Summary of Biomass Combustion Technologies

Direct combustion is the best established and most commonly used technology for converting biomass to heat. During combustion, biomass fuel is burnt in excess air to produce heat. The first stage of combustion involves the evolution of combustible vapours from the biomass, which burn as flames. The residual material, in the form of charcoal, is burnt in a forced air supply to give more heat. The hot combustion gases are sometimes used directly for product drying, but more usually they are passed through a heat exchanger to produce hot air, hot water or steam.

Combustion_Moving_Grate

The combustion efficiency depends primarily on good contact between the oxygen in the air and the biomass fuel. The main products of efficient biomass combustion are carbon dioxide and water vapor, however tars, smoke and alkaline ash particles are also emitted. Minimization of these emissions and accommodation of their possible effects are important concerns in the design of environmentally acceptable biomass combustion systems.

Biomass combustion systems, based on a range of furnace designs, can be very efficient at producing hot gases, hot air, hot water or steam, typically recovering 65-90% of the energy contained in the fuel. Lower efficiencies are generally associated with wetter fuels. To cope with a diversity of fuel characteristics and combustion requirements, a number of designs of combustion furnaces or combustors are routinely utilized around the world

Underfeed Stokers

Biomass is fed into the combustion zone from underneath a firing grate. These stoker designs are only suitable for small scale systems up to a nominal boiler capacity of 6 MWth and for biomass fuels with low ash content, such as wood chips and sawdust. High ash content fuels such as bark, straw and cereals need more efficient ash removal systems.

Sintered or molten ash particles covering the upper surface of the fuel bed can cause problems in underfeed stokers due to unstable combustion conditions when the fuel and the air are breaking through the ash covered surface.

Grate Stokers

The most common type of biomass boiler is based on a grate to support a bed of fuel and to mix a controlled amount of combustion air, which often enters from beneath the grate. Biomass fuel is added at one end of the grate and is burned in a fuel bed which moves progressively down the grate, either via gravity or with mechanical assistance, to an ash removal system at the other end. In more sophisticated designs this allows the overall combustion process to be separated into its three main activities:

  • Initial fuel drying
  • Ignition and combustion of volatile constituents
  • Burning out of the char.

Grate stokers are well proven and reliable and can tolerate wide variations in fuel quality (i.e. variations in moisture content and particle size) as well as fuels with high ash content. They are also controllable and efficient.

Fluidized Bed Boilers

The basis for a fluidized bed combustion system is a bed of an inert mineral such as sand or limestone through which air is blown from below. The air is pumped through the bed in sufficient volume and at a high enough pressure to entrain the small particles of the bed material so that they behave much like a fluid.

The combustion chamber of a fluidized bed power plant is shaped so that above a certain height the air velocity drops below that necessary to entrain the particles. This helps retain the bulk of the entrained bed material towards the bottom of the chamber. Once the bed becomes hot, combustible material introduced into it will burn, generating heat as in a more conventional furnace. The proportion of combustible material such as biomass within the bed is normally only around 5%. The primary driving force for development of fluidized bed combustion is reduced SO2 and NOx emissions from coal combustion.

Bubbling fluidized bed (BFB) combustors are of interest for plants with a nominal boiler capacity greater than 10 MWth. Circulating fluidized bed (CFB) combustors are more suitable for plants larger than 30 MWth. The minimum plant size below which CFB and BFB technologies are not economically competitive is considered to be around 5-10 MWe.

Role of Food Waste Disposers in Food Waste Management

Food waste is a global issue that begins at home and as such, it is an ideal contender for testing out new approaches to behaviour change. The behavioural drivers that lead to food being wasted are complex and often inter-related, but predominantly centre around purchasing habits, and the way in which we store, cook, eat and celebrate food.

food-waste-management

Consumer Behavior – A Top Priority

Consumer behaviour is a huge priority area in particular for industrialised nations – it is estimated that some western societies might be throwing away up to a third of all food purchased. The rise of cheap food and convenience culture in recent years has compounded this problem, with few incentives or disincentives in place at producer, retail or consumer level to address this.

While it is likely that a number of structural levers – such as price, regulation, enabling measures and public benefits – will need to be pulled together in a coherent way to drive progress on this agenda, at a deeper level there is a pressing argument to explore the psycho-social perspectives of behaviour change.

Individual or collective behaviours often exist within a broader cultural context of values and attitudes that are hard to measure and influence. Simple one-off actions such as freezing leftovers or buying less during a weekly food shop do not necessarily translate into daily behaviour patterns. For such motivations to have staying power, they must become instinctive acts, aligned with an immediate sense of purpose. Click here to see what steps you can take to tackle this issue. The need to consider more broadly our behaviours and how they are implicated in such issues must not stop at individual consumers, but extend to governments, businesses and NGOs if effective strategies are to be drawn up.

