The system converts leftover fresh pulp from a tapioca starch plant in Thailand to useful green energy
Global Water Eng. (GWE) has won an international chemical engineering award for its process that transforms food processing sludge waste from an environmental problem into profitable green energy.
GWE Chairman and CEO Jean Pierre Ombregt accepted the IChemE Energy Award from the Institute of Chemical Engineers (IChemE), which represents more than 40,000 chemical engineers worldwide and hosted the 2014 awards in the U.K. to recognize and reward chemical engineering innovation and excellence.
The IChemE Energy Award, sponsored by PM Group, recognizes the best project or process to demonstrate innovation in renewable energy, alternative energy sources, efficient energy use or the development of energy production methods that reduce energy and water intensity.
GWE’s entry involved a world first with Chok Chai Starch in Thailand, where a GWE Raptor system is used to convert wet pulp waste product from the processing of cassava roots into biogas (methane) green energy, at their tapioca starch plant in Uthai Thani.
Ombregt said the IChemE award was an outstanding confirmation from a world-respected body of the practical, profitable and immediate benefits of anaerobic treatments of waste water and sludge.
“Green energy alternatives such as wind power and solar power get most of the headlines for their achievements, but this anaerobic process is even more suited to industry in many instances, given that it provides reliable base load power and simultaneously treats wastewater to high discharge standards,” Ombregt said.
Anaerobic biogas production is also proven in more than 60 GWE projects globally and has further potential worldwide wherever industry is dealing with a biological waste stream such as those produced by industries including food and beverage, dairy, beef, livestock, agribusiness and primary product processing.
The Raptor system greatly reduces an environmental pollution issue by processing and converting to useful green energy the leftover fresh pulp, which starts to ferment once stored. The rotting organic material can generate considerable odor and release heavily polluted wastewater leaching out of mountainous pulp piles.
“Advanced anaerobic technology such as that installed at Chok Chai Starch is also strongly applicable to any factory or process with one or more digestible solid waste streams,” Ombregt said. “Such plants—including breweries, fruit, food waste, agro industries, and energy crops including corn—can easily use this technology to generate energy. It opens the door to environmental and production efficiency gains globally."