VATIS Update Waste Management . Nov-Dec 2011

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Waste Management Nov-Dec 2011

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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Global e-waste market to grow amid tighter regulation

The e-waste reuse and recycling (R&R) market value in 2010 totalled nearly US$6.8 billion and will continue to grow for at least a decade despite tighter regulations, according to SBI Reports, a United States-based market research specialist. In its recent report E-Waste Recycling and Reuse Services Worldwide, SBI Reports says growth in the e-waste industry would continue through at least the next decade, with collection services alone more than tripling by 2020. Further, out of the top 10 country pool in 2010, China and India are estimated to retain the largest market shares in terms of value, with about 23.7 per cent and 21.6 per cent shares of the market, respectively.

According to the research it is not uncommon for an e-waste collector, or even dismantler, to have little or no knowledge regarding the destination of its products. However, the study also finds that this situation is changing as the regulatory framework for e-waste R&R services becomes more established – at least in some regions – and as the market continues to evolve and grow. Growth in the industry is being spurred by the continued growth in the amount of e-waste being generated worldwide, as access to electronic good rises and products become obsolete at an accelerated rate. The report also finds that the growing recognition of valuable substances (lead, copper and gold, etc.) found in certain e-waste components is another factor driving the market. These valuable substances may be reclaimed at a profit and reused later, which makes a lot more sense than simply throwing them away.

Formalizing e-waste recycling sector: a success story

Gowri Palya is the heart of e-waste recycling in Bangalore, India, with more than 50 recycling units. Dismantling of electronic components and recovery of precious metals take place in tiny units located between shops and households. With the objective of organizing the e-waste recycling sector to make it more efficient, the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, Germany, in collaboration with the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Testing and Research (EMPA) outlined a step-by-step business plan to formalize the recycling units in Gowri Palya in 2006.

A two-year long training in testing and upgrading e-waste and identifying and handling hazardous substances was held subsequently. As a result, the E-WaRDD Recycling Co. – an e-waste recycling, dismantling and disposal company – was formed in 2007 with an investment of Rs. 800,000 (US$15,647) by relocating 10 of the e-waste units to an industrial area. Further investment was made in 2008 to procure equipment for pollution control, occupational health and safety. In the following year, the company filed an application for authorization from the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB). The transition of these 10 dismantlers from informal sector to formal sector was first of its kind in India.
Source: Direct communication

Car emission, a major pollution in China

China has been leading the world in vehicle production and sales for two consecutive years, and motor vehicle emissions have become a major contributor to the country’s air pollution problems, according to the China Motor Vehicle Emissions Control Annual Report 2011 issued by the Ministry of Environmental Protection. The report includes information about vehicle emissions in China during the 11th Five-Year Plan period (2006-2010). During the period, the number of motor vehicles in China rose from 118 million units to 190 million units, at an annual growth rate of 10 per cent, with the number of cars surging 150 per cent from 30.8 million units to 77.2 million units.

Eighty per cent of vehicles in China have a green label, indicating low emissions, and a little more than half of these vehicles meet or exceed China’s Grade III National Emissions Standards. Still, the country’s urban air quality has started to show the characteristics of combined soot and vehicle exhaust pollution. Dust haze, photochemical smog, acid rain and other regional air pollution problems that occur often in some areas are closely related to vehicle emissions. In densely areas that are populated, exhaust emissions are affecting people’s health directly. In 2010, China’s automobiles emitted a total of more than 52 million tonnes of pollutants, including nitrogen oxides (NOx), hydrocarbons (HC), carbon monoxide (CO) and particulate matter (PM), in which NOx and PM accounted for more than 85 per cent, and HC and CO exceeded 70 per cent.

From the 11th Five-Year Plan period, China has enhanced efforts to control motor vehicle pollution and has adopted comprehensive measures. The country has accelerated the phase-out of high-emission vehicles, strengthened environmental regulatory system for motor vehicles, vigorously carried out development strategy of giving priority to public traffic, actively advocated “green travel” concept and promoted lead-free and low-sulphide technologies for vehicle fuels. Consequently, from 2005 to 2010, while vehicle ownership nation-wide increased by 60.9 per cent, emissions increased by only 6.4 per cent. China’s Environmental Protection Department will continue to implement all-round control on vehicular emissions, while further strengthening environmental regulations during the processes of motor vehicle production and use.

Green light for Sri Lankan bulb recycling venture

Orange Electric, Sri Lanka, has invested US$500,000 in a joint venture with Nordic Recycling AB of Sweden to set up what the company describes as South Asia’s first compact fluorescent lamp (CFL) recycling plant. The facility, located in Sri Lanka and registered under the name of Asia Recycling, has a stated recycling capacity of up to 30 million bulbs (both CFLs and conventional fluorescent tubes) per year. The venture hopes to set up similar plants in India, Singapore, Malaysia and China in the future. A statement from the company projected a recovery rate above 95 per cent. Nordic Recycling’s founder Mr. Per Kristoffersson explained that mercury is integral to electric bulb production. “It can only harm if it is not properly being disposed, and through these recycling measures close to 100 per cent mercury is recovered,” Mr. Kristoffersson commented. He further pointed out that about 10 per cent of vodka bottles in Sweden are made with recycled CFL.

Sustainable municipal waste management in Indian cities

Urban India is facing a huge challenge to cope with the infrastructural requirements of its increasing population. According to the 2001 census, 28 per cent of India’s population of 1,027 million live in cities. It is projected that by 2050, half of the Indians will live in cities. Municipal Solid Wastes Management (MSWM), a primary responsibility of urban local bodies, still remains as a major obligation that has to be improved. Considering the health and environment impacts of inappropriate MSWM, in the year 2000, the Government of India (GoI) issued Municipal Solid Wastes Management and Handling (M&H) rules. Under these rules, each municipal corporation was expected to set up waste processing and disposal facilities by 31 December 2003. To date, segregation at source, collection, transportation, treatment and disposal of MSW is insufficient, leading to degradation of the environment and the aesthetic quality of habitats.

To improve the urban infrastructure and basic services for the poor, GoI launched Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) in 2005, the single largest central initiative in the urban sector, with an estimated provision of Rs 500 billion (US$9.77 billion). The primary objective of JNNURM is to create economically productive, equitable, efficient and responsive cities. JNNURM is also a reform programme aiming at accountability, better service delivery and financial sustainability. The governments of the centre, states and the eligible cities jointly share the investments needed to improve the planned urban infrastructure, with a majority of funding from the central government. Within seven years, the cities are expected to adopt proper mechanisms to ensure financial sustainability of the created assets. Under the Advisory Services in Environmental Management (ASEM), an Indo-German environment Programme, Germany’s Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH, or GIZ, is supporting six selected cities in establishing sustainable MSWM systems. Contact: Dr. (Mrs.) Regina Dube, Senior Advisor, Sustainable Urban Habitat, GIZ-Advisory Services in Environment Management (ASEM), B-5/2, First Floor, Safdurjung Enclave, New Delhi 110 029, India. Tel: +91 (11) 49495300/01/02; Fax: +91 (11) 2653 7673; E-mail:

Bangladesh to build first waste-fuelled power plant

Bangladesh plans to build its first waste-fuelled power plants to ease electricity shortages and manage garbage properly, a government official stated. The Italian company, Management Environment Finance srl., is to build two 50 MW power plants at two places in the capital within three years. The company will build the plants with its own funds and, the government will reimburse nearly US$900 million over 20 years for the plants. The government will purchase power for 8.75 taka (US $0.11) a kilowatt. Dhaka, one of the world’s fastest growing cities with a population of 12 million, produces around 5,000 t/d of waste.

