Automated Waste treatment facility - Biological Waste Treatment Services
An automated biological reactor that turns biodegradable waste into either high quality compost or Solid Recovered Fuel (SRF), in line with local and international market needs, has been put in operation in the Larnaca Waste Treatment Facility . The reactor results in the reduction of the biodegradable fraction of waste that ends up in landfills, while simultaneously provides profitable products to the waste management unit operators.
The Larnaca waste treatment facility has the potential to handle approximately 200.000 tons of waste /year. The automated biological reactor treats both Green Waste (with a capacity of 16.000 tons/year) and Organic Recovered materials (with a capacity of 26.300 tons/year, coming from the mechanical sorting waste stream).
The first fraction is processed in a separate line and can produce good quality compost, which after being cleaned and packaged, is sold as fertilizer. The percentage of the compost intended to be sold as fertilizer is 15% of the total produced compost and the remaining 85% is stored outdoors in triangular chains, for future use in the landfill area, as coating material. The residues coming from the separation process end up to the landfill. According to data referring to the first year of operation of the unit: about 35% of the incoming waste is turned into either compost or Solid Recovered Fuel (SRF), while only 25-30% of the landfilled waste consist of biological fraction.
During the separation process, the organic fraction is separated from the total waste. Right after, it is processed and stabilized under aerobic conditions producing the compost. The composting process takes place in enclosed ventilated reactors and is completed by stirring the product in an open place. The next step includes the refinery building, where the mature compost is cleaned and packaged. The operation of the unit is supported by a completely automated control system.
The stabilized organic fraction has several potential uses: coating material for the landfill; additional material for the rehabilitation of quarries; other uses related with the rehabilitation of land; or even as fuel in cement industry.
Barriers and Drivers
Main drivers for the implementation of this technology are:
Legislation: The eco-iinovation facilitates compliance with the EU Directives on municipal solid waste management.
Market demand: Optimisation of compost and SRF production according to market needs / Production of high quality compost. Moreover, SRF meets all quality criteria required by the high energy consumption plants (eg cement, steel and power industries) and in addition it can be combined with independent cogeneration units.
A key barrier that may impede the deployment of this technology to an area is the public's low awareness on new technologies. The implementation of a waste treatment technology, even if it provides positive effects to the residents, is usually confronted with discomposure and doubt.
This method of biological waste treatment is made through a standard and solid technology that can be installed as a standalone unit or in parallel use with other units in a waste treatment facility. Therefore, the cost and the size of the installation can be decided according to the needs of the waste manager.
The total cost (both financial and environmental) of this unit is considered low (compared to other types of waste treatment eg. incineration) and can be co-financed through the Structural Funds.
Another significant economic aspect of this technology is that compost may provide profitable products to the waste management unit operators.
Managing municipal solid waste in accordance with the EU legislation may result in avoidance of fines and penalties that in some cases can be greater than the initial investment of the biological reactor.
The biological waste treatment facility operates with complete lack of odour and production of liquid and gaseous pollutants. Therefore, neither the employees nor the residents that live near the facility suffer from the unpleasant effects of most other technologies.
The key environmental effect of the installation is the reduction of the biodegradable fraction of waste that end up in landfills. Furthermore the treatment of the biological waste is completed with the most “natural” way, avoiding thermal treatment. Through the use of this technology the biogas production in landfills is indirectly reduced (basic source of contribution to the global warming potential in the waste management operations).