VATIS Update Waste Management . Oct-Dec 2012

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Waste Management Oct-Dec 2012

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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Co-processing to curb GHG emissions

While co-processing in the cement industry has only recently been introduced to China, several initiatives are already well under way to spread the practice among cement producers in order to reduce landfill sites and contain greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The first phase of the Sino-Norwegian project to pilot waste studies and co-processing in cement kilns has been achieved successfully and the next step is to prepare a nationwide programme for promoting co-processing in the cement industry.

Co-processing of wastes as alternative fuels and raw materials offers advantages for the cement industry, waste producers and the authorities responsible for waste management. Such practice facilitates the recovery of valuable materials in wastes by using existing facilities, reducing the need to invest in new, expensive and purpose-built treatment capacity or incinerators. The incentive for the cement industry is that they need less coal and raw materials; furthermore, they can even charge for certain waste categories. The advantages for society are a higher capacity for waste treatment, improved energy and resource efficiency, as well as a reduction in GHG emissions owing to reduced consumption of fossil fuels and virgin raw materials.

US$10 million investment in plastic recycling in Bali

A foreign company plans to invest US$10 million in Tabanan regency, Bali, Indonesia, to open a factory that will recycle plastic waste into shipping pallets. When opened, PT Enviro Pallets will process around 30 t/d of plastic waste to produce the shipping pallets, which will be sold in local and export markets. According to Mr. J. Roger Harkin, President-Director of the company, the planned factory would process plastic bags, food wrapping, noodle sachets and other plastic waste. “We know some companies already process plastic bottles, so we will process other plastic waste that has badly polluted Balinese rivers, beaches and soil alike,” stated Mr. Harkin.

The pallet production will be part of the Bali Clean and Green programmes to free the island from piles of unprocessed plastic waste. Data from the provincial environmental agency show that there are about 10,000 m3 of garbage produced by residents on the island every day; about 15 per cent of this is plastic waste. However, only 5,000 m3 of all the garbage is processed by the government because of the limited budget and human resources. PT Enviro Pallets will also encourage producers and factories in Indonesia to replace their wooden pallets with plastic ones. The factory will implement a new plastic processing technology from New Zealand. “It is a very sophisticated technology. It has been implemented in New Zealand. But this will be the first time in the world that it will be used in commercial production. Bali will be the first in the world [to do this],” Mr. Harkin stated.

Dell to launch e-recycling collection points across India

Dell India, reinforcing its commitment to encourage and enable free and responsible ways of disposing old equipment, is establishing 16 electronics waste recycling collection points for consumers across 13 cities in India. These collection points will be located at existing Dell Carry-In Service (CIS) centres to encourage responsible disposal and recycling of any brand, through a Dell-approved environmental partner. Each centre will have collection bins that consumers can use to drop off non-working electronics items.

The electronics recycling collection points are an extension of Dell’s global free recycling programme that aims to provide free and easy recycling for consumers, keep environmentally sensitive materials out of landfills, enable materials to be recycled or reused and help conserve natural resources – part of Dell’s commitment to put technology and expertise to work where it can do the most good for people and the planet. Mr. A. Prem Ananth, Take Back Compliance Manager, Dell India, said, “Dell has been working towards providing multiple hassle-free options for disposing electronics responsibly and keeping them out of our landfills. Our newest recycling locations will now provide even more free and convenient options for consumers to recycle any brand of computer or associated peripheral device.” Dell’s electronics recycling collection points will be spread across Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Chandigarh, Chennai, Kochi, Gurgaon, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Lucknow and Noida, with two collection points each in Pune, Mumbai and Kolkata.

Nepal to revise waste management policy

Nepal’s waste management policy formulated in 1996 will be revised in the near future, says government sources. The Solid Waste Management Technical Support Centre (SWMTSC) under the Ministry of Urban Development has started to preparations for drafting the revised policy. The revised policy focuses on municipality and urban areas and aims to make management simple and effective to minimize the impact of solid waste on the environment and public health and to treat solid waste as a resource. The policy is being revised to improve public participation by increasing awareness. It also envisages imposition of tariff, segregation and collection of waste at the household level, and defining the responsibilities of stakeholders with a clear strategy and mechanism of implementation of the existing rules, says Ms. Sumitra Amatya, the Executive Director of SWMTSC.

Viet Nam considering recycling sludge to stop sludge waste

Local authorities of HCM City, Viet Nam, are calling for investment in a project to recycle sludge, which would not only help clean the environment but also generate useful products. About 2,800-3,600 m3/d of sludge is generated in the city, according to the HCM City Department for Natural Resources and the Environment. Also, it has classified sludge into six groups – sludge from dredging the water drainage system, from concentrated domestic wastewater systems, from septic tanks, from concentrated wastewater systems in industrial zones, from the wastewater treatment stations at production workshops outside industrial zones and from construction sites. The city receives in addition about 900 m3/d of sludge from non-regular sources, such as canal dredging.

At present, only sludge from the canal and water drainage system dredging is being collected by the HCM City Water Drainage Company and the districts’ companies for public interest, which then carry it away for dumping. Meanwhile, the sludge from septic tanks is carried to the Hoa Binh solid waste treatment company in Binh Chanh district for treatment. According to Mr. Le Tien Dung, Director of the company, higher volumes of sludge have been carried to the factory for treatment after the drastic measures that the city’s authorities took to clear sludge. However, those volumes are insignificant when compared with the total volume of 300 m3/d of sludge generated.

Sludge is a kind of normal waste with no heavy metal and therefore, suitable for recycling, according to Mr. Nguyen Van Phuoc, Deputy Director of the HCM City Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. Sludge high in organic matter – such as from sewage dredging, and wastewater treatment plants of dairy factories or food processing factories – can be recycled for compost. Meanwhile, the sledge with low organic matter could be recycled to be used as a construction material. The city has reserved 40 ha of land in Binh Chanh district for building a station that receives, processes and treats sludge. The HCM City Water Drainage Company has been appointed to implement the project. Once it is operational, the project will be treating all kinds of sludge to be carried from different places in the city. However, the project has been delayed for lack of capital. The city’s authorities have instructed relevant agencies to help the company to accelerate the site clearance works to ensure that the construction could begin in the first quarter of 2013.

Sri Lanka takes big strides in solid waste management

Mr. Premalal Jayasekara, the Sri Lankan Power and Energy Deputy Minister, has stated that Sri Lanka is ahead of many countries in the region in solid waste management. Mr. Jayasekara made this observation at the launch of a solid waste management project in the Nivithigala Pradeshiya Sabha. The Central Environmental Authority (CEA) invested SLRs 2.7 million (US$20,500) in the project that covers 44 Grama Niladari divisions in the Nivithigala Pradeshiya Sabha. Mr. Jayasekara said the project will help in proper disposal of used plastics and empty tins, curbing the menace of dengue and improving people’s health conditions, which is essential to attain sustainable development.

