VATIS Update Waste Management . Oct-Dec 2014

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Waste Management Oct-Dec 2014

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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Sustainable solution for e-waste management

The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and Dell International LLC, the United States, a multinational technology solutions company, have signed an agreement to cooperate on identifying and implementing a sustainable solution model for e-waste management for developing countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America. The memorandum of understanding (Mo) signed by LI Yong, Director General of UNIDO, and David Lear of Dell Inc., committed the two organizations to work together for a period of five years, with an option to extend the partnership.

Developing countries are expected to account for the majority of discarded electronics by 2016, and twice that of developed regions by 2030. The aim of this agreement is to create awareness, build capacity, and engage in knowledge sharing and policy advocacy with regard to sustainable e-waste management; to support the creation of an operational and economically viable collection network, and dismantling and recycling facilities, to process e-waste in developing countries in a safe and environmentally sound way; and to support the development of local recycling infrastructure, contributing to the industrial development of these countries and creating sustainable, green economies.

“Rudimentary recycling methods and the lack of a policy framework for e-waste management in developing countries pose a high risk to public health and the environment. UNIDO and Dell will cooperate to support developing countries to formulate e-waste related regulations and policies to ensure a long-term success of their activities related to e-waste,” said LI Yong. One major part of an efficient e-waste management system is an effective collection scheme. For this, different aspects need to be taken into account, including financing, infrastructure and logistics. UNIDO and Dell are joining forces to design the most suitable collection strategies in developing countries and implement these in pilot countries.

Banks signed loan for wastewater reuse in China

The Asian Development Bank (ADB), Philippines, has signed a ground-breaking agreement in partnership with 13 banks to support Beijing Enterprises Water Group Company (BEWG) to promote high standard wastewater treatment and reuse in the People’s Republic of China (PRC). The $288 million B-loan agreement, is the largest such loan arranged by ADB. The B-loan is part of ADB’s financing package to the project, which includes an ADB-financed loan of $120 million signed last November, and up-scaled to $408million.

Through the B-loan structure, ADB acts as the lender of record for commercial banks allowing them to share ADB’s preferred creditor status. “A prime objective of the B-loan is to perpetuate our development mission with partner banks to promote reuse of treated wastewater as a strategic option for sustainable water management. We are pleased to work with 13 leading banks to address the PRC’s water challenge,” said Hisaka Kimura, at ADB. The PRC’s increasing demand for water highlights water scarcity. Per capita freshwater resources are low and annual per capita water endowments have been declining alarmingly.

Pollution exacerbates water scarcity, especially in upstream areas where it can degrade sanitation in local communities which depend on local sources for water supply. Under the project, BEWG will upgrade and operate wastewater treatment plants across the country to meet grade 1A standard, the most stringent wastewater treatment standard in the PRC. The treated wastewater can then be reused for both industry and urban environment needs, including machine cooling, boiler operation, and cleaning at construction sites.

Thailand to overhaul waste management system

The Thailand’s Interior Ministry has planned to overhaul its waste management system to deal with the rapidly increasing amount of waste in big cities across the nation. According to Permanent Secretary for Interior Viboon Sa-nguanpong, a full-cycle waste treatment plant will be soon established on an area of 372 rai in Ayutthaya Province. This pilot plant will apply proper waste disposal technologies that will include reprocessing of garbage into clean energy.

In the second stage, the ministry will hold talks with both government and private units concerned to lay down an overall picture of the country’s waste disposal system which should be able to deal with the volume of garbage both currently and in the future. Once drafted, the proposal will be submitted to the Cabinet for consideration.

Thailand to improve disposal of electronic waste

The Pollution Control Department (PCD), Thailand, is hopeful that the new law to manage electronic waste, which would be implemented early next year, would bring about better disposal of such hazardous waste. During a seminar on the waste appliances draft law, Sunee Piyapanpong, at PCD said that the draft legislation would be submitted for the Cabinet’s consideration this year, hence it should be implemented by early 2015. The draft law developed from the “extended producer responsibility” concept that allowed goods producers to take responsibility for the goods throughout the products’ entire life chain, including the recycling or disposal.

“In the past, we didn’t have an appropriate programme on waste management. Many communities, especially those in the Northeast, arranged inappropriate separation and disposing of electrical appliances and electronic gadgets,” said Sunee. The enforcement requires entrepreneurs to register and submit a waste disposal annual report so the agency can follow up the company’s performance on waste management. The penalty includes a Bt100,000 fine for not registering or a Bt200,000 fine for not following the waste management plan.

The law would hopefully lead to good practices among manufacturers who would be responsible for the electronics products throughout their entire life span, especially the recycling after consumers had returned them. Several product manufacturers, who asked not to be named, said they agreed with the draft law but were concerned about recycling factories, as a part of their duty to forward the waste. According to the PCD’s survey in 2012, electronic waste accounts for 300,000-400,0000 tonnes per year. Another report by the Industrial Works Department said that 20.88 million electrical and electro-|nic devices were disposed of last year.

Mobile recycling program in Philippines

Globe Telecom, Philippines, is embarking on its biggest and most ambitious mobile recycling program, aimed at addressing the problem of e-waste accumulation from metric tons of electrical devices being disposed. The company said with the fast-paced developments in telecommunications, more people are encouraged to replace or upgrade their mobile phones on a yearly basis. To combat this problem and promote stronger social and environmental practices, the telecom launched Project 1 Phone.

“Globe is not only dedicated to growing its business but is also committed to addressing environmental concerns and promoting human health amidst the fast growth of this high-tech industry. Being a communications provider, Globe takes responsibility in educating the people on how to dispose their old mobile devices and computers as well as end-of-life mobile battery packs and chargers best way possible,” said Yoly Crisanto, senior vice president of Globe corporate communications.

By donating unused, non-working, or damaged phones and tablets, mobile phone batteries, and personal computers to the campaign, Globe said Filipinos would be able to minimize the environmental effects of e-waste and counter its harmful effects on health. Discarded electronic devices contain toxic metals such as lead, mercury, cadmium, and beryllium to be released into the air and seep into the ground and waterways. This may cause harmful effects on health such as skin diseases and possible damage to vital organs and the skeletal system, the company said.

