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VATIS Update Waste Management . Jul-Sep 2014

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Waste Management Jul-Sep 2014

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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Contents

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IN THE NEWS

India to help financially for e-waste management

To facilitate e-waste management in the country, the government of India has implemented a scheme under which financial assistance will be provided for awareness and capacity building activities relating to e-waste management. “Under the ‘Creation of Management Structure for Hazardous Substances’ scheme, government has also set up an integrated recycling facility for e-waste. In addition, guidelines for implementation of e-waste rules 2011 have been also formulated,” said Prakash Javadekar, Environment Minister. Monitoring of compliance of authorisation and registration conditions fall under the purview of state pollution control boards, but no large scale violation of the e-waste management and handling rules by industrial units and public enterprises has been reported to the Ministry.

The Minister said toxic constituents such as lead, mercury, hexavalent chromium, polybrominated biphenyls and polybrominated diphenyl ethers are used in the manufacturing of electronic devices. “Disposal of e-waste from such electronic devices, without processing it in an environmentally sound manner may affect the human health and environment including soil and ground water. As per the survey carried out by the Central Pollution Control Board during 2005, 1,46,800 MT of e-waste was generated in the country,” said Javadekar.
Source: http://www.business-standard.com

Strict rules for electronic waste in Thailand

The Department of Industrial Works (DoIW), Thailand, has planned to place household electrical and electronic devices under the Dangerous Materials Act. The move is designed to tackle illegal scavenging of electronic waste, after reports from many areas of health and environmental threats from such activity.

“Many communities, especially in the Northeast, are improperly separating and disposing of electrical appliances and electronic gadgets. These items are, in many cases, sold to junk traders or scavengers who then stripped the devices for valuable parts such as metal and copper. They then deposited the remains of the devices in community dumpsites, where the garbage was burned, resulting in pollution and health threats to surrounding communities,” said Nattapol Nattasomboon chief of the department.

In the past, there was no law to control activities of householders who made a living by separating and disposing of this type of garbage, Nattapol said. So he had proposed to the Hazardous Substances Control Committee that it consider including such devices owned by households in the Dangerous Materials Act’s third category. This would require people handling the disposal of electrical gadgets and electronic waste to obtain permission and be properly registered. They could then carry out such activities safely, minimising the impact on health and the environment. The Dangerous Materials Act normally enforces activities of factories that manufacture or dispose of electronic waste. If this addition to the regulations were approved, it could prevent the illegal or improper disposal of this type of garbage.

According to DoIW, 20.88 million electrical and electronic devices were disposed in 2013. Earlier, it was reported that 67% of residents of tambon Khok Sa-ard in Kalasin’s Khong Chai sub-district, who for the past two decades have been disassembling old electronic devices and selling the recyclable parts for money, had developed health problems from exposure to and substandard disposal of such waste.

Random blood tests last year found that 21 of the 129 small children tested had a worrying level of lead concentration in their blood, while three of 89 adults tested showed the same problem.
Source: http://www.news.asiaone.com

Gold extracted from e-waste in China

According to a report, at least 5% of gold has been extracted from electronic waste in China because of the booming underground e-trash industry. It is not an exaggeration, as research found the amount of gold extracted from a ton of circuit boards is 40 to 800 times more than from gold ore. As per the estimate, a ton of circuit boards can produce 300g of gold, 5g of platinum, 30g of palladium, 2kg of silver, 25kg of tin and 120kg of copper.

The extracted materials are sent to Guiyu, considered as the world’s e-waste capital, in South China’s Guangdong province. Large amounts of gold is extracted and flow into the country’s market from the town every day, sometimes enough to affect the world’s gold prices. “At least one million tons of e-trash are recycled annually there. No less than 15 tons of gold are produced every year, accounting for 1/20 of the country’s total gold output,” said Zhang Chufeng, Party committee secretary of Guiyu.

In 2006, the Beijing Academy of Social Science estimated that 300,000 people in the capital city were involved in the underground e-waste industry. The United Nations Environment Program said that China produces 2.3 million tons of e-waste each year, the world’s second biggest producer of this kind of trash, after the United States. By 2020, about half of the world’s e-trash will come from China.
Source: http://www.english.sina.com

A program on e-waste management in Sri Lanka

The Central Environmental Authority, Sri Lanka, launched a program on Plastic and e-Waste Management program countrywide in the month of July. “The program is carried out with the assistance of the provincial councils,” said Dr. Saranga Alahapperuma. Director General of the Authority.

Special attention was focused to minimize the use of non-biodegradable and non-recyclable polythene bags and the lunch sheets. Under the law it is prohibited to use polythene under 20 and less micron thickness. Sri Lanka imports more than half a million metric tons of plastic to the country annually. The Authority started the campaign to raise the awareness of the traders and the consumers on promoting eco-friendly products and reuse of polythene products. The Authority has taken steps to establish plastic and polythene recycling plants with compactors and crushers in different parts of the country.

“Another program has been implemented with the support of the private sector to collect e-waste. For now, nineteen private companies are working with the CEA to collect the e waste. A certain part of the e waste collected in Sri Lanka is exported. Sri Lanka generates 65 metric tonnes of electronic waste annually,” said Dr. Alahapperuma.
Source: http://www.slbc.lk

China’s recycling industry valued at $100 billion

According to a study by BCC Research, the United States, about $103 billion in recycling-related economic activity occurred in China in 2013, down slightly from $107.5 billion in 2012. In the report, ‘Recycling Markets in China’, the research firm has forecasted that China’s recycling market will grow to nearly $156 billion by 2018, and register a five-year compound annual growth rate of 8.7% from 2013 to 2018. Recycling sectors studied in the report includes ferrous and nonferrous metals, plastic, paper, electronic scrap, end-of-life vehicles, scrap tires and ship dismantling.

The report said, the Chinese government has put the recycling industry high on its development agenda for the next decade and increasing environmental concerns and governmental regulation will significantly grow in this market over the near term. ‘Recycling Markets in China’ provides an analysis of the Chinese recycling market and evaluates information on the challenges the industry faces that must be addressed as well as information concerning opportunities that can be leveraged. It offers comprehensive profiles of major players in the industry.
Source: http://www.recyclingtoday.com

Viet Nam strives to eliminate persistent organic pollutants

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, Viet Nam, has planned to stop using all types of machinery and equipment containing poluchlorinated biphenyl (PCB), one of the persistent organic pollutants (POPs), by 2020 and safely dispose the substance by 2028. The target has been set under a national plan aiming to realise the contents of the Stockholm Convention – a global treaty to protect human and the environment from the threats of POPs, to which Viet Nam herself is one of the first 14 signatory parties. Supporting the country’s endeavours, the Ministry in 2009 approved a PCB management project funded by the Global Environment Fund (GEF) via the World Bank.