Philippines plans nationwide trash-for-cash campaign

The Department of Environment and National Resources (DENR) and the Department of Education (DepEd) in the Philippines are scaling up the government’s recycling campaign involving public school students to national level. The two departments have partnered with the League of Municipalities of the Philippines (LMP) for implementation of the National Ecosavers Programme (NEP) in more than 1,500 municipalities all over the country. NEP, launched in Metro Manila, is a programme in which students from public schools take recycling initiatives and receive tangible benefits such as cash and school supplies for the efforts. Mr. Ramon J. Paje, DENR Secretary, representing NEP partners, recently signed a memorandum of agreement (MoA) with LMP, represented by its President and Mayor Donato Marcos of Paombong, Bulacan, to set in motion a nationwide “trash-for-cash” initiative. “The agreement will serve as a blueprint for upscaling NEP to the national level to ensure its institutionalization and sustainability down to the municipal level,” Mr. Paje stated.

NEP was first implemented in 742 public elementary and secondary schools in the National Capital Region in the hope of reducing some 8,000 t/y of garbage collected from schools and homes in the metropolis. Each participating student got either school supplies or cash in exchange for the recyclables he/she turns in to their school. Selected recyclers and junk shops pick up the recyclable materials. DENR, which has allocated P50 million (US$1.16 million) for the programme’s rollout, is the agency in charge, with the DepEd training the teachers and principals in the particulars of the programme.

Under the MoA, DENR will mobilize its regional officers at provincial to municipal level for the promotion of NEP, and will train municipal executives in charge of implementing NEP within their respective localities. DepEd will activate its staff to conduct trainings and information campaigns efforts throughout the country in coordination with their DENR and LMP counterparts. The staff members are also tasked to issue circulars to all public elementary and secondary schools for the effective implementation of NEP.

Recycling industry hits a milestone in Malaysia

Malaysia’s recycling industry marked a significant milestone with the successful deployment of the first small-scale materials recovery facility (MRF) at the Jeram Sanitary Landfill (JSL) in Kuala Selangor. The M$600,000 (US$182,000) facility was started by Tetra Pak (Malaysia) and developed by MDS Holdings, and will be operated by Worldwide Landfills, the current JSL operator. The related companies have formally handed over the facility to the Government of Malaysia to assist in the efforts to increase the recycling rate nationwide. The handing over was witnessed by Malaysia’s Minister of Housing and Local Government Datok Seri Chor Chee Heung. Mr. Mike Yap, MDS Director, said that the MRF would assist in the segregation and collection of recyclable materials, thereby reducing the amount of solid waste dumped at landfills locally. “Although this MRF can be loaded with only 50 t/d of waste, it helps to increase the percentage of recyclable waste collected to 25 per cent, where 10 per cent are solid recyclable waste like aluminium cans, used beverage cartons, plastics and paper while the remaining are organic waste that can be converted into fertilizer.”

The MRF, the capacity of which is small compared with the more than 2,000 t/d of waste sent to JSL, will continue to operate at the landfill to facilitate the further harvesting of technical data. Its performance will then facilitate as a platform for the small-scale MRF concept to be potentially deployed to other landfills in an effort to recover more recyclable materials in an economically viable way.

Coal ash recycling offers environmental benefits to China

Recycling of coal ash into environmentally friendly building materials is one way that Shanxi, China’s largest coal producing province, is trying to cope with the 120 million tonnes of toxic dump lying in the surroundings of Shentou’s No. 2 power plant, where a 1.2 km2 landfill of coal ash has taken shape over the past three decades. Annually, 3 million tonnes of coal ash – laden with toxic heavy metals including arsenic, mercury, cadmium and lead – leaks from the three power plants into the water system or the air. To gradually remove the glacier-like ash dump, the Shuozhou city government plans to build a landfill into China’s largest coal ash recycling base.

According to Mr. Liu Yao, an expert with the Shanxi Coal Transportation Co., “One source of optimism is that the coal ash leaked by Shuozhou’s three power plants contains alumina and silicon that could be used as raw materials for building new products like bricks and ceramics.” Close to the site, the Shuozhou municipal government is building an industrial zone with an area of 1,977 acres at an investment of 12 billion yuan (US$1.9 billion) to recycle 5 million tonnes of coal ash annually. With 16 ongoing projects and 13 products to be marketed by end of 2012, the total consumption capacity of ash is tipped to reach 2.4 million tonnes, according to the city’s mayor Mr. Li Zhengyin. The use of recycled ash will help the industry become a pillar sector of the city, accounting for 5 per cent of overall GDP. Since April 2011, the zone has attracted nine enterprises that produce products like bricks from coal ash.


Improved process to recycle rare earth materials

In the United States, scientists at Ames Laboratory of the Department of Energy (DOE) are trying to more effectively remove neodymium, a rare earth element, from the mix of other materials in a magnet. Initial results have shown that the recycled material maintains the properties that make rare earth magnets useful. The current rare earth recycling research builds on decades of rare earth processing experience of Ames Laboratory. In the 1990s, Ames Lab scientists developed a process that uses molten magnesium to remove rare earths from scrap neodymium-iron-boron magnet. As rare earth prices have gone up tenfold between 2009 and 2011 and supplies are in question, rare earth recycling research now aims to make from recycled rare earths new magnet alloys similar to alloys made from unprocessed rare earth materials, stated Mr. Ryan Ott, the Ames Laboratory scientist leading the research. “It appears that the processing technique works well. It effectively removes rare earths from commercial magnets,” states Mr. Otts.

The Ames Laboratory team starts with sintered, uncoated magnets that contain three rare earths: neodymium, praseodymium and dysprosium. The magnets are broken in an automated mortar and pestle until the pieces are 2-4 mm long. The tiny magnet pieces go into a mesh screen box placed in a stainless steel crucible. Chunks of solid magnesium are added and the materials heated in a radio frequency furnace. The magnesium melts, but the magnet chunks remain solid. “What happens then is that all three rare earths leave the magnetic material by diffusion and enter the molten magnesium,” Mr. Ott says. “The iron and boron that made up the original magnet are left behind.” The molten magnesium and rare earth mixture is then cast into an ingot and cooled. Then the magnesium is boiled off, to yield just the rare earth materials. The properties of the recycled rare earths compare very favourably with the ones from unprocessed materials, claims the Ames Laboratory team.

