VATIS Update Waste Management . May-Jun 2009

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Waste Management May-Jun 2009

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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Philippines to insist on waste segregation

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) of the Philippines is drafting an Executive Order (EO), to be signed by President Ms. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, which will compel the public to segregate their garbage. The EO will hasten the implementation of the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act or Republic Act 9003 (RA 9003), said a DENR news release. To support and strengthen RA 9003, the DENR is preparing an EO directing households to segregate their garbage and local government units to implement separate garbage collections for biodegradable and non-biodegradable wastes, said DENR Secretary Mr. Lito Atienza.

Though the law stipulates garbage segregation, it is hardly followed. Filipinos must be reminded of their responsibilities on waste disposal and the system of separate collection will definitely reduce the volume of garbage that accumulates daily, Mr. Atienza said. We must continuously guide everybody on the proper disposal of garbage as we strictly monitor and enforce compliance to RA 9003, he added.

E-waste report released in India

The Electronics Industry Association of India (ELCINA) has released the findings of its study conducted with support from the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research, Ministry of Science and Technology on the status and potential of e-waste management in India. The study was released at the recent National Conference on E-Waste.

The study identified an apparent gap in both technological status and market viability of the existing organized recycling industry. A previous (2007) survey had revealed that e-waste in India is growing at a rate of around 10 per cent annually and is likely to touch 434,000 tonnes in 2009. The high growth rate in most consumer electronic goods, such as televisions and mobile phones, could push this figure even higher.

Despite such high generation level of e-waste, participation of organized players in e-waste recycling is negligible. Over 95 per cent of the e-waste is segregated, dismantled and recycled in the unorganized sector based in urban slums around Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Bangalore and Chennai. The crude methods used are hazardous to the workers and to the environment, and cannot recover more than 25 per cent of the metal content. The unorganized sector has better reach in collection due to the ubiquitous spread of scrap collectors and is able to offer better prices for the e-waste, as they do not pay taxes and employ low-cost labour in crude working conditions.

The study identifies a need to implement the existing guidelines on e-waste into legislation as well as to provide appropriate incentives to encourage growth of organized sector e-waste processing. The study strongly recommends urgent technological innovation and market intervention in tackling the problem. The incentives recommended include enactment of legislation enabling availability of e-waste for processing either free or at cheaper rates by making producers and retailers to take back e-waste from consumers for formal recycling by the organized sector. Other incentives could include subsidies for land purchase, provision for soft loans and low interest rates, tax holidays and exemptions, depreciation incentives and so on.

Petrol from plastic project in Sri Lanka

Mr. Udaya Gammanpila, Chairman of Sri Lankas Central Environmental Authority, said that a new project has been launched to recycle plastic and convert it into fuel. He said the conversion would be done by Mr. Ananda Withanage, the inventor of the conversion technology. Initially, the conversion would be under a pilot project and 500 to 1,000 litres of petrol would be produced per day. About 1,000 litres of fuel could be produced from 1 tonne of plastics. Sri Lanka imports 3 tonnes of plastics a year. The project is expected to cost Rs 100 million (about US$ 870,000). The Central Environmental Authority will have 60 per cent of stake in the project, Mr. Withanage will hold 30 per cent and the University of Moratuwa 10 per cent.

Viet Nams garbage generates large amount of CO2

Untreated organic waste and sub-standard garbage dumps in Viet Nam produce 75 million tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2), equivalent to the exhaust from 15 million average-sized cars. This was reported by Mr. Doan Van Khai from the Viet Nam Urban Planning Programme during a recent workshop on controlling solid waste. Mr. Khai added that by 2020, waste in Viet Nam would generate 113 million tonnes of CO2. According to Dr. Nguyen Thi Kim Thai, Deputy Director of the Institute for Environmental Sciences and Technology, Viet Nam discharges more than 13 million tonnes of solid waste annually. About 75 per cent of these get is buried at 85 mostly sub-standard garbage dumps.

Garbage yields profit in Bangladesh

Mr. Maqsood Sinha and Mr. Iftekhar Enayetullah are the founders and directors of Waste Concern, a pioneer in Bangladeshs organic waste recycling. Since 1995, this NGO has reduced the amount of urban garbage produced, created jobs and healthier living environments for poor residents, provided for more sustainable farming, and cut down on greenhouse-gas emissions.

Every day, 3,500 tonnes of garbage is produced in Dhaka and almost half of this goes uncollected, says Mr. Sinha. Dhaka simply does not have the resources to gather and dispose of all that waste. But 80 per cent of the waste is organic mostly food waste, such as vegetable and fruit peels, meat scraps and spoiled fish. Waste Concern turns this organic trash into compost, a profitable resource.

In Dhakas slums, where more than one-third of the citys estimated 11 million people live, Waste Concern developed community-based composting (CBC), in which residents put their food scraps into big composting barrels. The metal barrels sit on concrete bases and can hold up to 180 kg of waste. Each barrel is shared by three to seven families, and they also share in the profits: 7 taka/kg (about US$0.10). CBC is successful, its founders say, and is being replicated in 26 other cities in Bangladesh.

More than a year ago, another NGO Dushtha Shasthya Kendra (DSK) introduced barrel composting to Vasantek, Dhakas biggest slum with around 20,000 people. Here, 328 blue composting barrels are shared by 1,700 families. After three to four months, the waste is collected and allowed to mature in a large shed for 10 -15 days before it is ready to be sold to local farmers. Organic compost is cheaper than chemical fertilizer, and it enriches the soil rather than depleting it the way chemical fertilizers can do. DSK hopes to expand the programme to the entire slum.

Waste Concern has now turned to the organic waste generated by the business sector, notably Dhakas many produce markets. Under the Kyoto Protocols Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), it created the worlds first compost-based carbon-trading scheme. Initially, this new project collected only 10 tonnes of organic waste daily, but it should reach 100 tonnes soon. Two other CDM composting plants are planned to open this year to handle a combined 700 tonnes of organic waste per day, says Mr. Sinha. That is 233 tonnes of finished, dry compost every day with a retail value of nearly US$14,000.

Collectors system could be scrapped

Mounds of electronic waste pile up each day in Beijings Houbajia village, as the citys residents, goaded by cheap prices, discard an increasing amount of perfectly functioning cell phones, desktop computers, laptops and iPods to upgrade to newer models. Mr. Zhao Xiaogang, manager of a Houbajia scrap cell phone store, makes his living buying second-hand phones for 10-20 yuan (US$1.45-2.90) and re-selling them, after polishing and remodelling with components from other phones, for 30-50 yuan (US$4.35-7.25) each. Thousands of villagers in Houbajia village, which lies close to Zhongguancun, Beijings electronics centre, collect, sort, rebuild and resell electronic items to make ends meet. Some pick apart e-scrap for metals. But their livelihoods could be in trouble.

