Rackam is currently working to build its first commercial test bench for concentrated solar energy applied to the field of sewage sludge treatment.
Why solar treatment of used sludge?
The problem of sludge is global, and millions of tons of sewage sludge is generated each year. Their treatment is expensive in handling, transport and it can also become an environmental problem. Sludge drying by solar concentration is therefore a solution for the future. This solution is designed to dry the sludge without fossil fuels input, which in turn reduces the cost of transportation and handling. This solution also largely addresses the related environmental issues: decreased viral load, odors, possibility of composting and storage, etc. Dried sludge can also be upgraded by turning it into a biofertilizer or renewable fuel.
A solution applied to all climates?
The solar thermal concentration solutions that Rackam designs are highly profitable in countries with abundant sun all year round. But for the sludge treatment market in North America and Europe, the peculiarity is that sludge is eliminated especially in summer and early fall, to profit from more desirable weather conditions. In this particular case, Rackam's technology is therefore perfectly adapted to this need, which manifests itself when the sun is most abundant.
The Rackam solution
Rackam's solution would be to dry the wet sludge extracted and dewatered from the ponds through a powerful solar concentration field. The air circuit used to dry the sludge spread on a conveyor would in fact pass through a superheater connected directly to the solar fields. This solar technology can supply the thermal needs for low and mid temperatures (85°C -150 °C).
The potential of this technology is very promising for municipalities worldwide and reducing cost associated with drying biosolids.
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