China set to recycle 70 per cent of waste products by 2015

China will put in place a “complete and advanced” system to recycle 70 per cent of main waste products by 2015, according to a recent official document. The system would feature a complete waste collection network, advanced technologies, efficient sorting and standard management, according to a guideline posted on the central government’s website. Major waste products in the guideline include metal, paper, plastic, glass, tyres, electronic devices and cars.

To speed up the building of the system, the guideline encourages a broad array of participation in this initiative. Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and individual sanitation workers are to be employed to carry out the collection work. Favourable policies in terms of financing and land use would be available. Furthermore, it proposes extended responsibility of both producers and sellers to facilitate recycling, under which convenience and efficient recycling should be considered during the design and manufacture of products.

Republic of Korea to assist Sri Lanka in waste management

Sri Lanka’s Minister of Environment Mr. Anura Priyadarshana Yapa has stated that the Government of the Republic of Korea has provided SL Rs 600 million (US$ 4.61 million) assistance to improve waste management in Sri Lanka. The Minister said that the money would be used to construct a state-of-the-art waste storage in Gampaha district. Measures would be taken to improve the production of compost and the use of recycled waste in building parks and other such places. The Minister said that SL Rs 90 million (US$ 0.69 million) has been allocated to improve waste management in 2012 in the cities of Kandy and Kurunegala where waste has become a severe issue. Management of solid waste has become a major issue in Sri Lankan urban and semi-urban areas. To address this problem in a sustainable manner, the “Pilisaru” national solid waste management project operating under the Central Environmental Authority has funded the establishment of composting yards for 70 local authorities island-wide.

Recovery in Bangladesh ship-breaking tonnages

Despite legal barriers faced for two years, the ship recycling market in Bangladesh rebounded well in 2011. Furthermore, ship-breakers have expressed the hope that they will be able to recycle around 3 million tonnes of scrap in 2012 following the government’s formulation of ship-breaking and recycling rules. Legal issues have reduced the sector’s imports of old vessels since 2009. However, the country’s 125 ship-breaking yards have imported 145 ships weighing 1.7 million tonnes in iron plate terms in 2011. Imports dropped significantly in 2010, as environmental groups took court action over dumping hazardous materials at the coast and exposing workers to toxic substances. Ship-breakers imported only 75 ships – the lowest figure for five years – for a weight of 1 million tonnes of iron plate.

Policy formulation through a ‘Policy Cycle’ framework

Dr. Ashish Chaturvedi, Dr. Rachna Arora and Ms. Sharon Ahmed from the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) Advisory Services in Environment Management (ASEM), India, have described the process of guideline and policy formulation through the framework of a “Policy Cycle” at the National Conference on Sustainable Management of E-waste held on 14-15 December 2011 at New Delhi. The GIZ-ASEM team observed the process in the context of guidelines for environmentally sound management of e-waste and legislation on safe e-waste management issued by the Government of India (GoI).

The GIZ-ASEM team described the five stages of E-waste Management Policy Cycle:

  • Agenda setting (including awareness generation, inventorization and market creation);
  • Policy development (multi- stakeholder engagement, management of hazardous waste, and handling rules and guidelines on e-waste management);
  • Dialogue & dissemination (consultations, lobbying and media);
  • Announcement & implementation (publishing, feedback and implementation period); and
  • Monitoring & enforcement (guidelines on models for implementation).

The team highlighted the leadership taken by the communities of stakeholders who would be most affected by the new legislation. These groups were responsible for the initial draft of the legislation that was the basis of the final legislation prepared by GoI. The entire policy cycle showed that policy making need not be initiated by government. The structured policy cycle approach followed in the development of an e-waste law in India could be emulated for other waste and environmental legislations in the future, the team noted.
Source: Direct communication


New waste-to-oil technology

The United States Patent and Trademark Office has granted a patent to Polyflow LLC, the United States, covering its proprietary pyrolysis process that converts mixed and contaminated plastic and rubber waste into transportation fuels and chemical intermediates. The technology offers an alternative end-of-life solution for all types hard-to-recycle mixed and contaminated polymer and rubber waste, with emphasis on plastic types 3-7, tyres and carpet. Polyflow is designing a full-scale process to convert up to 2.5 t/h of these streams into transportation fuels and aromatics. The process and apparatus have also received a patent from Australia. Implementation of the technology is expected to take place during the second quarter of 2012.

Innovative tyre recycling process

A Canadian company, Blue Diamond Technologies, has created a unique technology that uses high-pressure water to completely break down scrap tyres. After the whole scrap tyres are delivered to the processing plants, they are processed using high-pressure water, which converts the rubber into crumbs. Subsequently, water and rubber are separated, and water is recycled for further processing. After drying, the crumb rubber is size-separated, and subjected through a fibre removal process. Rubber powder can be substituted 100 per cent for virgin rubber in new products, while steel belts that are totally free of rubber can be sold as high-quality recycled steel.

Eddy current separators suitable for PET recycling

Goudsmit Magnetic Systems BV, the Netherlands, in cooperation with a large French PET Recycler, has developed an eddy current separator suitable for separating aluminium from flakes of polyethylene terephthalate (PET). This 1,000 mm eddy current separator has an off-centre, extra strong magnet rotor with a high rotational frequency, as well as a super-sharp guided vane. The separator has a relatively high processing capacity and can remove even small aluminium particles from the stream. The iron particles are thrown out in advance by a powerful magnetic drum (approx. range 9,000 Gauss).

PET flakes are grinded into small and flat pieces of plastic with a dimension smaller than 10 mm. The iron and aluminium particles are also reduced with the reduction of the flakes. The objective is to make the flake pure and to reuse them in this manner to create PET pellets for the final production of new PET products (mainly bottles). The ferrous and non-ferrous pollution in the PET product originate mainly from the flexible packaging industry. For example, aluminium covers of yoghurt cups or steel springs from spray bottles. The machine mainly separates non-ferrous metals like aluminium and yellow metals (like brass). Stainless steel as well as copper wire should be separated using an inductive sensor separator, which also can be delivered by Goudsmit. Contact: Mr. Eugene v.d. Boomen, Sales Manager, Magnetic Recycling Systems, Goudsmit Magnetic Systems B.V., P.O. Box 18, 5580 AA Waalre, The Netherlands. Tel: +31 (40) 2213 283; Fax: +31 (40) 2217 325; E-mail:

Recycling process for film release liner

Mitsubishi Polyester Films Inc., the United States, has developed a sustainable process for recycling film release liner. The development is part of the latest environmental initiative “Spear Earth” by Spear USA LLC., the United States. Release liners, which constitute about 30 per cent of Spear’s products, has been traditionally landfilled. The new technology, Reprocess, allows cradle-to-cradle recycling of spent liner into new, quality liner. Mitsubishi worked with Spear to test the quality of Reprocess liner in high-speed application lines, successfully proving its reliability. Mitsubishi hopes that Reprocess will eventually become an industry standard, and will soon roll out a global programme aimed to achieve this.