On 4 March 2009, China unveiled the Management Regulation on the Recycling and Treatment of Disposed Appliances and Electronics Products, which says that people without government licensing and the right technology cannot recycle e-waste. From 2011, those breaking the regulation will face fines of 50,000-500,000 yuan (US$362,500-3,625,000). However, large-scale companies in the sector welcome the regulations, and professional e-waste recycling companies could soon dominate the business. The number of such firms has gone up in the last two years. Fuji Xerox unveiled its integrated resource recycling system in Suzhou in Jiangsu province in January 2008. In Wuhan, capital of Hubei province, the local government paired up with Green Eco-Manufacture Co. to set up 300 convenience stores in residential communities to collect 19 kinds of disposable electronic appliances.

But these large-scale e-waste recyclers have not had much success. E-waste collection centres need to offer door-to-door services, just like individual scrap dealers on the streets do, said an official with Wuhans local environmental protection department said. The current financial crisis, however, might put individual scrap dealers out of work. Copper was worth 60 yuan (US$8.70) per kg before the economic slowdown, but now it is only 25 yuan (US$3.70). Households and businesses might stop throwing out perfectly good electronics just to get new models in tough economic times. Many of the scrap dealers in Houbajia village have reportedly lost a lot of money in this economic slowdown.

Garbage enzyme used to clean market

In Malaysia, the Petaling Jaya Section 17 Community and Hawkers Association has come up with an affordable yet effective way to clean the market. Mr. Tan Yew Leong, who heads the Associations hygiene committee, said they started using a garbage enzyme two months ago. The enzyme costs about M$1,000 (US$285) and the jet spray, which is used to spray the market with the enzyme, costs M$600 (US$ 170).


All you need is a bin, water, brown sugar/molasses as well as vegetable and fruit scraps, which we get free of cost from hawkers. The mix is then kept in a bin for three months to ferment. Only one litre of enzyme is needed to clean the entire stretch of the market. As a result, there are less flies and no odour. It also reduces litter as the leftover vegetables and fruits are used to make the enzyme, Mr. Tan revealed. The Association Chairman Mr. Lim Keh Seng said there was good response from the hawkers. He said the enzyme doubles up as a natural household cleaner. It can be used as an organic fertilizer, dish wash and shampoo.

Philippines puts a temporary ban on endosulfan

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) of the Philippines has ordered a temporary ban on the import, distribution and use of endosulfan, citing its toxic effect on aquatic resources. The temporary ban on endosulfan is consistent with the mandate of the DENR to protect the public and the environment from any undesirable risk hazards on its continued use, said DENR Secretary Mr. Lito Atienza in an article posted on the DENR website.

Mr. Atienza said the ban will stay until the Fertilizer and Pesticide Authority (FPA) issues an official directive on the use of endosulfan, a dangerous pesticide. DENR noted that various sectors have called on the government for a total ban of the chemical. FPA had banned the substance in 1993, but lifted the ban in 1995 to control the dreaded pink disease that threatened the countrys pineapple industry. DENR also noted the availability of endosulfan alternatives that are less toxic and environment-friendly.

Germany aid for waste treatment in Viet Nam

Germany has agreed to provide official development assistance (ODA) for Viet Nams solid and liquid waste treatment projects to enable the country to pursue a sustainable urban development strategy. This was revealed at a two-day forum in Hanoi by Ms. Karin Kortmann, the Parliamentary State Secretary in German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development. Speaking at the Forum, which was held in February, Ms. Kortmann said that the German government has always prioritized wastewater and waste management in its development cooperation programmes. At present, Germany is financing projects on clean water supply, sewerage and environmental sanitation in six townships of six provinces of Viet Nam, as well as a wastewater treatment project in one of the industrial parks.

Germany provides an annual total of 85 million in ODA for Viet Nam, of which 25 per cent is in the form of non-refundable aid. Ms. Kortmann revealed that her Ministry is proposing that the German government increase its ODA commitments for sustainable urban development. German funding for wastewater and waste treatment in Viet Nam began in 2002. Since then, the European country has provided almost 150 million for the construction of sewerage and wastewater treatment systems in nine cities and the establishment of dumping grounds in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.

Chinas packaging recycling plan

According to Chinas Packaging Recycling Master Plan, published by Report Buyer, Chinas new environmental packaging legislation will have far-reaching implications for the entire packaging supply chain. The aim of the master plan is for all the packaging materials to be made recoverable, reusable, recyclable or compostable.

Owing to the new restrictions, some materials and processes will be banned completely while some others will be severely limited in use. The 160 page report contains detailed information of the legislation in both English and Chinese and the complete guide to accepted, restricted and banned materials. It informs the reader on the compliance issues, and enables him to pinpoint growth sectors and trends, identifying the factors needed for sustainable strategies for the Asia region. The website carries an introduction to the report.



Oxo-biodegradable PET plastic bottle

Planet Green Bottle Corp., (PGBC), Canada, has developed ReverteTM a non-vegetable-based additive that can be added to polyethylene terephthalate (PET) resin used in the manufacture of plastic bottles. The addition will create a plastic bottle that will oxo-biodegrade in 5-15 years, as opposed to the long life-span of a usual standard PET plastic bottle. Further, the PGBC oxo-biodegradable plastic bottle is compatible with all current recycling streams for PET bottles.

Reverte incorporates a two-part control package that differentiates it. First, the additive control package is photo-initiated, which means that the oxo-breakdown doesnt significantly begin before the product is discarded and exposed to ultraviolet (UV) light and/or heat such as sunlight. Secondly, it has secondary-phase biodegradation promoters, which assist the growth of microbial colonies. This speeds up and facilitates the ultimate biodegradation of the plastic following the initial oxo-breakdown. The secondary phase biodegradation promoters are particularly invaluable in situations where little or no UV light or heat is available.

Cooling rubber waste with liquid nitrogen

In the Netherlands, Celsius has developed a screw heat exchanger with nitrogen cooling for the German company Gotic, which conveys rubber waste, simultaneously cooling it with liquid nitrogen (-196C). This screw heat exchanger will be used for the recycling of rubber tyres.