Emergence of Food Waste Disposers

Food waste disposer (FWDs), devices invented and adopted as a tool of food waste management may now represent a unique new front in the fight against climate change. These devices, commonplace in North America, Australia and New Zealand work by shredding household or commercial food waste into small pieces that pass through a municipal sewer system without difficulty.

The shredded food particles are then conveyed by existing wastewater infrastructure to wastewater treatment plants where they can contribute to the generation of biogas via anaerobic digestion. This displaces the need for generation of the same amount of biogas using traditional fossil fuels, thereby averting a net addition of greenhouse gases (GHG) to the atmosphere.

Food waste is an ideal contender for testing new approaches to behaviour change.

The use of anaerobic digesters is more common in the treatment of sewage sludge, as implemented in the U.K., but not as much in the treatment of food waste. In addition to this, food waste can also replace methanol (produced from fossil fuels) and citric acid used in advanced wastewater treatment processes which are generally carbon limited.

Despite an ample number of studies pointing to the evidence of positive impacts of food waste disposer, concerns regarding its use still exist, notably in Europe. Scotland for example has passed legislation that bans use of FWDs, stating instead that customers must segregate their waste and make it available curbside for pickup. This makes it especially difficult for the hospitality industry, to which the use of disposer is well suited.

The U.S. however has seen larger scale adoption of the technology due to the big sales push it received in the 1950s and 60s. In addition to being just kitchen convenience appliances, FWDs are yet to be widely accepted as a tool for positive environmental impact.

Note: Note: This excerpt is being published with the permission of our collaborative partner Be Waste Wise. The original excerpt and its video recording can be found at this link

3 Important PCB Types Used in Renewable Energy Industry

Printed circuit boards play an essential role in many industries. And with the speedy growth of the energy field and the innovation of complex machines, building of high quality PCBs is needed.

In a growing sector such as the renewable energy industry, lead-free and quality PCBs are needed. Below are the three vital circuit board types that are used in the renewable energy industry.

circuit board types used in renewable energy industry

Printed Circuit Board used in Renewable Energy Industry

1. Heavy Copper PCB

A heavy copper printed circuit board has a very heavy copper circuit. It is a type of circuit board subjected to specialized etching and plating techniques.

Heavy copper PCB has great features that make it ideal for high-end applications in the renewable energy industry. For instance, it is heavier and thicker to handle higher voltage and power.

Benefits of heavy copper PCB

a. Good thermal distribution

Heavy copper PCBs have copper-plated vias that provide good thermal distribution. This means they are outstanding when used in renewable energy applications that need high frequency and speed. Moreover, they can be used in harsh environments.

b. Excellent conductor

Another benefit of using heavy copper PCB in the renewable energy industry is that it is an excellent conductor. This means it can be used in the production of complex electronic devices.

c. Multi-use

Heavy copper printed circuit boards can be used in devices with fluctuating power. In addition, heavy copper PCB can endure any weight without sacrificing the quality or performance of the board.

d. Enhances load sharing

With heavy copper PCB, you do not need to generate multiple duplicate and parallel layers. This is because the board can be combined with copper vias. Hence, it lowers the load-sharing difficulties linked with many parallel levels.

Applications of heavy copper PCBs 

Heavy copper PCBs can be used in various renewable energy industries such as solar energy, military, aerospace, geothermal, and many others.

2. Multilayer PCBs

A multilayer PCB is a circuit board with 3 or more conductive copper foil layers. It uses more single-sided or double-sided circuit boards to enhance circuit wiring. The number of layers of a multilayer PCB can be four, six, eight, ten, and up to a hundred layers.

Due to the numerous benefits of multilayer PCBs, renewable energy industries are among the beneficiaries of the boards. Multilayer PCBs have more conductive layers to achieve better electrical performance.

Benefits of multilayer PCBs

a. Smaller size

One advantage of using multilayer PCBs in the renewable energy sector is that they are small in size. This means they encourage manufacturers to build smaller gadgets that do not use a lot of energy.

b. Lightweight

Compared to other printed circuit boards, multilayer PCBs are not heavy. This means they can be used in smaller devices that are mostly found in the renewable energy sector.

c. High durability

Multilayer PCBs are more reliable than single-layer and double-layer PCBs. Since there are no external wires and connectors, the boards are clean and tidy. In addition, they are made to withstand temperature stress, and pressure.

d. Fast performance

Since multilayer PCBs do not use wires and jumpers, the distance between layers is very minimal. This means the performance of the boards is commendable.

