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Going for The Green in Thermal Drying: Evaluation of Innovative New Technologies and Industry Trends

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Skyrocketing biosolids disposal costs and increased awareness of global warming are making many municipalities take a harder look at ways to reduce the volume of biosolids hauled off-site or producing a marketable product. Thermal drying is one approach being taken to meet both of these objectives. However, traditional thermal drying technologies have been perceived to be energy sinks that can contribute to the global warming problem. This paper presents an evaluation of advanced thermal drying and innovative solar drying technologies as a way of meeting municipal goals for solids treatment in a sustainable way.

Innovative thermal treatment technologies not only differ in their design, but also in their operational requirements, reliability, and final product quality. This paper also examines the advantages and disadvantages of innovative direct, indirect, and enclosed solar drying technologies over a variety of criteria to evaluate their applicability at municipal facilities of different size and locations in the US. This paper also evaluates these technologies holistically in regards to their impacts on overall WWTP performance and operations to find the different types of green they present to municipalities, whether they are the perceived “green” of sustainable treatment, low carbon footprint, and low energy usage, or the less understood types of “green” in the form of capital and O&M costs, and available funding.

Keywords: carbon footprint; solar drying; sustainable approach; thermal drying

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2175/193864709793846763

Publication date: January 1, 2009

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  • Proceedings of the Water Environment Federation is an archive of papers published in the proceedings of the annual Water Environment Federation® Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC® ) and specialty conferences held since the year 2000. These proceedings are not peer reviewed.

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