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The use of thermal oxidation to process biosolids has been practiced for nearly seventy years. The earliest systems used multiple hearth furnaces; however virtually all new systems use fluidized bed technology. Since 1989, the number of fluidized bed systems has grown by nearly 50%, indicating that new thermal oxidation systems are still being built. Still more fluidized bed systems are under construction at this time.

This paper explores some of the changes that have been made since fluidized bed technology was first used in biosolids processing applications. More importantly, it discusses some of the technological changes that have not been widely practiced, despite their potential benefits. Looming technological challenges related to regulatory changes and stricter emissions requirements are briefly described. Finally, some possible future applications are suggested for integrating fluidized bed thermal oxidation systems with other biosolids processing technologies, where process synergies may be realized in the form of improved performance; increased efficiency, flexibility and reliability; and reduced operating costs.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2004-01-01

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