"Clean energy alternatives to landspreading sewage sludge "biosolids"
by: Helane Shields 11/2/2008
It is shortsighted to suggest the only way to get rid of toxic/pathogenic sewage sludge "biosolids" is landfilling,
incineration or land spreading. Sludge spreading, with its vile odors and swarms of filthy flies, is a public health risk.
Airborne dusts, gases and pathogens make people sick. Sludge has killed livestock and contaminated land and water.
Family pets track this pathogenic waste into homes on their feet and fur, exposing residents to illness.
Europe and Japan are rapidly discontinuing land application to preserve their agricultural soil untainted. They are
reducing their dependence on imported oil, and reducing greenhouse gases by utilizing new, non-polluting technologies
such as pyrolysis, gasification and plasma arc incineration to convert sewage sludge from contaminated waste to a
valuable renewable resource to cleanly and economically produce biogas, heat, electricity, power and energy.
TREMENDOUS new organization – UNITED SLUDGE FREE ALLIANCE – see their web site with many links . . . .
Great web site highlighting alternative uses for sewage sludge from around the world . . . . .
Alternative Uses Chart
Today's new thermal (heat) treatment technologies are NOT the pollution belching incinerators of the past.
December 2009 -- 35 page update on clean energy alternatives.
Explanation of gasification of sewage sludge "biosolids"
ALTERNATIVES (III) TO LAND APPLICATION OF SEWAGE SLUDGE “BIOSOLIDS” Jan. to August, 2009
CANADA - Two plasma arc assisted sludge oxidation-to-energy plants are under construction in Canada - one in
Hamilton and the second in Quebec (which has a moratorium on spreading sludge on province farms.)
CONNECTICUT - Stamford - 2008 - the town's pollution control authority has started turning the sludge extracted from
its wastewater treatment plant into electricity through a process called gasification.
The town also turns the sludge into solid pellets that it sells as fertilizer to the state of New York.
"FLORIDA - Fla. city will turn wastewater sludge into green energy - March 25, 2008 -
Sanford, Fla., has entered a long-term contract to have the city´s wastewater sludge converted to green energy.
Under the 20-year deal, Houston-based MaxWest Environmental Systems Inc. will dispose of Sanford´s biosolids by
gasifying the material to produce a synthetic gas. A thermal oxidizer then will convert the syngas into renewable thermal
"Traditional disposal methods for biosolids are becoming more expensive, publicly unacceptable and potentially harmful
to the environment," he said. "
“Compared to the projected cost of natural gas, a fossil fuel, Sanford will save $9,000,000 over the 20-year life of our
contract,” said Paul Moore, Sanford Utility Director. “This technology has provided us with the opportunity to save
money while managing our waste stream and protecting the environment.”
HAWAII - "Carbonization of Waste is a University of Hawaii-based Trash Management Option
By Panos Prevedouros, PhD, 9/9/2008 9:32:58 AM
Technology developed by University of Hawaii researcher Michael J. Antal Jr. to produce charcoal from green waste can
reduce the burden on the Waimanalo Gulch landfill.
Dr. Antal's flash carbonization process uses heat and pressure to turn scrap tires, corn cobs, macadamia nut shells and
green waste into a high-quality, clean alternative to wood or coal.
Flash Carbonization™ of raw sewage sludge produced in Honolulu's Ewa treatment plant was converted
into charcoal. Charcoal yields of about 30% (dry basis) were produced from the sewage sludge.
Charcoal is the sustainable fuel replacement for coal. Coal combustion is the most important contributor to climate
change. On the other hand, the combustion of charcoal - sustainably produced from renewable biomass - adds no CO2
to the atmosphere! Thus, the replacement of coal by charcoal is among the most important steps we can take to
ameliorate climate change. "
ILLINOIS - The North Shore Sanitary District's new sludge recycling facilities are the first in the world to
convert municipal biosolids into a reusable glass aggregate. Each day, up to 200 tons of municipal biosolids
are transformed into 7.5 tons of glass aggregate using an innovative drying and melting process.