Being carried out nationwide between 2010 and 2014 with the GEF’s non-refundable aid of 7 million USD and the Vietnamese Government’s corresponding capital of 10 million USD, the project aims to complete a legal framework and raise public knowledge of the toxic chemicals to mitigate their risks at the lowest level. Through the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the GEF has continued aiding a project to update Viet Nam’s implementation plan for the Convention between 2014 and 2015, with a view to realising the country’s obligations to the agreement.

Viet Nam has signed the Stockholm Convention in 2002, which targets the management and elimination of 23 dangerous groups of chemicals. Viet Nam did not produce PCB, but imports electrical equipment using PCB in the past. From 1960 and 1990, the country purchased at least 27,000 tonnes of oil containing the substance. However, being aware of the danger and toxicity of this chemical, Viet Nam has been doing working towards to realise the aforesaid resolution. Globally, many countries have stopped producing PCB. However, a mere 4% of the substance has been decomposed, while 31% remains existent in the mainland and coast areas.
Source: http://www.english.vietnamnet.vn

Dioxin removal project in Viet Nam

The project management authorities of the Danang Airport, Viet Nam, have revealed that the first phase of a project to treat dioxin contamination was commenced in April. During the first phase, the project incinerated 45,000m 3 of contaminated soil and sediment. For this work, an In-Pile Thermal Desorption (IPTD) system was installed, along with 1,254 heat transfer machines and other remediation structures.

The excavation of soil for treatment in the second phase will also take place this year. According to the Air Defence-Air Force Service under the Ministry of Defence, Viet Nam, the project is on the right track and completion is expected by 2016.
Source: http://www.chinadaily.com.cn

China’s soil is fertile ground for Japanese detoxification

China is getting serious about cleaning up toxic grounds, and Japanese companies, many of which are world leaders in soil remediation, see opportunity. Business is also picking up in Japan, along with buying and selling of land, which increases demand for technologies that sample and purify contaminated soil. Enbio Holdings, a Japanese company has set up a joint venture with a Chinese government-affiliated geological surveyor. The company won a tender to clean up the site of a disused chemical plant in the city. It is now fielding inquiries from other local governments. Enbio has caught the eye of Chinese municipalities attracted to its proprietary technology, which is able to cleanse soil without moving it.

Unlike conventional methods that dig up contaminated soil and replace it, Enbio injects an agent into the soil that breaks down pollutants, eliminating the risk of further contamination if the previously toxic soil is dumped elsewhere. It also does away with the cost and difficulty of removal and disposal of polluted soil. Enbio is particularly good at getting rid of the benzene contaminants in crude oil, and tetrachloroethylene, a dry cleaning chemical. Its technology uses hydrogen peroxide and ferric ions, which act as a catalyst. These are injected into the contaminated soil, causing an oxidation reaction that breaks the toxic substances down into water and carbon dioxide.

Although China’s central government has been slow to draft laws on soil pollution, local authorities are taking the initiative. In Nanjing, for instance, developers who build houses on former industrial sites are required to clean the land in accordance with the city’s own environmental regulations. According to Ministry of the Environment, Japan, from an estimate China’s soil remediation market will grow to 1.9 trillion yen ($18.5 billion) by 2020 and to 4.1 trillion yen by 2030, far surpassing the U.S. market, worth 700 billion yen to 800 billion yen. That potential market is likely to prove irresistible to Japanese companies in the near future.
Source: http://www.english.vietnamnet.vn

PLASTIC WASTES

A breakthrough in recycling textile technology

Researchers at Institute for Frontier Materials (IFM), Deakin University, Australia, have found a way to separate blends of cotton-polyester material using an ionic liquid (a salt in a liquid state), providing a major breakthrough for recycling textile and other waste. Each year, masses of material from unwanted clothing and other sources are deposited in landfill. According to the US Council for Textile Recycling, the United States generates more than 11 billion kilograms of textile waste each year with only 15% recycled and an estimated more than 9 billion kilograms being sent to landfill. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that textile waste occupies 5% of landfill mass. In Australia, the Technical Textiles & Nonwoven Association (TTNA) estimates that a massive 1 trillion tons of fibrous waste, generated from the textile, clothing and footwear processing industries is buried in landfills each year.

A significant hurdle to recycling waste clothing and other textiles back into their original fibres is that most of this material is composed of blended fibres – the most common being polyester/cotton blends. Unlike harsh solvents which have previously been used to dissolve polyester, ionic liquids provide an environmentally friendly solvent to chemically separate polyester/cotton blends. Another benefit of using ionic liquids, is the ease with which the polyester and cotton can be separated. The ionic liquid selectively dissolves the cotton component, with the added advantage that the liquid can then be recycled and reused. This cotton can then be regenerated into various forms, such as spun into fibres or cast as cellulose films, like cellophane. The recovered polyester can also be recycled by melting and reshaping it into other forms, such as plastic bottles or fibres.

Regenerated cellulose fibres such as viscose, rayon and lyocell have a considerable market share and are growing in popularity. Regenerated cotton is also increasingly being used as a low-cost precursor in the carbon fibre industry and as the starting material for bioethanol production. According to the researchers, the new process is not limited to textile recycling, but can also be applied to recycling any type of biocomposite material, including those used in the automotive industry. The process described has been recently published in the journal RSC Advances.
Source: http://www.deakin.edu.au

Plastic waste disposal

Agilyx Corp., the United States, has announced to transition a Portland, Oregon, waste plastics-to-oil facility to the latest Agilyx Generation 6 technology. The facility, which opened in early 2013 as a Waste Management-owned operation, has been using the Agilyx Generation 5 batch system. Agilyx is nearing completion of its new continuous feed technology in its Tigard, Oregon, R&D Center. The North Portland facility, known as Wastech, is expected to be the first commercial deployment of the new Generation 6 technology.

“We are delighted to have the opportunity to launch our new technology in Portland and look forward to continued cooperation with Waste Management, who has been a supportive partner during our development stage. The new facility has the capability of becoming a great solution for waste plastics as the region moves forward with zero waste initiatives,” said Ross M. Patten, Agilyx Chairman and CEO. Agilyx said the transition process is expected to be completed in fourth quarter 2015, with the facility designed to handle 50 tons of waste plastic per day with a production target of 10,000 gallons of crude oil daily.