Applications of multilayer PCBs

For many industries such as renewable energy industries, multilayer PCBs have become the best option for a wide range of applications. Some of the applications of multilayer PCBs include consumer electronics, telecommunications, computer electronics, and many others.

3. Rigid-flex PCBs

Rigid-flex PCBs are circuit boards designed to act as replacements for rigid circuit boards. And as the name suggests, rigid-flex PCBs are hybrids of flex and rigid circuits. This means they display the benefit of rigid PCBs and flex PCBs.

Several rigid-flex PCBs consist of multiple layers of flexible circuit substrates normally attached to rigid boards externally or internally. They are designed to fit in applications that may require both flex and rigid circuit boards.

Advantages of rigid-flex PCBs

The combination of rigid PCBs and flexible PCBs makes it a beneficial product for many applications. Here are the main advantages of rigid-flex PCBs.

a. Flexible design alternatives

A rigid-flex PCB is a board that accepts any component and connector that can be assembled on the board. Hence, manufacturers can be flexible when designing or coming up with new ideas.

b. Reduction in size and weight of the package

Reduction in the weight and size of products is a policy that is adopted by renewable energy industries. Hence, rigid-flex PCBs are preferred in the industry because the combination of flex and rigid boards helps you to simplify your design.

c. Reduction in assembly cost

Since there are fewer connections and parts, the assembly cost is minimized. In addition, the development of the board’s prototype is significantly reduced thus minimizing the product cost of production.

Applications of rigid-flex PCBs

The main applications of rigid-flex PCBs are medical equipment, the telecommunication industry, the automotive industry, and consumer appliances among others.

what is IMS PCB

Tips to choose a supplier for your project

Below are vital tips to look into when choosing a PCB supplier for your application.

1. The supplier should have a proper set of guidelines

To avoid serious mistakes, a good supplier should have a proper set of guidelines. With the guidelines, the company will be able to maintain repeatability during the whole production process.

Moreover, the PCB supplier must be ready to show the guidelines to the client so that the client can be satisfied.

2. Check the type and quality of the machines

Due to the growth of technology, the printed circuit board industry has added new designs and ideas. Hence, the supplier should use the latest equipment and software to ensure the boards are up to the latest standards, such as lamination, CNCmilling, photo process and so on.

3. Use of green materials

When choosing a supplier to produce PCB type to be used in the renewable energy industry, you need to ensure the elements are lead-free. Hence, the company should be committed to using green materials when manufacturing PCBs.

4. Know the order size and time limit they offer

Before mass production, you require prototypes. Hence, it is essential to check whether your PCB supplier can manage the prototypes and produce small quantities before hiring them.

You need to understand that time is a crucial element in any part of a business. Hence, the supplier should be able to handle all the due dates effectively.

Bottom Line

With the rapid growth of the energy industry and the innovation of more complex equipment, PCB suppliers are building high-quality PCBs to support complex machines. The circuit boards must be reliable, small in size, and made of lead-free components.

Hence, it is important when choosing a supplier to make sure they are committed to using green material when making PCBs.

The Future of Gas Boilers – Hydrogen or Heat Pumps?

Due to the international crisis of global warming, the majority of western countries are now set on a course to become carbon neutral and at the Paris Accord, they agreed to achieve this by 2050. This is an impressive feat for countries still so reliant on fossil fuels for major industries like heating and transport.

Residential heating is one area that is currently in the spotlight, for instance, in countries like the UK, it is currently responsible for around one-third of carbon emissions. As a result and understandingly it is set to undergo major reform over the next 10 years.

What’s the problem with current heating?

Heating in the UK is still heavily reliant on fossil fuels, either directly or indirectly. For instance, the vast majority of homes are supplied with natural gas which is burned in fireplaces and gas combi boilers to provide homes with heat.

heating-radiator

The major issue is that burning natural gas releases carbon into the atmosphere, which is a gas that doesn’t leave the atmosphere, resulting in heat being trapped in the atmosphere, leading to global warming.

Therefore, the UK government is looking at low carbon heating alternatives as a route to transforming the current situation, which includes the likes of heat pump, hydrogen boiler and solar.

As Heatable states, residential boilers have already been under considerable scrutiny and the government has banned non-condensing boilers, driving up the efficiency of boilers to above 90%, as well as a total outlaw on all gas boilers in new homes from 2025.

Yet, it’s important to note that most industry commentators consider replacing gas boilers with solar and heat pumps completely unrealistic. Major concerns include their expensive and disruptive installation, as well as their reliability when compared to conventional boilers.

