Waste Management

Innovative Solution to Hazardous Industrial Waste

Jun 08 2010

Author: Dominik Wojewodka,

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Hazardous waste, derived from industry or factories utilising incineration methods, is perceived as a significant problem for its owners, who tend to dedicate substantial financial resources either for waste storage or for its disposal. The lack of appropriate hazardous waste storage solutions and escalating costs of storage seem to be other complications. Moreover, waste-related regulations specify that not all types of waste can be directly stored. What should we do with the waste stored for years in the industrial factories?

New methods of stabilisation are important alternatives to traditional storage or expensive incineration methods. As a consequence of the stabilisation, hazardous waste can be converted into nonhazardous elements. Chemical Fixation and Solidification (CFS) technologies are well-developed methods in the process of hazardous waste stabilisation. At present, a great number of CFS technologies have been utilised in the process of connecting various types of organic and inorganic compounds. These methods are used with stabilisation of hazardous waste such as: soil contamination, sludge, ash, or slag.

Most of applied methods of stabilization have hinged on the implementation of cement and/or lime as the stabilising factor. The use of sole cement for solidification has major shortcomings: the large increase in volume (and mass) of the mixture, caused by the addition of a huge amount of cement, limited time of solidification’s durability, and large porosity. According to recent studies, the period of full cement connection lasts only 2 to 3 years, depending on the quantity and quality of used cement. After this period, the secondary leaching of pollution and its return to the environment take place.

Polish company Ecotech developed an alternative stabilisation approach, using magnesium compounds. The patent-protected process, called EnviroMix®, is based on the connection of pollution as thermodynamically stable minerals phases and on altering organic pollution into microcapsules of mineral structures. The process focuses on the combination of catalytic reactions and the use of corresponding additions. It is not connected to any incineration processes. As a consequence of catalytic reaction, three-dimensional polymerisation of the synthetic mineral matrix, which imitates naturally existing structures, takes place. Then, connected pollutions are solidified in a firm matrix that is highly resistant to crumpling. To put it simply, the process involves the closure of pollution in an “artificial rock”. Owing to it, the guarantee of safety is simply limitless, no matter whether stabilised waste would be crumbled or put in the sour environment. Thus, adopters of the technology can use waste for building materials such as ballast, aggregate, or filling materials to concrete. In such a case, we talk about the recovery of hazardous waste. Effectiveness of this process is so high that postprocess waters of high salinity level may be used to hydrate solid waste. The absorption of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere during the stabilisation process appears to be an additional ecological facet. Stabilising material is of natural origin (not subject to REACH regulation), and the surface of
35m2/g insures previously unheard-of reactivity.

The following table presents comparative results of leaching for the chosen parameters of EnviroMix® stabilisation and a “classic” method that uses cement of Portland and lime. The study was conducted by one of Ecotech’s customers.

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