’s largest dismantling centers: Taizhou, Zhejiang Province and Guiyu of Guangdong Province.

E-waste is often disguised as second-hand goods which can be then legally exported. Multiple and untraceable channels of illegal transportation make it difficult to calculate the exact volume of foreign e-waste to China. But “informal” trading is no doubt prevalent. Even if it means hours of leg work for this peddler who makes one yuan of this electric fan.

Philippines issues order on lamp waste management

The Department of Energy (DOE) and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) issued a Joint Administrative Order (JAO) No. 2013-09-2001 to address the end-of-life disposal of lighting products and control the dispersion of toxic substances into the environment.

The JAO tasks the lighting industry to set up a systematic collection, transportation and disposal of all lamp wastes in the country. To attain this, a non-stock, nonprofit organization shall be established for the implementation of the lamp waste management plan, which shall be called the lamp waste management operator. In support of this venture, the DOE and DENR also enjoin the people to take necessary steps of segregating their used lamps from their usual household garbage items, and encouraging them to dispose their lamp wastes appropriately.

Thailand to tackle illegal waste

The Industrial Works Department of Thailand is planning to collect fees from waste treatment business operators to deal with illegal waste dumping. A regulation is being drawn up to facilitate the formation of the fund, which has become necessary due to rises in the illegal practice, particularly in areas close to residential communities.

Mr. Seri Atipatha, deputy department chief of the Industrial Works Department, admitted it was difficult for his department to deal with illegal industrial waste dumping because it was often found that the problem involved conspiracies between factory and land owners. The land owners willingly allowed industrial operators to dump waste on their land in exchange for money, he said. In some other cases, factories simply dumped their waste illegally in other places because they produced too much waste to properly treat it themselves.

KOICA helps develop waste recycle technology

The Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) and Hanoi University of Science and Technology, Viet Nam, have agreed on a project to research waste recycle technology. Under the 2013-2015 agreement signed in Hanoi on August 14, the Republic of Korea government will provide US$1.5 million in non-refundable aid to build a centre for developing recycling waste technology.

The e-waste recycle is considered an effective solution to deal with serious environmental issues caused by discarded electronic devices such as television sets, telephones and computers. The research of e-waste recycle will also help save natural resources for sustainable growth. The project will not only improve research and analysis methods but also transfer waste recycle technology with a focus on electronic waste (e-waste).

Asean nations to push greener technology

Efforts to push for a greener technology in the Brunei Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia-the Philippines East Asean Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) got a boost as environment as well as information and communications technology (ICT) leaders from member-countries agreed to establish an electronic waste (e-waste) facility within the sub-region.

This new commitment was forged through the BIMP-EAGA Environment Cluster, after the group’s participation in a seminar on e-waste management and green ICT and field visits to e-waste facilities in Beijing and Guangdong province in China recently. “The initial goal is to establish an e-waste facility for the EAGA region and China’s interest in providing us technical assistance will help pave the way for the implementation of this project,” said Ernie Tomas of the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) who participated in the seminar, organized by China’s Ministry of commerce. E-wastes or waste electrical and electronic equipment pose serious health and pollution problems due to their high content of metallic and combustible contaminants.

According to the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) around 50-80 percent of the e-waste collected from industrialized countries end up in India, Pakistan, Viet Nam, Africa, Philippines, and even China. Even in highly developed countries, the recycling and disposal of e-wastes is seen to involve significant risks to workers and communities, which requires utmost care to avoid hazardous exposure during recycling operations. “We tend to change electronic gadgets and appliances more frequently now and most of us are not aware that improper disposal of these wastes can cause hazardous impact to our environment,” Tomas explained.

He admitted that EAGA member-countries need a lot of catching up in terms of achieving a sustainably green ICT, but the establishment of an e-waste facility is a good start in trying to achieve this goal. “More than the exposure to China’s biggest e-waste facilities, what we really appreciated from the visit is the dedication of big nations like China to further develop green technology,” Tomas said.

In a statement, the ICT cluster announced that the anticipated collaboration with China has also opened up and expanded opportunities for economic and trade cooperation within the EAGA and Asian region as a whole. The trip to China was also participated by national focal persons for BIMP-EAGA which include Undersecretary Jim Sampulna of Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and Dir. Edgardo Celorico of National Telecommunications Commission (NTC). MinDA serves as the Philippine Coordinating Office for BIMP-EAGA.

Voluntary e-waste takeback scheme

On 5 Feb 2013, Toshiba launched the voluntary e-waste takeback scheme in Malaysia in conjunction with the Department of Environment (DOE) and Japan International Corporate Agency (JICA) final closing workshop on pilot Penang e-waste project. The objectives for this launch are part of Toshiba’s product stewardship to protect the environmental and to support Malaysia’s government call to develop effective mechanism to treat household EOL equipment.

This ceremony was attended by 250 participants from the government offices, NGOs and e-waste recyclers including staff from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment and Mr. Katayama, MD of Toshiba Sales and Services Sdn Bhd with Mr. Selvakumar, CEO of Shan Poornam Metals Sdn Bhd (Toshiba’s e-waste recycler partner). Toshiba is the first producer in Malaysia to start the voluntary program for both white goods and ICT products and Toshiba Corporation is introducing “Toshiba vountary e-waste takeback scheme” across 14 outlets in Johor Baru, Penang and the Klang Valley for a trial period of six months starting 5 Feb 2013 and ending in 30 July 2013.