As a result, replacing the fuel is seen as a much more realistic approach with the fuel of choice being hydrogen. This can be fed into the current infrastructure and used with hydrogen-ready boilers, which are almost identical to current natural gas versions.

Hydrogen Boilers vs. Heat Pumps

There are many issues when it comes to the transition from high to low carbon heating technologies. So much so, that the Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) estimated that it would take almost 1,000 years to make the switch if the current trajectories continued.

Even worse, the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) highlighted that it would cost on average £26,000 for each home to install a low carbon heating alternative, rending the whole idea completely unviable.

hydrogen-boiler

The only sensible solution is the adoption of hydrogen fuel as an alternative to natural gas instead. This fuel is able to make use of the current gas networks infrastructure which is already connected to the vast majority of properties.

From an environmental standpoint, hydrogen is also seen as highly desirable.

Why? When hydrogen is burned it produces only vapour and absolutely no carbon dioxide making it ideal for a carbon-neutral future.

Disadvantages of Heat Pumps

As well as that, there are also other issues with heat pumps, of which there are three main types: air source, ground source and hybrid. All of which works by sucking in heat from the surrounding air, ground or water and are able to supply heat to water and central heating.

Hybrid heat pumps are different in that they utilise a boiler to provide supplemental heat if the weather becomes severely cold.

The good point of heat pumps is that they only use small amounts of electricity to operate and combined with the fact that they absorb heat from the environment, they are extremely efficient. In fact, they can achieve energy efficiency ratings exceeding 300%, compared to modern gas boilers that are around 94%.

However, it’s not all positive sadly and heat pumps are unable to provide the same, consistent heat output that gas boilers are able to. For this reason, they are usually installed with oversized radiators and/or underfloor heating and only in properties that are extremely well insulated.

Conclusion

Heating is without a doubt going to change and countries like the UK are going to transition away from gas boilers, but what will win – heat pumps or hydrogen?

It seems that hydrogen has the advantage from a feasibility standpoint, but there’s little doubt that heat pumps will be part of the mix too.

It’s becoming more common for gas boilers to be installed with a hybrid heat pump system.

The first homes fitted with hydrogen boilers and appliances are going to be installed in Fife, Scotland from next year, so progression is certainly accelerating.

ABS Plastic Warping: How to Avoid It

Warping is a defect in 3D printing characterized by dimensional distortion of printed parts, i.e., the print’s corners lifting and separating from the build plate due to uneven shrinkage during cooling and printing. The defect also occurs in custom plastic machining due to temperature differences between layers as the plastic contract while cooling. As a result, machining services must ensure proper temperature to prevent warping.

how to avoid ABS plastic warping

Although warping can occur in any plastic, it is more frequent with ABS plastic and can lead to the printed part being non-functional or visually unacceptable. ABS plastic warping occurs majorly due to the great temperature difference during cooling. However, it may occur under the conditions below:

  • Unleveled printed bed
  • High print speed
  • Unstable printing temperature
  • Dirty printing bed
  • Weak adhesive

To prevent the defect, this article will introduce warping in liaison with ABS plastic and how to avoid the defect during printing.

Tips to Avoid ABS Plastic Warping

ABS plastic is highly susceptible to warping. However, you can avoid this defect by following the following tips below:

1. Use a Heated Bed

Using a cold bed can cause the ABS plastic part to harden before it can lay flat. Furthermore, it can also result in temperature differences between the first layer and subsequent layer during cooling. As a result, warping can occur, leading to a failed print.

To prevent this, you use a heated bed. A heated bed ensures that the print bed’s temperature is higher than the ambient temperature. As a result, the first extruded layer stays soft for a long time. This gives more time for the first layer adhesion to occur. Furthermore, a balanced temperature reduces uneven shrinkage of subsequent layers and the force of curling and contraction.

To prevent ABS printing from warping, a heated bed between 90 and 100-degree Celsius is necessary. Furthermore, avoid setting your heated bed at a temperature higher than ABS’ glass transition temperature as the print’s initial layers may melt due to overheating.

2. Clean the Print Surface

Dirt and grease weaken the adhesion of the first printed layer to the print bend, further encouraging warping. Therefore, ensure that the print bed is clean and smooth before printing. You can clean with ammonia-based cleansers, water, and soap solution, or isopropyl alcohol. However, ensure that the cleanser is compatible with the print surface

Note: The human fingerprint contains oil residues. As a result, avoid touching the print bed surface before, during, and after printing.