The upgraded facility is expected to create 30 jobs, the company adds. In addition, this will mark the first Agilyx owned and operated facility that will be open to commercial plastic generators and aggregators. Founded in 2006, Agilix says it uses a patented, scalable and versatile technology that minimizes carbon impacts. Agilyx claims to enhance recovery and zero-waste initiatives by turning waste plastic disposal costs into high-quality oil revenue streams. The company’s systems are deployed with industrial and municipal waste plastic generators and aggregators looking to extract the often-unused and untapped energy contained within waste plastic. Contact: Agilyx Corp., 9600 SW Nimbus Ave, Suite 260, Beaverton, OR 97008. USA. Tel: +1503-217-3160; Fax: +1-503-217-3161; E-mail: info@agilyx.com.
Source: http://www.recyclingtoday.com

Researchers discover recyclable plastic

Researchers at University of Colorado (UC), the United States, have discovered a new kind of plastic that can be reshaped or recycled either by heating or soaking in water. The research was led by Wei Zhang, assistant professor of chemistry and biochemistry along with Philip Taynton. The findings have been published in the journal Advanced Materials. Zhang’s research group collaborated with a team led by Professor H. Jerry Qi, who recently moved to the Georgia Institute of Technology. Their work was funded by the National Science Foundation. The new material is a type of plastic called “malleable polymers.” Also known as “covalent adaptive networks,” these materials’ properties stem from reversible chemistry, which allows chemical bonds between the atoms in the polymer structure to trade places at elevated temperature. Zhang’s material is unique in that the chemical reaction is also catalyzed by water.

“This means that our material can be recycled at room temperature using only water and pressure. After being ground to a fine powder, the material is pressed while wet to reform a coherent solid,” Zhang said. In theory, based on the group’s observations, a piece of plastic equipment made from this type of malleable polymer could be remoulded with water or a hair dryer to another form or, if cracked, repaired. “Because it can be processed at such low temperature, it can be moulded directly onto your body without burning you, but it’s actually stronger than the materials they currently use for prosthetics and orthopaedics. So this could really change the way things are done in that industry,” Taynton said. For decades, researchers have known that some plastics could be malleable. But at that time, the goal was to create hard plastics that would not lose their shape. Malleable plastics were said to have had “creep,” and it was not looked favorably upon. But under our noses all this time was the ability to reuse and recycle (hard plastics), but it’s just not the direction industry went at that time. “It sounds like it’s straightforward, but it works really well. And that’s why industry will also show interest in that kind of technology, because they have an interest in something not exotic, not fancy, but scalable, reliable,” Zhang said.
Source: http://www.artsandsciences.colorado.edu

New machine that doubles plastics production

Preston Plastics, the United Kingdom, has unveiled a new machine that will allow it to more than double production at its reprocessing facility near Garstang. Preston has installed a new Intarema plastic recycling and extrusion machine, becoming the first company in the UK to have the state-of-the-art technology. The machine, built by Austrian firm Erema, is also the biggest of its kind in the world. The £1.3m piece of kit is part of a total £2m investment in plant and machinery at the firm’s premises at Out Rawcliffe. It will allow Preston Plastics to recycle previously hard-to-process materials, such as heavily printed packaging waste, as well as improving quality, efficiency and overall consistency. The investment also includes a new industrial shredder, two fountain blenders and special IsoCool chillers that recirculate and cool the water used in the recycling process.

“This new machine gives us nearly three times the capacity we had previously. It means we can continue to meet the increased demand we are seeing from the plastics industry, both in terms of volume and the types of plastic being recycled, diverting thousands of tonnes of waste from landfill and incineration. Constantly investing in new technology ensures we remain at the cutting edge of the plastics recycling industry. These are exciting times for the business as we plan for the future,” said Edgar Wallace, managing director of Preston Plastics. Using the latest technology, the waste is converted into quality reprocessed plastic compound which is sold back to the plastics industry to be used in the manufacture of products such as plastic storage boxes, paint trays, car bumpers and pallets.
Source: http://www.lep.co.uk

Scientists tap energy from plastic waste

Scientists at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Ghana, have developed a technology that converts plastic waste into fuel, offering an alternative to users of fossil oil in the country. The technology uses temperatures between 40 and 70°C to decompose plastic waste made of low-density polyethylene and high-density polyethylene. The result is a chemical in the form of petrol, aviation fuel or diesel. The country generates about 200,000 tonnes of waste, with plastics accounting for 60%, therefore calling for the need to address this environmental problem.

“Analyses conducted on the fuel show that it has great potential in running engines. The American standard test proved that [the energy fuel] can be used to run any diesel or petrol engine as well as form an excellent blend with petrol of low octane number. The team will continue to work on the technology to apply it innovatively in most waste, such as using it to process e-waste,” said Michael Kweku Commeh, the project leader and a research fellow at KNUST. The Student Representative Council of the KNUST has given the research team 30,000 Ghana cedis (around US$12,500) to support them to maintain production of two barrels a day. If the research team get additional funding to augment their research allowance, they hope to set up various plants throughout the country.
Source: http://www.scidev.net

ELECTRONIC WASTE

Plasma refining plant setup in United Kingdom

Tetronics International, the United Kingdom, a global leader in plasma arc technology for metal recovery and hazardous waste treatment applications, has announced that its customer and partner, Solar Applied Materials Technology Corp., Taiwan (Province of China) has confirmed full operational status of its plasma plant, where the Tetronics technology, capable of recovering >98% of (PGMs) from spent catalysts, will be used to process and recover Precious Metal (PMs) and Platinum Group Metals (PGMs) from spent catalysts and electronic waste.

This brings Tetronics’ plasma technology global installed base to 86, for applications including resource recovery and hazardous waste treatment, thereby reinforcing Tetronics’ position as a global market leader of plasma arc technology. The Solar plasma plant achieved full licensed operational status following the successful completion of the Final Acceptance Test (FAT). The plasma plant, will produce 120,000 troy oz of PGMs based on typical automotive catalysts profiles.

The main advantages of Tetronics’ patented plasma technology are that it couples the highest technical recovery rates and operational flexibility, with the lowest environmental impacts and cost base. The process chemistry in the technology is designed to smelt and preferentially separate the PMs from less valuable material, which is vitrified into an inert, safe usable product called Plasmarok®, in a single processing step. The process will also destroy any hazardous organics contained within the material. Contact: Kate Colclough, Tetronics International. U.K. Tel: +44-1793-238-500.
Source: http://www.blog.tetronics.com

Low-cost platinum group metals recovery process

Platinum Group Metals (PGMs) are geologically, technically and chemically hard to extract. NovX21 Inc., Canada, has developed a process for the recovery of PGM and other precious metals from refractory recycled material and from PGMs-rich concentrates recycled from automobile catalytic converters. The Company’s 50 tons per year (TPY) demonstration plant near Quebec City run for more than two years (2011 until now) on a semi-continuous basis with excellent results.

