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A Greenfield Thermal Drying/Oxidation System: Significant Volume Reduction with a Reduced Carbon Footprint

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After evaluating several sludge disposal technologies, the City of Buffalo, MN has chosen to install a greenfield thermal drying system and thermal oxidation process in order to minimize both the disposal volume and fuel consumption while processing the sludge produced at the facility. The system consists of a convection belt dryer to dry the material to > 90% dry and a reciprocating grate furnace that combusts the dried material. The energy from the furnace process is recovered in an air to air heat exchanger that provides the majority of the energy for the drying process. The process equipment design and selection was chosen to meet both the operating requirements of the plant and the facility's air permit. To improve the design for the furnace, a pilot test was conducted on dried sludge from another plant believed to have similar sludge characteristics. Using the dried product as the primary fuel source is predicted to save 4,300,000 in operation costs over 20 years when compared to drying with natural gas alone.

Keywords: Air Emission Permit; Bioenergy; Biosolids Furnace; Carbon Footprint; Drying; Oxidation; Stabilization; Thermal Treatment; Volume Reduction

Document Type: Research Article


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 These proceedings are not peer reviewed.

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