3. Tune Your First Layer Settings

The first layer of your print serves as the bonding layer. As a result, it must be perfect to avoid warping. Therefore, you need to adjust some slicer settings

  • Initial Layer’s Extrusion Width: To create a solid foundation for the model, you can increase the initial layer’s extrusion width. This helps the layer adhere to the bed more.
  • Initial Layer’s Height: Lower the extruder depending on the layer’s width so that the molten plastic can compress to the bed and create a greater surface contact. The first layer’s height should be 90% of the layers above.

Note: Avoid excessive bonding because it will make it harder for you to remove the final print.

4. Print in an Enclosure

Place an enclosure around the printer to maintain temperature conditions. An enclosure is one of the best ways to prevent ABS plastic warping. This works because it maintains a warmer ambient temperature to prevent your print from cooling quickly and drafts from cooling your model.

Enclosures are highly recommended for ABS printing because they create a controlled environment during printing. Furthermore, they protect the printer from external forces such as dirt and fumes and stabilize the print.

ABS plastic warping

5. Use an Adhesive

Using an adhesive to prevent warping is a practical technique in ABS printing as it keeps the first layer firmly attached to the print surface. As a result, the good adhesion ensures that the first layer of the part does not curl up as they cool. Furthermore, it serves as a layer for glass protection. Common adhesives you can use include Painter’s tape, PEI sheets, and washable glue sticks.

5. Use a Brim or Raft

A raft is a platform for printing parts. It consists of a base made of a 3D-printed structure that resembles a grid and extends past the initial layer of the model. Compared to rafts, a brim’s appearance is similar to a skirt that does not extend past the print’s edge.

Brims and rafts improve bed adhesion during ABS plastic printing. As a result, this prevents warping. Furthermore, they establish a solid foundation for the upper layers of your part.

Note: Raft takes considerably longer to print than the brim.

Other ABS Plastic Defects

ABS plastic printing has other defects such as:

1. Cracking (delamination)

Cracking is a printing defect where the layers of a part separate because of unsecured bonding. Unsecured bonding occurs when subsequent layers cannot adhere to one another due to a temperature difference. Using an enclosure to control the room temperature is the best solution.

2. Z-wobble

Z-wobble occurs when a printer’s z-axis movement component is skewed or inclined. This ultimately causes the printhead to move incorrectly. To prevent this, tighten all z-axis components.

3. Stringing

Stringing is when tiny plastic strings remain on a 3D-printed model. This often happens when the extruder moves to a new spot and plastic leak out of the nozzle. You can avoid stringing by changing the printing speed and using unclogged nozzles.

4. Layer Shifting

This happens when the layers of the printed part move from where they are supposed to be. It is caused by an abnormal X and Y axis motion leading to the extruder head becoming misaligned. To avoid this, reduce the printing speed.

ABS plastic warping

5. Overheating

This happens when the cooling rate of the plastic is low, you are printing too fast, or the printing temperature is high. Overheating results in melted plastic parts. However, you can prevent this by controlling the cooling rate and the printing/print bed temperature

Conclusion

Warping ranges from a minor, aesthetic flaw to a problem that completely undermines the part’s functionality. As a result, it is a serious plastic printing defect. Warping is prominent in ABS plastic printing. This article explained how to prevent ABS plastic warping and other defects. Using our plastic machining service, you can also consider switching to custom plastic machining if printing processes are challenging.

Use of PKS in Circulating Fluidized Bed Power Plants

Palm kernel shells are widely used in fluidized bed combustion-based power plants in Japan and South Korea. The key advantages of fluidized bed combustion (FBC) technology are higher fuel flexibility, high efficiency and relatively low combustion temperature. FBC technology, which can either be bubbling fluidized bed (BFB) or circulating fluidized bed (CFB), is suitable for plant capacities above 20 MW. Palm kernel shells (PKS) is more suitable for CFB-based power plant because its size is less than 4 cm.

palm-kernel-shell-uses

Palm kernel shells is an abundant biomass resource in Southeast Asia

With relatively low operating temperature of around 650 – 900 oC, the ash problem can be minimized. Certain biomass fuels have high ash levels and ash-forming materials that can potentially damage these generating units.

In addition, the fuel cleanliness factor is also important as certain impurities, such as metals, can block the air pores on the perforated plate of FBC unit. It is to be noted that air, especially oxygen, is essential for the biomass combustion process and for keeping the fuel bed in fluidized condition.

The requirements for clean fuel must be met by the provider or seller of the biomass fuel. Usually the purchasers require an acceptable amount of impurities (contaminants) of less than 1%. Cleaning of PKS is done by sifting (screening) which may either be manual or mechanical.

