VATIS Update Waste Management . Mar-Apr 2008

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Waste Management Mar-Apr 2008

ISSN: 0971-5665

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

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China bans free plastic bags

In China, the government has ordered a ban on the production, sale and use of ultra-thin bags from June 2008. Supermarkets and shops will be banned from giving free plastic bags to customers from that date, but they can sell the plastic bags. In a circular posted on the central government’s website, the General Office of the State Council China said it will encourage shoppers to use fewer plastic bags. The circular said the Commerce Ministry is in discussion with the National Development and Reform Commission – the top economic planner of the country – on detailed regulations on paid use of plastic bags. Grassroots citizens’ movement in China – such as the Plastic Bags Reduction Network – has been campaigning to eliminate plastic bags.

Ahead of the national directive, the province of Shenzhen announced in November 2007 that it was considering placing a fee on the use of plastic bags, with fines from US$ 667 to US$6,667 for retailers who gave them away for free. However, experts said it might take time for consumers to adapt to the new rule, as they have long been taking free plastic bags for granted as a convenience retailers were supposed to offer. Meanwhile, ultra-thin plastic bags are banned in passenger trains, vessels, buses, planes, stations, airports and scenic spots.


Dealing with e-waste

A recent report on the state of electronic waste (e-waste) management in India, released jointly by the Manufacturers’ Association of Information Technology (MAIT) and the German agency for Technical Co-operation (GTZ), makes some shocking, yet predictable, revelations. As many as 94 per cent of all organizations surveyed for the study, including corporate houses, don’t have any policy on the disposal, let alone safe discarding, of obsolete electrical and electronic appliances that contain metals and other elements highly hazardous to human health and to the environment. Where individual users of the information technology (IT) tools are concerned, the situation is equally bad. About 30 per cent of such users do not even know of the e-waste menace.

India is assumed to have generated 330,000 tonnes of e-waste in 2007 alone, besides unlawfully importing 50,000 t of hazardous material. The problem can only increase as annual waste generation is set to swell to 470,000 t by 2011, according to the pioneering study. India does not have a specific legislation to deal with e-waste; it is governed by the rules framed under the Environment Protection Act for handling hazardous wastes of different kinds and these rules are not being enforced effectively. As a result, much of the e-waste that is generated continues to be handled and treated along with other waste materials.


Hong Kong penalizes imported waste

An amendment regulation tabled to Hong Kong’s Legislative Council on 30 January 2008 prescribes a new application fee from 1 April 2008 for authorization to dispose of imported non-hazardous waste. According to the Environmental Protection Department, the new fee as set out in the gazetted Waste Disposal (Permits and Licences) (Fees) (Amendment) Regulation 2008 is aimed to tighten controls on the disposal of imported non-hazardous waste.

Under the new control regime, anyone who intends to dispose of any imported non-hazardous waste at designated waste disposal facilities such as landfills must apply for an authorization from the Director of Environmental Protection. The application fee for the authorization will require to cover the full administrative processing costs. The applicant must also bear the full cost of waste disposal at the department’s waste facilities if authorization is given.

Authorization will not be granted unless the applicant can prove the waste was originally imported for recycling and that the applicant has exhausted all possible recycling outlets and all means to return the waste to its place of origin. By imposing these stringent conditions, the new measure will help deter the deliberate import of unwanted waste into for disposal under the guise of recycling and conserve the city’s valuable landfill capacity. Disposal of imported non-hazardous waste without authorization will attract a fine and six months in jail on the first conviction and a fine and a two-year jail term on second and subsequent convictions.


Recycling of old phones in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka’s top cell phone company, Dialog Telekom, wants to collect a million old cell phones and recycle them in the next two years in a new initiative which will keep hazardous heavy metals from contaminating the environment, officials said. Cell phone batteries, for example, have heavy metals such as lead, nickel and cadmium. The company wants to collect 130 tonnes of these “m-waste” by 2010. “In Sri Lanka, there are about 10 million mobile phones, and mobile phones become obsolete in 2-3 years,” says Mr. Michael de Soyza from Dialog who heads the project. Though some are handed down to others, eventually they are discarded and are disposed of through the garbage collection system, he added.