Liquid nitrogen makes the rubber to go below the glass transition temperature and become hard and brittle. The rubber becomes suitable to be cryogenically grinded in a pin mill into fine powder. This powder can be re-used in new rubber and synthetic products.

The screw heat exchanger conveys the frozen rubber to the grinder over a distance of 2,500 mm at the rate of 1.6 m3/hour. During the conveyance, liquid nitrogen is injected in the product at four points. The paddles of the screw mix the rubber well with the nitrogen. The conveyor has a jacketed tube, which is made vacuum for better insulation. The screw can be removed easily for proper cleaning.

Crude oil from agricultural plastics

Agri-Plas, a plastics recycler based in the United States, is converting unwanted and typically unrecyclable agricultural plastics into crude oil and shipping it to a refinery for commercial processing. Plastic products include dirty agricultural film, greenhouse cover, mixed nursery and jug material, pre-packaged food containers and lids, and other low- or zero-value plastics too dirty to economically bring to a higher value through normal recycling efforts.

The company recently delivered its first full tanker (31,000 litres) of oil to a refinery in Tacoma, Washington, which translates to a final delivery of 196 barrels of oil. It is currently testing technology developed by Plas2Fuel, an alternative energy company, that created the unique process of converting plastic into high-value, synthetic crude oil. Agri-Plas is planning to add three more plastic-to-oil converting units, which will create one full system, and will operate this venture under the name of Agri-Plas2Crude.

Boot soles from old tyres

In the United States, Timberland is about to release boots and shoes made with recycled tyre rubber. The material comes from Green Rubber, a Malaysian company that has developed a method for devulcanizing waste tyres. Vulcanized rubber is extremely difficult to recycle. However, Green Rubber has found a way around, with its DeLink reactant, a proprietary chemicals mixture that breaks the sulphur bonds in rubber and makes it recyclable. Tyres must first be shredded into crumbs for the reactant to work fully. Green Rubber offers the resulting product as either 100 per cent compound or a 50:50 mixture of the compound and virgin rubber.

Timberland, which is the first company to commercially use Green Rubber in footwear, is using the 50:50 blend on the soles of 200,000 pairs of shoes in its fall 2009 collection. Nearly all of the footwear in its Earthkeepers line will have soles made with Green Rubber.

Recycling plastic from old home electronics

Japans Mitsubishi Electric Corp. has announced its plans for large-scale recycling and reprocessing of high-purity plastics. The system that the company developed involves the separation and recovery of three major types of plastic from crushed plastic mixtures produced during the recycling of used home appliances, and then manufacturing new products with the reprocessed, high-purity raw materials.

The residual plastics mix includes polypropylene (PP), polystyrene (PS) and acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS), which are used in household appliances. The company uses specific gravity technology to sort and recover PP to a high purity level of 99 per cent. For ABS and PS, which are more difficult to sort by gravity, Mitsubishi developed an electrostatic separation technology to separate the two types of plastic from each other, also resulting in a high material purity of over 99 per cent. This is the first time in Japan that a company recovers and reuses these three types of plastic with a purity of 99 per cent or higher.

Polystyrene recycling system

The disposal of expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam waste is a major problem for many sectors of industry because the volume to weight ratio of the material is unfavourable for economic transportation after use. The StyromeltTM machine from Taylors Products Ltd., the United Kingdom, is a simple and economical solution to the thermal compaction of EPS waste to achieve large savings in transport and waste disposal costs.

The process is specially designed for applications where traditional hydraulic compaction is neither economical nor practical, or where lingering odours and contaminants are present in the EPS. Thermal compaction can achieve a volumetric reduction of waste of up to 95 per cent to reduce waste storage and traffic.

Styromelt machine simply reverses the manufacturing process applying conducted heat to the polymer to convert it into a liquid resin that is cooled into a compacted briquette. It does not employ blades or dangerous moving parts and has virtually silent running. The machine can deal with contaminated waste, such as meat and fish boxes, and the resultant briquette is fully sterile. The operation of the machine is very simple switching the machine on/off and removing cooled briquettes. Air is filtered to remove odour via a high performance LabyrinthTM pre-filter and a special blended carbon main filter. Contact: Taylors Products Ltd., Canal Parade, Cardiff, CF10 5HJ United Kingdom. Tel: +44 (29) 2038 4416; Fax: +44 (29) 2037 7806; E-mail:

Recycling of EOL vehicle bumpers

Mazda Motor Corporation, Japan, has developed a world-first recycling technology that enhances the process it uses to recycle end-of-life (EOL) bumpers from vehicles into raw plastic resin for use in new vehicle bumpers. The new technology is the first to enable recycling of bumpers from different manufacturers at the same time. Further, by automating processes to remove metal attachments, it significantly increases recycling efficiency.

The new technology combines all the recycling stages involved, from crushing used bumpers through to reproducing raw materials, into a single automated process. Until now, unwanted materials such as metal attachments had to be manually removed before the bumpers were visually inspected. The labour-intensive processes were an obstacle to increasing efficiency. Mazda overcame this by developing, in collaboration with Satake Corporation of Japan, technologies to automate the processes. Once the bumpers are crushed into pellets, a machine similar to those used to separate contaminants from cereal grains, removes unwanted metal pieces by shaking the pellets and directing an airflow over them.

Depending on the vehicle manufacturer and age of the vehicle, used bumpers vary considerably in terms of the composition and the paints adhesive properties. While this has forced previous systems to treat different bumpers separately, the new technology successfully enables all bumpers to be recycled together. The new process uses a kneading machine, which applies a powerful shear force to the crushed bumper pellets, effectively stripping off the paint regardless of the plastic composition or paint properties, and without having to heat the plastic.


State-of-the-art CRT recycling technology

In the United States, Creative Recycling Systems has launched its newest recycling innovation. The CRS system integrates its components from reputed manufacturers for shredding, pulverizing, separation, cleaning, etc. to process e-waste in totally environment-safe manner.

The machine that handles cathode-ray tubes (CRTs) from television sets and computer monitors is called the CRT Angel, which is manufactured by CRT Heaven Ltd. in the United Kingdom. It is said to be the most efficient, cost-effective and WEEE compliant CRT disposal machine in the world today. The glass cullet produced by the CRT Angels drastically offsets the carbon footprint from new CRT glass production and reduces the energy consumption by as much as 90 per cent.