In addition to PKS, biomass pellets from agricultural wastes or agro-industrial wastes, such as EFB pellets which have a high ash content and low melting point, can also be used in CFB-based power plants. More specifically, CFBs are more efficient and emit less flue gas than BFBs.

The disadvantages of CFB power plant is the high concentration of the flue gas which demands high degree of efficiency of the dust precipitator and the boiler cleaning system. In addition, the bed material is lost alongwith ash and has to be replenished regularly.

A large-scale biomass power plant in Japan

The commonly used bed materials are silica sand and dolomite. To reduce operating costs, bed material is usually reused after separation of ash. The technique is that the ash mixture is separated from a large size material with fine particles and silica sand in a water classifier. Next the fine material is returned to the bed.

Currently power plants in Japan that have an efficiency of more than 41% are only based on ultra supercritical pulverized coal. Modification of power plants can also be done to improve the efficiency, which require more investments. The existing CFB power plants are driving up the need to use more and more PKS in Japan for biomass power generation without significant plant modifications.

8 Essential Tools For Weather Risk Management

Weather risks include extreme temperatures, floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, droughts, and other natural disasters. The cost of these events can be devastating for both households and businesses.

But with strategic planning and early preparation, you can reduce the risk of weather-related losses. It all starts with a solid understanding of essential weather risk management tools.

This article will help you better understand the various weather risk management tools and their uses.

Tools For Weather Risk Management

What is Weather Risk Management?

Weather Risk Management (WRM) is an umbrella term that refers to any combination of strategies used to protect against the impact of weather on business operations. WRM includes everything from developing contingency plans to managing customer expectations.

The key to successful WRM is understanding how weather impacts businesses and what steps can be taken to mitigate those effects. For example, if you’re in the logistics business, you need to know about the most common weather hazards and how they could impact your customers. If you own or manage real estate, you should know about the potential damage caused by flooding and the best ways to prepare for such events.

Why is Weather Risk Management Important?

In today’s world, extreme weather events have become more frequent and severe. The impact on human lives and property has been significant. According to the Insurance Information Institute, weather-related claims hit USD$42 billion in just the first half of 2021.

Climate change is a leading cause of these extreme weather events, and different tools, such as weather sensors, would be required to monitor the changes in climate patterns. There are many reasons why weather risk management is important. Some of them are listed below:

  • To protect against life & property loss
  • To improve business continuity
  • To ensure the safety of workers
  • To avoid legal liability
  • To save money
  • To provide emergency services

It’s without a doubt that weather risk management is vital for every business. But it’s not always easy to implement. That’s why tools are needed to help make informed decisions and take appropriate actions.

Here are some essential tools for weather risk management that every organization should know about:

1. Storm Surge Protection System

The most common type of natural disaster is a storm surge. A storm surge occurs when large amounts of water move into coastal areas during heavy rainstorms. When this happens, high tides cause the sea level to rise, which can flood low-lying land and buildings.

Storm surge protection systems are designed to prevent this kind of damage. One of the main components of a storm surge system is a berm. A berm is a wall made up of sandbags or concrete blocks. These walls act like barriers between the ocean and the shoreline. They also absorb the energy of the waves, keeping them from breaking over the beach.

2. Weather Station Sensors

A weather station sensor measures temperature, humidity, wind speed, precipitation, pressure, etc. It’s usually placed at strategic locations within the building where it will collect data.

These devices are beneficial because they allow you to measure the conditions outside your building. You can use the data to predict future weather conditions and plan accordingly. For example, you can see whether there will be a lot of rain the next day and decide whether you’ll need to close down operations.

3. Flood Warning and Mitigation Systems

Flooding is another common hazard faced by people near rivers, lakes, streams, and other bodies of water. Flooding can occur due to natural disasters (like hurricanes) or manmade activities (like construction).

When floods happen, it’s hazardous for people who live nearby. If you’re caught in a flood, your chances of survival decrease significantly if you aren’t prepared.

One way to prepare for flooding is by installing a warning system. These systems alert you whenever there’s an imminent threat of flooding.

In cases of severe flooding, mitigation systems may be used. These systems are designed to reduce the impact of flooding on your home or business. The most common types of mitigation systems include:

  • Sandbag Walls: These are built from sandbags filled with soil. They are meant to hold back the flow of water until it recedes.
  • Dikes: These are constructed using reinforced concrete. They are meant to keep out the water completely.
  • Levees: These are built using earth and rock. They are intended to protect against overflow from rivers and creeks.
  • Pumps: They drain out excess water from the ground and are usually located near drains and sewers so the water can flow directly into them.