Waste separation and sorting technology

At the PETpoint 2013 trade fair held in Munich, Germany from 16 to 20 September 2013, S+S Separation and Sorting Technology GmbH, Germany, presented an extensive product portfolio “Sorting systems for the recycling of used PET packaging, and inductive metal separators” that for example are used in the injection-moulding of PET preforms or caps. The trade fair highlight was the FLAKE PURIFIER system for the sorting of PET flakes.

The FLAKE PURIFIER features a compact modular design and high energy efficiency, because it for example does not require separate cooling. When the sorting tasks change, systems with only one sensor at any time can be upgraded to higher-performance systems. Altogether the sorting system is a cost-efficient solution that guarantees high-quality, food-grade recycling raw materials.

“Apart from the main focus of PET recycling we also present systems for quality assurance in PET production. It is the strong point of S+S that we can provide comprehensive and technically sophisticated inspection and separation solutions both for customers in the fields of plastics production and processing, as well as for plastics recyclers.” says Michael Perl, manager of the sorting business unit at S+S.

S+S Separation and Sorting Technology GmbH of Schonberg, Bavaria, manufactures machines and systems for the detection/separation of contaminants, for product inspection, and for the sorting of material flows. For making new bottles from used PET bottles, the recycled PET must be of food-grade quality. The S+S FLAKE PURIFIER separates contaminants — metals, particles of wrong color, and unwanted types of plastics — from PET flakes. Contact: S+S Separation and Sorting Technology GmbH, Brigitte Rothkopf, Regener Straße 130, D-94513 Schonberg, Germany. Tel: +49-855-430-8274; Fax: +49-855-426-06; E-mail:

Turning plastic bags into high-tech materials

Researchers from the University of Adelaide, Australia, have developed a process for turning waste plastic bags into a high-tech nanomaterial. The innovative nanotechnology uses non-biodegradable plastic grocery bags to make ‘carbon nanotube membranes’ — highly sophisticated and expensive materials with a variety of potential advanced applications including filtration, sensing, energy storage and a range of biomedical innovations. “Non-biodegradable plastic bags are a serious menace to natural ecosystems and present a problem in terms of disposal. Transforming these waste materials through “nanotechnological recycling” provides a potential solution for minimizing environmental pollution at the same time as producing high-added value products” says Professor Dusan Losic.

Carbon nanotubes are tiny cylinders of carbon atoms. They are the strongest and stiffest materials yet discovered. They are already used in a variety of industries including in electronics, sports equipment, long-lasting batteries, sensing devices and wind turbines. They used pieces of grocery plastic bags which were vaporized in a furnace to produce carbon layers that line the pores in the membrane to make the tiny cylinders. The huge potential market for carbon nanotubes hinges on industry’s ability to produce large quantities more cheaply and uniformly. “In our laboratory, we’ve developed a new and simplified method of fabrication with controllable dimensions and shapes, and using a waste product as the carbon source,” says Professor Losic. The process is also catalyst and solvent free, which means the plastic waste, can be used without generating poisonous compounds.

Recycling carbon fibers

Siemens and several partners are developing various procedures for recycling carbon fibers from composites. Current application areas for such composites include aircraft manufacturing. However, the materials are also increasingly being used in the automotive industry due to their high stability and because they have a lower density than aluminum. Siemens approach involves recovering the fibres in the same form they were used and without any loss of mass. This ensures they will retain their properties to the greatest extent possible. Siemens developed the associated process in the MAI Carbon research cluster, Germany. The goal of MAI recycling — the lead project in the cluster — is to establish a complete recycling process chain.

Carbon fibres are usually extracted from used components or production scrap by breaking down resins in a pyrolytic process at relatively high temperatures. In the solvolysis recycling procedure the resin component is heated under pressure at a temperature of 200 degrees Celsius and converted to low molecular-weight soluble alcohols with the help of water. No environmentally damaging solvents are used in the process, which also requires much less energy than would be required to manufacture new fibres. The woven fabric recovered from the work piece retains its shape and its fibres remain intact. As a result, it can be immediately further processed. Contact: Dr. Norbert Aschenbrenner, Editorial Office, Siemens AG, E-mail: norbert.

Rubber-to-oil process

Vadxx Energy, RES Polyflow, and Agilyx, in the United States, are in various stages of commercializing technologies that use a process called pyrolysis to heat mixed plastic and rubber in airtight containers to convert it into oil and byproducts. The full-scale plants that will prove or disprove the viability of the approach are coming online in the year 2013 and next. feedstock. Technologies that can turn rubber and plastic into oil promise to help recyclers deal with one of the most stubborn problems in recycling. Three companies are in various stages of commercializing technologies that use a process called pyrolysis to heat mixed plastic and rubber in airtight containers to convert it into oil and by-products.

Russell Cooper, vice president of business development for Cleveland-based Vadxx Energy, said sources of rubber and plastic waste have signed up to provide 3 times the 60 tons per day that will be processed by the plant they are preparing to construct. Commercially successful plastic-to-oil conversion would allow recyclers to stop land filling or exporting mountains of polymers that are too dirty, commingled or otherwise unsuitable for recycling.

“Our process is designed to take bottom of the barrel polymers,” said Jay Schabel. Schabel said they will be happy to take materials that recyclers can’t. “We take it dirty and commingled, with the peanut butter still in the peanut butter jar,” Schabel said. “And we’ll affordably turn it into transportation fuels.” Pyrolysis can take virtually any polymer, including all seven types of plastic resins, rubber including old tires and even carpeting. The output is similarly flexible, consisting largely of a partially refined crude oil that is very similar to diesel fuel.