India enforces order for managing e-waste

The government of Puducherry, India, has issued an order under provisions of the Environment (Protection) Act 1986 of the Union Environment and Forests Ministry for management and handling of e-waste in the Union Territory. According to the chief secretariat, electrical and electronic equipment and rejects from manufacturing and repair process intended to be discarded have been classified as e-waste.

The government feels e-waste delivered to un-authorised persons would harm environment and also the health of workers involved while processing them. Users of electrical and electronic equipment in departments and autonomous bodies should ensure e-waste generated by them are channelled to authorised collection centres, registered dismantlers and recyclers. These authorised centres can be known through the government website.


Clean-burning fuel from plastics

Cynar Plc, the United Kingdom, has developed a new technology that turns plastic waste into something of real economic and social value: clean alternative fuel. Unlike sending plastics for recycling, this advanced conversion technology can process a mixture of unseparated and potentially contaminated plastics. The process also ensures that everything is used. This means it reduces the quantity of plastic waste sent to landfill, reduces the need for costly disposal options and offers an environmentally friendly, profitable and usable alternative for waste plastics.

A Cynar plant can convert up to 20 tonnes of waste each day into approximately 19,500 litres of diesel – enough to fill up 39 haulage trucks. The diesel created, called CynDiesel, is a high-cetane, low-sulphur, clean burning fuel that requires no additional refining or end-use modification. It has the performance and quality of conventional diesel as well as a significantly lower carbon footprint. Suitable end-of-life plastics are pre-processed to reduce their size and remove any contaminants or non-plastic materials to create the feedstock. This is then loaded into hot pyrolysis chambers and agitated to even out the temperature and homogenise the feedstock.

Pyrolysis turns the plastic into a vapour. This passes into the contactor, which knocks back the long-chained carbons and allows the required condensable vapours to pass into the distillation column. The condensable vapours are distilled into lite oil (Cynlite) and raw diesel. The lite oil is put into storage and can be used in an engine. The raw diesel is passed to a vacuum distillation column to be further refined to produce diesel and kerosene. The distillates then pass into the recovery tanks. Contact: Cynar Plc, 601, Capital Tower, 91 Waterloo Road, London - SE1 8RT, UK. Tel: +44-203-170-0844; E-mail:

Simplified process for sorting plastics in recycling plants

Researchers from Ludwig Maximilian University (LMU), Germany, has developed a new process that will greatly simplify the process of sorting plastics in recycling plants. The method enables automated identification of polymers, facilitating rapid separation of plastics for re-use. The team has developed a technique which provides for automated recognition of their polymer constituents, thus improving the efficiency of recycling and re-use of the various intrinsic fluorescence induced by photoexcitation. The new technique involves exposing particles of plastic to a brief flash of light which causes the material to fluoresce.

Photoelectric sensors measure the intensity of the light emitted in response to the inducing photoexcitation to determine the dynamics of its decay. Because the different polymer materials used in the manufacture of plastics display specific fluorescence lifetimes, the form of the decay curve can be used to identify their chemical nature. With this process, errors in measurement are practically ruled out; for any given material, one will always obtain the same value for the fluorescence half-life, just as in the case of radioactive decay, added the professor. Unlike metals, the quality of which often suffers during the recycling process itself, recycled plastics can be processed quite efficiently.

Polymers represent an interesting basis for the sustainable cycling of technological materials. The crucial requirement is that the recycled material should be chemically pure. In that case, bottles made of PET, for example, can be relatively easily turned into synthetic fibre for use in waterproof windcheaters. Contamination levels as low as 5% are sufficient to significantly reduce the quality of the reformed product. The reason for this “down-cycling” effect is that, as a general rule, polymers tend to be immiscible, as they are chemically incompatible with one another. For this reason, high-quality plastics are always manufactured exclusively from pristine precursors. The new method developed by the LMU team could, however, change this.

Rubber recycling technology

Tyromer Inc., the United States, a company in the process of rubber recycling technology, developed by researchers at the University of Waterloo (UW), the United States, has won a tech start-up award for its clean, green and cheap way to recycle tires. The award was one of 50 given out by The Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE), a non-profit group committed to entrepreneurship. It’s a machine that takes rubber crumbs, which are shredded bits of scrap tire, and turns them back into rubber that can be used to make more tires. The recycling process was invented by UW chemical engineering professor Costas Tzoganakis.

Tzoganakis’s process of recycling rubber is cheap, has a long shelf-life and does not use any chemicals. “It is the first time in the world that this is being done without the use of chemical solvents,” said Sam Visaisouk, the CEO of Tyromer Inc. Rubber is one of few materials that can’t be completely broken down and reused. That is because it is made of links of sulphur that are hard to dissolve without chemicals. But chemical solvents leave a harmful residue, permanent smell and they don’t last long. The chemical process of reclaiming rubber is banned in North America and the European Union but is often used in China.

Tzoganakis’s process uses carbon dioxide to break down the sulphur instead of chemicals. Once the rubber crumbs are fed into the machine, a tiny amount of liquid carbon dioxide is injected into the material. Then once the links are broken through a process known as devulcanization, the rubber is in a malleable form again so it can be reused to make anything -- such as new tires. “We can offer this as a solution to the entire world,” Visaisouk said. Tyromer Inc. is in the process of starting their first production line with local rubber compounding companies. Within the year, they hope to have the template of their final product: a machine that can turn scrap tires back into rubber. The machine will cost $2 to $3 million when it is ready to put on the market.

New technology converts plastic waste to fuel

EcoMachines Incubator, the United Kingdom, a seed fund and accelerator for startups in the energy and resource efficiency space, has announced its investment in Recycling Technologies, the United Kingdom, a company that recycles plastic and waste into PlaxOil™, a clean heavy fuel oil alternative. Recycling Technologies produces machines that convert mixed plastic waste, destined for landfill or incineration, into an oil that may be sold or used as a fuel in localised on demand combined heat and power facilities.

