BYPRODUCTS AND WASTEWATER TREATMENT
TFT has significant impact on energy use and the control of greenhouse gases. By:
- Reducing fossil fuel consumption associated with catching wild seafood, raising farmed seafood, transporting all seafood (as TFT will serve local markets)
- Creating a large volume of residual wood chips, with better energy value than raw wood chips, that can be used in several ways to replace fossil fuels or as soil stabilizers
- Potentially growing invertebrates that can be used to produce bio-diesel.
- Encouraging the growth of new biomass sources that could sequester significant amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere
Plants are primarily comprised of varying amounts of cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin. The microbes will preferentially attack the hemicellulose first, then the cellulose, and finally the lignin. In the process about half of the input plant material will be decomposed. When the residues are washed or rinsed and dried, what remains still looks similar to the input material. The residue will have a significantly lower density and will be considerably more porous so that it loses water more easily. It will also have a higher BTU value and a lower concentration of nutrients and sulfur than will a raw wood chip.
Preliminary results have shown that a typical residual wood chip from the TimberFish process will have an energy content that will range from 10,000 to 11,000 BTUs per pound dry weight. This is due to the larger percentage of higher BTU value lignin left in the residual chips compared to raw wood. Raw wood chips range from 7,500 to 8,000 BTUs per pound dry weight.
To date the chips have been air dried in trays. A major component of the demonstration, with the assistance of work done by Mesa Engineering under a grant from the New York State Biomass Alliance, is to develop commercial drying options, starting with the handling of the wood chips from the beginning of the process to the sale of residual materials. This work will include exploring the most efficient and economically beneficial way to utilize the residual material. Possibilities that will be explored include, but are not limited to;
- Direct incineration
- Co-incineration with coal or other combustible materials
- Substrate for a high energy pellet manufacture
- Substrate for pyrolysis or gasification
Other uses include screening prior to energy extraction to produce soil enhancers and fertilizers for farms and gardens.
Sale of by products and use of residues to generate energy to meet the needs of the facility will significantly improve the economic viability of commercial projects. The optimum mix of residue usage will likely vary from location to location.
Because the TimberFish system contains biodegradable media and large and diversified microbial and invertebrate populations, it has the ability to degrade or remove a wide variety of nutrient and organic constituents commonly found in municipal, agricultural and industrial wastewater streams.
The process is a combination of wastewater filtration and bioconversion of the materials filtered out of the wastewater. The materials that are removed are incorporated into a living biomass that can then be used or reused in a variety of applications. The goal is always to find an economic and ecological benefit for the generated biomass and the production residues that result from the production process.
The alternatives that are available for a particular application will be a function of the presence or absence of toxic materials in the influent wastewater stream. Although the process itself often can transform biodegradable toxic materials into harmless and usable products and byproducts, the presence of non biodegradable toxic materials will necessarily limit the options for beneficial reuse.
The complexity and diversity of the managed production/treatment microbial and invertebrate ecosystem creates extensive stability and utility for the process. Therefore as a wastewater treatment technology it has the major advantage of achieving tertiary treatment effluent standards with relatively simple operation and low capital costs.