The NovX21 patented chlorination process yields more than 97% recoveries of PGMs, is much less capital extensive and operates at a more efficient pace than conventional smelters. The finished product is fine 35-µm metallic powder containing no glass or carbon. No special preparation is needed to process the ceramic unit containing the PGM. NovX21’s innovative process optimizes the recovery of resources while reducing the environmental impact, the recovery time and the energy usage by more than 90%. The qualities and properties of the technology are such that a plant could be installed in any region that can supply a minimum of 200,000 salvaged vehicle-motors per year, equivalent to 200 tons/year of catalytic converters. This volume allows the plant to operate around the clock at a Conversion Speed that would generate excellent gross profit margins. Contact: NovX21, 620 St-Jacques # 110, Montreal, Quebec, H3C 1C7, Canada. Tel: +1-514-282-2110.
Source: http://www.novx21.com

Mining with microbes

A recent study by the Brazilian Agency for Industrial Development (ABDI) of the federal government has found that about 1 million tons of electronic scrap, from computer monitors, cell phones, printers and cameras, among other equipment, is discarded each year in the country. Only a small portion is recycled because current techniques that make recycling feasible are costly and polluting. This situation may change if a method to recover metals such as copper and gold in printed circuit boards, can be made sustainable in both the economic and environmental sense. The technique, known as bio-hydrometallurgy, was developed by a group of Brazilian researchers and uses bacteria harmless to humans to extract the metal in these boards during one of its stages.

“Bacteria are already being used to bioprocess metals in mines or to recover metallic tailings in dams. Our idea was to use the method to recover copper from scrap. By comparison, the copper ore mined by Vale at its mines has a concentration of less than 1% copper, while a printed circuit board contains about 30% copper,” said Jorge Tenório, professor at the Polytechnic School of the University of São Paulo (USP), Brazil. Currently the copper and other metals in printed circuit boards can be reused using chemical processes that employ acids to extract them, or using a pyrometallurgical process in which the metals are recovered at high temperatures, resulting in the emission of greenhouse gases.
Source: http://www.revistapesquisa.fapesp.br

INDUSTRIAL WASTEWATER

Water treatment using UV-light system

There are numerous things in our waste water that should not find their way into the environment – yet waste water treatment plants only remove a portion of these contaminants. In particular, bacteria commonly employed in the biological treatment stage have no effect on persistent substances, which include highly stable hydrocarbon compounds. As a result cleaning agent residuals and pesticides as well as pharmacological substances are reaching environmental waters. The loading from these kinds of harmful substances in the North Sea, for instance, is already clearly measurable today.

However, researchers of the Fraunhofer Institute for Interfacial Engineering and Biotechnology (IGB), Germany, together with international industrial partners have now developed a new chemical reaction system that breaks down these kinds of resilient and harmful molecules thoroughly and efficiently – without having to add chemicals like hydrogen peroxide, for instance. Instead, the researchers are essentially utilizing the ‘self-healing’ power of water aided by photolysis (a.k.a. photochemical dissociation). The principle of photolysis is based on splitting water molecules using photons. The shorter the wavelength of light, the higher the photons’ energy.

Researchers therefore use light sources in this system that emit UV light exclusively in the region of 172 nanometers (nm) – i.e. extremely energetic photons. As soon as these photons enter water, they split the H2O molecules, forming highly reactive hydroxyl radials as a result. “These hydroxyl compounds have an even higher reaction potential than atomic oxygen, for example. They are therefore able to decompose even very stable hydrocarbon compounds contained in harmful residues,” explained Siegfried Egner, head of the Physical Process Technology department at IGB. Contact: Dipl.-Ing.SiegfriedEgner, Head of Department of Physical Process Technology, Nobelstr 12, 70569-Stuttgart, Germany. Tel: +49-711-970-3643; Fax: +49-711-970-4200.
Source: http://www.igb.fraunhofer.de

Pilot project turns wastewater to bioplastic

Wastewater treatment company Aquiris, Belgium, a subsidiary of the conglomerate Veolia, South Africa, has been working on a pilot project at its Brussels-North Wastewater Treatment Plant to turn wastewater into plastic. “Until now, the sanitation concept has always consisted in eliminating the pollution in wastewater. We have the know-how to both treat the wastewater and recover a byproduct reusable as bioplastics in an existing plant. This is a revolutionary answer to the challenge of natural resource preservation,” said Marc Rigal, the General Manager of Aquiris. Right now, the technology is in a pilot phase and Aquiris is looking for business partners to make the plan a reality. The waste water from Brussels, with a population of 1.1 million, has the potential make 20,000 tons of biolplastic a year.

The process involves separating out volatile fatty acids from sludge and mixing is with wastewater and specially selected bacteria that convert the fatty acids into biopolymers. “We use a centrifuge to separate the fatty acids out. The mix had to be heated to a proper temperature for the bacteria, which are the key part of the process, to digest the fatty acids and produce polymer chains,” said Bernard Lambrey at Aquiris. The idea first came about in 2007 with a trial in Sweden, once it was discovered that some bacteria used in wastewater treatment were producing polymers. The bacteria strain was refined over time to be more efficient, and testing was moved to Brussels, where the first successes came in 2011. The bacteria used in the process are put through famine and feast phases, which makes them more productive than if they were fed a steady diet of fatty acids and wastewater.

The biopolymers are refined into bioplastics and similar products. The rest of the sludge can be used to produce biogas of energy. The treated wastewater is not suitable for drinking but is checked for levels of contamination before being released back into the environment. Even though bioplastic is better for the environment than traditional fossil-fuel based plastic, it is still met with some resistance. Some people don’t want bioplastic, if it is made from genetically modified (GM) corn. Even though there is no trace of genetic material or agricultural chemicals such as herbicides left in the bioplastic, some people still regard it with the same suspicion they take to all GM products. Alternatives to bioplastics based on corn will reduce dependence on oil-based plastics while at the same time they will help keep agricultural land in the food production cycle.
Source: http://www.praguepost.com

Researchers develop new method to remove contaminants

Dr. Srimanta Ray, a post-doctoral graduate from University of Windsor, Canada, is working on removing harmful contaminants from sources such as paint, lubricants and pesticides that slip through conventional wastewater treatment systems and find their way back into the waterways. Dr. Ray, who won a two-year post-doctoral fellowship worth $80,000 from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, Canada, has developed a method under the tutelage of associate professor Jerald Lalman that relies on using ultraviolet light and titanium dioxide fibers as a catalyst to degrade the toxic phenolic chemical compounds used in a variety of industrial processes.