Elastic plastic could be endlessly recycled

Chemists in France have designed a new plastic that stays durable in room temperature, but gets progressively more elastic as it heats up. This plastic could replace the process of using moulds and may prove especially useful in the aircraft industry. “You can work it like a glass and you get shapes you cannot get easily by moulding,” explains Mr. Ludwik Leibler, Director of the Soft Matter and Chemistry Department at École Superieure de Physique et de Chimie Industrielles in Paris. The researchers made the novel plastic by combining a thermosetting epoxy with a chemical catalyst. The molecules in the material link up to a network of bonds, and breaking the bonds drastically changes the state of the material, as happens when glass melts. As the atoms in the new plastic gets hot, bonds may break; but they will immediately shift to another atom, keeping the number of bonds constant. This is done with the help of the catalyst.

Recycled crumb rubber as raw material for furniture

The main goal of the Eco Rubber project in Spain is to adapt the current industrial rubber recycling process to supply innovative recycled rubber for use as raw material – as an alternative to virgin rubber, wood or concrete – in the manufacture of furniture products by an innovative sintering process. The Eco Rubber project is coordinated by AIMPLAS –Instituto Tecnologico del Plastico, together with Instituto de Biomecanica de Valencia (IBV) and the enterprises Berla S.A. and RECIPNEU–Empresa Nacional de Reciclagem de Pneus. The project has manufactured a bollard, its first product using recycled crumb rubber from old tyres and produced by sintering process.

The recycled crumb rubber obtained from current grinding plants is not suitable for the sintering process. It was therefore necessary to adapt a grinding line to obtain crumb rubber suited for the sintering process – small particles with rough surface and zero contaminants (such as textile fibre, steel and sand). Currently, the optimization of the grinding process is nearly finished and RECIPNEU is starting the industrial production of optimized, recycled crumb rubber. A bollard was chosen as the urban furniture product to be developed within the project.

In the sintering process, high pressure and temperature are applied over a closed mould filled with pre-heated ground recycled rubber and some additives to facilitate cross-linking of rubber molecules. The production line and the process have been demonstrated. Furthermore, it was demonstrated that the additives to the crumb rubber improves the properties of the bollards, and the final formulation at industrial level is currently being developed at Berla’s plant. Based on previous life cycle assessment, where recycled rubber was compared with styrene-butadiene rubber (SBR), it was concluded that the products developed using sintering process would have a lower environmental impact, with around 88 per cent less energy consumption and 72 per cent less greenhouse gases emission.

New recycling solution for PET

The big challenge in polyethylene terephthalate (PET) recycling is that bottles or flakes must be separated to provide unmixed and contaminant-free output materials. S+S Separation and Sorting Technology GmbH, Germany, has developed solutions that separate contaminants from PET material flows and sort these material flows into unmixed fractions. The use of state-of-the-art sorting technology capable of separating huge mass flows into various secondary raw materials in a very short time is an important element for an economically efficient recycling process. Every recycled PET bottle has a crude oil equivalent of 25 g. As 4.53 million tonnes of PET bottles are recycled globally per year, a saving of approximately 3.7 million tonnes of crude oil would be possible.

S+S polymer separators with multi-spectral sensors are used to detect contaminants and plastic types. In PET recycling, these fully automatic systems separate unwanted plastic types from the PET material based on the infrared ray absorption of the various plastic types. They remove polyvinyl chloride (PVC) contents or bioplastics such as polylactic acid (PLA), which otherwise would considerably reduce the quality of the recycled material or even make high-quality material recycling impossible. This is an important sorting criterion, given the increasing use of “bio bottles”, which cannot be distinguished from conventional PET bottles.

Contaminant separators with inductive sensors reliably remove all kinds of metals from mixed PET materials. While conventional metal separators can separate certain types of metal like stainless steel only to a very limited extent, S+S contaminant separators perform this task without any problems – irrespective of the type of metal. Colour separators with optical sensors in fully automatic operation separate off-colour contaminations (for instance, coloured bottles from clear, non-transparent bottles) from a PET material flow. Optical inspection is performed by high-speed cameras. The optically relevant information is evaluated, and the wanted or unwanted colour fractions are correspondingly separated.


Dedicated e-waste plastic recycling

In the United States, Image Microsystems – a leading provider of technology restoration, reverse logistics and e-waste recycling – has set up a new facility in Kyle, Texas. The new 9,290 m2 plant will augment the company’s capabilities in asset recovery, recycling and MicroStrate® sign substrate manufacture. Patent-pending MicroStrate sign substrate is made totally of recycled e-waste plastic. The company combines “dirty” plastic found in spent printer cartridges or other electronics and converts it into cost-effective, eco-friendly MicroStrate signage. Image Microsystems’ asset recovery customers can purchase MicroStrate signage made from their own recycled e-waste and save money on a product that is as tough as aluminium, while contributing to reduce carbon footprint and e-waste. Contact: Ms. Liz Walker, Image Microsystems, 9800 Metric Boulevard, Suite 300, Austin, TX78758, United States of America. Tel: +1 (512) 623 5621; Website:

Nanotechnology for economical battery recycling

Current recycling methods for many battery types, especially the small consumer type ones, do not make sense from an economical point of view since the recycling costs exceed the recoverable metals value. Therefore, recycling companies tend to take up spent batteries only if someone pays for the service. The economic recycling problem is particularly serious in developing countries such as India where economic interests supersede environmental obligations. This situation makes the development of economical recycling technologies for spent batteries quite an urgent issue.

“Most of the reported process for the recovery of metals from the spent batteries focuses on production of metal salts/oxides/ferrites,” explains Mr. Akash Deep, a scientist at the Biomolecular Electronics and Nanotechnology Division at the Central Scientific Instruments Organization (CSIO) in India. “Steps involved in these technologies include ammoniacal or acidic leaching, precipitation, solvent extraction and thermal treatment,” he adds. Mr. Deep and his team carried out research to address the recycling of consumer-type batteries, and have described the recovery of pure zinc oxide (ZnO) nanoparticles from depleted zinc-manganese dioxide (Zn-MnO2) dry alkaline batteries.