For every phone or accessory handed over, the company will contribute some money to a fund to buy toys for needy children. Dialog Chief Mr. Hans Wijesuriya says the discarded “m-waste” would be stored in a containment facility certified by the Sri Lankan authority and shipped to a specialist recycler either in Singapore or the United Kingdom. Sri Lanka’s Central Environmental Authority (CEA) is now conducting a survey on electronic waste and will call for proposals to set up a disposal facility in Sri Lanka in two years after registering sellers and other parties involved in the electronic equipment sector, says its head Mr. Udaya Gammanpila.


Malaysian firm signs MoU on waste treatment projects

Wijaya Baru Global Berhad, Malaysia, has signed several memoranda of understanding (MoU) with Ho Chi Minh City (HCM City) in Viet Nam to carry out feasibility studies for four environmental and waste treatment projects. According to the MoU signed with the city’s Department of Communications & Public Works, Wijaya Baru will conduct feasibility studies for three projects – the construction of the Nhieu LocThi Nghe Canal wastewater treatment plant, the elevated highway route No. 2 and the environmental hygiene project for Son, Bong, Lang and basins, and Van Thanh canals.

As per the MoU signed with the Department of Natural Resources and Environment, the Malaysian group will carry out feasibility studies for a waste treatment, incineration and garbage collection project. The feasibility studies will be completed in six months.


Japan to end dumping in landfills

In Japan, the Environment Ministry has decided to boost annual power generation from waste by 50 per cent over five years, through fiscal 2012, as well as stop direct dumping into landfills as part of its efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. By expanding waste power generation, the Ministry aims to reduce the use of fossil fuels. Under the new plan, electricity would be produced with the heat from the incineration of waste. There will not be any new emission of carbon dioxide owing to power generation.


Pakistan project for solid waste disposal

The Environment Protection Agency (EPA), Pakistan, is preparing a project aimed at the proper disposal of solid waste in three major cities of NWFP. According to the Director General of EPA, Dr. Muhammad Bashir, the federal government had launched a project “Integrated Solid Waste and Effluent Management System in Urban Cities of NWFP” under the Mid-Term Development Framework 2005-2010. Dr. Bashir said the project work would start after its proposal is approved by the Executive Committee of National Economic Commission (ECNEC). Close to 80 per cent of solid waste will be disposed of properly in these cities.

Under the project, tractors, hoist trucks, containers, hand carts and litter bins will be provided to district governments and municipal administrations for solid waste collection. Landfills will be selected in these cities for dumping of waste. At a later stage, EPA will work on the utilization of solid waste as an alternative energy source by generating methane gas from it.


HCMC to establish waste recycling fund

The People’s Committee of Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC), Viet Nam, has decided to set up a waste recycling fund to grant loans to experimental projects and action plans in areas of waste reduction and recycling management.

The HCMC Waste Recycling Fund (REFU) has a charter capital of US$ 3.1 million financed by the city’s budget. It can solicit additional contributions from domestic and foreign individuals and agencies. REFU will co-ordinate activities related to clean development projects, with the goal of increasing the efficiency of natural resources usage. Loan duration depends on the specifics of each plan, but will have a maximum running time of seven years. The fund is under the municipal department of natural resources and environment.



All-in-one plastic recycling

Omnia Recycling, the United Kingdom, reports to have developed new technology that allows it to recycle different types of plastic in one go. The company, which plans to open a new factory, claims that normally different types of plastics have to be recycled separately, resulting in high costs. However, the company’s new method processes all types of plastic together without the need for segregation in either form or shape. Bales of mixed plastic are loaded into a shredder and then torn apart before any rogue non-plastic items are removed. The subsequent process is being kept secret. For every tonne of material brought in, 1 tonne of recycled plastic is created. The recycled product can then be used as a wood substitute to make things such as fence posts and seats.


