Scientists validate new technology that transforms sewage sludge into fertilizer more efficiently

phys.org | 6/7/2019 | Staff
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World population growth and lifestyle are the main causes of the increase in the volume of wastewater. As a result of the treatment of these waters, millions of tons of sewage sludge are generated, filling landfills and generating pollution, unpleasant odors, and public health risks. To combat these issues, one of the most important alternatives is to transform sewage sludge, which has a high organic-matter content, into a resource that can be used for agricultural purposes as a crop fertilizer.

Research Group RNM-271 of the Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of Córdoba, in conjunction with Research Group RNM-270 of the University of Granada, has successfully validated a new technology that transforms wastewater sludge more efficiently. The system, tested on an industrial scale, avoids the foul odors that are generated during the composting process. In addition, it reduces by up to two months the time needed to stabilize and sterilize the organic matter from the sludge and convert it into fertilizer.

Technology - Series - Membranes - Composting - Process

This is a fledgling technology that uses a series of movable and semi-permeable membranes, under which the composting process takes place. These covers allow molecules such as carbon dioxide to pass through, while blocking others such as ammonia, which causes the foul odors.

This technology has been developed via a project of the UGR financed by the Junta de Andalucía (Andalusian regional government), titled "Study of the biological processes and structures of microbial communities in the process of composting sludge from urban wastewater treatment plants in semi-permeable membrane systems" (Ref. P11-RNM7370), which is coordinated by Professor Concepción Calvo. This technology, which was applied on an industrial scale at the facilities of Biomasa del Guadalquivir, uses a semi-permeable cover (membrane) system that prevents unpleasant smells from escaping...
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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