CRT Angel has the highest throughput screen splitting technology in the industry today. This method of treatment is characterized as best available technology, as it separates the leaded and unleaded parts of the tube, facilitating the re-use of the glass portions in the manufacture of new CRTs. It has the ability to process CRTs from 20 cm to 107 cm with complete or broken necks. Contact: CRT Heaven Ltd., Commerce Way, Walrow Indl. Estate, Highbridge, Somerset, TA9 4AG, United Kingdom. Tel: +44 (1278) 786641; E-mail:
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Disassembling of electronic appliances

Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Japan, has patented a method and apparatus for easily disassembling electronic appliances which have a housing and electronic components such as a cathode-ray tube (CRT) accommodated in the housing classifying it without mixing of impurities and readying it for low-cost recycling through automation.

In the patented process, the electronic appliance is put on a conveyor pallet and transferred to a tiltable workbench. Here, the back plate of the appliances housing is removed. High-pressure air jet is blown into the housing to remove dust deposited on the electronic components. The front side of the housing is processed by an end mill, and the CRT is taken out. The metal band of the dismounted CRT is removed through high-frequency induction (2-60 kW) heating and application of pressure (4-40 kg).

The adhesive applied on the CRT is removed by using a rotary metal-wire brush. Preferably, there would a dresser equipment to clean the wire brush. Distance sensors are then employed to identify whether a safety panel is installed at the front side of the CRT or not, and to classify it for proper recycling. Contact: Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., 1006, Oaza Kadoma, Kadoma-shi, Osaka, 571-0050, Japan.

Web-based software for e-scrap recyclers

CycleLution Inc., the United States, has developed a Web-based software meant specifically for e-waste recyclers and managers. Built on the .NET platform, this software allows users to access and use the software anywhere through Internet to track order status, print invoices, etc. CycleLution has also incorporated the most advanced Software-as-a-Service concept to utilize the power of the Internet.

Based on budget and needs, recyclers can choose any different implementation options such as Self Host with One Time Installation, Hosted by CycleLution or Monthly Subscription. The features offered include: Server host service; separation of orders by Inbound (SO/PO) and Outbound (SO/PO) parameters for special operational needs in e-scrap recycling; Google Map enabled on-line despatch centre for pick-up & delivery; file and photo upload capability for permanent keeping of records such as price agreements and service contracts; and bar coding for inventory and outbound shipment control. Contact: CycleLution, Walnut, California, United States of America. Tel: +1 (626) 478 6467; Fax: +1 (626) 384 3289; E-mail:


Sewage sludge to fuel cement-making

In China, Guangzhou Heidelberg Yuexiu Cement is testing a project that could dispose of two-thirds of the daily sludge in Guangzhou city. The US$10 million facility turns the wastewater by-product into a fuel for cement-making. The company expects the technology to reduce the coal needed to produce cement, as well as to tackle Chinas sludge problem. Guangzhou Heidelberg Yuexiu Cement is a joint venture of Hong Kong-based Yuexiu Group and Germanys Heidelberg Cement.

The plant is expected to treat 600 tonnes/day (tpd) of sewage sludge from Guangzhou city, which produces about 950 tpd of sludge, and is projected to produce 3,120 tpd by 2020. The process involves two steps: one is to reduce the water content of wet sludge from 80 per cent to 30 per cent using the cement kiln boiler waste heat. The next step involves mixing of the sludge with half-dried cement material to conserve energy. The company expects that every 3 t of half-dried sludge can substitute 1 t of raw coal during the burning process.

Recovery of precious metal from sewage

In Japan, sewage treatment facility has literally struck gold, finding large traces of the metal in waste residue produced through the treatment process. Lake Suwako regions Toyoda Sewage Treatment Plant handles about 138,000 tonnes per day of sewage water that flows in from seven municipalities in the region.

Sewage goes through a primary stage of treatment where sludge is extracted. The residue is then compressed and dried after which it is incinerated. Residual soot is melted in a furnace at ~1,600C, which in turn produces fly-ash. In the fall of 2007, officials at the Japan Sewage Works Agency (JSWA) recovered nearly 1,890 g of gold from every tonne of ash produced at the plant. Since then, the plant has sold several tonnes of fly-ash. What helped make ash a profitable commodity was the installation of a bag filter, which enabled effective collection of fly-ash created by melting soot.

Minute amounts of gold, as well as silver, copper, palladium and other rare metals, are known to exist in sewage. However, low concentration levels and unfavourable trading prices for the metals have discouraged many sewage treatment plants in other parts of the country from trying to recover the metals. While gold content is a mere 35 g/t of ordinary ash, it is about 54 times that amount in fly-ash. JSWA officials said the Toyoda plant is the first such facility to make a profit from sales of gold in sewage ash.

Reducing industrial wastewater disposal costs

The Mechanical Vapour Compression (MVC) Evaporator, from Encon Evaporators in the United States, is designed to drastically reduce costs of industrial wastewater disposal. The Encon MVC Evaporator is now available in capacities ranging from 150 l/h to 6,800 l/h. Larger custom systems are also available. Each MVC evaporator can simultaneously process multiple waste streams and yield a distilled water product at a fraction of the cost of other disposal methods.

Using proprietary technology and premium off-the-shelf components, the Encon MVC Evaporator captures and reuses the latent heat normally lost in traditional evaporation equipment. This energy-recycling process reduces the operating costs by 85-95 per cent over thermal evaporation. The treated clean water can be reused in industrial processes or safely discharged to the sewer. As a stand-alone solution or as a part of multi-step wastewater treatment, the Encon MVC Evaporator has simplified the process of wastewater management by eliminating the need for complex filtering and chemical treatment, thereby also reducing the manpower required. There are no sludge pits to empty and no chemicals to mix.

Effluent treatment gets cheaper

For many years now in Ahmedabad, India, hundreds of chemical industries have been discharging their toxic waste illegally into the citys drainage system, instead of sending their discharge to central effluent treatment plants (CETP), owing to the high cost of treating toxic effluents. Now, a cost-effective technology developed by the Ahmedabad Textile Industry Research Association (ATIRA) called non-thermal evaporation-based zero discharge system (ZDS) ensures that waste gets treated at almost 15 per cent of its cost at a CETP.

The new technology has lowered the cost of effluent treatment per kilo litre from Rs 400-800 to Rs 60-90. ZDS technology is already operational in one factory in Ahmedabad and another in Tirupur, Tamil Nadu. In ZDS, effluent is pumped at high pressure into the modules mounted on a 60-70 ft high tower, along with compressed air from the ground level. The mixture is instantly vaporized by natural diffusion process. Water vapour so generated in the towers diffuses away into the air.