Vadxx’s Cleveland plant is anticipated to cost between $12 million and $15 million and will turn 20,000 tons of waste into 100,000 barrels of synthetic oil annually. While pyrolysis can turn any polymer into oil and petrochemical byproducts, it works best with a subset. While it’s not perfect or without limits, pyrolysis is far better at handling mixed plastics than conventional recyclers. The viability of pyrolysis also depends on the highly variable price of oil, which is among the most volatile. Unlike many clean energy technologies that have suffered as government supports waned and oil supplies boomed, pyrolysis appears ready to help solve a pressing problem, and make money while doing so.

Recycling plastic with printed ink

Researchers at the University of Alicante (UA), Spain, have developed a procedure that removes printed ink on plastic films used in flexible packaging getting a product free from ink and suitable for recycling. Currently, in most production processes in which there is printed ink on plastic films, the material is rejected for not complying with the final specifications required or simply because they come from the initial settings for the commissioning of the machinery. Many of these residues are not recoverable printed plastic due to its high content in ink. The high content of ink significantly decreases the viscosity of the plastic and this is a problem at the time of reusing it through an extrusion process of the material.

“The most important advantages of removing ink are, on the one hand, increasing the value of engineered plastic, achieving to match the quality of the new plastic with a virgin one, and on the other hand, the selling price of recycled plastic compared to virgin plastic”, Andrés Fullana Font, a lecturer of the UA Department of Chemical Engineering and a member of the research group, explains.

Recycled plastic pins

A civil engineering researcher from University of Texas, Arlington, the United States, has won a $1 million state transportation department contract to install pins made from reclaimed and recycled plastic. Sahadat Hossain demonstrated the technique as a cost effective and efficient solution to failing soil slopes as part of the project during the last few years. Khosrow Behbehani says, “Their work is a reminder that universities like ours — and civil engineering researchers in particular — are dedicated to developing solutions for pressing, everyday concerns. Using recycled materials to achieve such solutions speaks volumes about the kind of engineering advances that will benefit Texas and our nation for years to come”.


Recycling electronics

Chinese researchers have developed a simple and environmentally friendly method to salvage the materials found in waste printed circuits boards (PCBs) using the solvent dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO). PCBs are found in virtually every electronic device and are multi-layered structures composed of around 30% metal and 70% non-metal polymers. Many contain brominated epoxy resins which are used as flame retardants. Since the layers are tightly bonded together, eco-friendly ways of recycling PCB materials has remained a challenge. Now, Ping Zhu and colleagues at Zhejiang Gongshang University, Hangzhou, have come up with a simple separation process which they say could recover valuable materials from waste PCBs while driving down recycling costs and avoiding environmental pollution caused by other methods.

First, the team manually remove the electronic components on waste PCBs and cut the remaining bare boards into fragments of approximately 1-1.5cm2 or 2-3cm2. Then, under a nitrogen atmosphere, the fragments are heated with DMSO. The DMSO swells the brominated epoxy resin, which separates the PCB layers. The solution is then filtered and separated, and the used DMSO is regenerated by evaporation under vacuum to leave the separated polymer resin and the circuit board components. ‘This is genuinely a breakthrough in waste PCB recycling processes,’ says Saeed Nusri, a chemical engineer at Ecyclex, an e-waste management company in the United Arab Emirates.

However, Nusri has concerns about scaling the process up. “The size of the PCB fragments seems to be an important factor in determining the mass transfer rate of DMSO to the brominated epoxy resins.” Nusri explains. “An increase of approximately 1cm2 drastically affected the diffusion rate of the solvent into the pieces. This, in my opinion, could be an issue on an industrial scale.”

Innovative battery metals recycling project

A patented fine grinding technology developed by International Innovative Technologies, the United Kingdom, is being used as part of an innovative new research project designed to extract and recycle metals from portable battery waste. The ReCharge project is being funded by the Technology Strategy Board and managed by technology innovation centre the Centre for Process Innovation (CPI).

With the UK Battery Waste Regulations now in force, the volume of battery waste required to be recycled is increasing. The UK has no processing facilities for portable battery waste, with all collected batteries currently being exported for recycling purposes. In addition, despite the growing number of retail and household recycling collection points, several thousand tonnes of harmful battery waste are still going into landfill.

Under CPI’s project management, the consortium of companies involved in the ReCharge research programme also includes G&P Batteries and Augean plc. The IIT m- series technology is already utilised in a number of glass and GRP recycling applications and is also suitable for the low energy milling of a wide range of natural raw materials, minerals and industrial products, including aluminium oxide, silicon carbide, zirconium, limestone products‚ coal‚ GRP, fly ash and different types of furnace slag.

Bicyclean helps recycle e-waste

In the United States, Harvard undergraduate Rachel Field, an engineering sciences concentrator’s efforts is Bicyclean, a pedal-powered grindstone that pulverizes entire circuit boards inside a polycarbonate enclosure, capturing the dust. Field’s project recently won the silver award at the Acer Foundation’s Incredible Green Contest in Taiwan (Province of China) and was displayed for three days at COMPUTEX Taipei, one of the world’s largest computer industry expositions.

The $35,000 prize will enable her to return to Ghana to test a second-generation prototype. A device that Ghanaians could actually assemble themselves might work well, she realized. Bicycle parts are ubiquitous and universal, portable, relatively inexpensive, and — of course — human powered.


Removal of pollutants

The Fraunhofer Institute for Interfacial Engineering and Biotechnology (IGB), Germany, and its European partners have developed several effective processes for eliminating persistent pollutants from wastewater. Some of these processes generate reactive species which can be used to purify even highly polluted landfill leachate while another can also remove selected pollutants which are present in very small quantities with polymer adsorbed particles. The IGB has added two new methods which generate reactive species, especially hydroxyl radicals, efficiently. Hydroxyl radicals oxidize pollutants into smaller, more degradable organic molecules or mineralize them completely to carbon dioxide.