INDIANA - "CROWN POINT, Jun. 11, 2008 -/E-Wire/-- Algaewheel, Inc. announced today that they will be submitting a
proposal to build a facility in Cedar Lake, Indiana that uses algae to treat municipal wastewater and uses the sludge
byproduct to produce electricity, heat, and biofuel."
"This collaborative project between the District and the design engineer, Donohue & Associates, Inc. has
resulted in the successful implementation of the most environmentally sound biosolids disposal ever
developed. The glass aggregate has no risk of soil or groundwater contamination since microorganisms in
the biosolids, such as bacteria and viruses, are destroyed through the heating processes. Trace metals
and other inorganic materials that may be present are permanently stabilized within the glass matrix and
can not seep into the environment. "
"Sewage sludge converted to energy REGISTER STAFF • December 13, 2007
The Metropolitan Wastewater Reclamation Authority has begun converting sewage sludge into an energy
supply to heat its facility.
A MicroSludge System was installed at the WRA facility, 3000 Vandalia Road, this fall. The system takes
sewage sludge from the facility and converts it to biogas which contains methane and can be used by
power generators. The system is expected to process at least half of the sewage sent to the facility."
MINNESOTA - " The sewer plant at St. Paul did an economic study that demonstrated that it was safer and cheaper to
use their fluid beds to burn sludge than to land apply it. They more than meet air requirements. They replaced 6 old
incinerators with 3 fluid beds and, although their old system met EPA air requirements, their new system (the 3 fuid
beds) reduced the former air emissions by 98%."
• "Significantly more heat recovered and electricity generated for plant’s needs. More heat from the combustion
process means more steam production for winter heating and electrical generation produced by the plant’s turbine
The generator can produce up to five megawatts of electricity. Daily production averages about three megawatts,
enough to meet about 20 percent of the plant's power demand and save $500,000 to $600,000 annually in avoided
electricity costs. Three megawatts of electricity would be enough to power about 1,000 homes." http://www.
NEW YORK - SCHENECTADY - Council OKs methane project Plan is to turn waste sludge into electricity
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
"Veolia Water employee Jim Versocki shows one of the two digesters at the Schenectady Water Treatment Plant
Monday. The digesters break down sludge, which produces methane gas. The hope is to use the methane
gas to run generators and produce electricity
"The project will allow us to not only capture the methane and generate electricity with it but to benefit the environment
further by not releasing the methane,” he said. “It’s a wonderful program, a win-win both environmentally and financially
for the city.”
The city plans to spend another $1.5 million to harness the methane. City officials plan to take out a $2 million bond for
the full expense, which could be paid back in less than seven years if the city uses all of the money saved by the
NEW YORK POUGHKEEPSIE - BIOGAS FROM SEWAGE -
'CH Energy to build $9.75M biogas plant in NY
November 27, 2007
The facility will use gas from an adjacent wastewater treatment plant to generate electricity.
Poughkeepsie, N.Y.-based CH Energy Group (NYSE: CHG) announced a long-term contract to supply electricity to the
city of Auburn, N.Y., from power generated using biogas from a wastewater treatment plant.
Under the 15-year deal, CH Energy will construct and operate a 3 megawatt electricity generating plant adjacent to a
municipal landfill and wastewater treatment facility in Auburn.
OHIO - Dec. 2007 - "Since mid-October, Akron and KB Compost have been fine-tuning the plant that
turns sludge from the city's sewage treatment plant into a methane-rich biogas that powers an electric
"The biowaste sources in this paper include municipal solid waste (MSW), sewage sludge, animal waste and
manure, organic materials in municipal and industrial waste streams."
"Twenty eight Oregon wastewater treatment plants generate biogas using digesters. Most
of them use the biogas on sites as boiler fuel to produce heat for the digestion process and
for space heating. Nine plants generate power from biogas. The plants generated about 26
million kilowatt-hours in 2004."