Frozen smoke: the ultimate sponge for cleaning up oil spills

At the Otto H. York Department of Chemical Engineering, New Jersey Institute of Technology, the United States, Mr. Jose A. Quevedo, Mr. Gaurav Patel and Mr. Robert Pfeffer have reported that aerogels, a super-lightweight solid sometimes called frozen smoke, may serve as the ultimate sponge for capturing oil from wastewater and effectively soaking up environmental oil spills.

In the new study, Mr. Quevedo and colleagues point out that although many different sorbent materials are used for removing used oil, they are often costly and inefficient. Highly porous, absorbent and hydrophobic silica aerogels seemed like an excellent oil sponge. The scientists packed a batch of tiny aerogel beads into a vertical column and exposed them to flowing water containing soybean oil to simulate the filtration process at a wastewater treatment plant. They showed that the aerogel beads absorbed up to 7 times their weight and removed oil from the wastewater at high efficiency, better than many conventional sorbents. Aerogel particles are nanostructured, extremely light and porous, have a very large surface area per unit mass, and are robust enough to be fluidized. Their hydrophobic surface gives them a strong affinity for oil and other organic compounds. These properties make them an ideal sorbent or filter media for the removal of oil from wastewater.

The researchers studied the hydrodynamic characteristics of inverse fluidized beds of aerogel granules of different size ranges 500-850 m, 1.7-2.3 mm and 0.5-2.3 mm by measuring the pressure drop and bed expansion as functions of superficial velocity. The oil removal efficiency and capacity of the aerogel granules in the inverse fluidized bed were found to depend mainly on the granule size, the initial height of the bed (amount of powder used), the void fraction and the fluid velocity. The energy consumption during oil removal is extremely low and the absorption capacity very high. Oil concentrations of about 2000 mg/l in water could be reduced to less than 10 mg/l. Contact: Mr. Robert Pfeffer, Department of Chemical Engineering, Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona 85287, United States of America. Tel: +1 (480) 965 0362; Fax: +1 (480) 965 0037; E-mail:

Separation of oil from oily wastewater by modified resin

In China, Mr. Y. B. Zhou and colleagues at the College of Resource & Environmental Engineering, East China University of Science & Technology, have developed new type of packing material, polystyrene resin modified by cetyltrimethyl-ammonium bromide (R-CTAB) for use in the separation of emulsified oil from wastewater. The unique separation mechanism of the modified resin is due to the hydrogen bond formation between hydrocarbon molecules and the free hydrophilic part of the fixed surfactant. The bond changes the zeta potential of oil droplets and make their coalescing easier, thus providing an option for wastewater treatment without the addition of any chemicals.

Mr. Zhou and his team investigated an R-CTAB column for its performance in separating emulsified oil droplets from oily wastewater. The effects of liquid space velocity and influent oil concentration were studied in particular. The results showed that R-CTAB column was more efficient than the unmodified resin column. Under the optimum conditions, more than 85 per cent of oil was removed using R-CTAB column, which was at least 10 per cent higher than the resin column that was unmodified. Contact: Mr. Y. B. Zhou, College of Resource & Environmental Engineering, East China University of Science & Technology, 130 Meilong Road, Shanghai, 200237, China. E-mail:


Clean-up of hydrocarbon spills

CI Agent Solutions Australia Pacific, based in Australia, has obtained sole manufacturing and distribution rights from its parent company for cleaning up hydrocarbon spills in the Asia-Pacific region. CI Agent is said to clean up oil spills in 10 per cent of the time and at 10 per cent of the cost of conventional methods, with minimal environmental damage.

CI Agent, is a granular, food-based polymer product that converts liquid hydrocarbons to a non-hazardous, non-corrosive rubber-like mass that can be disposed of in landfill or recycled. When the white powder is sprinkled on to a spill, it solidifies the spill in a few seconds through micro-encapsulation. The product is hydrophobic and hence, it does not retain water; nor does it leach into soils or revert to its original form. Volatile vapours are suppressed by up to 80 per cent.

CI Agent also has a role in preventing oil spills. One of the major uses of CI Agent is in barrier booms placed around oil-filled equipment, drain inserts and spill response equipment. It can also be employed in filters and drain inserts to prevent hydrocarbons from entering waterways. The product can be used on land and in the water. It works equally well in salt water and fresh water and will even solidify liquid hydrocarbons on ice.

Treatment facility for PCB waste

Kawasaki Plant Systems Limited, Japan, has announced that it has secured a contract from the Japan Environmental Safety Corporation (JESCO) to design an addition to JESCOs Hokkaido PCB Waste Treatment Facility currently under construction. Kawasakis contract is part of a US$281.5 million project for designing and constructing the expanded facility.

Kawasaki will use Plasma Enhanced MelterTM (PEM) technology to design, construct and test the entire polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB) treatment system from receiving/storage, pre-treatment/shipping to utilities and ancillary facilities. The PCB treatment system has several technical and safety features designed for the safe decomposition of PCB. The PCB waste, which is fed from the top of the PEM system, is melted in a 3,000-5,000C plasma arc. The PCB waste is then melted into the molten glass bath maintained at over 1,400C inside the process chamber. PCBs are thermally decomposed during this process and fully detoxified. The waste residue in the molten glass bath is recovered as leach-resistant solidified molten glass and metal at the bottom of the chamber.

A negative pressure is maintained in all areas where PCBs exist. Exhaust gases are purified by the gas treatment system, which is continuously monitored for malfunctions. The system is also equipped with active carbon filters and emergency dampers to safeguard against PCB leaks into the environment outside the facility. Exhaust gases from the PEM system are also constantly monitored and purified by active carbon filters before being released into the atmosphere. All secondary pollutants generated by the treatment process are fed into the PEM system for detoxification. Contact: Kawasaki Heavy Industries Limited, World Trade Centre Building, 4-1, Hamamatsu-cho 2-chome, Minato-ku, Tokyo, 105-6116, Japan. Tel: +81 (3) 3435 2111; Fax: +81 (3) 34 36 3037.

Separation of POPs from combustion exhaust gases

Metallgesellschaft Aktiengesellschaft, Germany, has been assigned a United States patent on a method for the separation of dioxins and furans from the exhaust gases from combustion plants, particularly from refuse incinerating plants. The process aims to deliver a pure gas with a dioxin and furan content of not more than 0.05 ng/standard cubic metre (sm3).