Biological stages in wastewater treatment plants are not able to remove substances such as drugs, found in the wastewater of medical centers, or halogenated compounds and cyanides from industrial wastewater. This is why antibiotics and hormonally active substances such as bisphenol from plastics manufacturing have already accumulated in the environment and can be traced in ground water and even in some samples of drinking water. Such persistent pollutants require a special purifying treatment to remove them from wastewater.

Another new approach for purifying water involves the use of atmospheric pressure plasma. Plasma is an ionized gas containing not only ions and electrons but also chemical radicals and electronically excited particles as well as short wave radiation. In laboratory experiments, Fraunhofer researchers were able to decolour a methylene blue solution completely within a few minutes. Cyanide was also broken down effectively by 90 percent within only 2 minutes. Pollutants can also be removed effectively from wastewater with selective adsorbers. An adsorption stage is particularly effective when pollutants are strongly diluted, present in low concentrations or highly specific Fraunhofer researchers have been able to remove bisphenol A and penicillin G selectively from wastewater. The adsorber particles are chemically and thermically stable and can be used for a wide range of applications e.g. as a layer in a composite membrane or as a matrix on packing materials.

New innovative projects for wastewater treatment

At the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT), South - Africa, Chemical Engineering lecturers, Dr. Arthur Mpela, Dr. Seun Oyekola, Joy Alexander and Wighens N.ILunga have developed innovative technology that will improve the quality of wastewater that is being pumped out to sea by wastewater treatment plants. Project leader, Mpela says research conducted in South Africa has revealed that wastewater pumped out to sea does not comply with the standards set by the South African environmental laws.

Mpela says ammonia that is found in wastewater has a detrimental impact on aqua life as it consumes oxygen, needed by fish and plant species. Together with his research team, Mpela has over a period of two-years developed an advanced and cost effective process for the removal of persistent organic pollutants and ammonia from wastewater. The project is proving to be a huge success, with test showing that the wastewater subjected to the new process, meets the standards set by South African environmental laws. Mpela says they are now taking the project one-step further and exploring how this wastewater can be recycled and used in industry as well as for drinking water. The project has also been chosen as a case study for the Development Research Uptake in Sub-Saharan Africa (DRUSSA) programme.

NEERI develops wastewater treatment technology

Waste Water Treatment Technology Division (WWTTD) at the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI), India, has developed a technology to treat wastewater generated from chemical industries. This technology has proved to be extremely effective in removing organic pollutants. Nandesari Industries Association (NIA) near Baroda in Gujarat has already set up a treatment plant of 5 million litres per day (MLD) capacity with 26 reactors for a cluster of over 280 industries at cost of Rs18 crore based on this technology. NEERI director SR Wate said that the “electro oxidation technology” is being used in a common effluent treatment plant (CETP) for the first time in the country. “It is real achievement for NEERI which had been on the job for 5-6 years. The success of the pilot plant motivated the industries association to scale up the technology and set such a huge plant,” he said.

WWTTD senior principal scientist NN Rao, who headed the team which developed the technology, tells that since industrial wastewater is highly non-biodegradable it was a difficult task. “But I took it as a challenge and finally managed to develop such a big scale plant with support from NIA engineers,” he said. NIA did have CETP until the setting up of this plant, but the treatment was not enough as per standards. The area has mainly pesticides, textile dyes, nitro-compounds, chloro-organic compounds and pharmaceutical industries. The chemical oxygen demand (COD) levels of the CETP treated water should not exceed 250mg/lit but this figure was 33-38,000.

The treatment process involves three steps. The first two conventional steps, removal of suspended solids using lime-based settling process and filter press technology which removes very fine colloidal particles are followed by the NEERI technology which is based on the principle of electrochemistry. “Major advantages of this technology are its environmental compatibility, operations at room temperature, atmospheric pressure, amenability to automation. There are no solid residues. Also it is a complementary and complete treatment. It also enhances the bio-degradation process,” said Rao.

Researchers develop wastewater treatment system

In order to build a healthy environment and help meet item 7 of the MDGs by 2015, a lecturer in the Department of Civil Engineering, Covenant University (CU), Nigeria, Dr. David Olukanni and his team have come up with an optimized pilot- scale wastewater treatment system, a cost-effective waste management and treatment process for developing nations. In a chat with Vanguard Learning, Olukanni, a lecturer in the Department of Civil Engineering, Covenant University (CU), Ota, Ogun State who specialises in water resource and environmental engineering, says governments in developing nations must move from the level of policy, to implementation, noting that if Nigeria implements everything on paper till date, it will be a great nation.

People need to know what to do and how would they know? The public and private sectors have roles to play. The National Orientation Agency could come in with a five-minute jingle in the area of environmental sanitation to make people conscious of keeping their environment clean, then they will get used it. They can tell the people to sort their wastes, gather them in a place and they will come and pick them up at intervals and pay the people some money. After a while, when they have adjusted and gotten used to keeping their environment clean, you can then stop the payment part.

“The government could also provide bins which could be colour-coded like red for organic, blue for inorganic etc. so that even if there is need for sorting, it will be minimal.” He said they are also looking into recycling wastes. “If we have sorted all our waste from source, we will take the biodegradable materials to see how we can put them to something that will benefit the people. “We are looking into the area of biogas and biomass. Here, we have the CU farm so we can think of compost manure from our waste products so instead of going to buy more fertilizers, we can get compost from our own waste; which means the waste is being recycled and is being useful. Apart from waste stabilization pond that we tried to develop, other treatment systems that are available are aerated lagoon, trickling filter, oxidation pond and in CU, we have what we call water sanitary bed and that was where we took the waste water sample we used in our experiment. So by and large, we are trying to make sure that the environment is safe for all.

