VATIS Update Waste Management . Jul-Sep 2015

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Waste Management Jul-Sep 2015

ISSN: 0971-5665

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

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Scientists convert tannery waste into carbon

Scientists at the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), India, and Central Leather Research Institute (CLRI), India, have developed a process to convert fleshing, the soft tissue of animal muscle and fat, and one of the effluents produced in tanneries, into activated carbon. This compound is one of the major components in shoe manufacture. Fleshing, which is usually disposed in landfills leading to contamination of groundwa-ter, has become a viable alternative to the carcinogenic carbon black widely used in making soles of high-end leather shoes. This activated carbon not only adds colour but is also used as a reinforcing material in soles.

Apart from being cost effective and lightweight, the compound reinforces strength, is flexible, and abrasive resis-tant. Patented by CLRI, this new technology is targeted at environmentally conscious leather companies willing to walk the extra mile to reduce their carbon footprint. This technology is a result of the Zero Emission Research Initia-tives for Solid Waste, a network project under CSIR. The institute carries out research to create systems for sus-tainable development once every five years. The researchers are also working towards using the technology to manufacture tyres where carbon black is still extensively used.

UNIDO, GEF launched emissions reduction project

Representatives from the Governments of Cambodia, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Mongolia, the Philippines and Viet Nam, have launched a project which took place on 18 May 2015 in Phnom Penh, Cambo-dia, to assist in the development of waste management systems and the reduction in emissions of persistent or-ganic pollutants (POPs) generated from open waste burning processes. The regional project, which is being funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and will be implemented by the UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), aims to demonstrate best available techniques and best environmental practices in open burning activi-ties in response to the Stockholm Convention on POPs.

Noting that effective control and management of POPs emissions will not be achieved “if everyone acts sepa-rately and individually,” Edward Clarence-Smith, UNIDO, emphasized that the project shows strong coopera-tion between the five government counterparts, development partners and the private sector, and demonstrates their commitment to carry out the objectives of their respective national implementation plans. Speaking during the launch, Sal Samal, Minister of Environment, Cambodia, noted his country’s efforts to achieve environmental protection, biodiversity conservation and sustainable livelihood, adding that the regional project will help to achieve these goals in many countries.

76% of e-waste workers suffer health issues

According to a study on ‘Electronic Waste Management in India,’ conducted by the Associ-ated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM), about 76% of e-waste workers in India are suffering from respiratory ailments like breathing difficulties, irritation, coughing, and choking. Most of these persons are engaged in various e-waste (electronic waste) activities. All recyclers and dismantlers are suffering from breathing problems such as asthma and bronchitis and have a detrimental effect on the respiratory, urinary and digestive systems, besides crippling immunity and causing cancer.

The Centre has recently launched “Swachh Bharat Mission” or “Clean India Mission” which aims to mobilise masses and seeks to create a clean India, whereas there are 10 states that contribute to 70% of the total e-waste generated in the country, while 65 cities generate more than 60% of the total e-waste in India. The main sources of electronic waste in India are the government, public and private (industrial) sec-tors, which account for almost 71% of total waste generation. The contribution of individual households is rela-tively small at about 16%; the rest being contributed by manufacturers. Though individual households are not large contributors to waste generated by computers, they consume large quantities of consumer durables and are, therefore, potential creators of waste, revealed the study.

For the recycling of e-waste, India heavily depends on the unorganised sector as only a handful of organised e-waste recycling facilities are available. Over 95% of the e-waste is treated and processed in the majority of urban slums of the country, where untrained workers carry out the dangerous procedures without personal protective equipment, which are detrimental not only to their health but also to the environment. Of the total e-waste generated in India, approximately 1.5% is recycled by formal recyclers or institutional processing and recycling. Another 8% of the e-waste generated is rendered useless and goes to landfills. The remaining 90.5% of the e-waste is being handled by the informal sector.

Waste treatment plant opened in Viet Nam

With the help of an environmentally-friendly Japanese technology, The Ha Noi People’s Committee in Viet Nam, inaugurated a waste treatment facility at Xuan Son waste treatment zone in Son Tay Town. The project, built on a total estimated expenditure of VND47 billion (US$2.16 million), includes a landfill covering around 3ha and has the capacity to treat around 100 tonnes of waste a day, said Nguyen Trong Dong, director of the mu-nicipal Department of Natural Resources and Environment. As it becomes functional, the plant will be able to treat solid wastes from the capital’s western region, including Son Tay, Ba Vi, Phuc Tho, Thach That, as well as Dan Phuong, and Quoc Oai districts.

Nguyen The Thao, chairman of the Ha Noi People’s Committee, elaborated the efforts of the Department of Natural Resources and Environment and the support of local authorities and residents in the construction of the plant. He also asked the department to work closely with Japanese experts while operating the plant and reviewing its outcome. The project commenced in June 2013, in conjunction with 40 years of the Viet Nam-Japan diplomatic ties and five years of cooperation between Ha Noi and Fukuoka Prefecture.
Source: http://www.Viet

China to reduce carbon emissions by 65% by 2030

China is aiming to cut its carbon emissions by 60% to 65% by 2030 from 2005 levels. The new target is part of a climate change plan the world’s largest greenhouse gas emitter has unveiled. It follows a previous emissions control target to cut 40% to 45% from 2015 levels by 2020. According to the Chi-nese Government, in 2014, carbon emissions per unit of GDP were more than 33% lower than the levels of 2005. The country is submitting its target to the UN and so far 12 countries and the EU have set their emission goals. China said it could achieve its new goal and is calling on other countries “for faster progress on cli-mate talks” ahead of the COP21 summit in Paris later this year.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said: “China’s carbon dioxide emissions will peak by around 2030 but China will work hard to achieve the target at an even earlier date.” Republic of Korea has also announced to cut emissions by 37% by 2030. UK Energy and Climate Change Secretary Amber Rudd welcome the news: “The momentum is building for a deal in Paris, and Britain will be working with China, Republic of Korea and others to make sure we’re doing all we can to reach our shared goal of avoiding the most dan-gerous effects of climate change.”

Multi-million tyre recycling park in China

The Central China Rubber Resources Recycling Industrial Park has started ground work in Xiangyang, Hubei province. Entailing an estimated investment of US$ 340 million and covering an area of 7.5 million square feet, the enterprise will become the country’s largest rubber recycling park. The aim will be to process the equivalent of 400,000 tonnes of end-of-life tyres on an annual basis, including a capacity of 300,000 tonnes per year for rubber modified asphalt as well as 100,000 tonnes per annum for recycled rubber. The park will feature sections for manufacturing, processing, trading, storage and research. Also, it is intended that the facility will func-tion as a link between upstream and downstream sectors, as well as providing rubber recycling solutions.