4. Drought Monitoring Devices

Droughts are also very common in certain parts of the world. Farmers often struggle to get enough water to grow crops during droughts, leading to lower crop yields and higher food prices.

Drought monitoring devices can help identify drought conditions early before they turn into a disaster. They do this by measuring soil moisture levels and analyzing satellite data.

5. Wind Prediction Systems

The wind is another major factor that contributes to extreme weather events. It can cause damage to structures and power lines. In addition, wind can blow debris around, causing further problems.

Severe wind prediction systems predict the direction and speed of strong winds. They can also determine whether a tornado is approaching.

Weather Risk Management Tools

6. Heat Wave Warning Systems

Heat waves are extremely dangerous because they can affect people who aren’t prepared. People in hot climates are more vulnerable to heat waves than those in cooler regions.

Heatwave warning systems are designed to warn people about impending heat waves. They measure temperature and humidity levels to determine if a heat wave is coming.

7. Rain Gauges

Rain gauges are essential for tracking how much rain has fallen over time. They’re especially useful for identifying trends in precipitation patterns.

For businesses, knowing how much rain falls on their property is necessary. The amount of rain determines how many customers they’ll have at different times of the day.

8. Emergency Operations Plan

Finally, an emergency operations plan (EOP) is a document that outlines how your company will respond to emergencies, such as fires, earthquakes, tornadoes, and storms. In addition to these events, you might want to consider preparing for terrorist attacks, chemical spills, and pandemics.

The purpose of an EOP is to ensure that everyone knows what to do in an emergency. It should also contain procedures for contacting local authorities, notifying customers, and evacuating the premises.

Final Thoughts

Extreme weather events continuously increase as climate change progresses. To protect themselves against these disasters, people need to be aware of what’s happening with the weather. These eight tools might assist you in keeping track of everything that could go wrong. You never know when you’ll require any one of them.

Biochemical Method for Ethanol Production

Ethanol from lignocellulosic biomass is produced mainly via biochemical route. The three major steps involved in the biochemical method for ethanol production are pretreatment, enzymatic hydrolysis, and fermentation. Biomass is pretreated to improve the accessibility of enzymes. After pretreatment, biomass undergoes enzymatic hydrolysis for conversion of polysaccharides into monomer sugars, such as glucose and xylose. Subsequently, sugars are fermented to ethanol by the use of different microorganisms.

Bioethanol-production-process

Pretreated biomass can directly be converted to ethanol by using the process called simultaneous saccharification and cofermentation (SSCF). Pretreatment is a critical step which enhances the enzymatic hydrolysis of biomass.

Basically, it alters the physical and chemical properties of biomass and improves the enzyme access and effectiveness which may also lead to a change in crystallinity and degree of polymerization of cellulose. The internal surface area and pore volume of pretreated biomass are increased which facilitates substantial improvement in accessibility of enzymes. The process also helps in enhancing the rate and yield of monomeric sugars during enzymatic hydrolysis steps.

Pretreatment methods can be broadly classified into four groups – physical, chemical, physio-chemical and biological. Physical pretreatment processes employ the mechanical comminution or irradiation processes to change only the physical characteristics of biomass. The physio-chemical process utilizes steam or steam and gases, like SO2 and CO2. The chemical processes employs acids (H2SO4, HCl, organic acids etc) or alkalis (NaOH, Na2CO3, Ca(OH)2, NH3 etc).

The acid treatment typically shows the selectivity towards hydrolyzing the hemicelluloses components, whereas alkalis have better selectivity for the lignin. The fractionation of biomass components after such processes help in improving the enzymes accessibility which is also important to the efficient utilization of enzymes.

The pretreated biomass is subjected to enzymatic hydrolysis using cellulase enzymes to convert the cellulose to fermentable sugars. Cellulase refers to a class of enzymes produced chiefly by fungi and bacteria which catalyzes the hydrolysis of cellulose by attacking the glycosidic linkages. Cellulase is mixture of mainly three different functional protein groups: exo-glucanase (Exo-G), endo-glucanase(Endo-G) and ?-glucosidase (?-G).

The functional proteins work synergistically in hydrolyzing the cellulose into the glucose. These sugars are further fermented using microorganism and are converted to ethanol. The microorganisms are selected based on their efficiency for ethanol productivity and higher product and inhibitors tolerance. Yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae is used commercially to produce the ethanol from starch and sucrose.

Escherichia coli strain has also been developed recently for ethanol production by the first successful application of metabolic engineering. E. coli can consume variety of sugars and does not require the complex growth media but has very narrow operable range of pH. E. coli has higher optimal temperature than other known strains of bacteria.

