MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif.--Israeli startup Global Recycling Projects Ltd. is working on a system to treat sludge waste and transform it into energy and raw materials by harnessing solar energy to thermo-chemically transform the waste.
Toxic sludge, a byproduct of wastewater, is both bad for the environment and expensive to get rid of, requiring dewatering, conditioning, storage, hauling and disposal, either through dumping it in landfills, or incinerating it – neither option a particularly green one.
GRPL, however, has come up with a novel way of dealing with sludge, which not only disposes of the waste greenly, but also provides gas to power electricity-generating turbines in the process.
Using solar power to concentrate solar radiation using a field of tracking mirrors (called heliostats), GRPL directs the collected radiation to a solar tower where a solar biomass reactor has been placed. This then powers the reactor, which acts as a gasifier, capable of transforming the sludge into a gaseous state, which can be used to power electrical utility plants.
The system is particularly clever because it uses solar power to run the entire process, making it truly green from start to finish.
“Sludge is often toxic, which makes removing it essential, if a facility is going to continue operating and not get shut down by environmental authorities,” explained GRPL’s CEO Boaz Zadik.
The firm has even developed a sludge busting robot, called the Predator, which can pump up to 200 cubed meters of sludge per hour, and is remote operated making it safe to be run from a distance.
Currently, the system treats 80,000 tons of concentrated phosphoric acid sludge with two units for a long term project at the "Rotem Amfert Ltd." fertilizer and phosphate plant in Israel.
GRPL’s offerings have also been deployed to the Israel Electric Company, Israel Military Industries and other big local firms.
“Sludge is everywhere, and we are working to make sure it disappears into electricity,” said Zadik.