“Many chemicals aren’t removed by municipal wastewater treatment systems and as a result, are discharged into bodies of water such as lakes and rivers. Phenols act as endocrine disruptors, meaning they interfere with biological hormonal systems of mammals and fish,” said Dr. Ray. On an experimental nano-scale, Dr. Ray was able to develop a photo-catalytic titanium-dioxide fiber capable of removing more than 99% from a synthetic water stream. The technology could be applied in an industrial or municipal setting by lining the interior of wastewater flow chambers with titanium-dioxide fiber. Untreated water would flow in to the chamber, get blasted by ultraviolet light, and flow out the other end virtually free of contaminants.

Dr. Ray will spend the next two years working at improving the efficiency of various catalytic processes on removing persistent contaminants. During studies, Dr. Ray and Dr. Lalman received two patents related to the use of nano-catalysts in water treatment and for the production of feedstock chemicals. They were also granted another patent for developing an innovative microbial fuel cell. Contact: University of Windsor, 401 Sunset Avenue, Windsor, Ontario N9B 3P4, Canada. Tel: +1-519-253-3000.
Source: http://www.uwindsor.ca

New techniques for decontamination of wastewater

Researchers at the Polytechnic University of Valencia (UPV), Spain and the Plataforma Solar de Almería (PSA-CIEMAT), Spain, are working on the development of new techniques for the treatment, decontamination and reuse of industrial wastewater with high toxicity. Their studies are part of Aquafotox project, funded by the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness. The Aquafotox project focuses on waters from the cork industry and on landfill leachates. The researchers’ goal is to offer a new treatment to degrade pollutants of both, at one time and at a reduced cost and thus obtain a higher quality and reduced environmental impact effluent. To do this, they are exploring the usefulness of new treatments using solar photocatalysis – harness sunlight to purify water – or ozone.

Currently, 30 different treatments are being assessed – 15 with sunlight and other 15 with ozone – in order to determine which would be most suitable for detoxification of these waters and their possible industrial application. “We develop comprehensive biological surveys of toxicity with biomarkers to analyze its effects on algae, crustaceans, bacteria, earthworms and fish. We analyze each water sample subjected to detoxification process, and from the results obtained, we value the suitability to improve the quality of treated effluent and therefore reduce the impact on these and other species once discharged. Biomarkers allow us to predict the harmful effects and health status as a potential indicator of long-term changes, such as carcinogenesis, decreased reproductive capacity, etc.,” said Ana Amat, a researcher at UPV.

According to the researchers, today’s main sources of water pollution are industrial activities. Over 80% of the world’s hazardous waste occur in industrialized countries, while in developing countries 70% of industrial waste is discharged into the water without any pre-treatment thus polluting water resources, Precisely because of its complexity when dealing with this type of water, treatments are assessed using holistic parameters (TOC, COD, biodegradability, etc.) and bioassays batteries (toxicity by different agents and molecular biomarkers). The project also aims to assess in detail the possibility of using certain compounds contained in landfill leachate as photosensitizers in advanced oxidation. All this is to be complemented by a detailed assessment of the reactivity of different advanced oxidation processes, focusing mainly on photosensitizers because of the limited information on their mechanisms.
Source: http://www.energynews.es

Paint to remove colour from industrial wastewater

A team of researchers from the School of Chemical Engineering, Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM), has developed a type of paint that can adsorb coloured and toxic wastewater effluent released into the ecosystem from the industries especially textile industry. “In Malaysia, besides the 1,500 textile and dyeing companies, coloured wastewater is also produced by industries related to paper manufacturing, leather, plastics, food, pharmaceutical and palm oil mills. The wastewater is usually discharged into the ecosystem which in turn causes aesthetic pollution and pertubation in the aquatic environment which if not treated properly, can have long term adverse effects on aquatic organisms,” said Dr. Omar Osman, Vice-Chancellor at USM.

This environmentally friendly paint named Paintosorp is produced as a colour removal treatment applying a new concept of adsorption using thin-coated adsorbent layer that can adsorb coloured effluent. Paintosorp can be applied to the surfaces of the existing sewerage system. Hence, this pollution prevention system does not require any new treatment units. The existing conventional treatment methods have many weaknesses such as large amount of sludge generated, high waste disposal cost, lack of facilities in the regeneration process, time-consuming and ineffective treatment.

Paintosorp was formulated to overcome these various drawbacks as it uses the innovative application concept of adsorption, does not require additional treatment facilities and can be applied on a variety of surfaces such as glass, PVC, wood or concrete which in turn incurs lower cost. Besides that, the effectiveness of the adsorbent paint is also due to the content of the material used that is made of natural resources. Researchers took eight months to come up with the innovation, and so far about RM50,000 has been spent on research & development work with each kilogram of paint costing not more than RM1. With the university’s help, they are currently looking for potential partners to commercialise the product.
Source: http://www.usm.my

Scientists prevent formation of biofilms in wastewater

According to the Korea Environmental Industry & Technology Institute (KEITI), a research team led by Professor Lee Chung-hak, a chemical engineer at Seoul National University, Republic of Korea, has created a technology that can stave off membrane fouling, a chronic headache in the process of treating wastewater, a first in the world. A membrane bioreactor (MBR) is an advanced wastewater treatment technology used worldwide that makes the treated water reusable. However, the system has a chronic issue: the formation of biofilms, slimy mats of bacteria that spread across the surface of the water filters.

To deal with the problem, biofilms have so far been physically cleaned off or else harsh chemicals were used. Moreover, the method is quite costly, enough to make up about 60% of the total cost of operating an MBR. Lee and his team have come up with a solution to that. The scientists found that there is a typical network of communication between biofilms, in which enzymes secreted by some species digest the signalling molecules emitted by others.

The team isolated such “signal-quenching” bacteria and placed them in beads that contain pores that keep in the bacteria, but let through the signalling molecules. The beads undermine bacterial communication and help to stop biofilms from forming. More importantly, the method can save almost half the cost of a conventional membrane bioreactor. The results have been published in the journal Nature. The team has applied for a patent on the technology in the U.S., Japan, Europe and China.
Source: http://www.theinsidekorea.com

BIOREMEDIATION

Microbes to clean stubborn chemicals from the environment

Chlorinated chemicals perform a host of societally useful functions, but they also have a dark side. Once their use life has ended, such agents often become environmental contaminants, sometimes resistant to bioremediation. In a series of new studies, Dr. Anca Delgado, a researcher at Arizona State University’s Biodesign Institute, the United States, has examined unique groups of microorganisms, capable of converting hazardous chlorinated chemicals like trichloroetheene (TCE) into ethene, a benign end product of microbial biodegradation. The research was conducted as part of her doctorate work under the guidance of associate professor Rosa Krajmalnik-Brown. Results of the studies have been published in journal PLOS ONE.