In the process, dust and the gaseous pollutants HF, HCl, SO2 and SO3 are first separated from the exhaust gases using conventional means. For technical and economic reasons, de-dusting followed by a reaction with calcium hydroxide is recommended for the removal of dust and gaseous pollutants. The process could employ a scrubber to remove the remaining gaseous pollutants. This pre-purified exhaust gas is then supplied to a wet process electrostatic precipitator; 10 to 500 mg of activated carbon powder per sm3 of gas is added to the pre-purified exhaust gas just before it enters the wet process electrostatic precipitator.

That mode of processing does not involve a safety hazard because the activated carbon powder cannot be ignited in the wet process electrostatic precipitator, which always contains a mist of fine droplets of water and which is always operated at below 100C. Besides, dioxins are not formed in the electrostatic precipitator because the wet process promotes a steady decrease the dioxin content of the exhaust gas, whereas it is increased during the flow of gases through a dry process electrostatic precipitator.

Soil and sediment washing process

The BioGenesis soil and sediment washing process uses specialized, equipment, complex surfactants, and water to clean soil, sediment and sludge contaminated with organic and inorganic constituents. Two different types of mobile equipment wash different sizes of particles. A truck-mounted batch unit (18 m/h throughput) processes and washes soil particles 10 mesh and larger. A full-scale, continuous flow unit cleans sand, silt, clay and sludge particles smaller than 10 mesh at a rate of 18-36 m/h. Extraction efficiencies per wash cycle range from 85 to 99 per cent. High contaminant levels require multiple washes.

The principal components of the process, developed by BioGenesis Enterprises Inc., the United States, consist of pre-treatment equipment for particle sizing, a soil washer for larger particles, a sediment washing unit for fine particles, and water treatment and reconditioning equipment. The cleaning chemical used is a light alkaline mixture of ionic and non-ionic surfactants and bioremediating agents that act like a biosurfactant. It does not contain any hazardous ingredients. Decontaminated wastewater is recycled to the process. Contact: Mr. Charles Wilde, BioGenesis Enterprises Inc., 7420 Alban Station Boulevard, Suite B208, Springfield, VA 22150, United States of America. Tel: +1 (703) 913 9700; Fax: +1 (703) 913 9704.

Low-impact in situ treatment of POPs

Exponent Inc., the United States, has published a paper describing a low-impact delivery system (referred to as SediMite) for introducing treatment agents such as activated carbon to sediment. Eight studies are currently under way to evaluate the efficacy of SediMite for a broad range of hydrophobic chemicals and the approach has been considered for application to manufactured gas plant (MGP) sites.

SediMite is a granular material delivered from the water surface, sinks to the sediments and becomes incorporated into the sediments in a manner that targets the biologically mixed layer. The treatment agent, therefore, is delivered to the zone that is most important. The delivery system does not require extensive mechanical mixing or injection of materials into the sediment. The pilot projects include tidal and non-tidal systems and fresh and marine environments. Contact: Mr. Charles Menzie, Exponent Inc., 149 Commonwealth Drive, Menlo Park, CA 94025, United States of America. Tel: +1 (571) 214 3648; Fax: +1 (571) 227 7299: E-mail:

Binding of PAHs by humic acids

Mr. C. Plaza and co-researchers at the Centre of Environmental Sciences, Spanish National Council for Scientific Research have carried out a research study on binding of two model polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) phenanthrene and pyrene by humic acids (HAs) isolated from an organic substrate at different stages of composting and from soil. The researchers employed batch fluorescence quenching method and the modified Freundlich model.

With respect to soil HA, the organic substrate HA fractions were characterized by larger binding affinities for both phenanthrene and pyrene. Isotherm deviation from linearity was larger for soil HA than for organic substrate HAs, indicating a larger heterogeneity of binding sites in the former. The composting process decreased the binding affinity and increased the heterogeneity of binding sites of HAs. The changes that the HA fraction underwent during composting may be expected to contribute to facilitate microbial accessibility to PAHs.

The results obtained also suggest that bioremediation of PAH-contaminated soils with matured compost, rather than with new organic amendments, will result in faster and more effective clean-up. Contact: Mr. C. Plaza, Centro de Ciencias Medioambientales, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientficas, Serrano 115 dpdo., Madrid, 28006, Spain. E-mail: c.plaza


Bacteria that can clean up oil spills

A team of Indonesian and Japanese scientists has been able to isolate, from the layers of sediment under Indonesian seas, 1,200 individual species of unicellular micro-organisms, including 182 new bacterial species, that could be used to clean up large-scale oil spills. The Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI) and Japans National Institute of Technology and Evaluation (NITE) were carrying out a research to find a better way to treat oil spills. There are several chemical-based treatments for oil spills, but most of these are not environmentally friendly.

The scientists analysed the effects of the bacteria on minor oil slicks in three busy shipping areas: Pari Island, Malacca strait and Lombok strait. Six researchers from Japan and 15 staffers from LIPIs research centre for biology, biotechnology and oceanography took part in the program, which started in 2005 and took three years to complete. NITE fully funded the research, spending about US$255,000 for the heavy equipment alone.

According to an agreement signed by both countries, the researchers would seek a way to make the use of oil-degrading bacteria more practical. The researchers already have an idea: a liquid solution or powder mixture made mostly of bacteria, which could be dispersed by ocean clean-up authorities in the affected areas. The bacteria would break up the long oil carbon chain, said Ms. Dwi Susilaningsih, a biotechnology researcher from LIPI. After the carbon chain is broken, the bacteria degrade the oil and any residue that is left behind. LIPI has urged the government to watch closely the use of chemicals to clean oil spills.

Chicken manure biodegrades crude oil

Scientists led by Mr. Bello Yakubu of Wuhan University, China, point out that conventional approaches to clean up contamination of soil by crude oil come with additional environmental costs. Detergents, for instance, become pollutants themselves and can persist in the environment long after any remediation exercise is complete.

Bioremediation, which uses natural or engineered microbes that can metabolize the organic components of crude oil, is a more environmentally benign approach. Stimulating such microbial degradation in contaminated soil often involves the use of expensive fertilizers containing nitrogen and phosphorus, and may come with an environmental price tag despite the bio label. Hardening and a loss of quality of soil often accompany this approach.

The Wuhan University scientists suggest that animal waste, and in particular chicken manure, may provide the necessary chemical and microbial initiators to trigger biodegradation of crude oil if applied to contaminated soil. One important factor is that chicken manure raises the pH of soil to the range 6.3 to 7.4, which is optimal for the growth of known oil-utilizing bacteria.