Improved granulation of PET bottles

Nuga, a Switzerland-based manufacturer of plastics granulators and accessories, has further developed its compact CentriCut 44slr range designed for demanding PET bottle applications. Whole bottles or bottle pieces are fed by conveyor belt into the CentriCut, which converts them into flakes. The machine’s long-life rotor and stator blades consist of sintered carbide metal plates that have been specially developed for use in the abrasive PET granulation process. Throughputs of several hundred tonnes are possible without the blades needing to be turned.

A horizontal screw arrangement is used to feed the PET bottles into the granulator rotor, thereby offering large-volume and low-bulk-density intake of material, as well as fast delivery of output material. The short residence time eliminates thermal burden on the ground material and leads to low blade wear, low specific energy consumption and throughputs of up to 3,000 kg/h depending on PET bottle type and on the geometry of the screen perforation used. Contact: Nuga AG, Balgach, Switzerland. Tel: +41 (71) 7200 040; Fax: +41 (71) 7200 045; E-mail:; Website: www.


EPS recycling unit

Plastic Packaging Recovery (PPR) Europe Ltd., Ireland, is installing a plastic recycling machine for recycling expanded polystyrene (EPS) fish boxes at Billingsgate Market, the United Kingdom. The Clean Heat Packer model E20-K23 is manufactured in Japan for the Pana Chemical Company. Developed in Japan and distributed throughout Europe by PPR Europe, the machine is the most widely used such equipment in Japan where more than 2,000 units are installed.

Clean Heat Packer systems installed at Tokyo’s Tsukiji Fish Market recycle as much as 25 t/d of EPS fish boxes. The Clean Heat Packer at Billingsgate will process and recycle all of the waste fish boxes that were hitherto being sent to landfill. Contact: Mr. Fearghna Lennon, Managing Director, Plastic Packaging Recovery Europe Limited, 7th Floor, O’Connell Bridge House, D’Olier Street, Dublin 2, Ireland. Tel: +353 (86) 2510 308; E-mail: fearghna; Website:


Catalytic reaction to decompose plastics into harmless gas

In Japan, Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. and Kusatsu Electric Co. have jointly developed a recycling technology that enables recovery of plastics used in electrical and electronic equipment, as well as metals from plastic-coated wires, without causing any hazardous side effects. Employing the catalytic properties of titanium oxide (TiO2), the technology facilitates recovery of inorganic substances such as metals by transforming organic substances such as plastics into harmless gases.

Matsushita is successfully using the new technology at the Matsushita Eco Technology Centre (METEC) to recover copper from degaussing coils covered with vinyl chloride tape found in CRT TVs. Further, mixed plastic waste destined for incineration or landfill is converted into non-toxic gases. The method not only contributes to “zero waste”, but also helps reduce carbon dioxide emissions as little external energy is required in the gasification process.

The new recycling method combines Kusatsu Electric’s non-incineration plastic disposal technology using TiO2 and Matsushita’s high-grade materials recovery technology that is used to recycle old home appliances. The method employs unique mixing and carrier systems that permit plastics to contact the catalyst efficiently for gasification, leaving behind the valuable metals. As the catalytic reaction of TiO2 generates heat to promote gasification, an ad-ditional heating source is not needed in the process. The method uses cooling water to maintain temperature (500ºC) for optimal catalytic reaction. The subsequent hot water from the process can be used for other purposes. Hydrogen chloride produced during the gasification process of vinyl chloride is neutralized with lime.

Matsushita intends to completely eliminate mixed plastic waste and spread the use of this environment-friendly technology to recycling and production facilities in and out of its Panasonic group. Contact: Mr. Akira Kadota, Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. Ltd., Japan. Tel: +81 (3) 3578 1237; Fax: +81 (3) 3436 6766.


Dirty plastic as a fuel source!

Waste Plastic Technology has patented a unique burner that recovers fuel from dirty waste plastics. The greenhouse industry in the Republic of Korea is commercially using the burner, and one farmer alone is reported to be saving US$6,000 per month in fuel costs. The Republic of Korea has no natural resources but plenty of plastic. Accordingly, the revolutionary burner is finding high interest as an alternative fuel generator.