The researchers dismantled spent batteries and leached the desired metals from the waste electrode materials. They introduced a solvent extraction step (using the acid extractant Cyanex 923) to selectively extract zinc from powdered electrode materials. After extracting the zinc, the team incinerated the pure zinc loaded organic layer at 600°C for the synthesis of high-purity ZnO nanoparticles. Pure ZnO nanoparticles find applications in piezoelectric transducers, gas sensors, photonic crystals, light-emitting diodes, photodetectors, photodiodes, optical waveguides, transparent conductive films, varistors and solar cells. Based on the team’s calculations, the cost estimation for the production of 1.23 kg of high purity zinc oxide (1 kg equivalent zinc) nanoparticles using their recycling process shows a positive result. The same approach may be utilized in recycling of other types of spent batteries, such as nickel-cadmium, lithium-ion and lead-acid.

Self-healing circuits could reduce electronic waste

Engineers at University of Illinois, the United States, have developed a self-healing system that restores electrical conductivity to a cracked circuit. The material is designed to take care of the problem of circuit failure due to overheating or other causes. “Rather than having to build in redundancies or a sensory diagnostics system, this material is designed to take care of the problem itself,” explained Mr. Jeffrey Moore, who conducted the study along with Ms. Nancy Sottos and Mr. Scott White.

With the present state of electronics requiring as much density on a chip as possible, manual repair of a faulty multi-layer integrated circuit is out of question: replacement of the circuit is the usual solution. The new system works by dispersing microcapsules of just 10 µm diameter along the lines of the circuit. As a crack opens up, the microcapsules break open and release liquid metal to fill the gaps, restoring electrical flow. The process is virtually instantaneous, with conductivity restored in microseconds, without any human intervention or diagnostics. The researchers demonstrated that 90 per cent of their samples healed to 99 per cent of the original conductivity, even with a small amount of microcapsules. Since the microcapsules break only near the places where gap occurs, the repair occurs right at the point of damage, while the rest of the microcapsules stay intact. The researchers are working to improve their system and find other ways to use microcapsules to control conductivity and extend the longevity of circuits.

The do-it-all shredder

The BHS Rotorshredder from BHS-Sonthofen GmbH, Germany, untangles crushes and disaggregates materials. The rotorshredders are primarily used in the recycling industry for processing materials that contain metals, such as electrical and electronic waste. The crushing tools place intense stress on the feed material through a combination of impact, punching and shear forces. The features claimed for RS type rotorshredders include:
  • Very efficient, selective crushing;
  • Composite materials are fully disaggregated;
  • Hard and brittle materials undergo intense size reduction;
  • Metals are stripped;
  • Tangled materials are separated and singled out; and
  • Particle sizes are reduced in a targeted manner.

The crushing tools consist of several rugged impellers attached to a high-speed vertical shaft. The ratio of crushing as well as the intensity of stress on the material can be adjusted. The tools are aligned horizontally and stabilized by centrifugal force. The shredder comes in three different sizes that can be configured to meet nearly any requirement with regard to throughput capacity, crushing ratio, maximum feed size and disaggregation results. The RS rotorshredder operates in continuous mode and is designed to withstand intensive loads.

Once the particles reach the desired size, the material is immediately discharged from the machine. This eliminates unnecessary consumption of energy. Individual solid parts that cannot be shredded in the machine are isolated and discharged separately. The rotorshredder can optionally be equipped with a flywheel for energy storage. Contact: BHS-Sonthofen GmbH, An der Eisenschmelze 4, 87527 Sonthofen, Germany. Tel: +49 (8321) 60990; Fax: +49 (8321) 6099220; E-mail:

Printed circuit board recycling equipment

Henan Province Sanxing Machinery, China, has patented equipment for recycling obsolete printed circuit boards (PCBs). The equipment includes utility model patent certificates for wind pressure separator, a disassembling device and a pulverizer. The recycling equipment is suitable to recycle various types of PCBs as wee as flexible printed circuit boards (FPCBs).

The operating principle is that the mixture of metallic and non-metallic materials obtained from crushing-pulverizing-classifying PCBs and FPCBs are fed to the wind pressure separator. The separator is a gravity type separator in which a horizontal air current pushes lighter particles and fine dust towards the dust removal system that is connected to the separator. The heavier metallic materials fall down to end up at the product recovery zone and are collected for additional processing. Contact: Mr. Manager Rong, Henan Province Sanxing Machinery, Xigang Industrial Park, Zhengshang Road, Zhengzhou City, Henan 475100, China. Tel: +86 (371) 6784 2763; Fax: +86 (371) 6787 2730; Website:

Method of recycling waste printed circuit boards

A researcher in Taiwan Province of China has reported a method of recycling waste printed circuit boards (PCBs). The invention consists of stepwise collection and recycling of different materials in the waste PCBs, in accordance with the structural characteristics of the PCBs, from outer part towards the inner parts. Additionally, a suitable recycling procedure is designed in line with the recycling value in order to obtain the highest recycling value for the recycled material. The invention leverages the characteristics of the PCB so as to dispose of different materials in stages, so that the metals on the PCBs are sorted out step by step. The bromide and the fibreglass in the resin are collected and converted into a variety of industrial materials to add value for the recycling and to prevent environmental pollution after recycling. Contact: Mr. Wu, Hsieh Sen, 5 Fl., No. 22, Lane 271, Sec. 1, Beisin Road, Sindian City, Taipei County, 231, Taiwan Province of China.


Increasing capacity in wastewater treatment plants

Metso, Finland, has developed a new technology with which municipal and industrial wastewater plants can improve their performance and reduce the quantity of chemicals used in sludge drying process by up to one-third. The new technology features an advanced on-line measurement system for processing sludge. A measurement system based on light emitting diode and laser technologies makes it possible to separate dry solids and water from each other more accurately and efficiently than before. In this way, the amount of water treated at a plant can be significantly increased and the amount of chemicals used in the sludge drying process can be decreased by 30 per cent. In addition to higher capacity and lower chemical costs, savings are gained as the transportation cost of the dry solids separated from sludge decreases. Contact: Mr. Timo Rantala, Product Manager, Control & Measurement Process Solutions, Automation Business Line, Metso, Finland. Tel: +358 (40) 5128 278; E-mail:

Wastewater bacteria turn drugs into toxins

Trace pharmaceutical compounds that are commonly found in wastewater could turn from non-toxic to toxic forms due to interactions with bacteria during the treatment process, suggests new research by scientists at the Water Research Centre (WRC) of University of New South Wales, Australia. Some drugs can occur in two forms, known as enantiomers. While these are chemically very similar, pairs of enantiomers can have drastically different effects on the human body, ranging from medically beneficial to highly toxic. In cases where both parts are known to be safe, drugs are manufactured as mixtures of both forms. However, some drugs are dispensed as single enantiomers because the other form is known to be toxic.