Indonesia to reduce plastic waste at sea

The Indonesian Environment and Forestry Ministry has announced that it would soon begin mapping existing waste banks nationwide in order to analyze the potential capacity of the system. “Now we have around 4,000 waste banks, from Papua to Sumatra. We will count how much trash is produced by these waste banks,” said Sudirman, the ministry’s waste management deputy secretary. Under a bank sampah (waste bank system) residents would save their non-organic waste and deposit it. They weigh and record their trash deposits, which are later sold to trash collectors every month. The proceeds are then transferred to the cus-tomers’ accounts.

Waste banks are expected to help reduce the volume of waste at the household level. At the same time, waste that is able to be processed could generate economic value and append families’ incomes. But Sudir-man believed that the waste bank system had much more potential than just reducing the volume of waste at the household level. Realizing how the country’s waste had turned into a massive pile of problems, Sudirman proposed that the plastics industry use raw materials from the waste bank system. According to data from the Industry Ministry, local plastic makers rely on imports due to raw material shortages in Indonesia.

The industry currently sources from overseas approximately 40 percent of the petrochemicals it uses to make plastics every year. In 2014, the country needed 1.57 tons of raw materials, with 624,000 kilograms of them imported. Sometimes, producers are forced to halt production due to raw material shortages. Most of the na-tion’s plastics imports, principally comprising propylene and polyethylene, come from neighboring coun-tries, including Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand, as well as from Europe, the US and the Middle East.

Pesticide banned under Stockholm convention

The Persistent Organic Pollutants Review Committee (POPRC) of the UN Stockholm Convention has adopted recommendations to ban the wood preservative pentachlorophenol (PCP), chlorinated naphthalenes and hexachlorobutadiene, in a two-week long Triple Conference of Parties (Triple COPs) to the UN Basel, Rot-terdam and Stockholm (BRS) Conventions. Many of the decisions up for adoption – which were sup-ported by the vast majority of parties – were blocked by a handful of countries, or in some cases just one. Meanwhile environmental NGOs say many of the decisions adopted include provisions that weaken the recom-mendations and proposals tabled at the meeting.

Parties to the Stockholm Convention on persistent organic pollutants (POPs) failed to agree a compliance mechanism. However, decisions included that polychlorinated napthalenes (PCNs) will be added to the list of banned substances (Annex A), but, at Russia’s suggestion, with an exemption for some PCNs used as intermediates. Environmental groups are concerned by the exemption as it is for highly-hazardous polyfluorinated substances. Little PCN is made these days, with its main uses in wire insulation coatings, wood preservatives, and rubber and plastic additives. The solvent hexachlorobutadiene (HCBD), which is mainly used to make rubber compounds, will also be added to Annex A.

The parties have agreed to add the biocide and pesticide pentachlorophenol (PCP) and its salts and esters to Annex A. The decision was repeatedly blocked by India, which questioned the science behind the POP Review Committee’s recommendation to list the substance – much to the exasperation of the EU and Australian delegations. In the end, at Switzerland’s suggestion, it was decided to take the unprecedented step of voting on the proposal (previously all decisions had been adopted by consensus). The first vote in the history of the convention saw 90 countries back a global ban on PCP, two oppose it and eight abstain.

Nanoparticles for cleaning up pollutants

In a new paper published this week in Nature Communications, researchers from MIT and the Federal University of Goiás in Brazil demonstrate a novel method for using nanoparticles and ultraviolet (UV) light to quickly isolate and extract a variety of contaminants from soil and water.

Ferdinand Brandl and Nicolas Bertrand, the two lead authors, are former postdocs in the laboratory of Robert Langer, the David H. Koch Institute Professor at MIT’s Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research. (Eliana Martins Lima, of the Federal

University of Goiás, is the other co-author.) Both Brandl and Bertrand are trained as pharmacists, and de-scribe their discovery as a happy accident: They initially sought to develop nanoparticles that could be used to de-liver drugs to cancer cells.

Brandl had previously synthesized polymers that could be cleaved apart by exposure to UV light. But he and Ber-trand came to question their suitability for drug delivery, since UV light can be damaging to tissue and cells, and doesn’t penetrate through the skin. When they learned that UV light was used to disinfect water in certain treatment plants, they began to ask a different question.

The researchers synthesized polymers from polyethylene glycol, a widely used compound found in laxatives, toothpaste, and eye drops and approved by the Food and Drug Administration as a food additive, and poly-lactic acid, a biodegradable plastic used in compostable cups and glassware.

Nanoparticles made from these polymers have a hydrophobic core and a hydrophilic shell. Due to molecu-lar-scale forces, in a solution hydrophobic pollutant molecules move toward the hydrophobic nanoparticles, and adsorb onto their surface, where they effectively become “trapped.” This same phe-nomenon is at work when spaghetti sauce stains the surface of plastic containers, turning them red: In that case, both the plastic and the oil-based sauce are hydrophobic and interact together.


Breaking down carbon composites with biotech

Research trials at the Hohenstein Institute, Germany, has suggested that biotechnology can be used to open up entirely new ways of recycling carbon fibre composites. Researchers in the team led by Christin Glöckner are using microbiological systems to bring about the controlled breakdown of the synthetic matrix. Even though carbon composites are very expensive, at a cost of €25-30 per kilo, every year about 3,000 tonnes of carbon waste is generated in Europe alone, but recycling carbon fi-bres is not easy.

The recycling process mainly used at present – a multi-stage pyrolytic process – is ex-tremely energy-intensive and only short-staple carbon fibres can be recovered. The chemical and me-chanical recycling methods known today meanwhile, are very labour-intensive. In pursuing an alterna-tive solution based on biotechnological recycling, the Hohenstein researchers are expoliting the ability of certain microorganisms to metabolise chemical substances, such as polyether resin.

They have now managed to break down the epoxy resin of carbon composites and returned it to the materi-als cycle as a metabolite. At the same time, the carbon fibres can be extracted without damaging them. It is apparent that, in future, quality standards will have to be defined for recycled fibres, so that companies can preserve the value of recycled carbon composite materials and react more effectively to the needs of the industries that re-use them. One sustainable approach could possibly be this recycling method using bio-technology.