Environment friendly absorbent-based wastewater treatment

A new novel adsorbent for removing emerging contaminants from wastewater that is more effective, reusable and environmentally friendly, has been developed by researchers in Water and Environmental Technology (WET) Center at Temple University, the United States. The researchers used cyclodextrins, a family of compounds made up of bound glucose (sugar) molecules, to develop their adsorbent material, which could have a positive impact on the water treatment, pharmaceutical, chemical and manufacturing industries, said Rominder Suri, professor of civil and environmental engineering and director of the WET Center in Temple’s College of Engineering.

“Activated carbon is very porous and water — whether it be surface water, groundwater or wastewater — contains a lot of natural organic matter,” said Suri. “These are big molecules and when they hit the activated carbon, they block the pores which prevent the contaminant particles from getting inside.” Although cyclodextrins are soluble, meaning they dissolve easily in water, the new adsorbent has been made insoluble by the Temple researchers and can easily be attached as a thin coating to such surfaces as sand, glass, silica and filter paper.

“This new adsorbent material has much less surface area than activated carbon, especially if you coat it on sand,” he said. “But our results demonstrate that it has comparable, or even better, capacity than the activated carbon. And, it has the potential to be even more efficient by coating it on porous, high surface materials.” In addition to its effectiveness in removing contaminants, Suri said that the new material’s other benefit is that it can easily be regenerated and reused. A solvent such as methanol can be used to remove the contaminants or ozone can be used to destroy the trapped contaminants, both allowing the adsorbent material to be reused.

So far, the researchers have tested the new adsorbent material against contaminants such as steroid hormones, detergent compounds and bisphenol A in both lab water and discharged wastewater and found that it has removed more than 90 percent of the contaminants, said Suri. The research into cyclodextrins was funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the translational development of that research into an adsorbent is being supported through the NSF-funded Water Technology Innovation Ecosystem established at Temple’s WET Center in 2011.


New efficient organic wastewater treatment process

Sumitomo Heavy Industries, Ltd., in collaboration with the National Institute for Environmental Studies, Japan, successfully developed an organic wastewater treatment process at ambient temperatures that is based on methane fermentation. When this technology is put into practical implementation it will be the world’s very first case example. The wastewater discharged by domestic industries in Japan amounts to approximately 11.1 billion tons and most of it is comprised of organic effluent that includes a relatively low concentration of organic matter. The majority of such wastewater is currently treated using a method referred to as aerobic biotreatment (known also as the activated sludge method). The recently-developed technology can treat wastewater with low concentrations of organic matter and facilitates the treatment of methane fermentation in ambient temperatures. This not only extends the range in which the method can be applied but also enables a reduction in operating energy of about 75% in comparison with the conventional activated sludge organic wastewater treatment process.

According to the developers of the technology, treatment can be applied to low concentrations of organic matter in wastewater and also at ambient temperatures. Conventional methane fermentation treatment can only be applied to effluent containing organic matter at concentrations of 2 to 20 grams CODCr/L and only at temperatures between 35 and 37°C. The recently developed technology can be applied to effluent containing organic matter at concentrations of about 0.3 to 1 g CODCr/L and also at ambient temperatures (10 to 25°C). Most sewage corresponds to these conditions.

The activated sludge method, which is currently the mainstream treatment, requires a large amount of energy for aeration operations (supplying oxygen in water to activate microbes) and excess activated sludge treatment. Aeration is not required with the methane fermentation treatment and smaller amounts of excess activated sludge are produced, therefore the operating energy required for the new organic wastewater treatment process in an experiment was reduced by about 75%. Furthermore, it is also possible to dramatically reduce expenses for treating excess activated sludge.


Patent for bioremediation

CDM Smith, the United States, announced that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office have issued a patent for a unique bioremediation process that treats subsurface contaminants with gas. The creators are Patrick J. Evans, Ph.D., CDM Smith vice president, and fellow inventor Karl Hopfensperger. The patented process was developed with funding from the Department of Defense Environmental Security Technology Certification Program. U.S. Patent No. 8,550,750 B2 was awarded for the use of innovative gas mixtures that are injected into soil to degrade soil contaminants, such as perchlorate and nitrate, before they reach groundwater. The process provides more efficient penetration of deep and fine-grained soils than typically used water-based injection technologies, and it offers a less invasive alternative to excavation techniques.

With a high solubility in water, perchlorate — used to produce rocket fuel and present in some fertilizers — can travel long distances in groundwater and is expensive to treat in drinking water. Exposure to perchlorate is thought to have adverse health effects, specifically to the thyroid, which has led the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to regulation it under the Safe Drinking Water Act. This new patented method benefits public health by preventing groundwater contamination earlier at the source, resulting in faster cleanup and decreased costs.
Source: http://www.cenews.comm

Purifying bad water

In the United States,University of Minnesota researchers are on the cutting edge of a novel process that harnesses natural bacteria to purify water contaminated by hydrofracking — the process of pumping water underground to open up ancient stores of natural gas and oil. The process under development at the U of M’s Biotechnology Institute would enable industry to reuse the water and return it to the environment free of contaminants. This is especially important as we face increasing water shortages and in oil-rich but arid zones where water is difficult to obtain.