The WRC researchers monitored three common pharmaceuticals during wastewater treatment. These included the anti-inflammatory drug naproxen, manufactured as a single enantiomer known as S-naproxen. Its counterpart, R-naproxen, is very toxic to the liver and is not publicly available. Through the treatment process, the researchers observed that some of the safe version of naproxen had been converted to the toxic form, with potential negative environmental implications. The process mimics a similar transformation that has been seen in the human gut, where drugs believed to be safe can be inverted during metabolism into their toxic forms. According to research supervisor Dr. Stuart Khan, an environmental engineer at WRC, it is not well understood how this transformation is occurring in wastewater but is thought to be enzyme-driven and is being caused by micro-organisms in the treatment plant.

Chemical recycling for electronic device manufacturers

Panasonic Environmental Systems & Engineering Co. Ltd., a Panasonic group company based in Japan, has developed technology to recycle process chemicals such as solvents used in cleaning and other processes in electronic device production factories. A large volume of liquid waste is produced in devices production process and much of this is disposed of as industrial wastes. Panasonic’s new recycle technology technology comprises fractional distillation and refining to collect the process chemicals used in electronic device production factories. The improved fractional distillation is combined with the newly developed supply blend technology to create a new chemical recycling technology that allows for the recovery of approximately 70-95 per cent of the chemicals, which can be reused in the production process. With this technology, Panasonic has responded to the needs of electronic device manufacturers who want to cut both production costs and environmental impact, as production expands globally. This breakthrough will reduce factory running costs by over 30 per cent and cut environmental impact by over 70 per cent.

The equipment for fractional distillation consists of a distillation tower, circulation pump, capacitor, wastewater tank, vacuum pump, falling film concentrator and recycled liquid storage tank. The equipment is installed between the waste liquid processing yard and the chemical supply equipment in factory. The supply-blend technology equipment comprises chemical component density sensors, and blending and supply equipment. Contact: Global PR Office, Panasonic Corporation, Tokyo, Japan. Tel: +81 (3) 6403 3040; Fax: +81 (3) 3436 6766.

Microalgae help in controlling pollution

Microalgae, like plants, are capable of photosynthesis, utilizing the energy from sunlight to turn carbon dioxide and water into sugar. Prof. Ji-Won Yang and his team at the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, the Republic of Korea, have focused on treating municipal wastewater using Chlorella vulgaris, a single-celled green alga. Such wastewater contains plenty of organic compounds and nutrients to sustain the organism. The oils that then accumulate in the cells could be harvested and turned into biodiesel. Nitrogen-fixing bacteria found in the wastewater could be acting as growth enhancers, according to Prof. Yang.

In Taiwan Province of China, a research group is seeking to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from a steel plant by using it as a resource for growing C. vulgaris. The alga could then be turned into animal and fish feed. A mutant strain of the alga had been isolated that could tolerate the elevated temperatures that result from bubbling the steel plant’s flue gas through a medium in which the organism is growing, according to Prof. Jo-Shu Chang, Deputy Director of the Centre for Bioscience and Biotechnology at National Cheng Kung University. Using algae in this manner could halve the carbon dioxide in flue gas. Simultaneously, the levels of nitrogen oxides could also be cut drastically and that of sulphur oxides considerably reduced. A pilot plant based has been established at a China Steel Corporation plant, Prof. Chang said. Both Prof. Yang and Prof. Chang, however, pointed out that technology breakthroughs were needed to bring down the cost of harvesting and processing microalgae.

A company in Tamil Nadu, India, is producing alginate, a compound with a variety of applications from food to textiles, from highly acidic industrial effluent. To meet pollution control norms, the effluent was earlier being neutralized with sodium hydroxide (NaOH). The large quantities of sludge that resulted had then to be disposed in a secured landfill. The new treatment process efficiently carries out the neutralization by providing suitable conditions for growing in the effluent Chroococcus turgidus, a blue-green alga isolated from the effluent itself. As the alga grows, it lowers the acidity of the effluent. The remediation plant produces negligible quantities of sludge and the money that had earlier been spent on sodium hydroxide is now saved. An added bonus is that the company is able harvest and sell some of the alga as a biofertilizer and aquaculture feed. Another company producing leather processing chemicals has used the microalga C. vulgaris successfully to reduce the load of heavy metals – such as copper, zinc, chromium, nickel, cadmium and lead – in the effluent. The strain of C. vulgaris used for this purpose was isolated from the effluent itself.

Removal of chromium from wastewater

Many industries – such as leather tanning, electroplating and textile industries – produce wastewaters containing chromium, a heavy metal that could contaminate surface and drinking water. Ion exchange is a frequently used treatment technology for chromium (chrome) removal. This technology removes chromium ions from the aqueous phase by replacing them with the anion present in the ion exchange resin. As contaminated water moves through the resin, contaminant ions are exchanged for other ions in the resin, such as chlorides or hydroxides.

Siemens Water Technologies, with its global headquarters in the United States, offers both permanent, hard-piped systems as well as service-ion exchange featuring removable systems. The service ion exchange approach integrates equipment and service options, thereby minimizing a plant’s capital investment and reducing overall space requirements. The system components are selected based on operating conditions. Based on the application (potable versus non-potable), contaminant to be removed and quality requirements, Siemens offers a variety of ion exchange resins. Addition or removal of treatment capacity can be effected through a simple change in the media types and/or tank size, saving significant capital expense.

Wastewater discharge compliance is achieved also by reducing hexavalent chromium to trivalent chromium and precipitation as chromium hydroxide, a non-toxic substance. Coagulation and/or filtration technology consists of decreasing the pH level (to 4 or 5) and increasing the feed rate of a chemical coagulant combined with mechanical flocculation to allow fine suspended and some dissolved solids to clump together (floc). The majority of the floc and other suspended solids are removed by settling and separation. The remaining suspended particles are removed by passing the water through filtration media bed in which the suspended solids are captured. When the bed reaches a maximum solids loading, the flow is reversed to release of the captured solids.

Wastewater treatment provides biofuel

Researchers at the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, National University of Singapore (NUS), studying the symbiotic relationship between wastewater and algae have invented a novel treatment method. “Conventional wastewater treatment plants rely on micro-organisms to consume much of the contaminants in wastewater through a process that requires oxygen called ‘activated sludge’ process,” said Associate Prof. Loh Kai Chee, who led the study. This part of the treatment is highly energy-intensive. In addition, during this process, micro-organisms produce carbon dioxide (CO2) as by-product, which is then released to the environment, adding to the greenhouse effect. The NUS team has designed and developed a system that will reduce not only energy consumption, but also capture the CO2 emitted during the wastewater treatment.

In the new system, CO2 produced during the activated sludge process is used by the growing microalgae, with the help of sunlight. Oxygen produced by the microalgae during growth is used by the microbes in the sludge – activating the aeration process in which the micro-organisms consume the contaminants in the sludge. Utilizing a hollow fibre membrane technology, the team managed to grow both microbes and microalgae symbiotically. CO2 produced by the sludge permeates through the membrane to feed the microalgae – and oxygen produced by the microalgae crosses over to act on the sludge. The algal biomass can be later used to produce biogas such as methane.