Students develop plastic waste recycling process

A group of students Dennon Oosterman, Alex Kay and David Joyce at University of British Colum-bia (UBC), Canada, have developed a plastic recycler, ProtoCycler, to turn plastic waste into the mate-rial needed for 3D printing. With the boost of seed money from a $10,000 student entrepreneur-ship award and an Indiegogo campaign which raised over $100,000, the team spent last year de-veloping their company Renewable Design Technology (ReDeTec), Canada, before launching ProtoCy-cler. “When you’re given this power to create whatever’s in your head by just click-ing a button, you do it, you take your mind up on that offering and you start making things and you find out after the fact, oh, it doesn’t quite fit,” said Oosterman.

Recycling plastic used in 3D printing isn’t as simple as putting it in the recycling bin. Unlike standard plastic bottles and containers stamped with the type of plastic they’re made from, plastics used in 3D printing are unmarked and impossible for recycling depots to determine which type it is. It eventually ends up as waste. “Even if you do recycle your plastic, it is labelled and all of that. It’s still being loaded up on a truck likely powered by diesel, shipped away, processed by huge, massive, energy-hungry factory and shipped back to you,” explained Oosterman. Other materials used in 3D printing include metal, ceramic and wax.

As 3D printing become increasingly widespread among businesses, industries, hobbyists and researchers around the world, the problem of plastic waste from 3D printers is still ahead of its time. It will likely take lar-ger amounts of waste to draw public awareness or lead to regulation. ProtoCycler contains a patented melter that will grind up any used plastic such as bottles and containers into filaments – the plastic coils that are used in printers to produce plastic objects. The team is also aiming to close cost loopholes with their ma-chine.

New process for separating polyolefin

Impact Solutions, the United Kingdom, has developed a new process for separating polyolefins which could bring significant benefits to plastics sorting. The process could bring commercial viability for separating plastic types that are typically left mixed in current processes. “Traditional optical plastic separators cannot see black, which can be up to 30% of some waste streams. That tends to be a rich source of polyolefin, but it is coming out unseparated because we cannot do anything with it under current technology,” said Steve Burns, at Impact Solutions.

Impact Solutions has completed a feasibility study using a baffled oscillation reactor which is tradition-ally used to mix pharmaceutical liquids. The unseparated, chipped polyolefins are fed into the reactor which is filled with water. The reactor then agitates the solution until the denser plastics are separated from those lighter than water (polypropylene and HDPE). The system then splits the lighter fraction into two plastic types, PP and PE. The heavier fraction sinks, giving a third output material.

Burns said that while other systems such as sink/float tanks are currently used, they are unable to separate polyolefins without the use of liquids of differing densities. Due to the expense of these liq-uids, such technologies have not generally been considered commercially viable for separating poly-olefins. The system offers a commercial advantage over current technologies because it uses water for the separation. An additional benefit of the process is that the separated plastic at the end is relatively clean after being held in the water. The system is currently being scaled up for commercial use where it will be able to process one tonne of polyolefin per hour.

Plastic paves way for eco-friendly roads in India

Jamshedpur Utilities and Services Company (JUSCO), a subsidiary of Indian corporate giant TATA Jamshedpur, India’s only comprehensive urban infrastructure services provider has set an ex-ample in recycling for the rest of the country by using plastic waste for road construction. Plastic waste is one of the most prominent sources of environmental pollution. Making the problem worse is the fact that it is hard to dispose of. The initiative which started out as a pilot project is now being replicated across the city and so far 48 to 50 kilometers of roads in the city have been constructed using plastic waste. Plastic bottles, wrappers et al are collected from across the city and brought to 10 collection cen-tres.

The waste is then broken down by shredding it to 2mm to 4mm before processing it further. This initia-tive is a result of a two years research started by JUSCO. “This technique not only improves the quality of roads but also helps rid the city of plastic waste, which was once an enigma. We did a re-search to find out if plastic waste could be recycled in such a way that it could be utilized properly. We started with granulisation of the waste and then mixed it with the bitumen used to make roads, which gave brilliant results. Today all the roads that are constructed in Jamshedpur use 20 to 30 percent of plastic waste mixed with bitumen,” said Ashish Mathur at JUSCO.

Plastic helps bind the road construction mix better resulting in longer lives for roads and also helps in cutting down the overall maintenance cost of a road. Mixing plastic with road mix increases the life of roads by 50 per-cent over regular roads. When a road is constructed, first the aggregate is put in the traumeel and heated at 160 degrees. Shredded plastic is sprayed on it which laminates the aggregate, which reduces the water absorbing capacity of the road to zero. More of plastic in road construction mix means more of bitumen, a natural occurring resource, saved.

A new way to recycle plastic bags

A team of researchers at the University of Illinois (U of I), the United States, has developed a method to turn used plastic bags into diesel fuel. Currently, a reported 100 billion plastic bags are thrown away each year by Americans alone. Tens of thousands of animals – including whales, dolphins, birds, seals, and turtles, to name a few – die from encounters with plastic bags in the oceans, either by getting tangled in the plastic and drowning or by mistaking it for food and eating it.

Plastic can take up to 1,000 years to break down, meaning that even after animals die from ingesting plastic and their bodies decompose, the plastic will again re-enter the environment. Fortunately, the new process developed by U of I researchers allows most of the energy and material used in the manufactur-ing of plastic bags to be reclaimed and used toward future energy production. According to the re-searchers, the process by which they’ve managed to turn the plastic into reusable diesel fuel, unlike other processes by which plastic has been turned into crude oil, results in a very clean form of diesel.

The resulting product is so clean, in fact, that it can be added straight to regular diesel. Of course, this process is very new, and will take some time to perfect. No one is sure exactly whether or not the proc-ess can be ramped up in scale enough to seriously affect the overall plastic problem, but if it can be fine-tuned enough to be even somewhat commercially successful, it will at least be a step in the right direction in combating the problem of plastic waste and offering recycled fuel alternatives.


Chemists crack rare earth metal recycling process

Scientists at University in Leuven (KU Leuven), Belgium, have developed a new process based on ionic liquid technology for recycling rare earth metals europium and yttrium from waste fluorescent and energy saving lamps. The university explained that compared to traditional solvent the ionic liquid has a multitude of advantages, including its selectivity for metal dissolution and its reusability. The recycled metals are said to be directly reusable in new lamps.

KU Leuven noted that for many modern electronic and cleantech applications rare earth elements are indis-pensable, and while rare earths are not actually ‘rare’ as such, they are difficult to mine and to purify. Worldwide there is an increased interest to recycle rare earths from waste streams to mitigate the supply risk. Two critical rare earths, europium and yttrium, are used in red lamp phosphor, a substance which transforms ultraviolet light into red light. This phosphor has been used for more than 40 years in the colour screens of televisions and in the tubes of fluorescent lamps.