“The idea,” says university mechanical engineer Alptekin Aksan, Ph.D., “is to borrow the water, use it in the industrial process, clean it and return it in the state you found it.” Moreover, degrading the 1,500 types of contaminants that occur in hydrofracking water requires a combination of different types of bacteria. The complexity that occurs as contaminants interact with each other and the bacteria presents many bioengineering problems. The silica sponge or matrix can act as a sort of filter through which polluted water is passed. The bacteria are trapped within spaces in the sponge that are just large enough for the cells to move around without escaping. They break down the contaminants into safe byproducts.

Bioremediation using apple peels

A research team from the National University of Singapore (NUS) has developed an innovative way to purify water, based on apple peels. As an inexpensive, low-energy bioremediation system the apple peel approach could be useful in remote communities where electricity and money are both in short supply. The research actually started out with tomatoes before moving on to apples, so who knows what other fruit might be waiting in the wings to do battle against water pollution.

As for why tomato peels, according to the NUS team tomatoes are the world’s second most-consumed vegetable. Copious amounts of skin, seeds and other fibers are available as leftover waste when tomatoes are canned or processed into other food products, which makes it a widely available and relatively cheap material to work with.

Loosely speaking, absorbent refers to a physical process in which a relatively bulky material captures liquid in chambers throughout its interior, the classic example being a sponge. Adsorbent describes a similar phenomenon, but on a nanoscale that focuses on chemical interactions on the surface of the material. Think activated carbon filters and you’re on the right track. The new study found that the supercharged peels efficiently removed phosphate, arsenate, arsenite and chromate ions.

A banana bioremediation project in Brazil shows promise as an inexpensive, chemical-free way to remove metals from wastewater, as do coconut fibers and peanut shells. Another food based bioremediation approach is illustrated by research into the effectiveness of vitamin B-12 and the milk derivative potassium lactate for removing volatile organic compounds from soil, the theory being that they rev up the natural process of bacterial bioremediation. And then there’s plant-based bioremediation, in which fast-growing vegetation like cattails and poplar trees are used to suck pollutants out of soil and marshy areas.
Aside from removing metals and other toxic substances from water, bioremediation is also becoming increasingly common in human wastewater treatment, in the form of managed wetlands. All this is by way of finding low-energy, chemical-free ways to deal with industrial and human waste.

Bioremediation of kerosene and diesel fuel

Environmental Biotechnologies, Inc. (EBT), the United States, in a project sponsored by the Ford Motor Land Development Company, conducted a bench-scale land farming bioremediation study on a diesel and kerosene contaminated soil. Diesel and kerosene concentrations were monitored as total petroleum hydrocarbons to determine the rate of degradation. Soil treatments consisted of the following: 1) a sterile control, 2) an unamended ‘as is’ soil, 3) supplemented with fertilizers to provide a carbon: nitrogen: phosphorous ratio of 35:10:1, and 4) supplemented with fertilizers to provide a carbon: nitrogen: phosphorous ratio of 100:10:1. Microbial enumerations were performed during the study to quantify the effect of the nutrients on the microbial population. Results on the diesel contaminated soil showed that the diesel concentration in the nutrient amended soil (100:10:1) was reduced from 1300 ppm to approximately 400 ppm in 42 days. Initially both of the nutrient amended soils had degradation rates of approximately 106 mg/ kg/day. The addition of nutrients to the soils also increased the microbial population.

Results for the biodegradation of kerosene showed that the nutrient amended soil (100:10:1) was reduced from 425 ppm to approximately 50 ppm in 42 days. Initially the kerosene degradation rates were above 200 mg/kg/day for the nutrient amended soils. There was not a significant difference in the microbial population between the unamended and the nutrient amended soils.

Bioremediation of coal seam gas

In a bid to gain healthier public recognition a recent recommendation from the Federal Standing Council on Energy and Resources has changed the usage of the term CSG (coal seam gas) to “natural gas from coal seams”. Opposition to CSG mining has been prevalent in the last few years but in reality Queenslands coal seam gas sector has been in existence and development for more than 15 years, and according to Mining Australia has seen “60 billion in investment injected into new Queensland projects and created about 10,000 jobs in the past year.” Whilst concerns centre around environmental concerns there has yet to be implemented a viable, sustainable treatment system for remediating coal seam gas water.

Wetlands using PolyGenomX (PGX) advanced plant technology, coupled with ecologically-balanced engineering design, can process the full flow of CSG water:
• Leaving no salt;
• Generating power (from plant biomass);
• Leaving no brine;
• Earning carbon credits;
• Yielding valuable cleansed water for agricultural use; and
• Restoring habitat to leave land better than it was before mining.

1000ha of wetland densely planted with specially-adapted, fast-growing reeds can process the full CSG water discharge of the four major gas producers. The reeds, yielding 125,000 MT of dry biomass annually with an energy density 15% higher than brown coal, can generate 637,500 MW hours of electricity annually worth $61M, or $1.8bn in power over a 30 year span. This contrasts starkly with the $1.1bn consumption of present CSG water treatment methods and offers a net gain of $2.9bn over the project lifetime.

Wetland pass- through water (either partly or completely desalinated via the reed bed) is used to feed plantations of fast-growth salt-adapted trees for timber, biofuel or carbon capture as required. As these plantations mature they surpass the wetland’s capacity to process raw CSG water, forming the powerful second stage of a highly flexible water treatment system regulated by and responsive to water flow.

Yeasts for bioremediation

A research team led by Maria Rosa Giraudo de van Brook, principal investigator of CONICET at the Center for Biodiversity and Environment Research (INIBIOMA, CONICET-UNCo), Argentina, found a type of native yeast from the Patagonian Forest capable of accumulating metal in highly acidified environments.