The new studies explore the metabolic activities of a group of microbes known as Dehalococcoides, and propose strategies to improve their effectiveness for environmental clean-up projects involving chlorinated chemicals. “Dehalococcoides have been officially on the scientific map since 1997 and they remain the only microorganisms of their kind, and therefore of great importance for bioremediation. In close to 20 years we have not discovered other bacteria that can perform reductive dechlorination of chemicals like TCE all the way to ethane,” said Delgado.

Trichloroethene, is one of the most ubiquitous chlorinated chemicals. Approximately 60% of the U.S. National Priorities List Superfund sites and roughly 20% of the national groundwater sources are contaminated with chlorinated solvents, such as TCE. TCE is a sweet-smelling, non-flammable liquid halocarbon that was widely used in the past century because of its properties as an effective industrial solvent, with applications ranging from dry cleaning to the cleaning and degreasing of an enormous range of metal and other components.

The primary focus of the PLOS ONE study was to determine the nature of this stalling during the TCE-to-ethene reaction. Earlier studies had proposed that Dehalococcoides at a given bioremediation site lacked the necessary machinery required to complete the full breakdown of TCE into ethene. An alternate explanation suggested that Dehalococcoides was somehow inhibited during the process. A further discovery of the new research is that carbonate minerals naturally present in water and soil act as electron acceptors for competing microbes like methanogens and acetogens, helping them grow and outcompete Dehalococcoides for hydrogen. This was also systematically demonstrated in Delgado’s previous study. Limiting the addition of carbonates (commonly used to raise the aquifer pH) in contaminated sites should also enhance the ability of Dehalococcoides to fully reduce TCE to 1 thane.
Source: http://www.asunews.asu.edu

Scientist discovers new species of oil-degrading bacteria

Dr. R. B. Smitha, a scientist at Malabar Botanical Garden (MBG), India, has discovered one new species of Pseudomonas and two new species of Burkholderia, widely known as good biodegraders of toxic and tough compounds. The discovery was made as part of her Young Scientist Project - ‘Isolation and purification of Catecol 2, 3 dioxygenase, a key hydrocarbon-degrading enzyme present in industrial waste’ with MBG Director Dr. R. Prakash Kumar as the mentor. The project was funded by the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India. The findings have been submitted to GenBank, a nucleotide sequence database.

Dr. Smitha was awarded PhD in Biotechnology in 2010 by the Enzyme Technology Laboratory, University of Calicut, India. She already has patents pending from her previous work on the extraction of alpha amylase enzyme and insecticidal toxins from the bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis kurstaki and tests for their efficacy in controlling the Eriophyid mite parasite which causes the destructive ‘Mandari’ disease in coconut palms. Her current study has resulted in the discovery of two new members in the genus Burkholderia which consists of a number of versatile bacteria that occupy a wide range of ecological niches. Some of them are capable of breaking down toxic compounds found in pesticides and herbicides and others found to repress pathogens present in soil and help promote crop growth.

Burkholderia strains have exceptional metabolic versatility and can also be used for bioremediation, a process for removing waste and pollutants from contaminated sites using microbes or other organisms. Over 190 known species belonging to the genus Pseudomonas are already targets of considerable research for their ability to thrive in diverse and often harsh environments, and their ability to metabolise a variety of nutrients. Like Burkholderia, Pseudomonas bacteria have also been found to be effective agents for bioremediation.
Source: http://www.newindianexpress.com

Researchers simplify process to purify water

Researchers from Safe Water International (SWI), the United States, have streamlined and simplified a process that uses extracts from seeds of Moringa oleifa trees to purify water, reducing levels of harmful bacteria by 90% to 99%. The hardy trees that are drought resistant are cultivated widely throughout many countries of Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

The protocol, which is outlined in a Current Protocols in Microbiology review, is low-cost and efficient, making it especially useful for people living in extreme poverty in developing countries who are presently drinking highly turbid and contaminated water. Of these, some 2 million are reckoned to die from waterborne diseases every year, with the majority of deaths occurring in young children. “The use of these techniques will not be a panacea against waterborne disease; however, increasing the use of the Moringa tree would bring benefits in the shape of nutrition and income, as well as purer water,” said author Michael Lea. Contact: Michael Lea, Safe Water International, 1072 Casitas Pass Road, #171, Carpinteria, California, 93013, USA. Tel: +1-805-576-7345; E-mail: safewateri@gmail.com.
Source: http://www.nanowerk.com

New technology to clean up oil spills

In the year 2011, an engineer Ivano Aglietto from Italy, developed RECAM® (REactive Carbon Material) for small and medium sized oil spills, which was an eco-friendly, hydrophobic and non-toxic material that can be submerged into contaminated water, where it can absorb 90 times its weight in oil, before being easily pulled back in with nets. But this was only the first step.

Recently, Aglietto took his invention even further with NAIMOR® (NAnostructure Innovative Material for Oil Recovery). NAIMOR is highly hydrophobic, non-toxic and eco-friendly, but this time it can absorb 150 times its weight. It can be used over and over again without losing any of its absorption capacity. Each time it fills with oil, it goes through a squeezing process that removes all the oil from the sheets. Because NAIMOR is hydrophobic, the oil that is squeezed from the sheets can then be used as a resource again. NAIMOR can be developed in different styles.

The first style is the “carpets” which have a dimension of 1x2x0.02m, a weight of 400 g and can absorb up to 50 kg of oil. The carpets are placed on the surface of the spill area and left there until they are completely saturated with oil. Because NAIMOR is hydrophobic, there is no danger that the oil absorbed by it will be released back into the water. The carpets are then brought in for a process of “regeneration” in which the oil is removed. Once this is complete, they are ready to be reused. The second style is “Booms” created in a horse-shoe shapes that are guided with the help of remote controlled drone-boats on either side. The booms are moved on the surface of the water, and contain the oil spill while also absorbing the oil. Again, once the material is saturated with oil, the booms are recovered for oil removal and regeneration.