“Because it is very difficult to replace the red phosphor with a rare earth free mixture, attention goes out the recyclability of the red phosphor fraction from fluorescent lamps,” said Professor Koen Binnemans at KU Leuven. To tackle this problem, chemists developed an alternative method. In-stead of employing an acid as the solvent, chemists used an ionic liquid which is an organic dissolving agent that consists entirely of ions or electrically loaded particles. “It does not evaporate, it is in-flammable and it works very selectively. The recycled europium and yttrium can be directly re-used,” said David Dupont at KU Leuven.

Process developed to recycle fuel cells

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

Having proven the initial process steps, further research is underway on evaluating the viability for commercial operation and developing a take-back system for end-of-life fuel cells – such as those from forklift trucks, mobile phone masts, electric vehicles and in small portable power packs for laptops and other products. An innovative feature of the project involves design for recycling so the products are easier to recycle in the first place, the partners said. Key challenges involve the collection of widely dis-tributed fuel cells and the technical hurdles presented in material recovery.

Self-destructing devices to help reduce e-waste

Scientists from University of Illinois (U of I), the United States, have developed electronic devices that can self-destruct on demand when heated, a step towards reducing electronic waste and boosting sustain-ability in device manufacturing. They also developed a radio-controlled trigger that could remotely activate self-destruction. “We have demonstrated electronics that are there when you need them and gone when you don’t anymore,” said professor Scott R White at U of I. White’s group teamed up with Frederick Seitz Materials Laboratory, the United States.

The goal is to find ways to disintegrate the devices so that manufacturers can recycle the costly materials used or so that the devices could break down in a landfill, researchers said. The heat-triggered devices use magnesium circuits printed on very thin, flexible materials. The researchers trap microscopic droplets of a weak acid in wax, and coat the devices with the wax. When the devices are heated, the wax melts, releasing the acid, which dissolves it quickly and completely. The speed of degradation is controlled by tuning the thickness of the wax, the concentration of the acid, and the temperature.

Scientists reveal breakthrough for neo magnets

A group of scientists at the University of Pennsylvania, the United States, has hit upon a breakthrough in rare earths recycling, specifically the treatment of metals used to create ‘neo magnets’. They have succeeded in separating neodymium and dysprosium from each other, which could open up fresh po-tential for their recovery from loudspeakers, headphones and even wind turbines. The novel process relies on a special nitroxide ligand that is added to the salts of the metals, explained project leader Dr. Eric J. Schelter. This ligand is an organic molecule that grasps an individual metal ion in a coordination complex like a clamp with ‘three arms’.

If the bound metal ions have a large radius, like neodymium, pairs of these complexes tend to form a dimer; in contrast, complexes with small metal ions like dysprosium barely form any dimers at all. As a result, the neo-dymium complex is ‘50 times more soluble’ in benzene than the dysprosium complex. With a ‘minimal amount’ of benzene, the researchers managed to leach the neodymium complex out of a 1:1 mixture to around 95% purity. “The solid left behind contained about 95% of the dys-prosium complex,” the scientists noted. According to Schelter, it is possible to increase the purity of both fractions after further purification steps with benzene. This innovative technique may also be applied to various other rare-earth elements.

New method to extract indium from LCD screens

Scientists at Tsinghua University’s School of Environment, China, have found a new method to recover indium from used liquid crystal display (LCD) screens. For the past 18 months, the team has been exploring crushing and grinding methods that have yielded LCD glass particles of less than 75 micrometres in size. These were then soaked in a sulphuric acid solution at a temperature of 50°C.

“We found that the leaching process could largely modify the raw material and enhance its activation for further recovery. All the obtained results and findings could contribute to affording a closed-loop recycling process for waste LCDs and sustainable development of indium industries,” the group said. They ar-gue that the recycling of LCD screens is quickly becoming a ‘hot issue’, not least because in-dium deposits are expected to reach a dangerously low level just 20 years from now.

Meanwhile, up to 100 million LCD screens are expected to be thrown away between 2014 and 2020. Accord-ing to a report by the United Nations University, China recycled 1.3 million tonnes, or 28% of its e-scrap via ‘authorised’ channels in 2013. E-scrap generation in the whole of Asia totalled 16 million tonnes last year, with China ranking first on 6 million tonnes.

Bringing used batteries back from the dead

Batteroo Inc., the United States, has devised a new product that will revolutionise the battery industry. “All the batteries you used to throw away had only used 20% of their battery life. Our stainless steel sleeve allows you to extend the life of your batteries up to eight times,” claimed the Silicon Val-ley start-up. Most new batteries contain 1.5 V of energy when first bought but most devices stop functioning at around the 1.3 V mark. Its ‘Batteriser’ sleeve uses micro-circuitry and is only 0.1 mm thick, and so fits conveniently into devices’ battery compartments.

“We have tested the Batteriser in our lab and can confirm that it taps into the 80% of energy that is still trapped inside – energy that is usually thrown away,” said Dr. Kiumars Parvin of San José State University, the United States. The new clip-on tool is suitable for AA, AAA, C and D battery variants and is designed to be reused multiple times. The technology behind the voltage booster has been around for some time, observed Bob Roohparvar, one of the electrical engineers who invented the product.

“The key is we’ve been able to miniaturise the boost circuit to a point that no-one else has been able to achieve,” Roohparvar added. This innovation could spell bad news for a world battery industry worth nearly US$ 90 billion. It also has the potential, to shrink the annual volume of battery waste in landfills by a factor of eight. Contact: Batteroo Inc., 310 De Guigne Dr, Sunnyvale, CA, 94085, United States.


New method to remove cyanide from wastewater

Chemists at the University of Amsterdam (UvA), The Netherlands, have discovered a new method for removing cyanide from the waste water of steel mills. The removal of cyanide from such water is expen-sive, but essential. Paula Oulego Blanco, Dr. Raveendran Shiju and Prof. Gadi Rothenberg from the UvA’s Sustainable Chemistry research priority area discovered a way to do this faster, cheaper and more efficiently. The group first tested the new catalyst in the laboratory using a ‘cocktail’ of simulated waste water.

When that proved to be a success, the researchers repeated the experiments and the measurements with waste water from a steel mill. Here, too, they found a reduction of 90%. The invention per-tains to a heterogeneous catalyst. This is a solid material that does not dissolve and is not consumed during the process. This means that a small amount of catalyst can be used to purify large amounts of waste water. The intimate reactions at the catalyst surface are still unknown, as is the case in many solid-catalysed reactions.