“We have chosen to support Recycling Technologies because they provide an innovative and practical solution to the world’s pressing plastic waste problem. Plastic is one of humanity’s most useful inventions, yet plastic waste is one of today’s major environmental pollution problems”, said Ilian Iliev, CEO of EcoMachines. Unlike other waste streams such as glass, paper and separated plastics such as PET, HDPE .etc. most mixed plastic waste is currently not recycled. Approximately 30 million t of plastic waste goes into landfill or incineration in the EU every year because it is mixed.

By converting the waste into oil that can be sold or used to produce heat and power on site, Recycling Technologies’ machine turns an environmental problem into a valuable resource. In early 2013, the company opened its research and development and production facilities in Swindon to develop and manufacture the WarwickFBRTM, its patented molecular recycling system. The units are capable of processing up to 7000 tpy of waste. Recycling Technologies is currently building a pilot plant in Swindon, UK, and is already in advanced discussions with a large number of potential customers and industry partners in the UK and wider markets.

Innovative technology to convert fuel from plastic

The Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR) institute – Indian Institute of Petroleum (IIP), India, has developed a technology for the conversion of waste plastic into petroleum products after nearly a decade long experimental research. “The Gas Authority of India Ltd. (GAIL) has sponsored the entire project for developing a combination of catalyst which can convert plastic either into gasoline or diesel or aromatics along with LPG as a common by product,” said Union Minister of State for Science and Technology and Ministry of Earth Sciences (Independent Charge) Dr. Jitendra Singh.

The unique feature of the technology is that liquid fuel, gasoline and diesel, meets the Euro-III fuel specifications and different products can be obtained from the same raw material by simply changing the catalysts and operating parameters. The IIP is exploring the economic viability of the technology in order to refine the technology, so that it may be available to public for future use. A number of countries including USA, Germany, Japan, Australia and United Kingdom (UK) are working on development of lab scale technologies for conversion of plastic waste in to liquid hydrocarbon oil.

Approximately 85 to 90 percent of the hydrocarbon composition in the feedstock is converted into a “near diesel” fuel, while about eight percent is converted to a usable off gas much like natural gas. In addition, only one percent of the plastic becomes residue, and that residue does not contain any highly toxic elements and is safe for landfill disposal. Germany has also developed such technology on laboratory scale to convert plastic waste in to liquid hydrocarbon oil. A Japanese company too has developed a technique to convert plastic waste in to oil and electricity using the recyclable plastic.

New generation of plastics recycling plants

Based on the newly developed patent counter-current technology, EREMA GmbH, Austria, has launched ‘Intarema’ the new generation of plants. With its significantly reduced energy consumption, this new generation of plants is productive and flexible, and, at the same time, easy to operate. In addition, EREMA has introduced the improved laser filter technique to process highly contaminated materials. This combination of Intarema and laser filter technique is particularly suited, among other applications, to compound grinding stocks for injection molding purposes.

The cutter compactor drum of the compounding equipment prepares the thick-walled grinding stock for extrusion. The counter-current technique makes it possible to feed the dried and homogeneously pre-heated materials into the single screw, with hardly any pressure applied. The material can thus melt under low shear load, which increases filtration efficiency. With its new scraper geometry and its optimized laser filter discharge system following immediately downstream, the plastic melt is then cleaned efficiently at 45 % thickening. Contact: EREMA GmbH Unterfeldstr. 3, 4052 Ansfelden, Austria, Tel: +43-732-319-00; Fax: +43-732 3190-23.

A recycling system that converts mixed plastic waste

Recycling Technologies, the United Kingdom, has developed ‘WarwickFBR’, a recycling system that converts mixed plastic waste (MPW) into PlaxOil, a heavy fuel alternative that that can be sold or used in localised on demand combined heat and power (CHP) plants. “The PlaxOil is produced by its WarwickFBR system following pyrolysis of MPW,” said Adrian Haworth sales and marketing director of Recycling Technologies.

To do this, the system first shreds and dries the MPW. It then injects blended product into a fluidised bed where the long hydrocarbon chains in the polymers are broken down by pyrolysis – a multi-step process in which organic materials are decomposed by heat in the absence of oxygen – to form an energy rich gas. This gas is then filtered to remove contamination, cooled and condensed to provide PlaxOil. According to Recycling Technologies, around 30 million tonnes of plastic waste goes to landfill or incineration in the EU every year because it consists of a mix of polymers, which would have to be separated for conventional recycling.

By putting it through Recycling Technologies’ WarwickFBR system, the resulting PlaxOil would be suitable for re-entering a refinery where it can be turned back into a chemical feedstock for polymers or other organic molecules, or a lubricating oil. “Alternatively, it can be used as a fuel in a diesel engine or in an industrial burner directly from the WarwickFBR. PlaxOil is a very clean, high calorific value, low sulphur, heavy fuel oil,” said Haworth.


Researchers create dissolvable microchip

A team of researchers from the University of Illinois, the United States, has developed a series of silicon chips and sensors that can be dissolved in water after they reach the end of their lives, which could prove crucial to e-waste management. Researchers have found that a series of circuits, sensors and other tech components can be entirely dissolved just by placing it in water. Aside from just e-waste, the researchers envision multiple uses for dissolvable tech, particularly in the field of medicine where potentially a device could be placed into a patient’s body which could be broken down and absorbed by the body to reduce infection around the area of a surgeon’s incision.

A dissolvable electrical stimulator could even be attached to a person’s bone to stimulate the growth of more bone and once it has performed its function, will safely dissolve leaving no trace of its existence. The team led by John Rodgers showcased their findings to their peers to see the feasibility of such a potentially beneficial project to not just the environment, but healthcare as well. “Our most recent combined developments in devices that address real challenges in clinical medicine and in advanced, high volume manufacturing strategies suggest a promising future for this new class of technology,” said Rogers.

New eco-friendly battery made of seeds and pine resin

Researchers from the Uppsala University, Sweden, have used a clever recycling strategy to develop a new eco-friendly battery using materials from alfalfa (lucerne seed) and pine resin. “We think our discovery can open several doors to more environment-friendly, energy-efficient solutions for the batteries of the future,” said Daniel Brandell at Uppsala University. Present-day lithium batteries entail a number of resource-related and environmental problems. The world’s commercially extractable lithium resources are limited and whether they can meet future needs is unclear.