During the investigation, the team isolated 32 native yeasts. They were grouped into 9 categories, according to their degree of adaptation and tolerance to six metals — cadmium, cobalt, copper, lithium, nickel, zinc-. Furthermore, their capacity to accumulate those metals was measured, ex-plains Diego Libkind, associate investigator of CONICET. The results indicate a clear reduction in metal concentration, which is encouraging because, up to then, acidified environments were not recommended for bioremediation processes.

“Since metals do not precipitate in the acid environments, the reduction in metal’s concentrations could be attributed to the capture by yeasts’ biomass. A strain of the species Cryptococcus agrionensis, described by the group, was able to capture 15.8 mg of zinc per gram of biomass. Cryptococcus sp. 2 retained 36,25 mg of nickel and 62, 28 mg of zinc per gram, while Lecythophora sp. was able to remove 67, 11 mg of zinc per gram of yeast”, microbiologist Gabriel Russo, member of the project, enumerates.

“These yeasts could be used in treatments for effluents polluted with metals like copper, nickel and zinc, which also have cumulative effect in the environment as they enter the trophic chain and some animals store it”, Gabriel Russo explains. Besides, he adds that “traditional chemical methods are only effective for high concentrations of metals but not for low concentrations. In this way, the use of these yeasts could be a complement to improve the available treatment”.

New bioremediation product

In Wales, the United Kingdom, Cardiff-based Telluric Land Remediation has launched a new bioremediation product designed specifically for use with soil and groundwater contaminated with chlorinated solvents and certain other contaminants including pesticides, nitro aromatics and oxi-dized heavy metals. DCL Biosolv is based on emulsified vegetable oil technology, and contains other unique key ingredients. DCL Biosolv was developed through an extensive R&D process supported by Welsh Government funding in response to the need for a sustainable, biological remediation solution for sites contaminated with chlorinated solvents.

Uranium bioremediation

A team of scientists from the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the United States, has investigated ef-fectiveness of several electron donors for uranium bioremediation in a study funded by the Department of Energy’s Environmental Remediation Sciences Program. Madden et al. report that the particular electron donor chosen affects not only the rate of uranium removal from solution, but also the extent of U6+ conversion to U4+. Results of the study were published in the January-February issue of the Journal of Environmental Quality.

The uranium is transported through ground water as uranyl (U6+). In one bioremediation strategy, uranium immobilization in contaminated ground water and sediment may be achieved by the addition of organic molecules known as electron donors to stimulate microbial activity. The microbial community utilizes the electron donors as ‘food’, consuming all of the available oxygen during aerobic respiration. Once the ground water becomes anaerobic, U6+ may be converted to U4+ as UO2, a solid mineral, sequestering the uranium within the sediment. Researchers have been investigating the effectiveness of various electron donors, but have been frustrated by residual U6+ which is not converted to insoluble U4+.

Microcosm experiments containing uranium-contaminated sediment and ground water demonstrated equivalent rapid uranium reduction when amended with ethanol or glucose. In contrast, reduction was delayed by several days when microcosms were amended with methanol. Spectroscopic analy-ses of uranium oxidation state in stimulated microcosm sediment slurries demonstrated almost complete uranium reduction when methanol was the donor, as compared with less than half reduced using ethanol or glucose. However, addition of methanol did not always result in uranium reduction. These results suggest that the use of donors such as methanol which are not as readily and rapidly coupled to microbial metal reduction may lead to increased stability of the subsurface towards uranium immobilization.

Research is ongoing at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory to investigate the effectiveness of vari-ous electron donors for long-term uranium immobilization. Further research is needed to understand the coupling between the microbial community and the biogeochemical processes that occur to immobilize the uranium.


New catalyser to avoid pollution

Researchers from the University of Alicante (UA), Spain, and the University of the Basque Country (UPV), Spain, have developed and patented a new catalyst that efficiently removes volatile organic compounds (VOCs), chlorinated in gas streams, pollutants involved in the destruction of the ozone layer and acts as greenhouse gases, in addition to having toxic effects in humans.

This innovative technology, developed by the Research Groups in Carbon Materials and Environment (UA) and in Chemical Technologies for Environmental Sustainability (UPV), efficiently eliminates the chemical compound 1, 2-dichloroethane (DCA), commonly known by its former name ethylene dichloride, often used in the industry and extremely harmful to the human health and the environment.

In this regard, researchers have designed a catalyst based on mixed oxides of cerium and praseodymium, highly efficient in the combustion of chlorinated volatile organic compounds, especially toxic 1, 2-dichloroethane, which has high stability and durability in the reaction conditions.

Methods for NOx emission reduction

Fortum and VTT in Finland have developed methods for primary NOx reduction in bubbling fluidized bed (BFB) combustion with simultaneous control of CO burnout as well as bed and furnace exit gas temperatures to minimize slagging, fouling and corrosion issues both in lower and upper part of the furnace. Computational fluid dynamics was used as a tool to systemically study features of proper air system design in such a NOx reduction strategy. In this context the CFD code Fluent and VTT’s specific sub-models for BFB furnaces were applied to simulate combustion and NOx in a BFB boiler with a capacity of 175 MW fuel.

The CFD results show that if special attention has to be paid to temperature control and slagging issues in the near bed region, it’s beneficial to choose secondary air elevation differently from the case with the main focus on NOx reduction. Minimum NOx emission is achieved by optimizing secondary air elevation and lower furnace air distribution. The latter is dependent on fuel properties and it can be adjusted with an additional air feed into the near bed zone.