The third style is the “sheets”, which have a dimension of 1 x 200 x 0.02m, a weight of 40 kg and can absorb up to 5 tons of oil. This is essentially the carpet but is produced at a longer length so that it can be easily dragged behind by a drone boat. Aglietto and his team started an Indiegogo campaign in December 2013 that ran until February of this year and successfully raised just under half their desired goal of $55,000. The money will be used to produce a prototype of NAIMOR®, which is currently in the works. If NAIMOR® does come to fruition, it could revolutionize the way we deal with oil spills and water contamination for the foreseeable future!
Source: http://www.greenerideal.com

PCB bioremediation

A team of researchers from the National University of Singapore (NUS), have developed a novel approach that could greatly enhance the effectiveness of destroying polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in the environment. They discovered three powerful bacteria from a genus called Dehalococcoides which can degrade PCBs. In addition, the researchers also developed an effective method of culturing these PCB dechlorinators in large quantities to enhance their degradation efficiency.Working with A*STAR’s Genome Institute of Singapore (GIS), the team was able to identify the functional genes responsible for breaking down PCBs. With these research findings, it is now possible to design and engineer methods which can rid our environment of harmful PCBs more effectively. Their findings has been published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

PCBs are synthetic organic chemical compounds of chlorine and biphenyl. They have been widely used as coolant fluids in many electrical products. However, they are toxic and exposure to PCBs has been known to show symptoms almost immediately. Though PCBs are no longer used (they have been banned since the 1970s), they are virtually indestructible and can possibly remain in the environment forever. Hence they continue to contaminate rivers, lakes and harbours worldwide, posing a threat to human and ecosystem health.There have only been seven known enzymes associated with Dehalococcoides found to have confirmed function on chlorinated compounds. The NUS-GIS research team is proud to add the three new bacteria to the list – each with distinct specificities.

An in-situ microbial detoxification strategy, which involves applying microbes directly to break down (dechlorinate) PCBs on-site, would be very effective for PCB bioremediation. However, these microbes are extremely hard to culture, hence limiting efforts to characterise them for such applications.Currently, the only treatment is capping or dredging and landfilling the PCBs. An example is the ongoing SuperFund project to dredge the upper Hudson River to remove PCBs which has already cost nearly US$1 billion. In this regard, the novel technique developed by the research team to culture PCB dechlorinators could pave the way for alternative, and possibly more effective, methods of degrading PCBs on-site.
Source: http://www.news.nus.edu.sg

New bioremediation agent to clean oil spills

EcoSolutions, the United States, a company specializing in cutting-edge water treatment systems, has developed a new product that can ease the environmental impacts of this flooding, or other biological disasters such as oil spills.EcoSolutions’ OilClean can have a significant impact on water that has been contaminated, by combining biological and patented technologies to naturally restore oil-polluted ecosystems. The bioremediation technology uses natural microorganisms to consume and completely degrade oil and its toxic byproducts from soil and water. OilClean is eco-safe, non-toxic, chemical-free, and there are no waste byproducts – the oil is not only separated, it is eliminated.

Developed in conjunction with Pro-Act Biotech, the United States,this non-invasive treatment system for marsh and wetland ecosystems can be implemented without additional damage to the habitat – no trampling, wiping or excavation is required. Depending on weather and water conditions, positive results can be seen within weeks.“In the rush to repair storm damage, flood water quality is easily overlooked despite the health risks posed by pollutants in it,” said David Whitney, CEO of EcoSolutions. OilClean can also be used to decontaminate polluted marshes and wetlands, dangerous sub-surface oil deposits in beaches, and to clean polluted clean-up waste such as oil-soaked booms, rags, fabrics, and plastics.

To enhance the ease of use, EcoSolutions and Pro-Act Biotech also developed self-powered OilClean devices that distribute, monitor and regulate the flow of specialized oil-eating microbes, nutrients and oxygen in oil-polluted water. As part of the OilClean system, the devices use smart sensors that continually measure water quality and automatically regulate the flow of additives to maximize remediation and restoration. OilClean is one of only 20 oil bioremediation systems currently listed on the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) National Contingency Plan Product Schedule.Contact: ECOSOLUTIONS, 315 Plains Road, Westford, VT 05494, USA. Tel: +1-802.878.7464; Fax: +1-802.598.6297; E-mail: dave@ecosoldesigns.com.
Source: http://www.safety.com

AIR POLLUTION CONTROL

CO2 could ease transition to cleaner energy

According to a report, a sponge-like plastic that sops up the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide (CO2) might ease our transition away from polluting fossil fuels and toward new energy sources, such as hydrogen. The material – a relative of the plastics used in food containers – could play a role in President Obama’s plan to cut CO2 emissions 30% by 2030, and could also be integrated into power plant smokestacks in the future. The report on the material was one of nearly 12,000 presentations at the 248th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS), the world’s largest scientific society that held on 10-14 August at California. “The key point is that this polymer is stable, it’s cheap, and it adsorbs CO2 extremely well. In a future landscape where fuel-cell technology is used, this adsorbent could work toward zero-emission technology,” said Dr. Andrew Cooper, a professor at University of Liverpool, the United Kingdom.

CO2 adsorbents are most commonly used to remove the greenhouse gas pollutant from smokestacks at power plants where fossil fuels like coal or gas are burned. However, Cooper and his team intend the adsorbent, a microporous organic polymer, for a different application – one that could lead to reduced pollution. The new material would be a part of an emerging technology called an integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC), which can convert fossil fuels into hydrogen gas. Hydrogen holds great promise for use in fuel-cell cars and electricity generation because it produces almost no pollution. IGCC is a bridging technology that is intended to jump-start the hydrogen economy, or the transition to hydrogen fuel, while still using the existing fossil-fuel infrastructure. But the IGCC process yields a mixture of hydrogen and CO2 gas, which must be separated.

The material, which is a brown, sand-like powder, is made by linking together many small carbon-based molecules into a network. The idea to use this structure was inspired by polystyrene, a plastic used in styrofoam and other packaging material. Polystyrene can adsorb small amounts of CO2 by the same swelling action. One advantage of using polymers is that they tend to be very stable. The material can even withstand being boiled in acid, proving it should tolerate the harsh conditions in power plants where CO2 adsorbents are needed. Other CO2 scrubbers – whether made from plastics or metals or in liquid form – do not always hold up so well. Another advantage of the new adsorbent is its ability to adsorb CO2 without also taking on water vapor, which can clog up other materials and make them less effective. Its low cost also makes the sponge polymer attractive. Contact: Andrew I. Cooper, University of Liverpool, Merseyside, U.K. Tel: +44-151-794-3548; E-mail: aicooper@liv.ac.uk.
Source: http://www.newswise.com

Students invent device to check CO2 emissions

In an attempt to tackle the problem of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, two second-year mechanical engineering students have created an instrument that captures the gas from the atmosphere and converts it into solar fuel. Utsav Soni and Pratibha Rajput of Gujarat Technology University (GTU), India, won the prestigious “Go Green Award-2014” in Paris, that was held by Global Talent Acquisition and Mobility Institute for the world’s smallest prototype that helps reduces carbon emission. Soni and Rajput’s project was called ‘From challenge to opportunity’. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has recommended that CO2 emission must be reduced by 50% by 2050 or else it would be too late.