Moreover, it is very difficult to recover lithium from the inorganic materials used to make modern batteries. Lithium batteries also contain other, even rarer materials that are hard to replace and require large energy inputs and toxic chemicals for the recovery process. During their study, researchers developed a whole new battery concept. The battery is based on recovery and renewable biological material with an energy content corresponding to that of current lithium-ion batteries.

Components of the battery are made of renewable organic biomaterials from alfalfa and pine resin, and can be recycled with a low energy input and non-hazardous chemicals, such as ethanol and water. The scientists have shown that the lithium extracted from a spent battery can be used for a new battery: all that needs to be added is more biomaterial. Their battery proved capable of delivering as much as 99% of the energy output from the first. With future modifications, this figure can very probably become even higher, researchers said. The study has been published in the scientific journal ChemSusChem.

Recycling old car batteries into solar cells

Researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the United States, has proposed a system that recycles materials from discarded car batteries – a potential source of lead pollution – into new, long-lasting solar panels that provide emissions-free power. It is based on a recent development in solar cells that makes use of a compound called perovskite – specifically, organ lead halide perovskite – a technology that has rapidly progressed from initial experiments to a point where its efficiency is nearly competitive with that of other types of solar cells. The system has been described in the journal Energy and Environmental Science.

“It went from initial demonstrations to good efficiency in less than two years,” said Angela M. Belcher at MIT. Already, perovskite-based photovoltaic cells have achieved power-conversion efficiency of more than 19 percent, which is close to that of many commercial silicon-based solar cells. Initial descriptions of the perovskite technology identified its use of lead, whose production from raw ores can produce toxic residues, as a drawback. But by using recycled lead from old car batteries, the manufacturing process can instead be used to divert toxic material from landfills and reuse it in photovoltaic panels that could go on producing power for decades.

New technology recycles electronic waste in China

A researcher from Shanghai Jiao Tong University, China, has introduced a technology that recycles discarded electric and electronic products. Based on the new tech, rare metals and rare earth sources can be extracted from circuit boards. Led by Professor Xu Zhenming, the team has managed to extract rare metals from circuit boards within discarded electric and electronic products. Technology and equipment used in the process of electric waste separation has independent proprietary intellectual and property rights.

From one ton of computer waste, the innovative technology and equipment can extract 1 kg silver, 150g copper and nearly 2 kg other rare metals and rare earth sources. Meanwhile, from one ton wasted mobile phones, 400 g gold, 2.3 kg silver, and 172 g copper and other valuable materials can be extracted. This patent can safely recover valuable metals from discarded electric and electronic products (e-waste), thus increasing its value. Currently, Xu’s team is cooperating with a renowned environmental protection company in Shanghai to establish a research and development center.

Precious metals from E-waste

Tetronics (International) Limited, the United States, offers metal recovery plants to meet a growing number of resource recovery challenges including for the extraction of precious metals from Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE). The process chemistry in Tetronics’ plasma-enhanced recovery technology is designed to symbiotically and preferentially separate and recover the valuable material whilst destroying any hazardous components. The remaining non-valuable material is vitrified into an inert, safe disposable non-hazardous material in a single processing step.

Any plastics can be converted to synthesis gas for direct utilisation or used as a fuel supplement minimising the plasma power requirements. The robust level of construction and minimal number of moving components delivers outstanding plant longevity. The recovery process also has exceptional environmental and commercial credentials and can be considered as a future-proof solution for electrical waste management problems. Contact: Tetronics (International) Limited, Unit A2 Marston Gate, South Marston Park, Swindon, Wiltshire SN34DE, USA.


New membrane technology to generate renewable energy

GE, the United States, has recently introduced the latest in membrane-based wastewater treatment technology, combining anaerobic digestion technology with its ZeeWeed 500membranes to create anaerobic membrane bioreactor (AnMBR). As industrial customers seek greater water reuse, while facing more stringent discharge limits, AnMBR offers lower costs, better performance and the ability to generate renewable energy from industrial wastewater. GE’s new technology is an ideal solution for industrial wastewater with high biochemical oxygen demand and chemical oxygen demand concentrations that result in higher aerobic treatment operational expenses.

GE’s AnMBR provides reduced energy consumption, energy recovery and reduced sludge production both economically and reliably. Anaerobic digestion is a biological process in which microorganisms break down biodegradable material in the absence of oxygen. One of the end products is biogas, which can be combusted to generate electricity and heat. Advantages of anaerobic treatment include energy savings by not requiring oxygen, reduced sludge production and reduced footprint. However, the traditional anaerobic processes have disadvantages such as lesser effluent quality, process sensitivity, slow biomass growth rate, difficulty retaining methanogens and long-time or difficult-to-settle sludge.

By combining anaerobic digestion and ZeeWeed membrane technology, GE has solved the issues associated with traditional anaerobic processes. GE’s AnMBR separates solids retention time from hydraulic retention time for a more robust biological process, retaining methanogens in anaerobic reactor, increasing methane production with no suspended solids in permeate and improving final effluent quality. “GE’s most recent development in membranes unites our proven ZeeWeed reinforced hollow fiber membranes with anaerobic digestion technology to construct the new AnMBR. The future of water treatment has a new component and reinforces GE’s commitment to energy neutrality,” said Yuvbir Singh, at GE Power & Water.

Biological wastewater treatment system

UOP LLC, the United States, a Honeywell company, has announced its commercial launch of an integrated bioreactor system designed to remove organic and inorganic contaminants from a range of industrial wastewater streams. Honeywell‘s UOP XCeed bioreactor system, based on the company’s immobilized cell bioreactor technology, helps industrial, manufacturing, and groundwater remediation facilities meet contaminant removal specifications for wastewater discharge or reuse. UOP’s commercial launch of this technology follows more than 50 successful installations. The integrated treatment process can be delivered as a modular system and incorporates mixed-media support for immobilized bio-catalysts, or microbes.