The United States has been quick to realize the potential and the Penn State University has been an active research partner with respect to the creation of “plastofuel”, an easy handling fuel nugget made from various dirty plastics. In Canada, the GR Technologies burner will find acceptance where alternative resources are scarce and particularly where landfill issues are paramount. The reduction of plastics from landfills may be the most likely motivator to adopt a clean burning plastic burner that in turn offers usable and cheap heat and power.

Source: www.waste

Fire retardant, recycled polymer

In the United Kingdom, Axion Polymers has claimed a technical breakthrough in the production of a new flame retardant impact styrene formulation with high recycled content following successful laboratory trials. The company says its new material, with up to 70 per cent recycled content, demonstrates the feasibility of making a highly flame retardant polymer, branded Axpoly PS01 FR, from its Axpoly PS01 halogen-free recycled plastic. The process has to now prove its commercial viability in large-scale production. Axion says that the material potentially offers manufacturers a variety of new high-value applications, particularly where offering a recycled content provides a marketing advantage or reduces production costs.

The recycled component of Axion’s new formulation generates only 10 per cent of the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) that is made in the production of virgin polymer, says the company. Using high quality recycled polymers in new electrical and electronic equipment benefits manufacturers in terms of reducing raw material costs and CO2 emissions, besides boosting their ‘green’ credentials in the market.

Axion’s new polymer is based on a bromine-free material that meets the V0 flame-retardant specification using a special flame retardant additive. It was developed at the firm’s state-of-the-art processing facility at Salford, England, one of the most advanced recycling facilities in Europe for handling the polymer waste stream produced by the primary treatment of waste electrical and electronic equipment.


Fuel from all types of plastic waste

In India, the Pune-based BVG India Ltd. has developed new technology for producing pure diesel and petrol from all types of plastic wastes. The company has completed basic prototype trials. It intends to set up a manufacturing and processing plant by the end of March and start production from April. The plant will have a capacity to process 25 t/d of plastic waste to produce an average of 15,000 litres of fuel, depending on the quality of the plastic.

The plant will produce 900 ml of liquid fuel from 1 kg of waste plastic. All types of plastic will be processed in the plant, employing random depolymerization in a specially designed reactor. Mr. Ganesh Limaye, a director of the company, said: “An advanced reactor has been set up and the company has also developed a catalyst for this process. Depolymerization will be carried out in the absence of oxygen and in the presence of patented catalyst and additive. The conversion efficiency is about 70 per cent.” BVG India has tied up with the Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) for plastic waste. The derived fuel will be sold to PCMC at a rate than the market rate of petrol and diesel.



Reducing the global impact of e-waste

A new programme at Arizona State University (ASU), the United States, intends to develop technologies to reduce the environmental impact of computers at the end of their lives. This initiative is the first of its kind in the United States and among the first in the world. Dr. Eric Williams and his colleagues at the ASU programme are developing a technology that uses radio frequency identification (RFID) tags to give information about the condition and composition of computers and other electronic products. These tags – which are widely used in retail and cost as little as US$0.10-US$0.20 each – can assist those who resell, dismantle and recycle to identify what can be reused, from the entire product to parts or materials.

Mr. Mitsutaka Matsumoto of the Environmentally Conscious Design and Manufacturing Group of the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST), Japan, another organization at the forefront of developing technology to improve electronics recycling, attests that “RFID is a key technology that supports safe and efficient recycling in the future (throughout the world)”. RFID systems could provide valuable information on the usefulness of electronic items, agrees Mr. Amit Jain, the managing director of IRG Systems South Asia Private Ltd., who studied the impact of informal recycling in India. This information could help increase the life span of computers and other electronics.

According to Dr. Williams, RFID can complement the successful efforts of environmental groups such as the Basel Action Network (BAN), Greenpeace and the Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition to prod electronics firms into improving their environmental performance. Computer manufacturers have come a long way since BAN’s Exporting Harm report was first released in 2002. They are now competing to be viewed as green, and want to remove as many chemicals perceived as being toxic from their products as possible, says Mr. Scott O’Connell, Environmental Programme Manager for Dell computers.


