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Project progress


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The project began on 01/10/2010 and has been concluded in January 2013, earlier than expected, obtaining great results.
The first developed actions regarded the characterization of sludge and the design of the pilot plant. More specifically, we have collected a lot of chemical analysis performed on samples of sludge from different backgrounds and at different times of year in oprder to have a comprehensive database of possible sludge to be treated (Act 3). It was then carried out a study on the permittivity of the sludge as a function of temperature and time of heat exposure. Also the phase of sludge characterization is ended, having completed the whole period considered (one year), which has allowed to obtain the first confirmation of what was expected on the behaviour of the sludge drying and, above all, the first data for the design and implementation of the pilot plant. The action was carried out through the realization of special cards that summarize some of the characteristics of the composition of the various types of sludge.
At the same time we have begun the design of the first components of the pilot plant using numerical simulations of a single form of microwave generators based on information derived from the first data collection (Act 4). So we have made the external structure of the plant, which was designed with a maximum length of 12 meters to be easily transported by articulated vehicle to reach the sludge storage sites as well and not having to move a large amount of sludge, sometimes dangerous, for testing.
Subsequently, thanks to numerical simulations about sludge that permitted to identify the correct positioning of the magnetrons and estimate some variables necessary for the design of the installation, the final draft of the pilot line has been realized and we immediately started the implementation and construction of the plant (Act 5).
Thanks to the efforts of all the COOMI’s staff, we have been able to end action 6 before than it was expected, for which it was designed and implemented the positioning of the conveyor belt on two levels to have the best length of the line without having to increase the plant size.
A great work has been the research for the material to be used for the realization of the conveyor belt, suited to be subjected to drying combined with microwave technology, as well as for the thickness of the sludge to be treated and for the movement speed of the conveyor belt itself.
The system is now assembled in all its parts and the final connections to electrical and electronic control units are in progress. The various components have been tested and have responded positively to the expectations of operative functioning.
The action 7 concerning the pelletizing of the output dried material, has been concluded in delay because the hypothesis of annexing to the plant a system for the production of briquettes, has proved not to be advantageous, both in technical and economic terms (high wear of the components subjected to treatment), therefore more time was needed to implement more tests. Thanks to the efforts of its staff, COOMI has been able to develop and alternative system for the agglomeration of sludge, characterized by a lower wear coefficient, extending, with this application, the life of the components. After several studies and tests we have decided to use a pelletizing unit, appropriately modified to make it more resistant to wear.
Being able to overtake the obstacle before mentioned, the staff assembled the entire plant and executed several tests on it, aiming at verify that no microwaves were dispersed, the effective mass and energetic balance of the whole process and calculate the environmental indicators.
All tests have given positive results; it wasn’t needed to introduce a shielding system to the plant since the quantity of microwaves escaping the system is considered irrelevant and the mass and energetic balance of the pilot plant results improved respect to traditional techniques of sludge’s treatment, if in loco is available a source of hot air.
Also the results coming from the environmental balance, appear better than the results obtained with traditional techniques: for example, the mobility of the system led to a reduced consumption of CO2 emissions produced for the transport of sludge to the centralized plants and the smaller humid content led to a minor energy consumption for their combustion.

Regarding the dissemination activity, COOMI has produced disseminative material such as: notice boards, brochures, a PVC banner and illuminated signs.
COOMI has realized also other following activities:

  • Publications: we have published different articles on the following newspaper: “il Piccolo”, “in Piazza” and “il Resto del Carlino di Faenza-Lugo”.
  • Audiovisuals: we have produced two audiovisuals, the first one consisted in an explanation of the treatment, when the pilot plant wasn’t yet concluded, the second one shows the functioning of the pilot plant completed.
  • Fairs: we have participated to the fair Ecomondo “green and innovative technologies for sludge treatment”, November 2012.
  • Events: COOMI has participated to an event held in Siena in occasion of the 20th anniversary of LIFE program organized by the University of Siena. The company has also organized two disseminative events concerning “Sludge’s wealth”, the first one was held in occasion of the 20th anniversary of LIFE program, 15 May 2012, while, the second one was held the 23 January 2013 in order to present the pilot plant completed.
  • Newsletter: we have realized a newsletter completely focused on the project, you can request it writing at coomi@coomi.it

COOMI’s disseminative efforts has not been concluded with the conclusion of the project; we have already prepared an After-Life Communication Plan which will last for at least 3 years after the end of the project, aiming at increase the number of people informed on the project and/or interested in its applications.


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