A biological ecosystem enables longer biomass retention time and results in highly efficient biological oxygen demand (BOD) removal with low sludge production. The system has a relatively simple mechanical design that minimizes energy consumption and required operator attention. “Manufacturers globally are subject to stricter wastewater regulations and fees, which creates a need for more cost-effective treatment solutions that meet regulatory requirements and more stringent internal treatment standards,” said Mike Millard at UOP. The XCeed bioreactor system is suitable for food and beverage, chemical and textile manufacturing, groundwater remediation, and refinery and petrochemical applications.

New spiral aerobic biofilm reactor

Emefcy, Israel, a startup known for its breakthrough waste water treatment technologies, has introduced a new product into the market, the modular Spiral Aerobic Biofilm Reactor (SABRE).

Emefcy offers advanced energy efficient wastewater treatment technologies for municipal and industrial plants. The company’s advanced manufacturing facilities are equipped with state of the art production machinery, enabling the company to meet quality and quantity requirements of its partners and customers. Conventional aerobic wastewater treatment is a centralized, complicated to operate and energy-intensive process.

SABRE, enables simple, low cost, distributed wastewater treatment, thus allowing permit compliance and on-site effluent re-use, even in small communities. A large portion of a wastewater treatment plant’s cost is spent on energy for aeration. SABRE significantly reduces the amount of energy used for aeration. SABRE is based on a breathable membrane, which is formed as a sleeve, rolled into a spiral. Air continuously flows through the membrane sleeve and oxygen diffuses through the breathable membrane into the wastewater.

On the water side of the membrane, rich in autotrophic nitrifying bacteria, an aerobic biofilm develops. Deeper inside the water, rich in heterotrophic bacteria, an anoxic biofilm develops. The heterogenic microbial population allows the removal of organic matter and nitrogen. Nitrification by autotrophic bacteria in the layer attached to the membrane wall and de-nitrification by heterotrophic bacteria on the anoxic layer occurs simultaneously. Contact Us: Emefcy, 7 Ha’eshel st, Caesarea Industrial Park, P.O. Box 3171, 30889, Israel. Tel.: +972-4-6277555; Fax: +972-4-6277556; E-mail:

Nanocomposites help elimination of toxic dyes

Researchers from Tabriz University, Islamic Republic of Iran, in association with researchers from Ataturk University, Turkey, have produced a composite nanocatalyst in a research project. Results of the research have applications in various industries, including textile and pharmaceutical industries in the purification of industrial wastewater.

“Titanium dioxide nanoparticles stabilized on montmorillonite (MMT) bed were used in the production of the nanocomposite. The composite nanocatalyst has higher efficiency in the removal of contaminators than pure titanium dioxide nanoparticles,” said Dr. Alireza Khatayee, at Tabriz University. Results of the research showed that stabilization of titanium dioxide nanoparticles on montmorillonite bed reduces the diameter of nanoparticles. Evaluations confirmed that the diameter of titanium dioxide nanoparticles has decreased from 70 to 50 nm after the stabilization on montmorillonite particles.

Moreover, over 80% of the sample dye was eliminated from polluted water in only 90 minutes through sonocatalytic process in the presence of the produced nanocomposite. Generally speaking, it can be concluded that the use of nanocomposite results in a decrease in cost but it increases the rate of contaminator degradation. Also in this research, it was shown that the increase in the amount of nanocatalyst and the power of ultraviolet waves modify the purification efficiency. In addition, the best pH value for the process was at neutral range. Results of the research have been published in Ultrasonics Sonochemistry.

Self-cleaning wastewater treatment technology

Developed by a Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) team led by Dr Grant Douglas in Australia, a new wastewater treatment technology has been used for the first time in a commercial setting. The Virtual Curtain technology has been developed as a cost-effective method for treating wastewater and reducing the amount of sludge, which is created as a result of dealing with wastewater, by up to 90 per cent. The Virtual Curtain makes use of hydrotalcites, which are layered crystal structures formed of aluminium, carbonates and magnesium. They function by trapping impurities within themselves, effectively meaning that wastewater is able to clean itself.

The technology chemically manipulates these elements that occur naturally in wastewater, cleaning the water and raising its PH level. The technology has been used for the first time in Australia, to treat wastewater at a mine. It successfully removed metal contaminants from the wastewater, resulting in the equivalent of around 20 Olympic swimming pools of rainwater-quality water being discharged. The Virtual Curtain also reduces the amount of semi-solid by-product created when treating wastewater. According to Dr. Douglas, the amount of sludge the new technology creates is a small fraction of the amount that conventional lime-based treatment does.

This means that mine wastewater can be treated in a way that has less impact on the environment. As well as being beneficial for reducing environmental impact, the Virtual Curtain is also a cost-effective method of treatment for the mining industry, which generates millions tonnes of wastewater every year. It results in a material that has a high metal value, which can then be reprocessed. This will help to offset the costs of treatment and improve the recovery rate of miners. “It is a more efficient and an economic way to treat wastewater and is enabling the global mining industry to reduce its environmental footprint and extract wealth from waste,” said Dr. Douglas.


Bioremediation of turbid surface water using seed extract

According to a study by Safe Water International, the United States, an indigenous water treatment method uses Moringa oleifera seeds in the form of a crude water-soluble extract in suspension, resulting in an effective natural clarification agent for highly turbid and untreated pathogenic surface water. Efficient reduction (80.0% to 99.5%) of high turbidity produces an aesthetically clear supernatant, concurrently accompanied by 90.00% to 99.99% (1 to 4 log) bacterial reduction. Application of this low-cost Moringa oleifera protocol is recommended for water treatment where rural and peri-urban people living in extreme poverty are presently drinking highly turbid and microbiologically contaminated water.

Speeding up nature’s oil spill cleaners

A European Union (EU) funded project, ‘Kill-Spill’, which due to be completed in 2016, is trying to accelerate the natural degradation processes of the microorganisms. “Our main objective is to come up with new technologies to enhance natural bio-degradation carried out by sea microbes by offering microbes everything necessary to eat up all the oil faster,” said Nicolas Kalogerakis, professor at the Technical University of Crete, Greece. This means that oil spills may be cleaned up faster and more easily without the use of chemical substances. In effect, humans may help nature do its job faster.