Gas turbine clean combustion technology

The New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (“NEDO”), Japan and Hitachi, Ltd. (“Hitachi”) has announced the development of a new combustion technology reducing NOx emission to less than 10 ppm without the addition of diluents (dry single digit NOx), using gas turbine combustors, being developed under the project for next-generation coal-fired thermal power generation using CCS- IGCC at the EAGLE pilot plant.

Convective syngas cooling – integrated gasification combined cycle (CCS-IGCC) is next-generation coalfired thermal power technology which is expected to drastically reduce CO2 emission. One issue, however, was in order to counteract the large amount of NOx produced when the coal-derived syngas was combusted, a diluents was used to suppress NOx but this also reduced the efficiency of power generation.

Through tests at a Hitachi facility using a test fuel simulating coal-derived syngas, followed by this test at the EAGLE pilot plant using an actual gas turbine and syngas, it was confirmed that the technology sup-pressed NOx emissions below environmental regulation levels. These results are the first supporting the possibility for achieving highly efficient power generation in practical operation as well as suppressing NOx below emission standards. The next development will be to achieve the practical application of zero emis-sion coal-fired thermal power generation, especially the optimization of gas turbine running methods.

New pollution control technology

A new pollution control technology developed in Asia for coal-fired power plants will soon be tested in Wis-consin, USA. The process, which uses no water, is designed to significantly reduce pollution that typically spews from the smokestacks of such utility plants.

The three-year project, expected to cost $375 million, employs what’s billed as a break-through system that uses regenerative activated coke technology, or ReACT. ReACT was first used at two power plants in Japan and has been shown to significantly reduce sulfur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxides (NOx), mercury (Hg) and other emissions. ReACT is a dry scrubbing system and involves three stages:

• Absorption;
• Regeneration; and
• By-Product Recovery.

The technology is owned by -Japan’s J-Power, and has been licensed for use by Hamon, -explained Hamon-Research Cottrell President Bhushan Ranade. The Wisconsin project will be the first full-scale in- stallation of ReACT in North America. Ranade said that “a lot of other states” are interested in the ReACT system, and Hamon-Research Cottrell has had meetings with other utility companies who are deciding if ReACT is right for them. Van Campenhout said WPS is “happy to be a guinea pig” for the system, and that ReACT could solve many problems for power plants like Weston.

Carbon dioxide and sulfur dioxide capture

A key step in emissions control for coal-fired power generation is being taken at Aberthaw power station, the United Kingdom. The operator, RWE Generation SE, has partnered with Shell Cansolv to develop a 3-MW pilot plant for carbon dioxide (CO2) and sulphur dioxide (SO2) capture at the power station. The pilot plant, which started operation in January 2013, is the world’s first integrated CO2/SO2 capture facility.

Coal is the world’s cheapest and most abundant fossil fuel, but burning it releases CO2 and SO2 into the atmosphere. This has prompted calls for a radical reduction or even the abandonment of coal for applica-tions such as power generation. However, the power-generation industry can now apply effective capture techniques to cut emission levels substantially at coal-fired power plants. The initial feedback on the per-formance of the combined capture system at Aberthaw has been good. The units are performing as ex- pected and a CO2 removal rate of 90% has been achieved, along with well over 99% removal of SO2. The pilot plant will also be run at various levels of CO2 capture to help optimize the combined capture process with a view to applying it in larger units.

New method for CO2 removal

A consortium led by Finish VTT Technical Research Centre has developed a new technology to capture carbon dioxide emissions from coal-fired power plants’ flue gases. The method relies on so called circulat-ing fluidized bed combustion technology — a method widely used in power plants where parts of solid fuels, like coal, are held in the air by upward-blowing jets, creating a bubbling mixture that enables more efficient burning.

According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), carbon dioxide capture is essential if the emission reduction targets set for greenhouse gases are to be met. The intergovernmental climate change panel IPPC said carbon dioxide emissions should be reduced by 50 to 85 per cent by 2050, if humankind wants to reduce the effects of the climate change.

Nanomaterial accelerate CO2 removal

Australian scientists from the University of Adelaide have developed tiny filters that could cut carbon diox-ide (CO2) emissions from coal fired power stations. The nanomaterial, described as having a “met-al-organic framework”, separates CO2 from nitrogen, a major waste gas released by burning coal. “It is like a sponge but at a nanoscale. The material has small pores that gas molecules can fit into — a CO2 mole-cule fits but a nitrogen molecule is slightly too big. That’s how we separate them,” said project leader Chris Sumby.

“Removing CO2 from the flue gas mixture is the focus of a lot of research. Most of Australia’s energy gen-eration still comes from coal. Changing to cleaner energies is not that straightforward but, if we can clean up the emissions, we’ve got a great stop-gap technology.” “Biggest initial cost reductions come from the economies of scale that will come from infrastructure and being able to move to a bigger size of project, and this risk reduction which feeds through to cost of capital for projects,” said Chris Littlecott from energy analysts E3G.

Modular membrane-based CO2 removal

In the United States, a National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) supported project has tested a membrane CO2 separation system. Membrane Technology and Research Inc. (MTR) tested a CO2 separa-tion and capture system designed and developed using its MTR Polaris membrane on a coal gasification slipstream run at the U.S. National Carbon Capture Center. MTR operated the membrane demonstration system continuously during a run that ended April 21, 2013, processing 500 pounds of syngas per hour. The system successfully produced liquid CO2 at 30 bar continuously for about 500 hours. The captured CO2 stream contained 98% CO2, the balance being light gases such as nitrogen, carbon monoxide, and hydrogen.


Recycling and Reuse of Materials and Their Products

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Fundamentals of Wastewater Treatment and Engineering

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