In tests, the team added chicken manure to soil contaminated with 10 per cent volume to weight of crude to soil. They found that the almost 75 per cent of the oil was broken down in soil with the manure after about two weeks, while additive-free soil was naturally remediated to just over 50 per cent. The team carried out microbial analyses of the samples and identified 21 microbial species known as aerobic heterotrophs. The scientists explain that Bacillus species and Pseudomonas aeruginosa were the best oil-munching microbes, but 12 of the 21 isolates were capable of metabolizing components of crude oil. Other microbes included Proteus, Enterobacter and Micrococcus species. Bacillus was the most prevalent species.

Bioremediation of nitroexplosive wastewater 

Nitroexplosive residues and transformed products in the environment are toxic to terrestrial and aquatic lives, necessitating remediation of wastewaters containing such hazardous chemicals. Bioremediation using a variety of micro-organisms has become the present day choice. High Melting Explosive (HMX) is one of the nitroexplosives produced by nitration of hexamine using ammonium nitrate and acetic anhydride and hence, the wastewater bears high concentration of nitrate and acetate.

A joint research effort by Agharkar Research Institute, India, and Colorado State University, the United States, has investigated the potential of a soil isolate of yeast Pichia sydowiorum MCM Y-3, for remediation of HMX wastewater in fixed film bioreactor (FFBR). Flask culture studies showed appreciable growth of the organism in HMX wastewater under shake culture condition within 5-6 days of incubation at ambient temperature (28 2C). The FFBR process operated in both batch and continuous mode, with Hydraulic Retention Time (HRT) of 1 week resulted in 50-55 per cent removal in nitrate, 70-88 per cent in acetate, 50-66 per cent in COD, and 28-50 per cent in HMX content.

Continuous operation of the reactor showed better removal of nitrate as compared with the batch operation, while removal of acetate and COD was comparable in both the modes of operation of the reactor. Insertion of baffles in the reactor increased efficiency of the reactor. Contact: Mr. S.P. Kanekar, Microbial Sciences Division, Agharkar Research Institute, G.G.Agarkar Road, Pune, 411 004, India.

Perchlorate reduction using zero-valent iron

Researchers from the University of California, Riverside, the United States have developed a new process for the treatment of groundwater contaminated by perchlorate. Treatment relies on the reduction of perchlorate by autotrophic organisms attached to zero-valent iron (ZVI). The process can be conducted in an ex situ vessel (pump and treat) or possibly below grade in a bio-barrier set-up. As the iron corrodes, hydrogen is slowly released and used as a source of energy for the perchlorate-reducing bacteria attached to the surface of the iron particles, report Mr. M. Deshusses and colleagues.

A trailer-mounted bioreactor system was designed and constructed for treating up to 75 l/min of contaminated groundwater. The system has a ZVI-packed bed for perchlorate reduction, followed by a sand filter for the removal of bacteria and any iron released from the ZVI. After an initial acclimation phase of a week, excellent treatment of perchlorate was observed for about five months. The influent perchlorate concentration ranged from 40 to 50 ppb, while the average effluent concentration was usually below 1 ppb. Effective nitrate treatment also was observed. While extended characterization of the process was under way, treatment performance deteriorated. The tests conducted to determine the reasons for the sub-standard performance suggested that the most plausible reason is a hydraulic problem within the bed. This was later confirmed by visual inspection of the ZVI bed that revealed large clumps of low hydraulic conductivity.

Enhanced in situ bioremediation systems

Beale Air Force Base in California, the United States, has one of the largest enhanced in situ bioremediation (EISB) systems on the West Coast. Beale has clean-up system in two areas: Site 10 and Site 31. The EISB systems employ biostimulation and bio-augmentation to address ground water affected by trichloroethene and tetrachloroethene. Food-grade sodium lactate, which is derived from corn or milk, is used for biostimulation. Bioaugmentation involves the addition of Dehalococcoides bacteria (KB-1TM) to reduce chlorinated contaminants, such as solvents. These combined bioremediation processes can take several years to achieve the clean-up goal, depending on ground-water conditions, distribution of sodium lactate, and initial concentrations of solvent.

The Site 10 EISB system has addressed more than 95 per cent of the solvent mass in the treatment zone, a success that has resulted in an expedited permitting process and fewer regulatory requirements for the new system. At the Phase 1 source area, solvent concentration level has fallen below the maximum contaminant level, and about 85 per cent of the contaminant has been removed so far in the Phase 2 and 3 zones.

Lessons learned from the operation of the Site 10 EISB treatment system have been incorporated into the recently added Site 31 system. Because of the efficiencies learned from Site 10, the Site 31 EISB system will treat more chlorinated contamination at greater depths for less money than the older system. The new system is expected to clean up the high-concentration area in about three years at a cost of about US$1.8 million, including operation, maintenance and monitoring.

Bioremediation of hexavalent chromium-contaminated soil

In Argentina, scientists at the Planta Piloto de Procesos Industriales y Microbiolgicos have investigated an indigenous actinomycete, called Streptomyces sp. MC1, for use in the reduction of hexavalent chromium [Cr(VI)] in soil. The research led by Ms. Marta A. Polti found that Streptomyces sp. MC1, previously isolated from sugarcane, has the ability to reduce Cr(VI) in liquid minimal medium. Reductions obtained were 100 per cent and 75 per cent, respectively, with initial Cr(VI) concentrations of 5 mg and 50 mg per litre after 48 hours of incubation.

Bioremediation ability of Streptomyces sp. MC1 was assayed in soil extracts and soil samples. Relative growth of the bacterium was 77 per cent and 38 per cent, respectively, when grown in soil extract with 10 mg/l and 50 mg/l of Cr(VI). MC1 was able to reduce 30 per cent of Cr(VI) after 96 hours of incubation with 10 mg/l of Cr(VI), and coincided with MC1s exponential growth phase at pH 7 and 30C. In soil samples, MC1 reduced up to 94 per cent of the Cr(VI) bioavailability (50 mg/kg) after 7 days.


Green technology for CO2 removal

A research team led by Air Products and Chemicals Inc. in the United States, and including Imperial College London and Doosan Babcock Energy Ltd. in the United Kingdom, has carried out a work on the removal of carbon dioxide (CO2) waste streams in coal-fired power plants. Purification of CO2 is an essential requirement for the compression, transport and potential sequestration of greenhouse gas emissions from power plants.

Air Products oxyfuel technology can reduce the cost of capturing CO2. The company has focused on the purification of the resulting oxyfuel combustion flue gas, developing a robust process for the efficient removal of trace impurities. The companys proprietary sour compression technology uses a staged compression process to optimize pressure, hold-up and residence time, allowing removal of impurities during the compression process. This technology can allow cost savings in the oxyfuel combustion process.