The UvA has filed a patent application that will be made available to the steel-making industry. Rothen-berg’s research group has patented several different catalysts over the past few years. Some of these are now applied by the chemical industry, while others form the basis for start-up companies or bilateral collaborations. Steel is one of the most widely used materials on earth. Its ubiquity in everyday life makes its absence almost unimaginable. The production of steel has an impact on the environment, and steel-making companies are continuously trying to improve their environmental performance and in-vest in new technologies to achieve this goal.

Researchers develop new filtering technology

Researchers from Chinese Academy of Engineering, in coordination with Nanjing Technological Uni-versity, China, have developed a filtering technology solution that can result in zero discharge of waste-water. The water treatment technology has already been implemented by Jiangsu Oji Paper to turn 32,000 tonnes of its discharged wastewater into clean water, industrial salt and dried mud. “Zero discharge of pulping wastewater is unprecedented,” said Oshima Tadashi at Jiangsu Oji.

Xu Nanping of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, with his team worked for nine months for the innova-tion. “The reuse of reclaimed water is of great value, especially for the Yangtze basin and regions short of water,” said Xu. Paper producing facilities are considered as major polluters all over the world since waste discharges into rivers or the sea are common with them. The Oji plant also intended to dis-charge its wastes into the Yellow Sea through a pipeline, which was opposed by residents of the coastal ar-eas.

This wastewater recycling technology has cost the firm nearly 50% of the estimated expenses for the proposed pipeline construction. Operational costs for the technology are also claimed to be 30% less. A local water treatment company has been responsible for operating the technology for the paper manufacturing facility since the start of 2014. Presently, 12,000 tonnes of reclaimed water produced through the technology at the water treatment firm is purchased by Oji Paper every day. Other firms also use the reclaimed water produced through this wastewater treatment method.

Next-gen water filter gets patent

Somenath Mitra, a distinguished professor at New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT), the United States, has been awarded a patent for a next-generation water desalination and purification technology that uses uniquely absorbent carbon nanotubes to remove salt and pollutants from brackish water and in-dustrial effluent for reuse by businesses and households. Mitra’s new carbon nanotube immobilized membrane (CNIM) is an energy-efficient device designed to filter higher concentrations of salt than is cur-rently feasible through reverse osmosis, one of the standard industry processes. It is also used to remove pollutants such as volatile organic compounds (VOCs) – chemicals routinely used in solvents – from wa-ter.

Mitra’s distillation process runs on energy-efficient fuels such as waste heat, an industrial by-product, and solar energy. Membrane distillation is a water desalination process in which heated salt water passes through a tube-like membrane, called a hollow fiber, which allows only pure water vapor to permeate its walls. Potable water emerges from the net flux of water vapor which moves from the warm to the cool side of the membrane where it condenses. Certain industries such as semiconductor manu-facturing and pharmaceutical processing also require ultra-pure water for their operations.

Mitra, has created a novel architecture for the membrane distillation process by immobilizing carbon nanotubes, which are an atom thick and about 10,000 times smaller than a human hair in diameter, in the membrane pores. In the case of fracking, the fresh water and chemicals that are pumped into the ground to release natural gas trapped beneath rocks absorb high concentrations of salt from the soil they pass through before returning as polluted water in need of treatment. Reverse osmosis, which re-lies on power-driven pump pressure to force water through a membrane, is not commonly used to treat this so-called produced water because it typically contains very high concentrations of salt, requiring extremely high pressure.

New method to remove bacteria from wastewater

Recently a PhD student Raphael Flavigny from Murdoch University, Australia, has developed a process normally used to make bioplastic, to remove carbon from wastewater, slashing the amount of energy needed for the treatment process. In conventional treatments the bacteria in wastewater is aerated with air bubbled through the sludge, so bacteria can be activated to ‘eat’ the pollutants. However, it is a difficult and costly process because of the amount of energy needed for the transfer of oxygen. In the new process, researchers used specific poly-hydroxy-alkanoate (PHA) accumulating bacteria in conditions where it was starved of oxygen, so the bacteria stored the pollutants to ‘eat’ later when oxygen was avail-able.

“So they have these pollutants inside which they have removed from the wastewater, so it no longer contains the organic carbon. We then allow oxygen in the atmosphere to transfer to the bacterial biomass the bacteria will then remove the pollutants or burn the ‘fat’ they have stored in-side, in order to grow to be able to get the energy for the next time they are in contact with the pollut-ants. It is a bit like a lung—the oxygen comes in to the lung and it is in contact with the blood vessel in the body which transfers the oxygen to the blood vessel,” said Mr Flavigny.

The process was tested in a Murdoch laboratory, using a reactor filled with synthetic wastewater and maintained under anaerobic conditions for two hours. The reactor was drained to allow air to penetrate the biofilm within the reactor. Scientists used the same organisms to produce bioplastic which is a by-product of the process. However, the processes’ application only removes carbon pollutants not the nitrates and phosphates from wastewater. In Perth then, it is currently most suited to treating wastewater from breweries where carbon is the main pollutant.

Engineers purify wastewater in 2.5 minutes

A group of engineers from the Jhostoblak Corporate, Mexico, have created technology to recover and purify seawater or wastewater from households, hotels, hospitals, commercial and industrial fa-cilities, regardless of the content of pollutants and microorganisms in just 2.5 minutes. The system, PQUA, works with a mixture of dissociating elements, capable of separating and removing all con-taminants, as well as organic and inorganic pollutants. “The methodology is founded on molecularly dissociating water pollutants to recover the minerals necessary and sufficient in order for the human body to function properly nourished,” the researchers explained.

Notably, the engineers developed eight dissociating elements, and after extensive testing on different types of contaminated water, implemented a unique methodology that indicates what and how much of each element should be combined. The corporation has a pilot plant in its offices that was used to dem-onstrate the purification process, which uses gravity to save energy. The residual water in the container is pumped to the reactor tank, where it receives a dosing of the dissociating elements in predetermined amounts.

In this phase, solid, organic and inorganic matter and heavy metals are removed by precipitation and gravity; a sludge settles at the bottom of the reactor. This is removed and examined to determine if it is suitable to use as fertilizer or manufacture construction materials. Subsequently, the water is conducted to a clarifier tank, to remove the excess charge of dissolved elements; then the liquid reaches a filter to remove turbidity and is finally passed by polishing tank that eliminates odors, colors and flavors. The treated water is transported to a container where ozone is added to ensure its purity, and finally is ready to drink. Indeed, the resulting liquid is fresh, odorless and has a neutral taste.