This is said to the first time such a concept has been demonstrated to work successfully. Algae have been studied for wastewater treatment, but mainly cultivated in the wastewater itself, with limited efficiency. However, the uniqueness of the NUS team’s method lies in its ability to exploit the synergy between algae and activated sludge. The method can potentially reduce energy required for the treatment process by about 80 per cent. The team aims to further develop their system, scaling it up for industry use.

Value-added products developed from industrial waste

The Central Salt and Marine Chemical Research Institute (CSMCRI), India, has standardized a few processes to convert hazardous effluents from dye manufacturing units into value-added products. These products find applications in industries that manufacture fertilizer, plastic and detergent. The effluents discharged by dye manufacturing units contain chemicals like ammonium carbonate, dilute sulphuric acid and ammonium chloride, said CSMCRI Chief Scientist Mr. M.R. Gandhi. “Through these processes, by-products of dye units can successfully be converted into value-added products such as synthetic hydro talcite, zeolite A and ammonium sulphate with a zero-effluent discharge,” Mr. Gandhi claimed.

The technology for deriving synthetic hydro talcite from ammonium carbonate and aluminium chloride in the effluent has been licensed by the institute to Heubach, a leading paint company that manufactures paint for Ferrari. Synthetic hydro talcite finds usage largely in the plastic industry and also as a fire retardant. It is also used in making antacid drugs as it has the properties to stabilize acidity in the human body.

Enzymatic process for the treatment of fat

Agri-food sector (abattoirs, chocolate factories, dairies, etc.), manufacturers have to tackle increasing difficulties regarding the treatment of their wastewater that contains fatty matter. Fat is an organic matter that is not very biodegradable. It can cause blockage problems in pipes, reduced performance of the water treatment plants and the appearance of foam, foul odours, etc. Up to now, fat has not been treated within wastewater treatment plants but had to be set aside and taken out using another process.

Realco SA, Belgium, is a specialist in the cleaning and treatment of wastewater, offers a new enzymatic process for the treatment of fat. Hydramax process is carried out directly at the wastewater treatment plant site. The fat is first hydrolysed by the enzymatic process before going through the biological tank to continue with the system for treating the wastewater plant’s water. The entire wastewater can now be treated in a single tank using this enzymatic process; it is no longer necessary to go through a separator and add flocculants to separate the fat from the water. Similarly, there is no need for intermediate tanks to separate fat from water, use flocculants to aggregate solids, and remove fat from the wastewater treatment plant. This process is a new approach in the construction and adaptation of wastewater treatment plants. Hydramax process can be perfectly and easily adapted to existing wastewater treatment plants. Contact: Mr. Omid Hachem Samii, Realco SA, Avenue Albert Einstein 15, 1348 Louvain la Neuve, Belgium. Tel: +32 (10) 453 000; Fax: +32 (10) 456 666; E-mail:


Genetic map of sulphate-reducing bacterium created

The genetic secrets of a bacterium that holds potential for removing toxic and radioactive waste from the environment have been revealed in a study by researchers with the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) of the United States Department of Energy. The researchers have provided the first-ever map of the genes that determine how these bacteria interact with their environment. “Knowing how bacteria respond to environmental changes is crucial to our understanding of how their physiology tracks with consequences that are both good, such as bioremediation, and bad, such as biofouling,” says lead researcher Ms. Aindrila Mukhopadhyay, a chemist with Berkeley Lab’s Physical Biosciences Division. “We have reported the first systematic mapping of the genes in a sulphate-reducing bacterium – Desulphovibrio vulgaris – that regulate the mechanisms by which the bacteria perceive and respond to environmental signals,” she adds.

D. vulgaris is an anaerobic bacterium found in many ecological niches and serves as a model organism for the study of sulphate-reducing bacteria. D. vulgaris can generate enzymes that reduce toxic heavy metals and radioactive nuclides into non-hazardous forms. However, it can also corrode the metals used in oil drilling and storage operations. “For all of these reasons, it is important that we understand the molecular signalling systems by which D. vulgaris interacts with and survives in its many different environments,” Ms. Mukhopadhyay says. She and her colleagues have already used their new gene map to predict the functions of several response regulators in D. vulgaris that include critical processes of carbon, nitrogen and energy metabolism, cell motility and biofilm formation. They have also predicted responses to stresses such as nitrite, low potassium and phosphate starvation.

A first-of-its-kind gene map of the D. vulgaris bacterium could play an important role in future clean-ups of a wide range of contaminated environments. “In the future this gene map should help guide the development of bioremediation methods that do not exacerbate existing problems, and also help guide field practices that will enhance desirable outcomes,” Ms. Mukhopadhyay says. The DAP-chip strategy used to create this regulatory gene map for D. vulgaris can also be used to create similar gene maps for any microbe whose genome has been sequenced. Given that the regulatory network of a microbe is often a reflection of the environments in which it thrives as well as the biogeochemical processes that it can mediate, such gene maps should have a key role in future clean-ups of a wide range of contaminations.

Micro-organisms boost wastewater treatment capacity

Trading Green Ltd., Thailand, offers a wide-scope, natural wastewater treatment solution made with the collaboration of Louis Pasteur Institute, France. NeoBio contains more than 20 strains of natural micro-organisms that function as an ecosystem to selectively digest organic waste matter. NeoBio is harmless to people, animals, fish and plants. It is packaged in 25 g solid powder water-soluble bags for easy application and convenient logistics.

The following benefits were independently recorded by a major municipal wastewater treatment plant operator in Malaysia who tested NeoBio for six months:

  • Biological and chemical oxygen demands (BOD & COD), total Kjeldahl nitrogen (TKN) and sludge volume are substantially reduced;
  • Discharged water complies with pollution standards despite pollution peaks at inlet;
  • Blower usage in aeration tanks was reduced by 50 per cent without impact on discharge quality, which alone covers the cost of using NeoBio and provides power savings;
  • Odour and clogging of pipes are eliminated, and pumps need less maintenance as sludge stays semi-liquid and sludge build-up is three times slower; and
  • Sludge management costs are reduced, as organic components are digested.

Contaminants treated before they reach the groundwater

A “green” chemistry-based technology, developed by Savannah River National Laboratory of the United States Department of Energy, helps microbes break down soil contaminants before they reach the groundwater. The technology – licensed to EOS Remediation LLC – treats chlorinated solvent contamination in the vadose zone, the area of unsaturated soils between the ground surface and the water table below. Contamination in this zone can be a continuing source of groundwater contamination.