New systems created out of e-waste

Mr. Akhil Sai, a student of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras, India, has come up with a novel way to mitigate e-wastes from piling up – collect old computers and donate them to people who could use them for basic data processing and Internet uses. His idea was adopted as one of the social initiatives of the recent three-day annual technical festival of IIT-Madras, Shaastra 2013. Mr. Sai coordinates the “Computer Literacy for All” project in which the students convert e-waste into something that assists the education of poor students. The students collect old computers from residents on IIT campus (mainly students and faculty), repair the non-working ones by scavenging parts from other systems and assemble new systems. The computers are then donated to charitable institutions so that they are less burdened in their efforts to serve society. Of the 30 million or so installed computers in India, 80 per cent are desktops, which will soon become obsolete because inexpensive laptops and tablets are becoming popular.

Waste silicon gets new life in lithium-ion batteries

Researchers at Rice University, the United States, and the Universite catholique de Louvain, Belgium, have developed a way to produce flexible components for rechargeable lithium-ion batteries from discarded silicon. The lab of materials scientist Mr. Pulickel Ajayan created forests of nanowires from high-value but hard-to-recycle silicon. Silicon absorbs 10 times more lithium than the carbon commonly used in lithium-ion batteries, but it breaks down quickly because it expands and contracts as it charges and discharges. The technique developed by Mr. Ajayan’s lab makes carefully arrayed nanowire encased in electrically conducting copper and ion-conducting polymer electrolyte into an anode. The material gives nanowires the space to grow and shrink as needed, prolonging their usefulness. The electrolyte serves also as an efficient spacer between the anode and cathode. The scientists hope their devices are a step towards flexible, efficient and inexpensive batteries.

The researchers were able to pull multiple layers of the anode/electrolyte composite from a single discarded wafer. The material made at Rice looks like strips of white tape. Colloidal nanosphere lithography, an established process, was used to make a silicon corrosion mask by spreading polystyrene beads suspended in liquid onto a silicon wafer. The beads on the wafer self-assembled into a hexagonal grid that stayed intact when shrunken chemically. A thin layer of gold was sprayed on and the polystyrene removed, which left a fine gold mask with evenly spaced holes on top of the wafer. The mask was used in metal-assisted chemical etching, in which the silicon dissolved where it touched the metal. Over time in a chemical bath, the metal catalyst would sink into the silicon and leave millions of even-spaced nanowires, 50-70 µm long, poking through the holes. The team deposited a thin layer of copper on the nanowires to improve their ability to absorb lithium and then infused the array with an electrolyte that, besides transported ions to the nanowires, also served as a separator between the anode and a later-applied cathode.

The bottleneck for battery applications had been taking nanowires off the silicon wafer, as the pure, free-standing nanowires quickly crumble. In the new process, the electrolyte engulfs the nanowire array in a flexible matrix and facilitates its easy removal. The mask is left on the unperturbed wafer to etch a new anode. When combined with a spray-on current collector on one side, and a cathode and current collector on the other, the resulting battery showed promise as it delivered 150 mAh/g with little decay over 50 charge/discharge cycles. The researchers are working to enhance those qualities and testing the anodes in standard battery configurations. Contact: Mr. David Ruth, Rice University, 6100 Main Street, Houston, Texas, TX 77251, United States of America. Tel: +1 (713) 3486 327; E-mail:

New rare earth recycling process

The rare earths business unit of Solvay, Belgium, has won the 2012 ICIS Best Innovation for Sustainability Award, in recognition of the company’s efforts to develop and implement a novel process for recycling the six rare earth elements found in spent energy-saving light bulbs. In Solvay’s process – developed by a team led by Mr. Nicolas Barthel, Head of R&D and pilot projects at Solvay’s rare earths plant in France – the elements are reformulated and returned to energy-saving light bulb manufacturers for use in new bulbs, thus making the life cycle of these green products even more sustainable.

Solvay’s recycling units recycle the six rare earth elements – cerium, lanthanum, terbium, yttrium, europium and gadolinium – found in the fluorescent powder in energy-saving light bulbs while preserving all of the elements’ functional properties. The rare earth elements are extracted from the powder and sent to the recycling plant for separation using a unique separation technology that is unparalleled in Europe. The six rare earth elements are then reformulated into fluorescent precursors for use in new bulbs.

Smart ‘ATM’ takes old phones and gives back cash

In the United States, ecoATM, with support from the National Science Foundation (NSF), has developed a unique, automated system that lets consumers trade in devices for reimbursement or recycling. Using sophisticated artificial intelligence ecoATM kiosks can differentiate between varied consumer electronic products and determine a market value. If the value is acceptable, users have the option of receiving cash or store credit for their trade – or donating all or part of the compensation to one of several charities. ecoATM finds second homes for three-fourths of the phones it collects, sending the remaining ones to environmentally responsible recycling channels to reclaim any rare earth elements and keep toxic components from landfills.

The system’s artificial intelligence and diagnostics deliver 97.5 per cent accuracy for device recognition, removing human oversight and making the system viable. The company’s databases are trained with images of more than 4,000 devices, and when an identification mistake occurs, the system learns from that mistake. A number of robotic elements enable it to safely collect, evaluate and then store each device in a process that only takes a few minutes. When a phone is presented the AI system conducts a visual inspection (ecoATM’s visual evaluation process includes eight separate grades based on the level of damage a device), identifies the model of the device, and provides one of 23 possible connector cables to link it to the network. A value is then determined based on the company’s real-time, worldwide, pre-auction system in which a broad network of buyers have already bid on the old technology, so the kiosk can immediately provide compensation. The ecoATM project is expected to put consumer focus on recycling, while offering affordable mobiles.


Ray of light for CRT recycling

Across the world, electronics recycling programmes are collecting growing quantities of cathode ray tubes (CRTs) while the end uses for recycled CRT glass, which generally constitutes 15-30 kg per set, are disappearing. The United States Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) reports many United States recyclers having growing stockpiles of CRT glass, with no truly feasible market for it emerging to date. In a bid to find solutions to the problem, in late 2011, CEA laid down an eco-challenge to develop economic and environmentally preferable solutions for recycling CRTs. One of the eventual winners of the challenge was Nulife Glass, the United Kingdom. Nulife has developed a solution to segregate the lead in leaded CRT glass, using a highly efficient electric furnace and a combination of chemicals to produce both clean glass and lead. According to the company, the process is claimed to create neither emissions nor waste and avoid the export of hazardous material around the globe.

Mr. Simon Greer, Director of Nulife Glass and inventor of the process, explains that, using the combination of a furnace and chemistry, he managed to squeeze a tiny amount of lead out of the CRT glass and realized what the chemical formula to do it. He then set about refining the process through trial and error with the construction of several small furnaces. The first stage in Nulife’s process is to separate the panel glass from the leaded glass, which is crushed and treated with chemicals to assist the lead extraction.

