Water Briefs

June 1, 2012
Food Processor Transforms Wastewater into Green Energy

Food Processor Transforms Wastewater into Green Energy

One of the world's largest pineapple producers has transformed its wastewater into a source of profit by using advanced anaerobic technology to extract green energy from a biological waste stream.

Indonesia's PT Great Giant Pineapple company - the world's third largest producer of pineapples, supplying 15 percent of global demand - now produces more than 30,000 Nm3 of methane biogas a day to supplement and replace fuel oil and coal used in its boilers.

The PT Great Giant Pineapple Co. is converting its digester gas into energy.

And in addition to exceeding its design performance for biogas production, the tapioca starch and pineapple canning plant has also far exceeded its design performance for COD removal efficiency, achieving 98 percent removal.

Global Water Engineering provided the treatment system for the PT Great Giant Pineapple plant in Lampung, Indonesia. The process employed in Lampung comprises equalization basin, screening, primary clarifier, pH control, ANUBIX™B (UASB) 4894 m3 methane reactors, biogas safety flare, biogas blowers, biogas use in two thermal oil boilers and one coal-fired fluidized bed type steam boiler.

The facility has been in operation for about a year and has seen positive results,

"The example is very important to industry worldwide because the concept of using wastewater to create green energy is much more widely applicable than often realized," said Global Water Engineering Founder and Chief Executive Officer Jean Paul Ombregt. "Any factory with a biological waste stream or wastewater with high organic content can easily use this model to generate energy."

System to Remove Selenium from Recycling Plant's Wastewater

Umicore has selected GE's Advanced Biological Metals Removal Process (ABMet) wastewater bioreactor technology to remove selenium and other heavy metals from wastewater discharges at Umicore's precious metals recycling facility near Antwerp, Belgium. The first full-scale installation of ABMet technology in Europe, this project will help Umicore achieve low parts-per-billion (ppb) levels of heavy metals in wastewater discharges. Commercial operation will begin by the end of 2013.

ABMet is designed to remove elevated levels of selenium, nitrate and metals found in wastewater streams in many industrial, mining and utility applications, such as at coal-fired power plants. The simple, low-energy system can achieve up to 99 percent removal of selenium and can discharge treated effluent containing 5 ppb or less of selenium, depending on wastewater makeup.

Pilot trials on the system were performed at Umicore's Hoboken, Belgium, facility. It employs biofilters seeded with selected strains of naturally occurring, non-pathogenic microorganisms to produce treated effluent wastewater that meets or exceeds the regulatory standards for removal of selenium and other heavy metals.

The ABMet system at Umicore's Hoboken plant will be able to treat an average 160 m3/hour (1,013 gpm) of wastewater. The Hoboken facility recovers a range of precious and specialty metals from recycled consumer and industrial goods, and as a result, produces a highly complex wastewater stream requiring different unit operations to remove and recover metals before discharge.

The ABMet system comprises microbes seeded in a bed of activated carbon that acts as a growth medium so that the microbes can create a biofilm. Wastewater passes through the biofilm and a reduction reaction occurs, facilitating the conversion of soluble selenium into elemental selenium, which is then removed from the system along with other metals and nitrate. A proprietary molasses-based product is used as a nutrient for the microbes, and other than the addition of the nutrient, the system is self-sustaining once established.

Partnership to Develop Portable Water Purification System

Sensor Electronic Technology, Inc. (SETi) and Cascade Designs, Inc. of Seattle, WA, have entered into a Joint Development Agreement (JDA) to develop portable water purification systems for commercial, military and disaster relief/humanitarian applications. The systems will take advantage of SETi's germicidal ultraviolet light emitting diodes (UV LEDs) to provide potable water to small groups from any source of fresh water anywhere.

Germicidal UV LEDs are a new technology that offers an alternative to mercury lamps or chemical treatment and enables a compact, lightweight and mechanically robust disinfection solution that can stand up to the rigors of military and humanitarian use and, when powered with an alternative energy source, can offer a sustainable source of drinking water for many months.

Through a development program funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), SETi has already successfully demonstrated the use of its germicidal UV LEDs in a bench top disinfection chamber. The collaborative effort with Cascade Designs will further this work and lead to the development of the first multi-stage UV LED-based water purification system.

"We see great potential in partnering with SETi," said Joe McSwiney, president of Cascade Designs, Inc. "With SETi's UV LED technology and our experience in designing and manufacturing a broad range of water treatment products, we believe we can develop revolutionary new water treatment systems that will advance the work we're already doing to supply the U.S. military and bring sustainable relief to people around the world who lack potable water."

Water Treatment, Flow Market Has Double-Digit Growth Segments

Droughts, contamination and growth are creating markets for flow and treatment of water which exceed GDP. In some segments, double-digit growth is forecast for the coming decade. McIlvaine has identified these high growth segments in its various water related market reports.

The segment with the highest growth rate is ballast water treatment for vessels. Presently, a few hundred systems are installed in vessels for the purpose of preventing the escape of potentially invasive species to the lakes and harbors where freight is loaded and ballast water is discharged. Over the next eight years, more than 50,000 ships will be fitted with systems costing as much as $1 million each. Filters to remove particles larger than 50 microns will be included in each system.

A means to kill organisms, such as ultraviolet light, ozone oxidation, or chemicals will be necessary. Because large amounts of water have to be discharged in relatively short periods, there will be a significant opportunity for the suppliers of pumps and valves. These systems will be highly instrumented both to insure effectiveness and minimize consumables costs. Additional monitoring instrumentation will need to be acquired by testing firms and laboratories to serve more than 500 ports around the world.

Unconventional gas and oil exploration and processing will also generate fast growing markets for water treatment and flow products and services. Proposed U.S. EPA regulations as well as regulations already in place in Pennsylvania and other states will result in substantial investment in systems to treat produced water from various extraction operations and flow back water from shale fracturing.

A number of very expensive treatment systems and recovery of water through evaporation are in the planning stages. Filters are challenged to remove dissolved solids which can be as high as 25 percent of the total fluid being processed. Pumps and valves have to deal with very high levels of corrosive chlorides and other difficult chemicals.

Extensive monitoring systems will be required to measure water quality in groundwater and aquifers. There will need to be early investments to determine baseline contamination prior to drilling. Due to this lack of a baseline, it is presently unclear whether some of the problems are a result of drilling or were pre-existing.

There are many double-digit geographic growth segments. Desalination activity will remain at a high level in the Middle East, but will not grow as fast as it will in China and a number of other countries. Sales of systems and products to treat municipal wastewater and drinking water will grow at double-digit rates in a number of developing countries.

There are also certain product categories which will enjoy double-digit growth. One example is the high pressure pumps needed to move millions of gallons of water, sand and chemicals down two miles at high pressure to fracture shale. Another example is electro-deionization which is finding uses in ultrapure water, desalination and even treatment of water for fracking, McIlvane said.

For more information on the company and its water-related reports, visit www.mcilvainecompany.com.

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