Researchers develop catalysts for wastewater treatment

A research team from Carnegie Mellon University, the United States, has created catalysts which effectively and safely remove a potent and dangerous endocrine disruptor from wastewater. Chemist Terrence J. Collins’ research team and collaborators led by Susan Jobling and Rak Kanda from Brunel University London, U.K., have found that the catalysts could be a viable option for large-scale water treatment. As pharmaceutical use has skyrocketed, especially in first-world countries, the amount of drugs released into the water system through wastewater has dramatically increased. Medi-cations designed to disrupt the endocrine system, such as birth control pills and some breast and pros-tate cancer drugs, can be found in close to 25% of the world’s streams, rivers and lakes.

Studies have shown that these compounds have an adverse effect on the health of wildlife. In many cases, male fish in these polluted water sources undergo a process called feminization, which is an indi-cator that estrogenic contaminants are present in the water. Prolonged exposure to these female hor-mones can cause males to develop eggs in their testes and leads to the decline of fish populations. Con-ventional wastewater treatment systems are unable to fully remove many of the harmful chemicals found in today’s pharmaceuticals, pesticides and other products. Advanced processes installed at the end of wastewater treatment plants, have been shown to be effective options for reducing micropollut-ants, but the high financial and energy costs of incorporating these have limited their adoption.

Collins has developed a group of catalysts called TAML activators that offer an alternative treatment option. TAMLs are small molecules that mimic oxidizing enzymes. When combined with hydrogen peroxide, TAML activators very effectively break down harmful chemicals in water. To test the effec-tiveness and safety of these catalysts, Collins teamed up with the Brunel research team, who are world-class experts in aquatic toxicity and wastewater treatment. The research group also applied TAML activators to samples of water processed by municipal wastewater plants from the U.K. They found that the TAMLs were able to break down EE2 and other estrogenic compounds and micropol-lutants in the water.

Wastewater treatment to capture carbon dioxide

Engineers at the University of Colorado Boulder have developed an innovative wastewater treatment process that not only mitigates carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, but actively captures green-house gases as well.The treatment method, known as Microbial Electrolytic Carbon Capture (MECC), purifies wastewater in an environmentally-friendly fashion by using an electrochemical reaction that ab-sorbs more CO2 than it releases while creating renewable energy in the process.

“This energy-positive, carbon-negative method could potentially contain huge benefits for a number of emission-heavy industries,” said Zhiyong Jason Ren, an associate professor of Civil, Environmental, and Architectural Engineering at CU-Boulder and senior author of the new study, which was recently published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology.

The process transforms CO2 into stable mineral carbonates and bicarbonates that can be used as raw materials by the construction industry, used as a chemical buffer in the wastewater treat-ment cycle itself or used to counter acidity downstream from the process such as in the ocean.The reac-tion also yields excess hydrogen gas, which can be stored and harnessed as energy in a fuel cell.

The findings offer the possibility that wastewater could be treated effectively on-site without the risks or costs typically associated with disposal. Further research is needed to determine the optimal MECC system design and assess the potential for scalability.“The results should be viewed as a proof-of-concept with promising implications for a wide range of industries,” said Ren.


Students study solution to marine pollution

In a research project titled ‘microbial bioremediation of effluents’ to clear oil spills in fresh water and the marine environment, a group of final year students including Sanjana Chiplunkar, Sandhya Kamath, Shiny Martis B and Aparna K Mohan conducted a study under the guidance of Dr. C Vaman Rao, professor and head from Nitte Mahalinga Adyanthaya Memorial Institute of Technology (NMAMIT), India, has won the first prize at a national level competition with a cash reward of Rs 50,000. The competition was or-ganised by Joy of Engineering, Design and Innovation (JED-I), India, in association with Indian Institute of Science (IIS), India.

Dr. Rao said that in the study a bacterium (Brevibacterium sp. MTCC10313) was found in coffee pulp. The bacterium had a plasmid – a small, circular, double-stranded DNA molecule. The study showed that the bac-terium grew in the medium supplemented with increasing concentrations of metal solutions for 24 hours. The tolerance limit of bacterium to different metals was found to be 900 parts per million (ppm) in lead, 2,000 in copper, 800 in manganese, 15 in cadmium, 10 in mercury and 250 in lithium respectively. One part per mil-lion is one milligram (mg) in 1,000 millilitres (ml).

“The study was also conducted in marine water. It showed that the bacterium had the power to absorb lead on to its surface and trap lead in gelatinous secretion of the bacterium. A study was also carried out to see the bioremediation of petroleum crude oil (PCO). The study also indicated that bacterium is a halophile (organisms that thrive in high salt concentrations) and could be used effectively to clear oil spills in marine environment. The investigation also showed the potential of Brevibacterium to be used as an effective agent for the biodegradation of PCO and bioabsorption of lead from the environmental samples,” said Dr. Rao.

Scientists invent an oil spill cleanup chemical

In a new study, a group of chemists at Tulane University, the United States, and City College of New York (CUNY), the United States, just announced the development of the first class of “eco-friendly, biodegradable, and plant-based [oil] herders,” said George John, a chemist at CUNY who’s part of the research team. The inexpensive new oil herder is chiefly made of plant-sourced phytol (a key component of chlorophyll), which already exists in great abundance in the natural marine environment thanks to organisms like green algae.

“We’ve tested our chemical in room temperature, cold, ice, and hot water, as well as different salinity levels of water. In every case our chemical works with exactly the same results and efficiency as do the silicon-based herders. Normally, you need these herders to work and keep oil contracted for maybe 10 to 15 minutes before you can start a fire. Our chemical starts [biodegrading] in around a few hours, and com-pletely [degrades] in maybe two weeks to a month,” said John.

Like soap, John’s biodegradable chemicals break up and drop the surface tension dramatically, mak-ing the oil prefer to clump together rather than spread out. The chemical does this by forming a hyper-thin single-molecule layer, which, on a molecular level, looks a little bit like millions of pins poking out of the wa-ter. The sharp body of each pin is the plant-sourced phytol molecule, and the head is a simple sugar mole-cule or harmless amino acid. After a few hours, the connection between the head and the body of the mo-lecular pin will break down, causing both parts to dissolve into the ocean’s water column.