A recycling plant for waste lamps

A new plant for recycling waste fluorescent lighting tubes developed by Balcan Engineering Ltd., the United Kingdom, has received the Queen’s award. Combined with its advanced lamp crushers, Balcan’s waste lamp recycling plant helps meet WEEE requirements.

The new recycling equipment enables both whole and pre-crushed lamps to have their material components such as glass, aluminium, plastic and mercury-bearing phosphor powder separated and retrieved for recycling purposes. Accepting pre-crushed debris allows lamps to be crushed on the site where they are generated prior to transportation to their recycling plant. This has obvious environmental benefits because it reduces the volume of whole lamps by approximately 80 per cent. Contact: Balcan Engineering Ltd., Banovallum Court, Boston Road Ind. Estate, Horncastle, Lincolnshire, LN9 6JR, United Kingdom. Tel: +44 (1507) 528 500; Fax: +44 (1507) 528 528; E-mail:; Website:


Recycling technology for silicon wafers

International Business Machine Corporation (IBM) has developed technology that enables the company to recycle its rejected silicon wafers. The main use for these failed wafers will be solar panels, whose production is much impaired by a shortage of silicon. IBM has designed a process that can easily remove the intellectual property from discarded scrap semiconductor wafers made out of silicon, making them fit for sale to solar panel manufacturers. The process, which is already being put into practice at IBM’s New York semiconductor plant, is reported to generate overall energy savings of up to 90 per cent and cuts the need for new wafers.

According to IBM estimates, around 3.3 per cent of the 250,000 silicon wafers produced worldwide are eventually scraped. This means nearly three million discarded wafers per year, which could generate 13.5 MW of solar energy if turned into solar panels. These savings translate into an overall reduction of the carbon footprint – the measure of the total amount of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases emitted over the full life cycle of a product or service – for both the semiconductor and solar industries.



Stimulating anaerobic biodegradation in groundwater wells

Adventus Group, a global environmental biotechnology enterprise based in the United States, has introduced A-SOXTM for groundwater well treatment of organic constituents amenable to anaerobic biodegradation processes. Designed by field engineers as a money- and time-saving innovation, this delivery system is most conducive to physically challenging situations where a readily biodegradable carbon source and reduced iron are needed to induce in situ chemical reductions (ISCR) of targeted compounds such as chlorinated solvents, energetics and pesticides.

Application is for stimulation of anaerobic biodegradation of groundwater contaminants using EHC®, which is deployed in the wells with the A-SOX delivery system. EHC is a proprietary, field-proven compound containing a source of long-term, controlled-release carbon, ZVI and nutrients. Benefits of EHC include:

• SCR science promoting biotic, abiotic, thermodynamic and chemical degradation mechanisms;
• Readily biodegradable hydrogen donor; and
• Unique mode of action does not require use of any specialty micro-organism.

Benefits of the A-SOX delivery system include:

•All field proven benefits of EHC;
•Substantial time savings on the job;
•Reusable stainless steel canisters easy to insert and retrieve;
•Ease of determining exact depth at which the product is deployed;
•Socks and canisters available for 2- and 4-inch wells;
•Up to three canisters could be suspended in-line to lengthen the active zone; and
•Even distribution of active material over the length of the canister(s) because the socks do not collapse or bunch up.


Bacteria cleans up water contamination

Researchers at Nottingham University, the United Kingdom, are using bacteria with the latest membrane filtration techniques to develop new water treatment technology. Bioremediation uses bacteria to eat contaminants found in water before it is filtered using membranes with pores ranging from 10 µm to 1 nm. Clogging with contaminants is often an issue while employing the current membrane technology, and to retain efficiency the membranes have to be removed and cleaned. Using the bacteria, the membranes can be cleaned in a closed system without affecting efficiency. The researchers believe that the technology could be used to optimize the use of water in an industrial system or provide drinking water where it is unavailable.