Lower GHG emissions and empowerment of rural economy are major benefits associated with bioethanol

The major cost components in bioethanol production from lignocellulosic biomass are the pretreatment and the enzymatic hydrolysis steps. In fact, these two process are someway interrelated too where an efficient pretreatment strategy can save substantial enzyme consumption.

Pretreatment step can also affect the cost of other operations such as size reduction prior to pretreatment. Therefore, optimization of these two important steps, which collectively contributes about 70% of the total processing cost, are the major challenges in the commercialization of bioethanol from 2nd generation feedstock.

Enzyme cost is the prime concern in full scale commercialization. The trend in enzyme cost is encouraging because of enormous research focus in this area and the cost is expected to go downward in future, which will make bioethanol an attractive option considering the benefits derived its lower greenhouse gas emissions and the empowerment of rural economy.

Breaking Down the Process of Biofuel Production

Biofuels are renewable and sustainable forms of energy. They can reduce greenhouse emissions by almost 30%, which means that although they do release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, they do so in a very limited manner.

With the aim of building a green new world, and eliminating the need for fossil fuel and other traditional energy sources, people are now turning towards biofuel to meet their daily needs. Thus, we see biofuel being used for transportation in many countries. It’s also being used to generate electricity. The rural areas in many underdeveloped and developing countries will use biofuel for their cooking purposes as well. All in all, this particular fuel has diverse uses.

Biofuel is produced from biomass, which itself is treated as a clean energy source. We can produce biofuel from biomass through a series of steps. These steps can be performed even in our houses if we have the right materials. A quick overview of the whole biofuel production process is described below.

biofuel-production

1. Filtration

The purpose of the filtration process is to get rid of the unnecessary particles from the biomass. In this step, we take the waste vegetable oil and then heat it to a certain degree. Once the liquid has been heated, the waste particles will automatically separate themselves from the main mixture. Afterward, we just have to filter it with a regular filter paper.

2. Water removal

Next, we need to remove water from the residual gangue. If the water is allowed to stay in the mixture, it’ll end up delaying the overall process. By removing all the water, we can make the reaction move a lot faster. The easiest way to remove water from the mixture is by heating it steady at 212 degrees F for some time.

3. Titration

Titration is conducted on the mixture to determine the amount of chemical catalyst (like lye) that will be needed. The catalyst is a key component in any chemical reaction. It pretty much determines how fast and how much of a product we’re going to receive. Thus, this step is very important in the biofuel manufacturing process.

4. Sodium methoxide preparation

In this step, we take methanol (18-20% of the waste vegetable oil) and mix it with sodium hydroxide. This gives us sodium methoxide, which is also used as a catalyst in the reaction. It helps perform synthesis reactions on the reagents and facilitates the overall reaction process. Sodium methoxide is a key ingredient in this manufacturing process. It’s considered to be a standard substance used to accelerate the reaction, and yield better results.

5. Mixing and heating

Next, we heat the residue between 120-130 degrees F. Afterward, we mix it properly. This process aims to evenly distribute the mixture. This will help the mixture to settle down later on, and cool off, after which we can begin the extraction process. In a way, the mixing and heating stage can be seen as the final preparation before extraction.

biofuel-production

6. Setting

Once the mixing is completed, the liquid is allowed to cool and settle down, after which we can extract the final product, i.e. the biofuel.

7. Separation

After the liquid has cooled, the biofuel can be extracted from the top of the mixture. It’ll be found floating on top, like oil in water. To get the biofuel, we’ll have to remove the glycerin underneath it. This can be done by simply draining it out from the bottom, and keeping the fuel afloat. The biofuel is finally ready.

The whole process described above is for a small-scale operation. However, it can be scaled up as needed, given that you have the right tools, ingredients, and setup.

It should also be noted that chemical catalysts (such as lye) are used in the manufacturing process as well. Recently, however, scientists and researchers are looking into the use of ultrasonics as additional catalysts. According to recent observations, a combination of chemicals and ultrasonics can lead to a higher yield of fuel, and reduce the overall processing time. This also leads to better utilization of biomass.

Companies such as Coltraco (https://coltraco.com/) are now using ultrasonic systems and technology in a wide variety of fields, one of which is the renewable energy industry. And while the technology’s use in other fields has gained more traction in recent times, it shouldn’t be long before it’s used in biofuel manufacturing, as well as in other renewable energy sectors, in full swing.

How to Manage Industrial Machinery Waste in an Efficient Way

Industrial waste management is a process that can be both challenging and complex, with difficulty increasing depending on the particular kind of waste and its cause. