Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Energy efficient sewage plants

17.08.2009
High-rate digestion with microfiltration is state-of-the-art in large sewage plants. It effectively removes accumulated sludge and produces biogas to generate energy. A study now reveals that even small plants can benefit from this process.

Sewage plants remove organic matter from wastewater. If the accumulating sludge decays, biogas is generated as a by-product. However, only 1156 of the 10,200 sewage plants in Germany have a digestion tank. Smaller operations, especially, baulk at the costs of a new digestion tank. Instead, they enrich the sludge with oxygen in the existing activation basin, and stabilize it.

“Activation basins require a lot of electricity. At the same time, enormous energy potential is lost, since no biogas is produced,” says Dr. Brigitte Kempter-Regel of the Fraunhofer Institute for Interfacial Engineering and Biotechnology IGB in Stuttgart. “A sewage plant eats up more electricity in the municipalities than their hospitals do”.

In a cost-benefit-study Dr. Kempter-Regel has shown that it also pays small sewage plants to transfer to more energy-efficient processes – even if they have to invest in a sludge digestion unit. “Based on a sewage plant for 28,000 inhabitants, we calculate that the plant can reduce its annual waste management costs from 225,000 euros by as much as 170,000 euros if sludge is decayed in a high-rate digestion unit with microfiltration, as opposed to treating it aerobically”, she says.

This process was developed at IGB and is much more effective than conventional digestion. Instead of the usual 30 to 50 days, sludge only remains in the tower for five to seven days. Around 60 percent of the organic matter is converted into biogas – the spoil is approximately a third more than in the traditional digestion process. The biogas obtained can be used to operate the plant, which, in the case study, would cut energy costs by at least 70,000 euros each year. High-rate digestion has the added advantage of producing less residual sludge needing disposal. “This saves the operator another 100,000 euros”, says Kempter-Regel. In addition to high energy prices, budgets are also being hit hard by increasing waste management costs.

The use of residual sludge in agriculture is controversial, and slurry can no longer be disposed of on landfills; burning the sludge is a very expensive alternative. So an effective reduction of sludge through digestion pays off. Even small sewage plants have already followed the recommendation of the Stuttgart Institute and converted to the high-rate digestion process.

Dr. rer. nat. Brigitte Kempter-Regel | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.igb.fraunhofer.de

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Study relating to materials testing Detecting damages in non-magnetic steel through magnetism
23.07.2018 | Technische Universität Kaiserslautern

nachricht Innovative genetic tests for children with developmental disorders and epilepsy
11.07.2018 | Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Robots as 'pump attendants': TU Graz develops robot-controlled rapid charging system for e-vehicles

Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.

Global demand for electric vehicles is forecast to rise sharply: by 2025, the number of new vehicle registrations is expected to reach 25 million per year....

Im Focus: The “TRiC” to folding actin

Proteins must be folded correctly to fulfill their molecular functions in cells. Molecular assistants called chaperones help proteins exploit their inbuilt folding potential and reach the correct three-dimensional structure. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry (MPIB) have demonstrated that actin, the most abundant protein in higher developed cells, does not have the inbuilt potential to fold and instead requires special assistance to fold into its active state. The chaperone TRiC uses a previously undescribed mechanism to perform actin folding. The study was recently published in the journal Cell.

Actin is the most abundant protein in highly developed cells and has diverse functions in processes like cell stabilization, cell division and muscle...

Im Focus: Lining up surprising behaviors of superconductor with one of the world's strongest magnets

Scientists have discovered that the electrical resistance of a copper-oxide compound depends on the magnetic field in a very unusual way -- a finding that could help direct the search for materials that can perfectly conduct electricity at room temperatur

What happens when really powerful magnets--capable of producing magnetic fields nearly two million times stronger than Earth's--are applied to materials that...

Im Focus: World record: Fastest 3-D tomographic images at BESSY II

The quality of materials often depends on the manufacturing process. In casting and welding, for example, the rate at which melts solidify and the resulting microstructure of the alloy is important. With metallic foams as well, it depends on exactly how the foaming process takes place. To understand these processes fully requires fast sensing capability. The fastest 3D tomographic images to date have now been achieved at the BESSY II X-ray source operated by the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin.

Dr. Francisco Garcia-Moreno and his team have designed a turntable that rotates ultra-stably about its axis at a constant rotational speed. This really depends...

Im Focus: A molecular switch may serve as new target point for cancer and diabetes therapies

If certain signaling cascades are misregulated, diseases like cancer, obesity and diabetes may occur. A mechanism recently discovered by scientists at the Leibniz- Forschungsinstitut für Molekulare Pharmakologie (FMP) in Berlin and at the University of Geneva has a crucial influence on such signaling cascades and may be an important key for the future development of therapies against these diseases. The results of the study have just been published in the prestigious scientific journal 'Molecular Cell'.

Cell growth and cell differentiation as well as the release and efficacy of hormones such as insulin depend on the presence of lipids. Lipids are small...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Within reach of the Universe

08.08.2018 | Event News

A journey through the history of microscopy – new exhibition opens at the MDC

27.07.2018 | Event News

2018 Work Research Conference

25.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Can radar replace stethoscopes?

14.08.2018 | Medical Engineering

The end-Cretaceous extinction unleashed modern shark diversity

14.08.2018 | Life Sciences

Light-controlled molecules: Scientists develop new recycling strategy

14.08.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>