Developed jointly with Cardev International, an oil filtration company, ultrafiltration and nanofiltration also have other useful effects, including the collection of waste products with a high calorific value that can then be used for fuel. The researchers are using atomic force microscope to examine how liquids behave at an atomic level and are being tested at a range of temperatures from -50ºC to 150ºC. The team believes that the results could be used in mechanics and industry, for example, maximizing the use of oil in an engine. By using bioremediation and nanofiltration technology combined, the water cleaning process is integrated, using far less energy than current processes, according to Prof. Nidal Hilal.


Green alternative for concrete and asphalt cleaning

J&J Marketing, the United States, has launched a green alternative for concrete and asphalt cleaning. Bio-dry® products are patented cleaning products designed to clean oils and other contaminants off concrete and asphalt, without using water. The environment-friendly products are viable alternative to pressure wash, saving both water and fuel that are necessary for pressure wash. They are engineered to clean and deactivate harmful hydrocarbons using natural cleaning agents as well as through bioremediation.

Through unique chemical processes, Bio-dry emulsifies and molecularly deactivates contaminants. As the product is a dry powder, it also protects and conditions the concrete and asphalt. The next drop of oil is immediately attacked by the product, reducing stain and maintaining visual appearance. Virtually any place that deals with high traffic automotive oil situations – such as fast food chains, gas stations and parking structures – are ideal candidates for the application of Bio-dry. Contact: J&J Marketing Inc., Denver, Colorado, United States of America. Tel: +1 (704) 4643 207; Website:


Gaseous electron donor injection technology

CDM, the United States, has developed a new in situ technology called gaseous electron donor injection technology (GEDIT) for the bioremediation of perchlorate contamination, arising primarily from the manufacture and disposal of ammonium perchlorate – an oxidant found in solid rocket fuel, flares and munitions. As perchlorate is readily biodegradable by bacteria, bioremediation on site is an effective as well as affordable treatment option.

The patented process involves the injection of electron donors as a gas, rather than as liquid, into the soil to stimulate anaerobic, bio-reduction of perchlorate. In situ methods such as water injection are unlikely to succeed because the liquids are not easily distributed through the soil. Excavation is not feasible, as perchlorate leaches deep into the vadose zone – the soil located just above the water table. GEDIT may be the only technology that is effective and practical for treatment of perchlorate in deep soil.

GEDIT is the reverse of bioventing – a common in situ remediation process used for the remediation of fuel hydrocarbons. Bioventing involves injection of air into the ground to provide oxygen to promote biodegradation of hydrocarbons. Besides perchlorate, GEDIT also stimulates the biological degradation of nitrates, halogenated compounds, energetics and other pollutants. The process offers considerable savings over excavation treatments. Contact: CDM, One Cambridge Place, 50 Hampshire Street, Cambridge, MA 02139, United States of America. Tel: +1 (617) 4526000; Fax: +1 (617) 4528000; E-mail:


Remediation of hydrocarbons in soil and water

In the United States, Western Research Institute (WRI) is advancing bioremediation to clean up drilling mud, tank bottoms, contaminated soils and aquifers associated with oil production and refining activities, and petroleum additives (MTBE), explosives (RDX) and chlorinated solvents (PCE and TCE). In a process called biogenic methane enhancement, WRI is using microbes to drive the formation of methane from organic-rich sources such as oil sludge and petroleum-contaminated soils.

WRI’s other remediation processes include:

• Contained recovery of oily waste (CROWTM) for in situ remediation of sub-surface contamination such as coal tar, creosote and petroleum.
• The TaBoRR® process to remediate tank bottoms and oil production wastes.
• The Diesel Dog® soil test kit for fast, easy and economical identification of fuel contamination in soils.

Contact: Mr. Alan E. Bland, Vice President, Waste and Environmental Management, United States of America. Tel: +1 (307) 7212 386; E-mail:


GM poplar to disarm toxic pollutants

In the United States, scientists led by the University of Washington’s Prof. Sharon Doty report that genetically engineered poplar plants grown in a laboratory were able to take as much as 91 per cent of trichloroethene (TCE) out of a liquid solution, whereas unaltered plants removed only 3 per cent. The plants were also able to metabolize TCE into harmless by-products at rates 100 times that of the control plants. The researchers also found higher uptake rates from solutions of chloroform, carbon tetrachloride and vinyl chloride. In air pollution tests using six-inch plants in closed containers, the transgenic plants had improved absorption of vapour-phase TCE and benzene. Poplars produce the enzymes that break down TCE into chloride ions and recombine the carbon and hydrogen with oxygen to produce water and carbon dioxide; the transgenic poplar plants do it much faster.