The technology, marketed by EOS Remediation in the name Vadose Organic Substrate (VOS™), uses “green” chemistry. Thixotropic gel – which has liquid consistency when stirred, but gels when left in place – uses biodegradable oil to sequester the contaminants while providing food for the microbes in the soil, stimulating the microbes’ innate ability to degrade solvents. Initial results indicate that the VOS technology can cost-effectively turn contaminated land once deemed unusable into productive and safe real estate. Contact: Ms. Angeline French, Savannah River National Laboratory, Department of Energy, Savannah River Site, Aiken, SC 29808, United States of America. Tel: +1 (803) 7252 854; E-mail:

Test to monitor remediation of chlorinated solvent

SiREM, Canada, holds an exclusive licence from Stanford University, the United States, to offer a patented process that uses a specific microbial gene – the vcrA gene – to detect and monitor micro-organisms critical to the bioremediation of chlorinated solvents. Having this gene allows micro-organisms to produce the enzyme vinyl chloride (VC) reductase to safely convert chlorinated solvents into non-toxic forms. Independent research has shown that vcrA is the most widely distributed VC-reductase gene in the environment, making it a key target for effective monitoring of chlorinated solvent remediation.

Micro-organisms that produce VC-reductase are critical to rendering toxic chlorinated solvents such as perchloroethene (PCE) and trichloroethene (TCE) into harmless end products. PCE and TCE are common groundwater contaminants that were once widely employed as dry cleaning solvents and degreasing agents. SiREM’s KB-1® culture that contains the vcrA gene has been successfully applied at hundreds of bioremediation sites in Asia, North America and Europe to enhance degradation of these compounds. Contact: SiREM, #130 Research Lane, Suite 2, Guelph, Ontario, N1G 5G3 Canada. Fax: +1 (519) 8223 151; Website:

Denitrification-based bioremediation

Denitrification-based bioremediation (DBB™) is a unique approach to bioremediation that uses nitrates as electron acceptors and sources of nutrient nitrogen to promote anaerobic biodegradation and oxidation processes in soils, aquifer media and ground water contaminated with petrol, diesel and other low molecular weight petroleum products and organic contaminants. As DBB is an anaerobic process, it works with, not against, the anaerobic and reducing conditions that typify source areas characterized by residual non-aqueous phase liquids (NAPLs) and high levels of sorbed-phase contamination. DBB has routinely been used for the effective on-site treatment of fine-grained media, building foundations and logistically complicated or busy industrial sites that are impractical to excavate or treat using other remediation processes.

N-Blend™ from Geovation Engineering, the United States, is a patented formulation of nitrate-based electron acceptors, nutrients, complex phosphates and other beneficial agents that promote DBB. N-Blend is prepared and applied as a highly concentrated aqueous solution that establishes high concentration gradients that drive the rapid diffusive flux of the active ingredients into the media to promote DBB. The diffusion-driven chemistry of the N-Blend technology is key to its utility as a cost-effective tool for the on-site bioremediation of hydrocarbon source areas, fine-grained, low-permeability aquifer media and contamination present in and below masonry materials. Its effectiveness has been demonstrated more than 250 sites in the United States as well as Europe. Contact: Geovation Engineering, 468 Route 17A, Florida, NY 10921, United States of America. Tel: +1 (845) 651 4141; Fax: +1 (845) 651 0040; E-mail:

Fungi get the lead out

Lead can be converted into pyromorphite, the most stable mineral form of the metal, by some species of fungi, according to a study by Mr. Geoff Gadd of the University of Dundee, Scotland, the United Kingdom. The findings suggest a possible avenue for bioremediation of soils polluted by lead. Fungi detoxify substances such as uranium by converting them into mineral forms. Mr. Gadd reasoned they might be able to do the same with lead. His group took samples of several fungi species from a defunct lead mine in Scotland. After scattering lead shot (ammunition used in shotguns) over agar media in Petri dishes, they introduced the fungi and allowed them to grow for several months.

Analysing the element composition and mineral structure of the compounds deposited on the lead, the researchers found that lead incubated with certain species of fungi showed much higher levels of pyromorphite than the metal left open in sterile dishes, suggesting the fungi are indeed detoxifying the metal. Mr. Gadd thinks the fungi’s ability to solubilize elements could offer remediation strategies, which currently fail to remove all lead from contaminated soil.


Technology to mitigate carbon dioxide emissions

HyperSolar Inc., the United States, claims that its technology holds the key to mitigating projected dangerous carbon dioxide (CO2) emission levels. The company’s renewable natural gas can be permanently carbon neutral, meaning that no new CO2 is introduced to the atmosphere after combustion. The breakthrough technology uses CO2 in the manufacture of pipeline-ready methane gas for the existing natural gas infrastructure. If the CO2 is obtained from carbon-positive sources such as coal-fired or natural gas power plants and power plants, then the renewable natural gas made from HyperSolar’s technology would be nearly carbon neutral. If the CO2 comes from carbon neutral sources such as biofuels, then the natural gas would be permanently carbon neutral, meaning that no new CO2 is introduced to the atmosphere after combustion.

HyperSolar’s technology under development aims to make renewable natural gas using CO2, water and sunlight. This renewable natural gas is a clean, carbon-neutral methane gas that can be used as a direct replacement for traditional natural gas to power the world, while mitigating CO2 emissions. Inspired by the photosynthetic processes that plants use to effortlessly harness solar power to create energy, the company is developing a novel solar-powered nanoparticle system that mimics photosynthesis to separate hydrogen from water. The free hydrogen can then be reacted with CO2 to produce methane. The proprietary nanoparticles will work in a water-based solution to produce clean and environmentally friendly renewable natural gas that can be collected for use in power plants, industrial plants as well as vehicles – anywhere and anytime. Contact: HyperSolar Inc., 629 State Street, Santa Barbara, CA 93101, United States of America. Tel: +1 (805) 966 6566; E-mail:; Website:

Improved technology for NOx scrubbing

A novel, very green, more effective technology has been released for the removal of nitrogen oxides (NOx) from gas scrubbers. Instead of the 3 to 6 stages of scrubbing typically required for NOx removal, this new process employs chlorine dioxide (ClO2) to achieve high removal levels using only one or two stages. The technology developed in partnership by the United States-based companies Dioxide Pacific Inc. and Pacific Rim Design and Development, removes NOx from gas scrubbers in less than 2 s contact time.

The improved NOx scrubbing process uses environment-friendly ClO2 as the oxidizing agent and should prove to be the most cost-effective and best available control technology for waste gas streams containing both nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and nitric oxide (NO). While the process has broad technical applications for a number of other processes, it offers a profound and immediate improvement in the treatment of industrially created NOx waste gas. This process will be beneficial for a number of industrial applications such as exhaust gas treatment in chemical milling and metal pickling, cooled stationary source combustion process flue gas (i.e. power generation plants), tail gas from nitric acid plants and other sources It efficiently treats more than 99 per cent of the NOx (both NO and NO2) at ambient temperature. Further, the process is less expensive to install and operate than currently available industrial technologies for NOx treatment.

Biogas purification systems

Two state-of-the-art waste processing facilities in Lancashire, England, the United Kingdom, report quick start-ups and strong levels of performance by newly installed BgPur™ biogas purification systems, designed and manufactured by Canada-based Eco-Tec Inc. The BgPur units purify biogas produced by removing corrosive hydrogen sulphide (H2S). While the systems are set up to clean H2S at 99 per cent efficiency per site, levels beyond 99 per cent have been recorded, and the units continue to perform consistently since the start-ups.