The technology has been demonstrated in experimental work carried out by Imperial College London with actual flue gas from a 160 kW coal-fired rig at Doosan Babcock, as part of the Oxycoal-UK Project. Air Products has also announced another CO2 capture study for gasification in collaboration with Alberta Energy Research Institute, Canada. The study focuses on advanced carbon dioxide capture technology for use with gasification.

Biofiltration system for odour control

The Mnashell Biofiltration System, from Bord na Mna Environmental Products in the United States, is a sustainable, low-maintenance and low-operating cost alternative to traditional carbon or chemical scrubbing systems and exhibits many advantages over other biofilters. The Mnashell system is designed to deliver significant, environmentally responsible benefits for wastewater pumping stations, wastewater treatment and sludge-handling facilities, municipal solid waste and composting centres, and industrial facilities with included VOC reduction.

The reuse of waste shells as media maintains a neutral pH, allowing for highly effective biological treatment of odorous sulphur compounds in wastewater and airstreams without the use of chemicals or nutrient addition. The waste airstream is directed into recirculating water within the Mnashell unit, allowing contact between selected micro-organisms and odorous compounds. The harmless bacteria reside on the shell media, which contains high levels of calcium carbonate and neutralizes acid by-products of sulphide oxidation.

Mnashell is very effective for treating a broad range of compounds and high levels of hydrogen sulphide and organic sulphides. It provides a very low whole life cost solution, uses a smaller footprint than conventional biofilters, and its offsite or onsite modular construction allows ease of installation. Contact: Bord na Mona Environmental Products Inc., P.O. Box 77457, Greensboro, NC 27417, United States of America. Tel: +1 (336) 547 9338; Fax: +1 (336) 547 8559; E-mail:; Website:

Urea SCR system

The refreshed version of the Mazda CX-7 will have a unique selling point when it is launched later this year it will be the first passenger vehicle from a Japanese manufacturer to include a urea selective catalytic reduction (SCR) system. The new system, when combined with the newly developed MZR-CD 2.2 litre turbo-diesel engine of Mazda, will greatly reduce the quantity of nitrogen oxides produced from the car. The engines diesel particulate filter includes a Mazda-developed catalyst activation mechanism meant to enhance the removal of soot. The new catalytic combustion treatment process enables the diesel particulate filter to burn off soot at a rate about 60 per cent faster than current systems.

Emissions controller for diesel/natural gas engines

CleanAIR Systems Inc., the United States, introduced a new emission control technology, the E-PODTM. The proprietary technology combines CleanAIRs non-toxic zeolite-based selective catalytic reduction catalyst (SCR), diesel particulate filters or diesel oxidation converters and reductant mixing system all within a fully insulated, stainless steel, critical-grade silencer package. Unlike other SCR systems that only reduce nitrogen oxides (NOx), CleanAIRs E-POD with diesel particulate filter system enables Tier 4 final compliance for most diesel stationary engines and New Source Performance Standards compliance for lean-burn natural gas engines by dramatically reducing NOx, particulate matter, hydrocarbons and carbon monoxide.

CleanAIR, working together with Wyoming Machinery Co., custom-engineered E-PODs that employ diesel oxidation converters were installed on seven diesel generators. A typical SCR system is bulky and difficult to move. Most systems require dismantling, placement on a flatbed and hauling to the next location, where they are reassembled and again lifted into place. CleanAIR solved this by fully integrating the E-POD within the generator trailer. The E-POD is installed above the generator, as part of the trailer roof. This allows it to be transported together with the generator, without the expense or hassle of dismantling, hauling or lifting the unit.

A state-of-the-art E-POD feature is the all-in-one Dosing Cabinet that combines an electronic control system and injection system into one easy-to-install unit. Using automatic data-logging, programmable set-points and basic internal diagnostics, the CleanAIR Dosing Cabinet offers end-users simple operational control and monitoring of the E-POD system. On-site emissions monitoring at the Wyoming installation shows NOx emission reductions are consistently over 90 per cent.

E-POD is designed to fit and operate on any diesel or natural gas engine, making it easy for dealers to retrofit and service customers mixed-fleets without brand conflicts. CleanAIRs new E-POD technology offers a compact, all-emissions solution. Contact: CleanAIR Systems Inc., P.O. Box 23449, Santa Fe, New Mexico, 87502, United States of America. Tel: +1 (505) 474 4121; Fax: +1 (505) 474 4046; Website:

Bio-oxidation technology

The Bio-oxidation technology from Bio-Reaction Industries, the United States, is helping Toyota, Japan, to reduce significantly volatile organic compounds (VOC) emissions within one of its painting operations. The aluminium wheel plant of Toyota in Delta, British Columbia, recently added a third paint booth to meet growing demand. To alleviate the VOC increase, the plant employed Bio-Reactions patented Air Pollution Control System.

Traditionally the plant used regenerative thermal oxidizers (RTO) to reduce VOC emissions in the air stream. The plant instead opted for a Bio-Reaction advanced bio-filter system which biologically breaks down VOCs. This significantly reduced the energy needed to treat the VOCs and prevented the generation of new carbon dioxide.

Bio-Reactions Bio-Oxidizers operate under induced draft, pulling the contaminated air stream into the humidification vessel and over or through a water sump. The sump drops out water-soluble compounds, assists with humidification of the air stream, and harbours bacteria for additional treatment. The contaminants captured in the water-phase are circulated over an inorganic media in the Bio-trickling Chamber for treatment. The Bio-Matrix Chamber contains the Bio-airSPHERESTM media for digestion and final breakdown of contaminants. The contaminants are converted into carbon dioxide and water vapour for release into the atmosphere.

Mercury emission control technology

Solucorp Industries Ltd., the United States, has introduced its IFS-2C mercury emission control technology, marketed under the trade name MetalliFix by CoaLogix. The technology was tested for a proposal by San Miguel Electric Cooperative (SMEC) to identify technologies that could be used for mercury reduction requirements for coal-fired energy plants. Solucorps technology successfully reduced the total mercury concentrations by as much as 75 per cent, while reducing all of the wet scrubber re-emissions.

MetalliFix technology can be used alone or in conjunction with other sorbent or spray technologies such as activated carbon or bromine injection to enhance their efficiency of mercury removal, while greatly reducing or even eliminating mercury re-emission problems associated with these technologies. It does not produce any mercury re-emissions commonly found in other competitive technologies.


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