TEXAS August 19, 2008 New process converts urban waste to gasoline
College Station, Texas - A process for turning everyday waste into gasoline, developed through the Texas A&M
University System, has been licensed to Byogy Renewables Inc. and could become a reality within two years.
Researchers with the Texas Engineering Experiment Station (TEES), the engineering research agency of the State of
Texas, developed the process to make converting biomass into high-octane gasoline possible, and say it is possibly the
only integrated system that does so, as most other emerging processes convert the biomass into alcohol and then
blend it with gasoline.
"Biomass includes garbage, biosolids from wastewater treatment plants, green waste such as lawn clippings, food
waste, and any type of livestock manure. The process could also utilize non-food and non-feed crops grown
specifically for biomass energy."
STATE OF WASHINGTON: BIOGAS FROM SEWAGE
"The fuel cell, located at the South Treatment Plant in Renton, WA, can consume about 154,000 cubic feet of
biogas a day to produce up to 1 MW of electricity. That’s enough to power 1,000 households, but it’s being
used instead to help operate the plant.
The fuel cell’s electric output will save the Wastewater Treatment Division (WTD) of King County’s
Department of Natural Resources and Parks about $400,000 a year—money that otherwise would be spent
to buy electricity from the local utility, Puget Sound Energy, a subsidiary of Puget Energy Inc., of Bellevue,
WA. Other savings, yet to be determined, will come from waste-heat recovery and reduction of biogas
"About 400 sewage treatment plants in the US have anaerobic digestion and receive at least 30 million gallons of
influent a day, the minimum necessary to justify installation of a fuel cell the size of King County’s. For smaller treatment
plants, FCE offers a 250-kW fuel cell that can be installed in multiples to produce 500 kW or 750 kW.
GERMANY - "The organic matter used can be pretty much any biodegradable material: food waste from households,
markets, shops, restaurants, caterers, breweries, distilleries, industrial kitchens and companies that process food and
drink; abattoir waste; agricultural waste like manure, slurry, straw, feathers and crop residues; industrial waste
and residues from, say, pharmaceutical processes or paper manufacturing; and sewage sludge. "
"After being compressed, the biogas or biomethane is ready to be used. Obviously, the best place to do this and make
the most out of the energy is to burn it in a combined heat and power plant - the most efficient way possible to burn a
fuel - where it generates both electricity and heat: "
JAPAN August 2008 Mitsubishi Builds SlurryCarb™ Demonstration Facility in Kusatsu, Japan
"EnerTech's patented SlurryCarb™ process cleanly and economically converts biosolids (sewage sludge) and other
high moisture wastes into a high-grade, renewable fuel, with significant cost savings over alternative methods . . . "
SWEDEN - "Sweden pushes biogas as gasoline substitute By James Kanter Published: May 27, 2008 International
GOTEBORG, Sweden: Taking a road trip? Remember to visit the toilet first.
This city is among dozens of municipalities in Sweden with facilities that transform sewage waste into enough biogas to
run thousands of cars and buses."
CALIFORNIA & SWEDEN: "
California and Sweden Joint Biogas Initiative
zogger Fri Jun 16 20:12:10 -0700 2006 Science manage
Recognizing they have similar vehicle fuel problems and similar long term goals, the US state of California and Sweden
have inked a deal to jointly develop biogas for motor vehicle fuel. Using California's market muscle and technology
research industry combined with Sweden's proven track record on the practical production of biogas, they hope to
eventually end dependence on foreign fossil fuels. "with the sources of biogas production named in article as " manure,
biocrops, sewage sludge and industrial waste" I wonder if heavy harnessing of these sources might make a dent in
global methane levels"
Biogas has a huge potential on a global scale, with some experts seeing
it so large that the plant based methane could replace all of the EU's
natural gas imports from Russia by 2030 "
"A variety of sources are used to create biogas, including municipal
wastes, SEWAGE SLUDGE, manure or biodegradable waste."