Depending on the type of crude oil, natural bioremediation takes about 12 months for light crudes. According to Kalogerakis, Kill-Spill aims to reduce that to less than half by stimulating the microorganisms with the missing nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorous and by reducing toxicity of dispersants by using bio-based products such as biosurfactants. The approach developed by the project’s researchers consists in spraying the oil with a biodegradable compound made from fermenting vegetable oils.

“This spray breaks the oil up into smaller droplets. These can then be attacked by the microorganisms in the environment,” explained Kalogerakis. The researchers then take samples of the polluted sea water and cultivate microorganisms from it. In order to stimulate the bacteria to eat, the researchers developed particles that release nutrients like phosphorus and nitrogen, which are delivered directly to the bacteria. The technologies that will be produced by the project are expected to be field-tested in open sea oil spills from the Eastern Mediterranean to Disko Bay in Greenland and in large mesocosms.

Petroleum remediation process

Developed by PureEnviro, the United States, the subsurface metabolic enhancement (SME) method is used for underground bio-removal of hydrocarbon contamination. SME is a method of cultivating native organisms in place that consume hydrocarbon contamination, converting the hydrocarbons into non-toxic water and carbon dioxide (CO2). SME is a natural method of remediation and utilizes microorganisms found in the soil to eat contamination.

The system introduces a patented formula of oxygen and nutrients into the soil that stimulates microbes to use hydrocarbon contaminants as a source of energy. As they eat the pollution, the microbes give off CO2, which is subsequently drawn out of the ground. The ground surface is sealed to insure that the air exchanged stays in the subsurface. The SME system can be operated with minimal to no interruption to normal business operations. This bioremediation method provides a cost effective system of removing contamination.

It even excels in crowded, confined or other difficult situations, while still allowing the business to continue operation during remediation. The non-toxic and minimal disturbance of SME makes it the preferred choice for petroleum remediation. SME is a completely natural and environmentally friendly way to remediate contamination, using existing resident microbes and organic nutrients to enhance the subsurface. No other materials are used and the only end products of the process are CO2 and water. Contact: PureEnviro, 1415 East 840 North, Orem, Utah 84097, USA. Tel: +1-801-225-4646; Fax: +1-801-504-1030.

Researchers found effective way to remediate aquifers

A research from the University of Wyoming (UW), the United States, has shown that stimulating growth of native bacteria could be a more effective way to remediate aquifers tapped by in-situ leach uranium mining, the technique used in the vast majority of Wyoming’s existing and planned uranium operations. If those findings are confirmed in the field, uranium companies could save significantly in groundwater restoration costs while achieving better results.

Wyoming, which once had a thriving uranium mining industry, remains No. 1 in the nation in uranium reserves and is seeing something of a renaissance in mining operations after decades of industry decline and delay. The Smith Ranch-Highland mine of Cameco Corporation, Canada, in Converse County is one of the country’s biggest producers, and several other companies have opened or are preparing to start in-situ leach (ISL) operations in the state – which stands to benefit through job creation and tax revenues.

ISL uranium mining involves injecting a groundwater solution (fortified with oxygen and carbon dioxide) into underground ore bodies through cased wells. The solution permeates the porous rock, dissolving the uranium from the ore, and is pumped to the surface through other cased wells. The uranium-rich solution then is transferred to a water treatment facility, where the uranium is removed from the solution by adhering to ion exchange resin beads. The groundwater solution exiting the ion exchange system is then sent back to the injection wells for reuse. Consequently, there is little surface disturbance in ISL mining, and no tailings or waste rock are generated.

New bioremediation technology

Developed by Symmetry Oilfield Solutions, the United States, the DryLet™ MB Bioremediation (MBB) is a blend of environmentally safe, dry-to-the-touch microbes that adhere to contamination and consume hydrocarbons within the matrix of treated soil. Most hydrocarbons are typically consumed within 30-90 days with up to 98% reduction of crude oil hydrocarbons remediated within 30 days. Its advantages includes:

• Dramatically higher microbe counts than other bioremediation products resulting in as much as 50% savings per treatment;
• EPA NCP listed hydrocarbon remediating product;
• Restores soil to suitable plant growth material;
• Eliminates environmental hazards and liabilities; and
• Eliminates contamination.

MB Bioremediation delivers up to 100 times the microbes that the leading liquid bioremediation products can provide. The dry delivery also adheres to the contamination, such as oil, thereby allowing the microbes to remain in direct contact with their food source. This product has been tested by Louisiana State University (LSU), the United States, and was shown to be among the most effective bioremediation products available. Contact: Symmetry Oilfield Solutions, 1 Industrial Parkway, Johnstown, Colorado 80534, USA. Fax: +1-303-265-9426.

Microbe-powered wastewater treatment system

Researchers at Washington State University (WSU), the United States, have created the first microbe-powered, self-sustaining wastewater treatment system that could simultaneously clean up waste from large farming operations and rural sewage treatment plants quickly and cheaply while reducing pollution. The new system, is a greener approach to traditional wastewater cleanup methods. Normally, waste from dairy farms in rural areas is placed in a series of ponds to be eaten by bacteria, generating carbon dioxide and methane pollution, until the waste is safely treated.

In urban areas with larger infrastructure, electrically powered aerators mix water in the ponds, allowing for the waste to be cleaned faster and with fewer harmful emissions. But most rural farmers can’t afford the latter, cleaner aerators. Given that as much as five percent of energy used in the United States is used for wastewater treatment, the new microbe method could change things for the better. Microbial fuel cells use biological reactions from microbes in water to create electricity.

The WSU researchers developed a microbial fuel cell that does the work of the aerator, using only the power of microbes in the sewage lagoons to generate electricity. Under favorable conditions, the researchers were able to grow microbes that can naturally generate electrons as part of their metabolic processes. The microbes were able to successfully power aerators in the lab for more than a year, and the research team is hoping to test a full-scale pilot for eventual commercialization. The system has been described in the Journal of Power Sources.


Scientists make carbon capture breakthrough

Scientists from Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL), Switzerland, have contributed to making carbon capture more practical and less energy intensive by combining a powder-like solid material with a liquid mixture to create a “slurry”, that will make CCS more efficient and cost-effective. Carbon capture has been touted as a solution to reduce global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by collecting the CO2 released from factories and power plants and storing it. However, there are many obstacles that prevent it from being scaled up to the extent necessary to be a really effective solution.