Researcher finds slick solution to oil spills

Recently, a researcher Deeksha Gupta from Bengaluru, India, has become the cynosure of global envi-ronmental agencies and multi-billion dollar petroleum corporations who have to often grapple with crude oil spill disasters in the oceans. She and her team members have developed the first eco-friendly biodegradable green ‘herding’ agent that can clean up crude oil spills without harming the marine biodiversity under and surrounding the oil slick. This is considered a welcome breakthrough as the currently-used sili-cone-based herding agents, although considered highly effective, its adverse impact on marine life is not known to scientists as yet.

Herding agents are chemical compounds used to retract thin oil slicks to thick masses which can then be burnt in-situ to clean the waters. This action is performed at least 15 km from the seashore and mini-mizes the long term risk of persistent toxicity on marine life. “Our green herder is derived from the plant-based molecule phytol and this is the first eco-friendly alternative to the silicone-based chemical herd-ers which are currently used to treat oil spills caused by tanker crashes and explosions at drilling sites. Unlike the silicone-based chemical herders that stay in the marine ecosystem for several years, our phytol-based herder degrades completely within a month and poses no threat to the marine biota in the long-run,” said Gupta.

The greatest challenge her team was faced was with regards to finding background literature. The team worked on phytol, a natural molecule that is produced by the marine plants that are abundantly available just below the surface of the water. “This molecule was evaluated with regards to varying temperatures and water salinity; it has been found to be versatile and comparative to silicone-based herder by increasing the thickness of oil slick up to ∼1000% making it easy to burn. The phytol-based herder comes as a relief to environmentalists who had expressed concern about the impact of herders on the marine bi-ota,” said Gupta.

Engineer invents unique biotechnology

An engineer and inventor Ibrahim Alalim based in Saudi Arabia, has come up with a new biotechnology to break down the composition of any animal fat, crude oil or any petrochemical product. “This bio-technology involves a liquid extract from vegetables that could be instrumental in coming up with products that will be useful in cleaning utensils, floors and marble,” said Alalim. Explaining the biotechnology, the inventor said that it involves what he calls “Al-Raheef,” a liquid extract from a vegetable.

Al-Raheef means “very elegant” in Arabic. He did not name the vegetable since he had not yet registered the patent with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), Switzerland, where had ear-lier worked for 20 years in the 1980s. Al-Raheef in liquid form is responsible for decomposing any fat into its smallest particles to get rid of it. To demonstrate how the biotechnology works, Alalim poured five grams of Al-Raheef to 95 grams of gasoline and shook it hard. After two minutes the brown-colored gasoline changed to a white creamy substance. It was no longer gasoline, which could also be used in cleaning up oil spills at sea or on land.

Plants help clean up oil

A team of biologists from Tulane University, the United States, has found that oil-eating bacteria grew rapidly within salt marsh cordgrass following the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The plants form a first line of defense against coastal erosion. In this study, researchers focused on the little-known communities of fungi and bacteria living symbiotically within these plants.

According to Van Bael, plants have been used for pollution cleanup for years and will be useful in the future. These kinds of symbioses evolved over millions of years, and they were probably important for plants even to make it onto land. Endophytes, or bacteria and fungi living within plant tissues, have growth-promoting properties, or they can produce hormones or metabolites that help plants deal with stresses like drought or salinity.

Research has shown that endophyte communities change when plants experience environmental stress, and this may affect the plants’ ability to survive. The Tulane team collected plants from sites that had been oiled and from nearby areas without oil. “We found a big shift in the endophyte community in plants that grew up with oil. The fungi normally found in leaves were nearly gone, and in the roots there was a shift toward more species of bacteria known for breaking down oil,” said Van Bael.


New recycling process turns exhaust gases into fuel

Carbon monoxide-rich exhaust gases from steel plants are only being reclaimed to a minor extent as power or heat. However, researchers from Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology (IME), Germany, have developed a new recycling process by which these exhaust fumes can be reclaimed and recycled into fuels and specialty chemicals. They successfully produced fuel and specialty chemicals from these exhaust gases on a laboratory scale. With the aid of genetically modified bacterial strains, the research team ferments the gas into alcohols and acetone, convert both substances catalytically into a kind of intermediary diesel product, and from this they produce kerosene and special chemicals.

“From our viewpoint, the quantities of carbon alone – which rise as smoke from the Duisburg steelworks as carbon dioxide – would suffice to cover the entire need for kerosene of a major airline. Of course, we still have got a bit to go to reach this vision. But we have demonstrated on the laboratory scale that this concept works and could be of interest commercially. In addition to the exhaust gases, syngas – similar gas mixtures from home and industrial waste incineration – can also be used for the engineered process,” said Stefan Jennewein of IME, who is coordinating the project.

The biochemists at IME use syngas – a mixture of carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide and hydrogen – as a carbon resource for fermentation. Using bacterial strains of the Clostridium species, the syngas transforms either into short-chain alcohols like butanol and hexanol, or into acetone. To do so, IME engi-neered new genetic processes for the efficient integration of large gene clusters in the Clostridium genome. At the same time, Fraunhofer further expanded its syngas fermentation system and used it for experiments with the steel and chemicals industry. Contact: M. A. Sabine Dzuck, Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME, Forckenbeckstr. 6, 52074 Aachen, Germany. Tel: +49-241-6085-13354.

Patent for system to convert waste gases to steam

Ener-Core, Inc., the United States, the world’s only provider of Power Oxidation technology and equipment that generates clean power from low-quality and waste gases from a wide variety of industries, has obtained a U.S. patent (no. 9,017,618) for a system that converts waste gases into steam or heat for industrial uses. As Ener-Core’s 18th patent issued, it further strengthens the Company’s intellectual property, and is the first out of many to focus on the Power Oxidizer’s generation of steam rather than electricity as the end-product. Ener-Core’s technology converts waste gases into heat, while at the same time prevent-ing those gases from being released into the atmosphere.

A turbine can then use this heat and convert it into useful electricity, and this forms the basis under which Ener-Core already installed several of its turbine-based systems and secured a global license agreement with Dresser-Rand. Under this agreement, Dresser-Rand and Ener-Core are coupling Dresser-Rand’s KG2 gas turbines with Ener-Core’s Power Oxidizer, thereby enabling Dresser-Rand’s industrial cus-tomers to generate useful, clean electricity from the gases that most customers have historically been flaring. Alternatively, a steam boiler can utilize the heat generated by the Power Oxidizer, and convert it into steam, which is typically an expensive resource within many industrial plants. The new patent is Ener-Core’s first to specifically claim the steam conversion capability of its Power Oxidizer.

