Water Recovery Project
The Commercial Opportunity
Fielding considers it a matter of environmental ethics to extract and repurpose anything of value from the waste streams it handles, wherever feasible. For some streams, however, the cost of separation exceeds the value of its components. Such streams require some form of ultimate disposal. For hazardous liquid wastes there are few environmentally acceptable disposal options available.
If the waste stream is principally water with few solids, bug ponds may be used to biodegrade light organic contamination. If the waste stream has a high enough organic content to give it fuel value, it may be destroyed in a liquid burning incinerator.
There is a broad class of wastes that lie between these options – too heavily contaminated for bug pond treatment yet too high in water to fuel an incinerator.
The haz waste industry has developed a way to dispose these streams. They are blended with other waste streams that have a high fuel value such that the blended stream will support self-sustaining combustion, then fed to an incinerator.
From Fielding’s point of view this practice is objectionable. We compete in the marketplace for the ‘rich” streams used to make the watery wastes burnable. We want to recycle them rather than burn them as fuel. Yet if we were to suddenly win all of those contested streams, what would incinerators use as an anchor fuel in order to burn the watery wastes? The probable answer is natural gas or some other fossil fuel. The practice of incinerating watery wastes would continue, for want of alternatives, but at a higher cost, undermining Fielding’s economic and environmental contribution to society.
What the world needs is a new way to deal with watery streams in the first place. Fielding is presently in the process of developing one.
The basic idea is to reduce the amount of water in the stream so that it reduces or even eliminates support fuel needed for incineration. Distillation is the right technology to accomplish this, but conventional equipment is inadequate. Pot stills cannot accept their high solids content; their heating surfaces would quickly foul. Wiped film evaporators can deal with the solids but are overwhelmed by the heat requirement of boiling so much water.
The Technology Under Investigation
In an effort to solve this problem, Fielding is collaborating with Drystill (see www.drystill.ca ), a local technology company, to become the first recycler in the world to apply Pass-through distillation (see www.passthroughdistillation.com ) to watery waste streams. With the assistance of IRAP, a pilot plant is now being constructed to demonstrate the value of this approach.
Fielding has a proud history of innovation. Along with technology partner Drystill we look forward to this next chapter of our environmentally responsible success.