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Clean technology for a cleaner environment

Watrec’s focus is on customised systems, designed and delivered as state-of-the-art solutions for treating organic waste and wastewater and generating renewable energy with the help of biogas.

Watrec has been designing systems and providing expert services based around combining biological waste treatment methods with physical and chemical ones for the needs of industry, agriculture, and the municipal sector for almost a decade.

Generating biogas and producing high-quality fertiliser and energy – in the form of electricity, heat, or motor fuel – has many advantages, believes Watrec. Recovering methane from waste is a particularly useful way of helping combat global warming. Fertilisers produced by a well-designed biogas plant are safe and offer benefits that match or exceed those of synthetic fertilisers. As a closed system, the impact of a biogas unit on the immediate environment is also typically much smaller than that of many other waste management systems.

A Watrec biogas plant capable of processing in excess of 60,000 t/a of municipal and industrial waste, for example, will normally be more costeffective than competing solutions. If biogas can be utilised nearby, much smaller sizes are feasible, which means that plants with a gross energy output in the 150-500 kW range can be suitable for pig and dairy farms.

Going from strength to strength

Watrec designed and project-managed Finland’s first large-scale co-digestion biogas plant. Completed in 2005, the facility treats 120,000 t/a of organic by-products and waste from agriculture and industry and generates 4-5 MW of energy and 1.5 MW of electricity.

The company’s first build, own, and operate (BOO) project was completed and came on stream in 2010. The success of the project saw the plant’s original nameplate capacity doubled to 80,000 t/a virtually immediately. The majority of the gas, heat, and electricity generated by the VamBio plant, which sources part of its input by direct pipeline from two local pig farms, is used locally, increasing the plant’s overall efficiency and benefit to the local community.

Parallel to the VamBio project, Watrec worked with a local engineering company to develop a new type of biogas reactor that offers significantly shorter erection times than earlier solutions. This new design – together with the excellent performance of Watrec plants already in operation and the company’s solid track record in providing engineering and consultancy services and products to customers in Europe and North America – will further strengthen Watrec’s competitiveness.

The VamBio plant showcases the cost-effectiveness and reliability of Watrec’s approach to dealing with biowaste and wastewater and generating useful quantities of renewable energy.

Innovative treatment technologies

Watrec also offers advanced, cost-efficient technology for treating industrial wastewater and process water, based on extensive practical experience and the latest scientific know-how.

The Membro® process, for example, can deal with effluent containing high levels of ammonia and organics. Its combination of biological and physical processes provides excellent removal rates for ammonia, COD, solids, and phosphorus.

> Juhani Suvilampi
(Published in HighTech Finland 2011)