The process utilizes a specially designed electrolytic converter where the CRT glass and process chemicals are melted in strictly controlled conditions to free metallic lead from glass, and is tapped off to form lead ingots. The process is continuous and has the capacity to handle 10 t/d. To increase energy efficiency, the process utilizes super-efficient insulation so that while the temperature inside the main melting unit is in excess of 1,000°C, the outside never exceeds 60°C. In addition to being energy efficient, the converter has negligible emissions, eliminating the need for expensive extraction and filtration systems. The process uses around US$0.50 worth of electricity for each CRT treated and recovers around US$2 worth of lead as well as clean glass.

New e-waste tracking system developed

In the United States, InnoCentive, a crowd-sourced problem-solving company that offers prizes for solutions, the non-profit advocacy group Environmental Defense Fund and data storage company EMC Corp. have announced the conclusion of a challenge aimed at finding a way to better track shipments of used electronic goods. The challenge was issued to find a scalable way to track e-scrap to its final destination in the hope of adopting more environmentally sustainable ways of managing the material. Participants in the challenge were asked to help develop a process or device that would allow electronics manufacturers to follow what happens to their products as they make their way through the waste stream. The three winning solutions selected from more than 60 solutions submitted are:
  • A unique 12-digit code printed directly onto each sub-system component using passive radio frequency identification ink;
  • An electronic tag that combines identification codes printed on components with a crowd-sourcing on-line platform that together yield a holistic picture of where electronic components end up; and
  • A tracking system that leverages a label sheet printed with unique, encrypted codes for each key component in the system. The labels would be applied to and follow subsystem components, as they move through the disposal process.

Fujitsu turns recycled CDs into notebook computer parts

High-tech giant Fujitsu, Japan, has developed an industry first: a technology that recycles plastic from used CDs and DVDs into notebook computer components. Fujitsu’s system not only processes recycled plastics but also flags all toxic chemical contaminants in the materials that are listed in the company’s risk management database. The process can use about 10 t/y of virgin plastic in Fujitsu’s products and cut carbon dioxide emissions associated with manufacturing by about 15 per cent annually. Raw materials for the process are supplied by Fujitsu’s five recycling centres in Japan, where the company collects, disassembles, sorts and recycles personal computers as well as other consumer electronics gadgets.

Because it is difficult to get a uniform mixture from the wide assortment of plastics collected, Fujitsu decided to focus on CDs and DVDs, which are often included with PCs and are readily available in predictable quantities. These optical discs are made of polycarbonate, a type of plastic suitable for making bodies of notebook computers. Moreover, as they do not have any contaminants such as flame retardants, they were deemed to be a suitable material for recycling. The first system to include the recycled plastic is the Fujitsu Lifebook P772/E notebook computer. The front panel of the device is made from recycled plastic. Fujitsu plans to expand the recycling process to other notebook computers and products.

E-waste processing in a counter-current teeter-bed separator

At the National Metallurgical Laboratory (NML) of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), India, scientists have researched advanced gravity separation of ground e-waste in a teeter-bed separator. The research established that the Floatex Density Separator (FDS) is a promising device for wet processing of e-waste to recover physically valuable metals. The metal content in the feed was enriched from 23 per cent to 37 per cent in the product in a single-stage operation using FDS, with over 95 per cent recovery of the metals. A two-stage processing scheme was developed that enriched the metal content further to 48.2 per cent. The influence of the operating variables, namely, teeter water flow rate, bed pressure and feed rate were quantified. Low bed pressures and low teeter water rates produced higher mass yields with poorer product grades. On the contrary, a high bed pressure and high teeter water rate combination led to a lower mass yield but better product quality. A high feed rate introduced en masse settling leading to higher yield but at a poorer product grade. Contact: Mr. Sujit Kumar Dey/Mr. Vidyadhar Ari/Mr. Avimanyu Das, CSIR-NML, Burma Mines, Jamshedpur, Jharkhand 831007, India.

New method to recycle e-waste developed

In India, scientists at the Institute of Chemical Technology (ICT) and the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) have jointly developed an eco-friendly method to recycle used printed circuit boards (PCBs) from personal computers without releasing toxic gases into the environment. The three-member team used high-energy electron beams to degrade a PCB and prepare it for recycling.

At present, e-waste such as PCBs that contain hazardous chemicals are disposed of by open burning by the informal sector. “We decided to work on e-waste components that are found in large quantities and where recycling poses an environmental challenge. Every household has a computer that is eventually discarded,” said Prof. R.N. Jagtap, Head, Department of Polymer and Surface Engineering at ICT and part of the study. “Our method does not release effluents or toxic gases in the air.”

E-waste separator

Henan Province Sanxing Machinery Co. Ltd., China, offers equipment for recycling scrap electronic components. Based on advanced recycling technologies, crushers and high-voltage electrostatic separators are employed for mechanical pulverization and recovery of useful components from waste printed circuit boards (PCBs) from computers and television sets, aluminium-plastic panels, copper-coated plates and used electric appliances. The equipment ensures metal recovery of 98 per cent purity. Contact: Mr. Zhang Yunlong, Manager, Henan Province Sanxing Machinery Co. Ltd., West Gang, Xushui Town, Zhongyuan Region, Zhengzhou, Henan, China. Tel: +86 (371) 6784 2763; Fax: +86 (371) 6784 2730; Website:


Innovative biohazardous waste management solution

Sterilwave 440 waste management system, from Bertin Technologies based in France, is a machine that sterilizes biohazardous waste in an environmentally safe and conscious manner. The result is ordinary solid waste that no longer poses a threat to humans and the environment. This fully automated system provides a greatly reduced risk of exposure to biohazardous material for hospital staff, as it requires no intermediate handling and the break down of materials does not produce any liquid effluent or hazardous emission. Sterilwave reduces waste treatment costs within the medical facility by eliminating the need for transporting hazardous materials. The by-product of this process is harmless solid waste that can be disposed of by traditional methods. Sterilwave reduces the volume and weight of waste for its cost-effective and easy removal. Contact: Bertin Technologies, Montigny-le-Bretonneux, Parc d’activités du Pas du Lac, 10 bis, Avenue Ampère, 78180 Montigny-le-Bretonneux, France. Tel: +33 (139) 30 60 00; Fax: +33 (139) 30 09 50.

New technology turns clinical waste into heat

DPS Global, the United Kingdom, has launched a new compact energy solution that will enable hospitals to turn contaminated syringes and other medical waste into heat. The ST Series offers health trusts an alternative to sending clinical waste to landfill. The technology involves staged and separated pyrolysis and gasification of healthcare waste to produce small amounts of ash and heat. This enables hospitals to use their waste as a substitute for fossil fuels, thereby reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and heating bills by as much as £100,000 a year. The technology also significantly reduces the cost of waste disposal by diverting it from landfill or incineration. Collection of waste for incineration in the United Kingdom can cost as much as £1,000 per tonne for clinical waste. The ST series technology treatment cost is comparatively much lower, around £150-£250 per tonne.