The most common approach to carbon capture uses liquid amine solutions, which can absorb CO2 from the atmosphere. However, it is very energy consuming to release the CO2 from the liquid as it requires a lot of heat. The solid materials, known as metal-organic frameworks (MOFs), are made up of metal atoms with nano-size pores that collect CO2. They are very energy efficient but are not very practical because of the nature of the substance. To overcome this problem, the researchers created slurry that consists of a solid part called ZIF-8, which is suspended in a liquid mixture of 2-methylimidazole glycol.

Because it combines the low cost and efficiency of nano-porous materials with the ease of a liquid-based separation process, the slurry successfully addresses these two main obstacles to the implementation of carbon capture in the real world. This was not attempted before because if a solid absorbent is used in conjunction with a solvent, the liquid would fill up the pores meant for CO2. The breakthrough method was a result of a collaboration between scientists from EPFL, China University of Petroleum, University of California, the United States, and Beijing University of Chemical Technology, China, and has been published in the scientific journal Nature Communications.

Patent granted for CO2 recycling process

Cleantech incubator Mantra Venture Group Ltd. Canada, has been granted a Canadian patent “Continuous Co-Current Electrochemical Reduction of Carbon Dioxide,” for its subsidiary Mantra Energy Alternatives Ltd., a carbon capture and utilization (CCU) process that converts carbon dioxide (CO2) into chemicals and fuels. According to Mantra, similar patents have been granted in China, Australia, and India.

“The timing of this news could not be better, as we are preparing to launch our pilot unit in Canada in the coming months. This granted patent will serve as the basis for a great deal of additional intellectual property generated from the pilot,” said Mantra’s chief executive Larry Kristof. Mantra’s pilot plant, which converts carbon dioxide to formate salts and formic acid, will be operating at the Lafarge Canada Inc. cement plant in Richmond, B.C., early next year. When operational, it will be the world’s first demonstration of ERC in an industrial setting.

Scientists develop cement low on carbon content

Scientists at the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi (IITD), along with IIT Bombay, IIT Madras and an environmental NGO called Development Alternatives (DA), India, have developed a type of cement that is not just low-cost, but can emit 20% to 30% less carbon than regular cement. For every tonne of cement produced, about 0.82 tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) is emitted. The most energy-intensive part of cement production is making clinker-grey balls of ground limestone and clay made by heating them at very high temperatures. These are then ground into a fine powder to make cement.

CO2 is a byproduct of this process, which is why cement production is a contributor of global warming. Cement usually contains about 70% of clinker and 30% fly ash. The IIT scientists have developed a variety of cement using just 40%-50% clinker and have supplemented it with low-grade calcined clay and low-grade limestone, which researchers say are being wasted. “Calcined clay is essentially China clay waste that is burnt. There are no takers for low-grade limestone in mines. The cement we have developed will have %a major impact on India’s limestone reserves that are depleting. Since this technology requires less limestone, the reserves will last us longer,” said Shashank Bishnoi, assistant professor, at IITD.

New technology to reduce coal power emissions

Combustion research and development company FuturEnergy Pty Ltd, Australia, has announced that it has submitted a pioneer patent ‘Utilising synergistic mixture of fuel to produce energy and reduce emissions in boilers,’ on combusting coal emissions containing carbon dioxide (CO2) in a secondary post combustion chamber with MagneGas® fuel. This revolutionary patent significantly alleviates a strategic problem affecting the coal fired power industry today, namely harmful emission and the release of vast quantizes of CO2, a powerful greenhouse gas. While legacy technology deals with emissions from coal fired power plants using complex pollution control systems this new technology transforms the coal flue gas or smoke into a fuel by igniting it using MagneGas®.

This revolutionary technology combines the flue gas from coal combustion with MagneGas® in a special post-combustion chamber which transforms this polluting waste stream into an energy stream by literally burning the smoke from coal fired power plants. The result of the FuturEnergy post-combustion process results in overall emission equal or better than natural gas and a reduction of up to 40% in CO2. FuturEnergy estimates that the typical coal fired power plant will be able to reduce CO2 emissions by up to 40% and through efficiency improvements, the conservative estimated saving in coal consumption is approximately 20% but will likely be more.

Other harmful emissions and particulates are also abated which the company believes will reduce the investment and operating costs of currently used emission control equipment.

Based on the Australian market a typical power plant will benefit from a monthly conservative coal efficiency savings of $1.2 million per power plant, when extrapolated over the power stations in Australia this amounts to estimated $40 million in monthly coal savings alone. Other markets such as Europe where CO2 is taxed would achieve a much higher potential savings.

According to the World Coal Association there are more than 7,000 coal fired power units world-wide therefore the potential savings and value of this patent is significant and constitutes a new strategic asset to the power industry.

Carbon dioxide converted into a valuable resource

Researchers at Aalto University, Finland, have opened a pilot plant that converts CO2 and slag, the by-product of steel manufacturing, into a valuable mineral product. The product, Precipitated Calcium Carbonate (PCC), is used in e.g. plastics, papers, rubbers and paints. The innovative plant represents the next stage prior commercialization of a new process that consumes CO2 in order to convert a low-value by-product into a highly valuable resource for industry. The potential economic and environmental benefits of this new technology are significant. “We are turning the industrial solid by-product from steel-manufacturing into a product which is 50 times more valuable,” said Arshe Said, a postgraduate researcher at Aalto University.

Carbon intensive manufacturing industries are coming under increasing pressure from bodies such as the EU to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. “We believe this pilot plant will help to efforts by these industries to conform with government imposed emissions and waste targets,” said Professor Mika Järvinen at Aalto University. In 2010, 13% of the total steel slag produced in Europe (16 Mt) went to the landfill. The highly promising new technology also has other potential advantages. Researchers are currently investigating the possibility of extracting other valuable materials from the slag after the extraction of calcium.