Enrichment of hydrocarbon degradation bacteria

Scientists at Tsinghua University, China, have synthesized an efficient hydroxyapatite (HA) carrier for cultivating hydrocarbon-degrading bacteria (HDB) through a sol-gel process and different heat treatments. The HA particles were characterized by X-ray diffraction, scanning electron microscopy and the Brunauer-Emmett-Teller method. A study of the microbial amount and activities of HDB cultivated on HA carriers to assess their enriching capabilities showed that one HA carrier synthesized at 550ºC and another without calcination could enrich HDB thrice and twice more, respectively, than activated carbon. Mechanisms of bacterial enrichment on HA and activated carbon were also studied, and the researchers concluded that the high bioactivity and surface morphology of HA were responsible for the efficient reproduction of HDB. HA appears to be a potential candidate to replace activated carbon as a novel carrier for bioremediation of oil-contaminated soil.



High-rate anaerobic membrane bioreactor

In South Africa, researchers at the University of Cape Town and Sasol Technology R&D’s Environmental Science & Technology are developing a submerged membrane anaerobic reactor (SMAR) for the treatment of wastewater originating in Sasol’s coal-to-fuel synthesis process. The lab-scale SMAR uses submerged A4-size flat panel ultrafiltration membranes to induce total solids-liquid separation. Biogas is extracted from the headspace above the anaerobic mixed liquor and is reintroduced via a coarse bubble diffuser below the membranes. This induced gas scour on the membranes avoids biomass immobilization and membrane fouling. The substrate is a high-strength (18 g COD/litre) petrochemical effluent consisting mostly of C2 to C6 short-chain fatty acids with a low pH. Because of this, the pH of the reactor has to be controlled to 7.1.

Organic loading rates of up to 25 kg COD/m3/d has been observed with effluent COD normally <500 mg COD/l and FSA <50 mgN/l with no particulates >0.45 mm at hydraulic retention times of 17 h. About 98 per cent of the COD is converted to methane and the remainder to biomass. Contact: Water Research Group, Department of Civil Engineering, University of Cape Town, Rondebosch, Cape Town, 7701, South Africa. E-mail: vzypie007@mail.


SBR system

Siemens Water Technologies, Germany, offers OmniFlo interchange sequencing batch reactor (ISBR) system, which is claimed to be the most energy efficient and to provide lowest sludge yield of any SBR currently available. Developed as the result of an existing installation’s performance, the ISBR system combines the company’s state-of-the-art OmniFlo SBR system with its Cannibal solids reduction system. The OmniFlo ISBR system has an inherent biological nutrient removal (BNR) capability through the use of automated controls that provide optimum environments for each BNR reaction. It produces a very high-quality effluent at varying flows and loadings.

Siemens’ ISBR system is suited for plants that have high solids handling costs, high energy costs and tight effluent requirements. A single, integrated control system optimizes overall plant performance and serves as a single point of contact for the process. It also balances ISBR system operating conditions to help maintain effluent quality and minimize solids production.


Anti-pollution waste process solutions for waste generators

In the United States, a superheated air drying technology – from International Turnkey Services Inc. (ITS) – packaged in combination with a wastewater treatment technology from Force Environmental Systems (FES) offers a unique universal solution to address the serious global demand to treat wastewaters and sludges. ITS and FES decided that their systems in combination would best serve the more numerous intermediate and small waste generators struggling with costly disposal rates and limited budgets.