Pyrolysis, which involves the thermal decomposition of organic material by the action of heat alone, separates energy-rich carbon and hydrogen from the waste. For this, the waste is fed through a tube that is externally heated using exhaust gases from the later stages of the process. The heat decomposes the waste to produce a synthetic gas (syngas) similar to the natural gas used by a domestic boiler. Additional syngas can be produced from some of the carbon left in the waste (known as char) after pyrolysis. This is achieved through gasification, utilizing a small amount of air and steam to release the carbon from the waste. Finally, the syngas can be burned with a controlled amount of air to produce a temperature of 1,100°C. The high temperature ensures that small pollutant particles that make their way down the process, are destroyed. Carbon monoxide emissions that lead to smoke and soot are also extremely low. The model is capable of processing up to 250 kg/h and generating heat output of up to 700 kWth. It accepts around 85 per cent of the European waste catalogue materials with no pre-treatment required and can also be easily integrated into existing industrial infrastructure to provide energy for heating and hot water. Contact: DPS Global, Serbert Road, Portishead, Bristol BS20 7GF, United Kingdom. Tel: +44 (1275) 841 300; Website:

Eco-friendly medical waste incinerator

In South Africa, a medical waste incinerator has been developed by NCG founder and medic Dr. Hugo Tempelman and engineer Mr. Tim Simons, CEO of Ultrafurn. The T2 medical waste disposer, the latest in on-site medical waste disposal systems, incinerates medical waste in batches of 15 kg and runs in a four-hour cycle with only 30 kW/h per burn cycle. This conforms to the National Environmental Management Air Quality Act, 2009 of the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA). The system also ensures that toxic substances such as dioxins are destroyed and only a white plume of smoke is released into the atmosphere. The compact design of the T2 facilitates installation even at clinics to enable on-site disposal of medical waste, thereby avoiding the unnecessary costs of collection and transportation as well as other issues related to off-site disposal.

Maintenance of the T2 is kept to an absolute minimum and the unit can run daily for two years, with no need for repairs, the developers of the machine claim. Medical waste that is easily disposed of in the unit includes nappies, placentas, swabs, bandages, blood and gloves. While the disposal of needles and sharps in the T2 is yet to be investigated, the overall benefits of cost savings, proper disposal and cleaner environments add up to the disposer’s increased benefits.

Pyrolytic treatment of healthcare waste

PyroPure Ltd., the United Kingdom, offers PyroPure® process to ensure that all waste reaches a temperature of over 550°C and the ash that results from the process is inert. Tests on domestic (black stream) and offensive/hygiene (yellow/black stream) categories have shown that PyroPure is effective. Destruction of pathogens in infectious waste occurs at the operating temperatures. PyroPure can be expected to treat all categories of healthcare waste with the exception of plaster casts, implanted devices, large equipment, radioactive wastes, dental amalgam and wastes containing prions (agents of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease/bovine spongiform encephalopathy infections). Glassware, sharps and other inorganic wastes are sterilized but not destroyed by the process.

The ideal location for a PyroPure unit is on-site, as close to the source of the waste production as possible. This ensures that there is no waste transportation required, thereby reducing the waste treatment costs. If space or utility connections are not available close to the source of the waste, PyroPure units can be installed in a local waste management station where waste from other centres can also be treated. PyroPure is ideal for:

  • High-value waste such as sanitary and clinical waste;
  • Difficult-to-treat wastes such as raw meat and sanitary/incontinence pad waste;
  • Remote locations where waste transport costs and environmental impact are high; and
  • Secure locations, such as prisons and consulates where security is high and waste collection is difficult.

The PyroPure process is an automatic computer-controlled batch process involving warm up, pyrolysis and gasification cool down. The waste is destroyed in three stages: controlled pyrolysis, heated air injection and steam flush and sterilization. The ash residue and ‘clean’ gas are flushed separately into the sewer system in the final steam injection stage. Contact: PyroPure Limited, Unit 58, Woolmer Trading Estate, Woolmer Way, Bordon, Hampshire GU35 9QF, England, United Kingdom. Tel. + 44 (0) 1420 277 900; E-mail:

Biomedical waste shredding machines

Saratech Equipments, India, offers biomedical waste shredding machine to destroy waste such as syringes, scalpels, glass vials, blades, plastics, catheters, gloves, intravenous sets/bottles, broken ampoules, blood bags, bandages and so forth. Shredding helps prevent the reuse of infectious biomedical waste and also acts as an identifier that the waste is safe to dispose off. ‘Shrine’ offered by Saratech is a research-backed, cost-effective shredding solution with a focus on shredding as a key factor in solid waste management. It shreds both dry and wet waste. Shrine employs a patent- pending, effective shredding mechanism (“crocodile bite method”) that operates using a V-shaped, fixed cutter and multiple rotary shearing discs. The fixed cutter is mounted at an angle adjacent to the rotary shearing discs to achieve optimum cutting. The material to be cut is grabbed between the rotary discs and the fixed cutter shreds repeatedly. The over-cut of rotary discs helps avoid coiling of material and jamming of the rotary shaft. Contact: Saratech Equipments, Gate No. 212, Kondhanpur Road, Ranje, P.O. Arvi, Pune 412 205, Maharashtra, India. Tel: +91 (2113) 203049, +9225507496; Fax: +91 (20) 2439 1953; E-mail:


Treatment of organic industrial wastewater

A new wastewater treatment system from Bluewater Bio International in the United Kingdom demonstrates performance and versatility, covering a range that includes municipal sewage and high-strength industrial, food, livestock, textile and hospital wastewaters. The Hybrid Activated Sludge (HYBACS) process is a nutrient removal hybrid-activated sludge system developed from a process originating in the Republic of Korea. The process consists of two biological stages followed by clarification. The first stage is Bluewater Bio’s Shaft Mounted Advanced Reactor Technology (SMART™) units, with attached biomass. The second is an activated sludge process that suspends biomass. The hyperactive and dense biomass naturally attaches in proprietary porous rotors, enabling a system that is very economical in land, energy and capital costs.

HYBACS system can produce effluents with qualities compliant with the most stringent European nutrient removal standards, albeit supplementary dosing may be needed to obtain compliance with the tightest total phosphorus (TP) standards. HYBACS product addresses wastewater treatment requirements of a number of applications, including:

  • Municipal and domestic wastewater from cities and residential developments;
  • Upgrading existing wastewater treatment plants to meet stricter regulations and legislation;
  • Reuse of wastewater, providing high-quality treated effluent for use in agriculture, irrigation, landscaping and ‘greening’ initiatives where there is water scarcity;
  • Wastewater from breweries and beverage manufacturers;
  • Wastewater from food processing (e.g. abattoir or confectionary plant);
  • Concentrated wastewater from livestock husbandry;
  • Wastewater from textiles and other industries; and
  • Leachate wastewater.

