Paradigm Environmental ready to market MicroSludge process to treatment facilities
Technologies, in Vancouver, recently received the 2004 Canadian Innovation Award in Environmental Technology for the BC/Yukon region. The award, presented by the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters (CME) and the National Research Council of Canada's Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC-IRAP), recognized the firm's development of the patented MicroSludge(tm) process.
As Paradigm's core product, MicroSludge addresses biosolids management at wastewater treatment plants in three ways:
1. It yields far lower quantities of biosolids for disposal than conventional processes. By adding MicroSludge, a wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) can reduce by up to 95% its total quantity of waste-activated sludge requiring disposal.
2. MicroSludge enables WWTPs to become energy self-sufficient, increasing generation of methane (natural gas) by approximately 280%; this can readily be converted to electricity and heat.
3. Because MicroSludge destroys pathogens such as salmonella and E. coli, the residual, post-treatment biosolids generate less odour and less greenhouse gas emissions.
The process can be compared to bursting billions of microbe-sized, water-filled balloons with extremely tough skins, and doing so not only with consistent, 99.99% efficiency, but in the unstable, real-world conditions of a sewage treatment plant rather than in a controlled laboratory environment. These "balloons" are the pathogenic bacteria and microbes that make up a slurry of sludge or biosolids produced by WWTPs all over the world.
MicroSludge converts these biosolids into a rich, renewable energy source. High-pressure homogenization liquefies the microbes and readily converts them to methane and energy, using existing wastewater treatment plant infrastructure with no impact on downstream operations. In addition, Paradigm notes that the compact, modular MicroSludge system can easily be retrofitted at any WWTP, even facilities with severe space constraints.
The first full-scale trial of the system is being carried out at the Chilliwack WWTP, near Vancouver; an independent report on the results is expected soon. Rob Stephenson, Paradigm's chief technical officer and principal inventor of the MicroSludge process, said, "Now that we've proved that our technology really does work on a commercial scale, we are poised to introduce MicroSludge to wastewater treatment plants where it can make a huge impact on the environment and deliver very significant economic benefits."