The ITS process de-moisturizes, disinfects and deodorizes bacteria- and virus-laden waste such as sewerage sludge, and animal and poultry manures. An approved heat drying method, it also reduces the mass wet sludge by as much as a 5:1 ratio and transforms it to a mass nutrient that can be utilized in agricultural applications, animal or fish feed, or used as an alternative fuel source for energy when the product has the required BTU values. The FES system separates solids contained in the wastewater and treats the liquid through specialized digesters and aerators before introduction into a polishing feature of the system that allows the treated content to be recycled for irrigation, washing and even potable purposes. The accumulated solids are introduced into the ITS dryer system for treatment and drying, for beneficial reuse. The combo system can be downsized and customized for specific waste volumes and economics. Contact: Mr. Steve Sparks, #537, Newport Centre Drive, Suite 566, Newport Beach, CA 92660, United States of America. Tel: +1 (877) 4255 550; E-mail:; Website:


Treating wastewater containing azo dyes

Kuraray Co. Ltd., Japan, has obtained a United States’ patent for a wastewater treatment technology. The wastewater treatment apparatus is able to easily decolourize and decompose, at a low cost, a persistent nitrogen-based dye such as azo dye. The compact system features excellent durability and high processing power to ensure long-term stable operation. It has a tank for bringing the wastewater containing a nitrogen dye into contact with sulphate-reducing bacteria under anaerobic conditions, a nitrification tank for bringing the wastewater into contact with nitrifying bacteria under aerobic conditions, and a denitrification tank for bringing the wastewater into contact with denitrifying bacteria under anaerobic conditions.


Chemical coagulation of wastewater

Researchers at Zhejiang University, China, have investigated the efficacy of chemical coagulation to remove compounds present in wastewater from the dye manufacturing industry. Most compounds found in the wastewater from dye manufacturing are phenol derivatives, aniline derivatives, organic acid and benzene derivatives. Various polyferric chloride coagulants were studied.

Results showed that: high extent of Fe(III) hydrolysis is not always suitable for chemical oxygen demand (COD) removal in such wastewater; electrostatic interaction between flocs and organic contaminants play an important role in the removal of organic contaminants; copolymers of Al(III), Si(IV) and Fe(III) are helpful for high flocculating effect; COD removal efficiency of poly-silicate-aluminium-ferric chloride (PSAFC) and polyferric chloride (PFC) coagulant increased with increasing dose of coagulants; and the performance of PSAFC and PFC coagulants is superior to PAC coagulant. This difference in efficiency may also be attributed to the copolymers of Si(IV), Al(III) and Fe(III). Compared with PFC, PSAFC can easily reach high COD removal efficiency below coagulant dose 0.3 g/l. Thus, from an economic point of view, PSAFC is more suitable for treatment of wastewater from dye manufacturing. Contact: Mr. WEN Yue-zhong, Institute of Environmental Science, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou 310029, China. E-mail:


Remediation of heavy metals in wastewater

Ural Process Engineering Co. from Russia has developed a process for heavy metals remediation of industrial wastewater. The proprietary process employs alternating current for coagulation to effectively remove and recover heavy metals from industrial wastewater. One immediate application of this process is chromium removal in wastewater effluent from tanning facilities and electroplating shops.

The technology has been validated in the United States by Brookhaven National Laboratory and funded by a Department of Energy grant. With minor modifications to the equipment, it is possible to remove other heavy metals such as arsenic, copper, zinc and cadmium. Contact: Fenixtec, P.O. Box 8276, Reston, Virginia, VA 20195, United States of America. E-mail: lk39@comcast. net.


Halophilic bacteria for decolourizing azo dye

Researchers at Dalian University of Technology and Hebei University of Science and Technology in China report that a moderately halophilic bacterium has been successfully employed for decolourizing azo dye under high salt condition. Halomonas Sp. strain GTW was isolated from coastal sediments contaminated by chemical wastewater. The optimal decolourization conditions were as follows: temperature 30ºC, pH 6.5.0-8.5, NaCl 10-20 per cent (w/v) and the optimal carbon source was yeast exact.

The results of experiments show that the bacteria could decolourize different azo dyes under highly saline conditions: the decolourization rate of five tested azo dyes was above 90 per cent in 24 hours. Contact: Mr. Jianbo Guo, School of Environ-mental and Biological Science and Technology, Dalian University of Technology, Dalian 116023, China. E-mail:



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