Towards sustainable and cost-effective wastewater treatment

Wastewater treatment plants are increasingly using biologic nutrient removal (BNR) process to protect human health and the environment, says Mr. Robert Nerenberg, a civil and environmental engineering and earth sciences associate professor at University of Notre Dame in the United States. This BNR process typically adds an external electron donor, or carbon source, such as methanol or ethanol. These chemicals, however, are expensive, toxic, difficult to handle and can have a large carbon footprint. Mr. Nerenberg notes that gaseous electron donors have been used sparingly in wastewater treatment because of their sparse solubility. However, a new biofilm reactor technology known as the membrane-biofilm reactor (MBfR) effectively delivers gaseous substances directly to the biofilm, by-passing the solubility problems. Hydrogen gas has been delivered to an MBfR to remove oxidized contaminants such as nitrate.

Mr. Nerenberg is studying the feasibility of using a number of inorganic or gaseous compounds – such as sulphur, sulphur dioxide, sulphite, hydrogen sulphite and methane, for delivery to MBfRs. Many of these compounds are waste products of other industries and can be much more cost-effective and sustainable than the carbon compounds used currently in BNR processes. For example, elemental sulphur is a waste product from a number of industries, including oil refining and coal or gas-burning refining plants, and in many cases, these industries would be happy to provide the sulphur for free to entities willing to remove it. The research thus also offers a means to transform a waste product into a valuable resource. Mr. Nerenberg will initially focus his research on sulphur and sulphur dioxide, which have the highest potential for immediate application.

Co-processing of distillery effluent

In India, Mr. Sant Prasad Gautam and the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) have jointly patented a method for co-processing distillery effluent. This method comprises the following steps: optional neutralization of effluent (spent wash), concentration of spent wash and co-processing the concentrated spent wash in a cement plant or thermal power plant or sponge/steel furnace. Co-incineration of distillery spent wash in cement plant requires the spent wash to be concentrated to minimum 50 brix before incineration by: (a) either by reverse osmosis followed by multiple effect evaporation (MEE); or (b) through MEE only.

The concentrated spent wash can be fired in two different locations – in the main burner of the cement kiln, along with coal utilizing the diesel firing line used for the start up of the cement kiln, and in the hot zone of the cooler where the clinker falls in the cooler from the kiln. The concentrated (50 per cent solid) spent wash has a net calorific value ranging from 1,000 kcal/kg to 2,000 kcal/kg, depending upon the moisture content. The feed rates range from 100 l/h to 1,500 l/h. Spent wash tends to contain chloride levels in the range of 1.5-5.0 per cent and sulphur levels in the range of 1.0-5.0 per cent. It also contains alkalies (potassium and sodium) up to a level of about 2 per cent. Alkalies, sulphates and chlorides are known to form a coating due to their evaporation and condensation in the pre-heater section of the kiln. Hence, co-processing of this material is better carried out in the cooler section by firing the material on the falling clinker having a temperature range of 1,000°C to 1,100°C, rather than at the main burner along with coal, where the temperature ranges from 1,200°C to 1,450°C. The evaporation of the alkalies and their carry over in the kiln section gets minimized due to absorption of these volatiles in the clinker. Contact: The Central Pollution Control Board, Parvesh Bhawan, East Arjun Nagar, New Delhi 110 003, India.

Electro-chemical oxidation of methyl orange dye effluent

At the Beijing Forestry University, China, researchers have examined the treatment of methyl orange dye wastewater by cooperative electro-chemical oxidation in an anodic-cathodic compartment. The process was studied using a titanium/iridium oxide/ruthenium oxide anode and a self-made palladium/carbon dioxide-fed cathode in the divided cell with a terylene diaphragm. Results indicated that the appropriate rate of feeding air improved the methyl orange removal efficiency. The discoloration efficiency of the dye in the divided cell increased with increasing current density. The initial pH value had some effect on the discoloration of the dye, which was not obvious when the pH ranged from 2 to 10. However, the average removal efficiency of methyl orange wastewater in terms of total organic carbon (TOC) can reach 89.3 per cent.

The methyl orange structure had changed in the electrolytic process, and the characteristic absorption peak of methyl orange was about 470 nm. With extended electrolysis time, the concentration of methyl orange gradually reduced (wastewater discoloration rate increased gradually). The degradation of the dye was assumed to be due to cooperative oxidation by either direct or indirect electro-chemical oxidation at the anode, and hydrogen peroxide, OH ion and O2– ion produced by oxygen reduction at the cathode in the divided cell. Thus, the cooperative electro-chemical oxidation of methyl orange wastewater in the anodic-cathodic compartment showed better degradation effects. Contact: Mr. Wang Hui, College of Environmental Science and Engineering, Beijing Forestry University, Beijing 100083, China. E-mail:

Bioremoval of textile dyes with different chemical structures

Researchers at the University of Ankara, Turkey, have investigated the removal of 17 textile dyes with different chemical structures using Aspergillus versicolor in molasses medium. Maxilon Red GRL (MR-GRL), Everdirect Fast Black VSF (EFB-VSF) and Brillant Blue R (BB-R) were eliminated better by fungal mycelia. Optimum pH values were found as six for all three dyes. In further experiments on the highest dye concentrations tested in this study, 58.3, 100 and 49 per cent removal yields and 14.8, 12.6, 9.0 q values were found for MR-GRL, EFB-VSF and BB-R, respectively.

Chemical oxygen demand (COD) reduction after seven days of incubation period and role of laccase activity of Aspergillus sp. were also investigated. COD reduction and laccase activities were 55.6 per cent and 2.93 U/ml for MR-GRL, 90.7 per cent and 3.0 U/ml for EFB-VSF and 69.0 per cent and 1.79 U/ml for BB-R, respectively. According to these results A. versicolor deserves notable attention for elimination of these dyes in wastewater effluents. Contact: Mr. Gonul Donmez, Department of Biology, Faculty of Science, University of Ankara, 06100, Beºevler, Ankara, Turkey. E-mail:

Mobile wastewater treatment units

Dew Speciality Chemicals, India, offers an advanced fleet of mobile water treatment systems, providing rapid response for the full range of reverse osmosis (RO) and filtration treatment on demand. Mobile water treatment is available quickly for either emergency supplemental or extended term service. The units available include RO systems, ultrafiltration systems, activated carbon filtration units and microfiltration units. Dew provides technical solutions after considering all aspects of treatment, from system analysis and design through installation. The mobile systems cover treatment of wastewater from sewage, mining and oil drilling sites, recreational sites, etc. All treatment equipment are manufactured by Dew to ISO 9001 quality standards. Contact: Dew Speciality Chemicals (P) Ltd., K-47, UPSIDC Site No. V, Greater NOIDA, G.B. Nagar 201309, Uttar Pradesh, India. Tel: +91 (120) 234 1942/52; E-mail:


Onion and garlic soak up heavy metals

According to researchers at GGS Indraprastha University, India, onion and garlic waste from the food processing industry could be used to mop up hazardous heavy metals, including arsenic, cadmium, iron, lead, mercury and tin from contaminated materials. The research, led by biotechnologist Mr. Rahul Negi, explains that waste from the processing and canning of onion (Allium cepa L.) and garlic (Allium sativum L.) could be used as an alternative remediation material for removing toxic elements from contaminated materials such as industrial effluent. The research team studied the influence of acidity or alkalinity, contact time, temperature and concentration of the different materials present to optimize conditions for preparing a biological heavy metal filter for industrial-scale decontamination.