“Steam is a necessary source of energy for many processes within large industrial facilities, such as chemical plants and refineries. Today, most of the industries requiring steam within their industrial processes must spend a significant amount of capital to purchase fossil fuels, or biomass-based fuels, to generate the on-site steam for their facilities. Yet these same industries also generate waste gases that are flared off in order to comply with environmental policies. Similar to our currently operating electricity-generating power stations, our future products for generating steam will enable many industries to significantly reduce their fuel costs by using their waste gases as the fuel to generate steam for their industrial facilities,” said Alain Castro, at Ener-Core.

Low pressure exhaust gas recirculation system

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Marine Machinery and Engine Co. Ltd. (MHI-MME), Japan, and Mitsubishi Kakoki Kaisha Ltd., Japan, have confirmed their Low Pressure Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) system complies with IMO NOx Tier III regulations after performance confirmation tests. The company said this low-pressure EGR system is developed under the Class NK’s “Joint R&D for Industry Pro-gram” and is the world’s first effort for marine low speed two-stroke diesel engines.

MHI-MME said the system can change combustion conditions inside an engine and suppress NOx generation by means of recirculating a part of low pressure exhaust gas emitted from an engine turbo-charger outlet to a turbocharger intake after being scrubbed by the EGR scrubber. Its advantage is that it keeps both initial and running costs lower than a high pressure EGR system, which utilizes high temperature and high-pressure exhaust gas. Testing in April 2015 confirmed that fuel oil consumption and NOx performance satisfied requirements. MHI-MME will install the engine in a 34 000 DWT bulk carrier owned by Shikishima Kisen K.K. and now being built at Hakodate Dock Co. Ltd., Japan.

Patented SO2 scrubbing system

Developed by Shell Cansolv, The Netherlands, the new SO2 scrubbing system uses an aqueous amine solution to achieve highly efficient, selective absorption of sulphur dioxide (SO2) from post combustion flue-gases. This patented technology is a highly flexible system and is adaptable to a wide variety of industrial applications, gas flow rates and SO2 concentrations. The CANSOLV SO2 Scrubbing System controls emissions and captures additional by-product value from the SO2 emitted in various flue gas streams, such as those generated by fluidised catalytic cracking units, process heaters and boilers, sulphur plants and spent acid regeneration units.

The SO2 can be recycled to the sulphur recovery unit to produce marketable sulphur or it can be converted to sulphuric acid in a sulphuric acid unit and sold into acid markets. Licensed units treating gas flow rates from 4,000 to 486,000 Nm3/h and SO2 concentrations from 800 to 12,000 vppm are op-erating successfully, and units are under construction to process up to 1,750,000 Nm3/hr of flue gas. SO2 emissions below 20 ppmv can be achieved with base design configuration, and with minimal effluent production. Moreover, the system has been designed for reliability: five years’ uninterrupted run time has been achieved.

In certain applications, it can also help to enhance margins. For instance, in sulphur recovery unit applications, capacity can be increased by over 12%. Moreover, marketable by-products are recovered; high-quality SO2, sulphur and sulphuric acid and there is no solid waste. CANSOLV SO2 Scrubbing System benefits includes:
  • High performance – sulphur recovery efficiency of 99.9+%;
  • SO2 emissions as low as 10 ppmv;
  • Lower operating costs than traditional FGDs; and
  • Low Capex cost sensitivity to changing sulphur content in fuel or process raw materials.

A better way of scrubbing carbon dioxide

A team of researchers with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) has discovered means by which the removal of carbon dioxide (CO2) from coal-fired power plants might one day be done far more efficiently and at far lower costs than today. By appending a diamine molecule to the sponge-like solid materials known as metal-organic-frameworks (MOFs), the research-ers were able to more than triple the CO2-scrubbing capacity of the MOFs, while significantly reducing parasitic energy.

“We’ve shown that diamine-appended MOFs can function as phase-change CO2 adsorbents, with unusual step-shaped CO2 adsorption isotherms that shift markedly with tempera-ture and result in a much higher separation capacity. The step-shaped adsorption isotherms are the product of an unprecedented cooperative process in which CO2 molecules insert into metal-amine bonds, inducing a reorganization of the amines into well-ordered chains of ammonium carbamate,” said Jef-frey Long, at Berkeley Lab. Details on this research are reported in a paper published in the journal Nature.

Approximately 13 billion tons of CO2 are released into the atmosphere each year as a result of burning coal for the production of electricity. These carbon emissions are major contributors to global climate change and the acidification of our planet’s oceans. However, given that the United States holds the world’s largest estimated recoverable reserves of coal, coal-burning power plants will continue to be a ma-jor source of our nation’s electricity generation for the foreseeable future. This makes the wide-spread im-plementation of carbon capture and storage technologies at coal-fired power plants an imperative. By altering their composition, MOFs can be tailored to serve as highly effective storage vessels for capturing and containing car-bon dioxide.


Safe management of wastes from health-care activities

This handbook provides comprehensive guidance on safe, efficient, and environmentally sound methods for the handling and disposal of health-care wastes in normal situations and emergencies. Future issues such as cli-mate change and the changing patterns of diseases and their impacts on health-care waste management are also discussed. The handbook pays particular attention to basic processes and technologies that are not only safe, but also affordable, sustainable, and culturally appropriate.

Contact: World Health Organization, Avenue Appia 20, 1211 Geneva 27, Switzerland. Tel: + 41-227-912-111; Fax: +41-227-913-111; E-mail:

Sewage Treatment Plants: Economic Evaluation of Innovative Technologies for Energy Efficiency

The book aims to show how cost saving can be achieved in sewage treatment plants through implementa-tion of novel, energy efficient technologies or modification of the conventional, energy demanding treatment facili-ties towards the concept of energy streamlining. The book brings together knowledge from engineering, econom-ics, utility management and practice and helps to provide a better understanding of the real economic value with methodologies and practices about innovative energy technologies and policies in sewage treatment plants.

Contact: IWA Publishing, Alliance House, 12 Caxton Street, London, SW1H 0QS, UK. Tel: +44-207-654-5500; Fax: +44-207-654-5555; E-mail:

Handbook of Oil Spill Science and Technology

The book provides a scientific basis for the cleanup and for the assessment of oil spills. It enables non-scientific officers to understand the science they use on a daily basis. The book provides a multi-disciplinary ap-proach covering fields as diverse as biology, microbiology, chemistry, physics, oceanography and toxicology. It covers the science of oil spills from risk analysis to cleanup and through the effects on the environment.

Contact: John Wiley & Sons Singapore Pte. Ltd., 1 Fusionopolis Walk, #07-01 Solaris South Tower, Singapore 138628. Tel: +65-6643-8333; Fax: +65-6643-8397; E-mail:


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