Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Waste water treatment plant mud used as 'green' fuel

25.06.2009
Catalan scientists have shown that using mud from waste water treatment plants as a partial alternative fuel can enable cement factories to reduce their CO2 emissions and comply with the Kyoto Protocol, as well as posing no risk to human health and being profitable. These are the results of an environmental impact assessment.

Dependency on oil and coal could be coming to an end. Researchers from the Rovira i Virgili University (URV) have analysed the environmental and human health impacts of an alternative fuel that solves various problems simultaneously. This is the solid waste from the water treatment plants of large cities.

The scientists have carried out the first study into this method at a cement plant in Vallcarca (Catalonia), which has been producing cement for more than 100 years, and they confirm in the latest issue of the journal Environmental Science and Pollution Research that it is "the best option for getting rid of mud that would have had to be dumped elsewhere, while also powering the plant".

"As this mud is already waste, burning it does not enter into the atmospheric CO2 emissions assigned to each country under the Kyoto Protocol", José Luis Domingo, lead author of the study and director of the Toxicology and Environmental Health Laboratory at the URV, tells SINC.

This would enable plants producing cement, one of the most contaminating industries in terms of CO2 as well as emissions of dioxins, furans and heavy metals, to consume energy in a more environmentally-friendly way. Up to 20% of the fossil fuel energy used at the Catalan plant has now been substituted for the fuel from waste water treatment plant mud.

From an economic point of view, the scientists will not say that cement plants could increase their profits by using this method, but "they will not have to pay anything to exceed their agreed emissions", the researcher points out. The economic benefits of this system also depend on the price of fuel.

One of the most important issues for the URV scientists is the reduction in environmental impact, and consequently the health risks for people living near the plants. The experiment with the mud has led to a 140,000 tonne reduction in CO2 emissions between 2003 and 2006, and will have limited the potential deaths from exposure to chemical pollutants. In addition, the study shows that using this green fuel would reduce the cancer rate by 4.56 per million inhabitants.

The researchers say it is essential to carry out separate studies for each plant because "we still don't know whether this will be positive for the whole cement industry", according to Domingo. However, if the conditions are right, using mud from waste water treatment plants in cement factories is "a very good solution", he concludes.

References:

Nadal, Marti; Schuhmacher, Marta; Domingo, José Luis. "Cost-benefit analysis of using sewage sludge as alternative fuel in a cement plant: a case study" Environmental Science and Pollution Research 16(3):322-328, mayo de 2009.

SINC | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.plataformasinc.es

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Preservation of floodplains is flood protection
27.09.2017 | Technische Universität München

nachricht Conservationists are sounding the alarm: parrots much more threatened than assumed
15.09.2017 | Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Neutron star merger directly observed for the first time

University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event

On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...

Im Focus: Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging

Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.

Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

Im Focus: Shrinking the proton again!

Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.

It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

Climate Engineering Conference 2017 Opens in Berlin

10.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Electrode materials from the microwave oven

19.10.2017 | Materials Sciences

New material for digital memories of the future

19.10.2017 | Materials Sciences

Physics boosts artificial intelligence methods

19.10.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>