“Our prototype design is so efficient that wastage created in the entire process is converted into eco-bricks which can be used to develop infrastructure across the city,” said Soni. The pair has created three working prototypes. One prototype will capture CO2 directly from the atmosphere, while another from the various modes of transport and yet another one from power plants.
Source: http://www.timesofindia.indiatimes.com

New catalyst converts CO2 to fuel

Scientists from the University of Illinois (UIC), the United States, have synthesized a catalyst that improves their system for converting waste carbon dioxide (CO2) into syngas, a precursor of gasoline and other energy-rich products, bringing the process closer to commercial viability. Amin Salehi-Khojin, UIC professor of mechanical and industrial engineering, and his co-workers developed a unique two-step catalytic process that uses molybdenum disulfide and an ionic liquid to “reduce,” or transfer electrons, to carbon dioxide in a chemical reaction. The new catalyst improves efficiency and lowers cost by replacing expensive metals like gold or silver in the reduction reaction. The study has been published in the journal Nature Communications.

“With this catalyst, we can directly reduce CO2 to syngas without the need for a secondary, expensive gasification process. In other chemical-reduction systems, the only reaction product is carbon monoxide. The new catalyst produces syngas, a mixture of carbon monoxide (CO) plus hydrogen. The high density of loosely bound, energetic d-electrons in molybdenum disulfide facilitates charge transfer, driving the reduction of the CO2,” said Salehi-Khojin. This is a very generous material. In noble metal catalysts like silver and gold, catalytic activity is determined by the crystal structure of the metal, but with molybdeneum disulfide, the catalytic activity is on the edges. The proportion of carbon monoxide to hydrogen in the syngas produced in the reaction can also be easily manipulated using the new catalyst.
Source: http://www.news.uic.edu.com

New oxidation product for mercury emission control

Novinda Corporation, the United States, a leader in non-carbon mercury removal solutions, has designed a new product to provide low cost oxidation of vapor phase mercury, and enhance the mercury removal performance of wet scrubbers in coal-fired power plants. Complementing Novinda’s award-winning mercury removal product portfolio, the new product, Amended Silicates™-Ox (AS-Ox) is specifically designed to increase mercury oxidation in the flue gas without utilizing corrosive halogen chemicals and prevent re-emission of captured mercury from wet scrubbers.

In many coal-fired power plants, oxidized mercury can be substantially removed by the plant’s wet scrubbers. However, variations in coal supply, the plant’s load cycling, and a wet scrubber’s propensity to re-emit mercury can result in inconsistent compliance with the mercury capture requirements of the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Mercury & Air Toxics Standards (MATS). AS-Ox is a low cost product, injected into the flue gas as a fine powder, enabling active management of mercury oxidation without requiring scrubber re-emission agents or corrosive chemicals. This product increases the operator’s direct control over mercury removal with a single non-corrosive chemical product.

“We’ve heard clearly the power utilities’ concerns about passive or corrosive mercury oxidation products that can’t be adapted to operations or destroy plant components with extended usage or that still require re-emission additive products. AS-Ox is designed to provide the best of all worlds – adaptive mercury control without corrosion or re-emission from wet scrubbers,” said Jim Butz, at Novinda. In full-scale power plant testing, non-corrosive AS-Ox has consistently achieved mercury oxidation objectives without the mercury re-emission issues associated with some wet scrubber operations, eliminating the need for additive scrubber chemicals.
Source: http://www.pollutiononline.com

Researchers develop best method for turning CO2 to fuel

In a new research project done by Department of Physics at the Technical University of Denmark (DTU), researchers have developed a completely new way of turning CO2 into methanol -- which can be used as a climate-friendly fuel, among other things. “Methanol can be used as a fuel in fuel cells and as an alternative to petrol in our cars. It’s simply a quite fundamental and useful chemical that we can make from CO2,” said Ib Chorkendorff, a professor at DTU.

What the researchers have discovered is a so-called catalyst that ensures that CO2 combines with hydrogen to form methanol. A catalyst is a compound that helps a chemical reaction but is left out of the end product – in this case, the finished product is methanol. The newly developed catalyst is made up of gallium and nickel and it differs greatly from previous catalysts used to turn CO2 and hydrogen into methanol. The advantage of producing methanol at a lower pressure is that the process requires less energy which makes it cheaper and easier. Some energy will always be needed when turning CO2 into methanol but the idea is that this energy will come from wind turbines or solar panels – so producing methanol can actually serve as a way of storing electricity produced in this climate-friendly way.

According to Stanford University about 65 million tonnes of methanol are produced worldwide every year. Rather than being used for storing solar and wind power, methanol is typically used for making paint, glue, and fuel. The large industrial plants typically produce methanol by first turning natural gas and water into a synthesis gas (syngas) that is made up of CO2, CO (carbon monoxide) and hydrogen. Then the syngas is turned into methanol under high pressure and with the aid of common catalysts made of copper, zinc and aluminium. “One of the problems that industry has is that the reaction also creates carbon monoxide. This is a by-product that should be avoided to get as much methanol as possible. Our catalyst has an advantage here because it produces less carbon monoxide,” said Chorkendorff.
Source: http://www.sciencenordic.com

RECENT PUBLICATIONS

Waste Management Practices: Municipal, Hazardous, and Industrial

Waste Management Practices: Municipal, Hazardous, and Industrial, Second Edition addresses the three main categories of wastes (hazardous, municipal, and ‘special’ wastes) covered under federal regulation outlined in the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), an established framework for managing the generation, transportation, treatment, storage, and disposal of several forms of waste.

Focusing on integrating the technical and regulatory complexities of waste management, this book covers the historical and regulatory development of waste management and the management of municipal solid wastes.

Conversion of Large Scale Wastes into Value-added Products

Concern about the fate of waste products produced by a wide range of industrial processes has led to the realization that they may have potential uses and, therefore, value. In an effort to develop more sustainable processes and reduce waste storage, the use of waste as a resource has been gaining attention worldwide. This book discusses various selected classes of large-scale waste and their current applications and potential future applications.

For the above two books, contact: CRC Press, Tel: +44-123-540-0524; Fax: +44-123-540-0525; E-mail: book.orders@tandf.co.uk

Nanotechnology in Industrial Wastewater Treatment

Nanotechnology in Industrial Wastewater Treatment is a state of the art reference book. The book is particularly useful for wastewater technology development laboratories and organizations. All professional and academic areas connected with environmental engineering, nanotechnology based wastewater treatment and related product design are incorporated and provide an essential resource. The book describes the application and synthesis of Ca-based and magnetic nanomaterials and their potential application for removal/treatment of heavy metals from wastewater.

Contact: STM Publishers Services Pte Ltd., Block 52, Choa Chu Kang North 6, #12-19, Yew Mei Green, Singapore-689575. Tel: +65-9675-2581; E-mail: tonypoh@igroupnet.com


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