Efficient way to separate CO2 from natural gas

Scientists in the Rice University lab of chemist James Tour, the United States, have developed materials that offers a lower cost, less energy-intensive way to separate carbon dioxide (CO2) from natural gas at wellheads. The nucleophilic porous carbons, synthesized from simple and inexpensive carbon-sulphur and carbon-nitrogen precursors, pull only CO2 molecules from flowing natural gas and polymerize them while under pressure naturally provided by the well. When the pressure is released, the CO2 spontaneously depolymerizes and frees the sorbent material to collect more. All of this works in ambient temperatures, unlike current high-temperature capture technologies that use up a portion of the energy being produced.

Natural gas is the cleanest fossil fuel, but still requires clean-up before use – such as the removal of CO2 to meet pipeline specifications. Development of cost-effective means to separate CO2 during the production process will improve its advantage over other fossil fuels and enable the economic production of gas resources with higher CO2 content that would be too costly to recover using current carbon capture technologies, Tour said.

The Tour lab patented material, developed with assistance from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the United States, shows promise to replace more costly and energy-intensive processes. Results from the research appear in the journal Nature Communications. Apache Corp., the United States, an oil and gas exploration and production company, has funded the research at Rice and licensed the technology. Tour expected it will take time and more work on manufacturing and engineering aspects to commercialize.

Technology for dry sorbent injection systems

Developed by United Conveyor Corp. (UCC), the United States, the new patented VIPER® Mill is a proven, reliable technology that significantly reduces operating cost and improves emissions control of dry sorbent injection (DSI) systems. VIPER Mill technology reduces sorbent particle size to enhance removal of SO2, SO3 and HCl. The VIPER Mill is capable of processing up to 7 tons per hour of sorbent on a 24/7 basis. In a typical SO2 removal application, the VIPER Mill can reduce sorbent usage by 30-50%. In SO3 removal applications, the ultra-small sorbent particle size helps to achieve aggressive ppm targets while reducing usage up to 50%.

A single VIPER Mill can reduce sorbent costs by over $3 million annually compared to other DSI Systems. It utilizes an in-line milling process eliminating the need for problematic downstream sorbent storage. “Smaller particle size leads to lower sorbent quantity consumed. The VIPER Mill delivers the fastest return on capital investment. A single VIPER Mill can potentially reduce sorbent costs by millions of dollars annually compared to other DSI systems,” said Jon Norman at UCC. The VIPER Mill is proven with trona and coarse sodium bicarbonate sorbents commonly used in DSI applications with eastern bituminous and PRB coal-fired power plants.

The VIPER Mill can ship on a fully pre-piped and pre-wired skid for simple installation and lower installed cost, and is available in standard and custom designs. The modular skid system features a patent-pending automated cleaning system to eliminate sorbent build-up and is engineered to provide easy access for preventative maintenance and life-cycle rebuilds. The automated cleaning system enables a full system cleaning cycle in less than 30 minutes and redundant skids or a bypass system ensure continued operation. Contact: United Conveyor Corp., Waukegan, IL, USA. Tel: +1-847-473-5900.

Hydrogen sulfide-preventing yeast technology

Renaissance Yeast Inc., Canada, has announced that the University of California (UC), the United States, has been awarded a patent from the Japan Patent Office protecting its hydrogen sulfide-preventing yeast technology in that country. This now brings to sixteen the total patents issued, including those granted in major wine producing countries such as France, Italy, Spain, US and Australia. Patents are also pending in a number of other countries. Renaissance is the exclusive global licensee of UC’s hydrogen sulfide-preventing technology for wine, beer, cider, sake and other yeast-fermenting applications. All Renaissance yeasts have been naturally developed through classical means and are non-GMO.

“Hydrogen sulfide is a natural byproduct of traditional wine, cider and beer fermentations and a significant quality problem for these industries around the world. This step in expanding the patent protection by UC has enabled Renaissance to commercialize and develop our products in the global marketplace with confidence,” said Dr. John Husnik, CEO of Renaissance. In addition to producing sake (rice wine) for domestic and export markets, Japan has a wide range of grape varieties that supports a robust (grape) wine industry. Japan is also the world’s seventh largest beer producer.

This proprietary and novel H2S-preventing yeast advancement was discovered by Dr. Linda Bisson at the UC. Over the last five years, Dr. John Husnik and his team, working under an exclusive license from UC, have conducted additional development and commercial field testing and adoption with numerous wineries in the USA and Europe. The aim of this work has been to develop and perfect, through classical breeding techniques, the Renaissance brand commercial yeast strains. Contact: Dr. John Husnik, Renaissance Yeast Inc., Vancouver, BC, Canada. Tel: +1-604-822-6499; E-mail:


Handbook of Environment and Waste Management Vol. 2: Land and Groundwater Pollution Control

This handbook is a comprehensive compilation of topics that are at the forefront of many of the technical advances and practices in solid waste management and groundwater pollution control. These include biosolids management, landfill for solid waste disposal, landfill liners, beneficial reuse of waste products, municipal solid waste recovery and recycling and groundwater remediation. Internationally recognized authorities in the field of environment and waste management contribute chapters in their areas of expertise.

Contact: World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., 5 Toh Tuck Link, Singapore - 596224. Tel: +65-6466-5775; Fax: 65-6467-7667; E-mail:

Industrial MBRs: Membrane Bioreactors for Industrial Wastewater Treatment

Industrial MBRs’ is a concise guide to the design, operation and general implementation of membrane bioreactor (MBR) technology in the treatment of industrial effluents. The book provides a brief summary of each of these sectors, along with the characteristics of the various biologically-treatable effluents generated. Key facets of the MBR technology are described: the principal components of the design along with those aspects of operation which determine the process operability and running costs are discussed, along with operational challenges.

Principles of Membrane Bioreactors for Wastewater Treatment

This book describes the state-of-the-art of MBR technology, principles of MBR and design and operation of plants. Membrane bioreactor (MBR) technology is a wastewater treatment method combining biological pollutant treatment with physical membrane separation. It has gained increasing commercial significance over the last decade, with applications in municipal and industrial wastewater treatment. MBR technology is mostly taught as part of Biological Wastewater Treatment and Membrane Technology courses for senior undergraduates or graduates.

For the above two books, contact: IWA Publishing, Alliance House, 12 Caxton Street, London SW1H 0QS, UK. Fax: +44-20-654-5555;


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