Climate action engineering
02 October 2018
Findings from our ongoing professional investigations on new projects confirm that vast innovative research has introduced new process concepts which are proven at bench and global level. These only require judicious use by the local Irish consultants/specialists on the understanding that any new process adaptation carries formal warranty responsibility.
Confidence in emerging technologies in the water and co-energy sectors is confirmed from continuing communication with global experts. This benefits WEW on any project where the ultimate goal is application of novel applied research and/or upgrade of outdated functional designs. Prime examples of this, from WEW’s experience are co-product definition and potential, carbon-neutral studies, ongoing pre-planning of working systems and the business evaluation of the derived post – design assets over a nominated lifespan.
Relatively new emphasis on design outputs are being dictated by incoming EU legislation, for example, 2010-75-EU Industrial Emissions, EU 2016-902-EU BAT Technology for wastewater/gas in the chemical sector, ROM-2018-07-02 Monitoring of Emissions to Air and Water and awaited BAT Regulations for the food and beverage industry (to become a directive shortly). These complement the Paris UN Directive Decision/COP21, https://unfccc.int/resource/docs/2015/cop21/eng/l09r01.pdf a proposal for Climate Action Engineering tackling global climate change. It is imperative that future Irish engineering should aim to apply these standards in both new and greenfield projects.
Quality water standards for compounding or other water end-use in production, categorisation of solids/liquids which cannot be classed as a commercially sustainable co-product for treatment e.g. problem retentates, inert ashes etc. define emerging challenges. Our challenges for the future relate to the application of inhouse specialist knowledge to realise solutions and designs with warranty combining any grouping of process, mechanical and electrical/auto-control engineering.
Most of the standards cited call for comprehensive product characterisation, high quality design to achieve outputs utilising modulating minimum energy policy. These are central to WEW’s terms of reference.
Recent developments at national level indicate conscious efforts on the part of the Irish Government to address Climate Action (Ref. https://www.gov.ie/en/campaigns/09022006-project-ireland-2040/). This gesture is welcomed by all members of Engineers Ireland and will, hopefully, be followed-up in practice.
Development of medium and long-term Climate Action strategies which withstand sustainability analysis is a growing area of WEW’s activity. This covers the following interrelated areas:
- Design of systems to minimise energy outlay and, where relevant, to produce bio-energy for end use as a source of steam, electrical energy and local/regional heating.
- Design of integrated wastewater and water systems to produce advanced high quality waters for in-house reuse by the client establishment.
- Our new concepts of in-line pre-treatment to produce bio-energy and conversion to steam with close to zero excess sludge production and treatment post-polishing to water quality levels designed to the respective duty lines have now been perfected in-house. This concept must, we suggest, permeate the industry over time as it does globally.
- Production of PIDs, mechanical and electrical installation drawings on AutoCad 3D and one-off designs – mechanical, electrical and process.
- Adaptation of existing treatment facilities, confirmed by survey to be adequate for re-use, to incorporate more modern methods with proven performance. A typical example of this is the recent Advanced Biological Phosphorous removal facility on the 350,000 PE in Kilkenny which effects 75% PO4 removal as part of a main wastewater plant producing water of recyclable quality.
- Further use of biology with lower dependence on external chemistry will in time achieve the ultimate goal of climate action based on water, carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus cycles. The solids assimilation potential of soil to the benefit of the water/wastewater industry and its contribution to sustainability, requires further studies by a multidisciplinary grouping. This will, we hope, bring ease to the growing issues of sludge.
- Phased carbon neutrality planning will require consideration of any combination of the above concepts but process design/machinery selection must withstand critical carbonation assessment on any project to define the optimum selection. This relative evaluation, while difficult and project specific, has been carried out on various projects by WEW. It is central to long-term sustainability pre-planning logic.
For more information contact WEW Engineering Ltd.
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