The researchers found that at 50°C, the efficiency of the clean-up process depends largely on pH (a pH of 5 was optimal) and equilibration time usually occurs within half an hour. They demonstrated that maximum extraction was achievable for lead, one of the most troublesome metallic environmental pollutants. They could extract more than 10 mg/g of Allium material from a test solution containing 5 g/l of mixed metal ion solution, amounting to recovery efficiency of more than 70 per cent. The absorbed metals can be released into a collecting vessel using nitric acid and the biomass reused. The team experimented with Allium biomass to demonstrate effective removal of heavy metals from both simulated and actual industrial effluents. “The technique appears to be industrially applicable and viable,” they write. They conclude that the process may provide an affordable, environment-friendly and low-maintenance technology for small and medium-scale industries in developing countries.

Bioremediation roles of new bacteria

Proteomics experts at the Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory (EMSL), the United States, contributed to a study centred on the discovery of new bacteria and their metabolic roles, such as carbon cycling, in the environment. The bacteria studied were part of the microbial communities collected directly from an acetate-amended sub-surface aquifer. The aquifer is in an area where uranium was once processed, and is now used by the United States Department of Energy (DOE) to study bio-geochemical processes. Treating such metal-contaminated environments with acetate, which is much like diluted vinegar, stimulates the growth of naturally occurring bacteria. Many of these bacteria are able to derive energy from metals, in the process turning dangerous, soluble metals into safer, more manageable insoluble metals. The research team sequenced nearly 150,000 genes from samples obtained earlier and was able to assign these genes to, or reconstruct the genomes in part or full for, 87 bacterial species.

To put these numbers in perspective, only 33 protein-coding genes were known for a group of bacteria in the samples named OD1 – the research team expanded on that, recovering 24,000 gene sequences for OD1 bacteria. Impressively, 49 of the 87 genomes belong to species that had never been characterized before at the genome level. Based on the genomic analyses, some of these organisms fell into a new phylogenetic classification named PER, or Peregrine, referring to their wandering behaviour relative to the existing phylogenetic tree. The team’s groundbreaking results could lead to improved methods to stimulate bacteria to uptake atmospheric carbon, thus reducing greenhouse gases, and to better apply microbes to remediate toxic metal-contaminated environments.

Oil spill treatment

Prof. Eugene Rosenberg and Prof. Eliora Ron, two renowned biologists from Tel Aviv University, Israel, have reported the development of a natural bioremediation technique that may hold the key to the final, most difficult steps of oil spill clean-ups. Such techniques are of high environmental and economic importance. The two scientists have identified a naturally occurring variety of sea-borne bacteria that digests oil and have developed a method for growing the bacteria and increasing its capacity to ingest oil. The solution, which can clean up residual oil that cannot be removed by mechanical means, has already been applied to clean the bilges of oil tankers at sea as well as for cleaning polluted beaches in many parts of the world. The researchers have also developed a bacterial treatment for large-scale open water oil spills, which utilize guano (bird dropping). “Even when clean-up crews reduce the amount of oil at sea, there will probably be enough left behind to kill birds and wildlife,” Prof. Ronsberg says, adding that at this level of oil removal, bioremediation is the only solution.

A universal design approach for on-site bioremediation

In the United States, researchers at Innovative Engineering Solutions Inc. and Univar USA Inc. report a universal design approach for in situ bioremediation of groundwater contaminated with chlorinated volatile organic compound (VOC). The bioremediation process was developed based on 17 years of experience at multiple project sites. The projects, in general, involve large-scale enhanced anaerobic dechlorination and combined anaerobic/aerobic bioremediation techniques.

The new design approach is based on three primary objectives: selecting and distributing the proper additives (including bioaugmentation) within the targeted treatment zone, maintaining a neutral pH (adding alkalinity as and when needed) and sustaining the desired conditions for a sufficient period of time for the bioremediation process to be fully completed. This approach can be applied to both anaerobic and aerobic bioremediation systems. Site-specific conditions of groundwater velocity, hydraulic permeability, contaminant type and concentrations, and regulatory constraints will dictate the best remedial approach and design parameters for in situ bioremediation. Contact: Mr. Sami A. Fam, Innovative Engineering Solutions Inc., 26200 Adams Avenue, Murrieta, California, CA 92562, United States of America. Tel: +1 (951) 304 7600; +1 (951) 304 7620; E-mail:

Benzene removal by modifed, enhanced anaerobic treatment

Stantec Consulting Ltd., Canada, has developed a novel modification of enhanced anaerobic bioremediation techniques by utilizing non-activated persulphate to accelerate the organic phosphorus breakdown and then stimulate benzene biodegradation by nitrate and sulphate reduction. Benzene concentrations in groundwater where nitrate, triethyl phosphate and persulphate were successfully injected were reduced at removal efficiencies greater than 77 per cent to the levels below the applicable guideline. Soil benzene was removed effectively by the modification of the enhanced anaerobic bioremediation with removal efficiencies ranging between 75.9 per cent and 92.8 per cent.

Geochemical analytical results indicated that persulphate effectively breaks down triethyl phosphate into orthophosphate, thereby promoting utilization of nitrate and sulphate. Microbial analyses – quantitative polymerase chain reaction, denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis and 16S ribosomal RNA) demonstrated that benzene was primarily biodegraded by nitrate reduction while sulphate reduction played an important role in benzene removal at some portions of the study site. Enrichment in the heavier carbon isotope 13C of residual benzene with the increased removal efficiency provided direct evidence for benzene biodegradation. Nitrogen, sulphur and oxygen isotope analyses indicated that nitrate and sulphate reductions were occurring as bioremediation mechanisms. Contact: Stantec Consulting Ltd., Saskatoon, Saskatchewan S7K 0K3, Canada. E-mail:

Off-site remediation of petroleum-contaminated soil

PETRO Environmental LLC owns and operates the largest bioremediation facilities in the state of Ohio, the United States. The company’s patented technology PETRO Cells offers an efficient option for off-site remediation of petroleum contaminated soil (PCS). By treating or recycling the waste stream generated during underground storage tank removal and associated corrective actions, generators can eliminate future liabilities and save valuable landfill space. Two layers of an impermeable, high-density polyethylene membrane are used for PETRO Cells construction to contain contaminated soil, preventing it from leaching into surrounding areas.

The treatment process uses a combination of bioremediation and soil vapour extraction. Leachate water collected from the cell is inoculated with indigenous micro-organisms. This water is recirculated through the contaminated soil using high-volume pumps that reduce the contamination to below EPA-mandated regulatory levels. Air that is drawn through these pumps is then conducted through a carbon-activated filter before being discharged. Once this process is complete, soil samples are collected to confirm their compliance with regulatory levels. When these soil samples test below regulatory limits, a Certificate of Treatment is sent to the generator to serve as proof that their liability has ended. Contact: PETRO Environmental LLC, # 7870 East Kemper Road, Suite 240, Cincinnati, OH 45249, United States of America. Tel: +1 (513) 3872 777; Fax: +1 (513) 4892 794; E-mail:


CO2 removal using pulverized rocks

In Canada, college professor and researcher Mr. Guy Mercier, and his financial backers at Carbon Management Canada (CMC), believes he has the answer to the carbon capture problem. It involves taking emissions from a cement plant and running it through pulverized rocks and concrete. The resulting chemical reaction is expected to capture 80 per cent of the carbon dioxide (CO2) from the gas stream. More specifically, Mr. Mercier will blend magnesium and calcium-rich rocks with the concrete, turn them into a powder, and place the pulverized mix into a reaction chamber attached to the emission stream from the cement plant.

Once the CO2-rich flue gas hits the crushed rocks, the resulting chemical reaction produces a solid of magnesium carbonate. That solid then can be sold to wastewater operators for water treatment, and to the steel industry, which can use it during the manufacturing process, Mr. Mercier said. The process is called carbon scrubbing, and while Mr. Mercier isn’t the first one to try it, his could be the first full-scale trial. Mr. Mercier, an environmental technology professor at University of Quebec’s Institut National de la Recherche Scientifique.

Mr. Mercier explained that most of the carbon scrubbing done up until now has been accomplished using amine compound, but that process is expensive and “there is no real value at the end. That method is the only one that has been close to being applied on a large scale.” The entire process of transforming the gas through the pulverized rocks takes less than one hour. Magnesium rocks and calcium rocks have proven to be effective, Mr. Mercier said, and added that magnesium silicate has been used; his team has crushed it and then transported it to the cement plant, and used that in his process.

Double-contact flow scrubber for flue gas desulphurization

A new type of gas scrubber called the Double-Contact-Flow Scrubber (DCFS) for flue gas desulphurization has been developed by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. (MHI), Japan. DCFS reportedly achieved energy conservation together with high desulphurization and high dedusting efficiency by spouting absorbent liquid from new type nozzles located at the bottom of the scrubber to ensure better gas liquid contact. The absence of any internal part, other than header pipes and nozzles, in the absorber not only leads to large-scale simplification of its construction compared with the conventional scrubber but also facilitates maintenance by avoiding scale deposits. The new scrubber showed over 95 per cent desulphurization efficiency together with high dedusting effect in laboratory tests as well as in a demonstration plant treating 300,000 m3N/h of flue gas. In addition, it also indicated 15 per cent power saving for a 1,000 MW commercial plant.

New paints break down nitrogen oxides

During the coming two years, Dr. Michael Huben and colleagues at the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology & Applied Ecology (IME), Germany, want to investigate how photocatalytic surface coatings contribute to the removal of nitrogen oxides (NOx) and how the coatings prove themselves during long-term operation. “Coatings that are photocatalytically active can help reduce nitrogen oxides,” says Dr. Huben. While there are several products available for the photocatalytic coating of surfaces, the measurement method standardized according to ISO 22197-1 cannot be applied to all problems. IME has developed a special measurement cell for the purpose.

The researchers will set up noise barrier samples coated with reactive material at the A 4 interstate at Bergisch Gladbach. Prepared test samples will be measured at predetermined intervals, in the measuring cell. The photocatalytically active surfaces contain titanium dioxide (TiO2) catalysts. On exposure to daylight, TiO2 catalyses NOx into nitrate. The photocatalytic activities of the samples are determined using a flow-through process. Over two years, the scientists will determine regularly how much nitrous oxide is being removed. In this manner, they will obtain a solid basis for the long-term effects of the coatings. The results will indicate whether the coatings really help and that larger surfaces, such as entire houses, could be economically furnished with photocatalytic coats that effectively eliminate NOx. Contact: Dr. rer. nat. Michael Huben, Fraunhofer-Allianz Photokatalyse, Auf dem Aberg 1, 57392 Schmallenberg, Germany. Tel: +49 (2972) 302 121.


Compendium of Technologies for Treatment/Destruction of Healthcare Waste

This compendium reviews basic data on healthcare waste, including material constituents, incombustibles, chemical composition, moisture content, bulk density and heating value. Healthcare waste classifications are described following the World Health Organization (WHO) reference guidelines for safe management of wastes from healthcare activities. The compendium outlines a process of technology selection based on the United Nations Environment Programme’s Sustainable Assessment of Technologies (SAT) methodology. The compendium is intended to assist national and local governments, health organizations as well as other stakeholders in developing countries in assessing and selecting appropriate technologies for the destruction of healthcare waste.

Contact: UNEP DTIE, International Environmental Technology Centre (IETC), 2-110 Ryokuchi Koen, Tsurumi-ku, Osaka 538-0036, Japan. Tel: +81 (6) 6915 4581; Fax: +81 (6) 6915 0304; E-mail: Website:

E-waste Management: From waste to resource

This book focuses on the current and future trends, technologies and regulations for reusable and recyclable e-waste worldwide. It compares international e-waste management perspectives and regulations under a view that includes the environmental, social and economic aspects of the different linked systems. It overviews the current macroeconomic trends from material demand to international policy to waste scavenging, examines particular materials and product streams in detail and explores the future for e-waste and its management considering technology progress, improving end-of-life cycle designs, policy and sustainability perspectives. The publication has 12 chapters that cover three major themes: holistic view of the global situation; current reserve supply chain and management of used electronics, including flows, solutions, policies and regulations; and future perspectives and solutions for the sustainable e-waste management.

Contact: Bookpoint Ltd., 130 Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon OX14 4SB, United Kingdom. Tel: +44 (1235) 400 400; Fax: +44 (1235) 400 401; E-mail: book.


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