BgPur purifies the biogas produced through patented, high-efficiency gas-liquid contactors. The contactors process 1,100 m3/h of gas with a concentration of 5,000 ppmv of H2S per site, purifying it to less than 50 ppmv of H2S. The recovered gas is used as fuel to generate electricity for the parasitic demands of the sites. The net result is 100 per cent recycling, waste to the landfill is reduced by 70 per cent and carbon dioxide emission is reduced by 1.5 t for 1 of solid waste collected. Contact: Eco-Tec Inc., 1145 Squires Beach Road, Pickering, Ontario, Canada L1W 3T9. Tel: +1 (905) 427 0077; Fax: +1 (905) 427 4477; E-mail:; Website:

New process strips CO2 from the air

Scientists report to have found a better, cheaper way to remove carbon dioxide (CO2) from smokestacks and other sources, including the atmosphere. Mr. Alain Goeppert, Mr. G.K. Surya Prakash, Mr. George A. Olah and colleagues from University of Southern California, the United States, say their process achieves one of the highest CO2 removal rates ever reported for real-world conditions where the air contains moisture. Existing methods tend to be energy-intensive and inefficient. The researchers used solid materials based on polyethylenimine, an inexpensive and readily available polymeric material.

After capturing the CO2, the materials give it up easily, so that the CO2 can be used in making other substances, or permanently isolated from the environment. The capture material then can be recycled and reused several times over without losing efficiency. The researchers suggest the material could be useful in closed environments such as submarines and in smokestacks. The process could also be used out in the open atmosphere, where it could clean up CO2 pollution that comes from small point sources like cars or home heaters – which represent about half of the total CO2 emissions related to human activity.

To develop the new CO2-absorbing material, the scientists dissolved a polyethylene-like plastic in methanol and blended it with another mixture of methanol and fine-grained sand. The thoroughly mixed blend was then heated to remove the liquid solvent. The white solid that remained absorbed CO2 at room temperature and released it at 85°C – a narrow span of temperatures, implying less energy needed for a scrubbing system to work. The material could run on waste heat from other industrial processes, and it works well whether the air passing over it is dry or humid.

Scrubber for removing heavy metals from gases

Yissum Research Development Co., Israel, has patented a scrubber for removing elemental mercury from flue gases. The wet scrubber holds a liquor that contains an oxidizer dissolved in a non-volatile liquid. The oxidizer is selected as to oxidize the elemental metal into a salt, and the liquid is optionally selected as to stabilize the oxidizer. In an exemplary embodiment of the invention, the scrubber is configured to provide output of a gas clean of the heavy metal and free from vapours of the liquid or of that of the oxidizer. Examples of heavy metals that can be treated include mercury, uranium, cadmium, arsenic, tin and lead.

The wet scrubber for absorbing elemental heavy metals from flue gas stream typically comprises a vessel having a gas inlet and a gas outlet, and a liquor comprising an oxidizer and an ionic liquid. The liquor must be substantially free of any ligand capable of binding a heavy metal ion. In some embodiments, the wet scrubber is configured for removing metal salt from liquor exiting from the vessel before returning the liquor to the vessel. Contact: Yissum Research Development Co., Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel.

Power from carbon dioxide and fly-ash

By eliminating carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, producing fuel and reclaiming valuable metals from fly-ash and flue gases, MP BioMass from the United States offers technological solutions for coal power plants and other CO2 emitters to comply with environmental regulations while increasing profit margin. One technological solution that MP Biomass offers is a method of capturing the CO2 from flue gases to fully eliminate CO2 emissions. This is accomplished via a worldwide patented system that mimics a form of artificial photosynthesis. The company’s “nano-membrane pyrogasification process” not only extracts CO2 from flue gases but prevents other pollutants from escaping into the atmosphere. The process also captures oxygen (grade 5) and isolates hydrogen from the flue gases. This allows for the production of methanol and electricity, of which a small portion is used to keep the process going. More than 2,000 l of methanol could be produced from 1 t of CO2 captured. Besides high volume production, the methanol is also said to have a very high cetane rating – 60 plus, equating to high-grade, premium fuel able to be used in automobiles without modification.

MP BioMass has developed technological systems that can make use of fly-ash. First, the company’s process can recover carbon from fly-ash; fly-ash may contain 8-14 per cent of carbon residue, which can be utilized to produce energy. Second, it removes heavy metals and toxins from the waste, making it a more environmentally friendly substance. Finally, valuable ferrous and non-ferrous metal deposits can be extracted from the fly-ash. Thus, instead of being put into a landfill, the fly-ash serves an economic purpose. The technology can also be applied to biomass, such as agriculture waste and animal waste. Contact: MP Biomass, 2 N. Woodland Trl, Palos Park, Illinois 60464, United States of America. Tel: +1 (480) 2909 601; E-mail:


Solid Waste Technology and Management (2 Vols.)

The collection, transportation and subsequent processing of waste materials is a vast field of study that incorporates technical, social, legal, economic, environmental and regulatory issues. Common waste management practices include landfilling, biological treatment, incineration and recycling – all boasting advantages and disadvantages. The two volumes of Solid Waste Technology and Management present contributions from more than 70 internationally known experts, backed by the International Waste Working Group and the International Solid Waste Association. The chapters cover generation, characterization and minimization of waste, and deal with life cycle assessment of waste management systems. They also discuss in detail the various aspects of waste management such as collection, separation, mechanical treatment, thermal treatment, biological treatment, landfilling and material recycling. The publication is a balanced and detailed account of all aspects of municipal solid waste management, treatment and disposal, covering both engineering and management aspects with emphasis on the life-cycle approach.

Contact: John Wiley & Sons Singapore Pte. Ltd., 1 Fusionopolis Walk, #07-01 Solaris South Tower, Singapore 138628. Tel: +65 6643 8000; Fax: +65 6643 8008; E-mail:

A Guide to the Economic Removal of Metals from Aqueous Solutions

Water pollution is a topic of immense and common concern throughout the world. With a rapidly escalating global population and rapid industrial development in a growing number of countries, the world’s freshwater resources have become stressed. One way to get more out of less is “treatment and reuse”. This book presents the results and data from research and adsorption experiments carried out on the removal of nickel and chromium (as well as other metals) from aqueous solutions using modified silica sand. The data resulting from detailed kinetic, equilibrium and thermodynamic studies show that the removal capacity is increased so the treated water has a higher quality or purity. It also shows that the extraction of metals is achieved at a much lower cost because the treated water adsorption is a simple, low maintenance process, because silica is a non-toxic natural material widely available in all parts of the world.

Contact: John Wiley & Sons Singapore Pte. Ltd., 1 Fusionopolis Walk, #07-01 Solaris South Tower, Singapore 138628. Tel: +65 6643 8000; Fax: +65 6643 8008; E-mail:


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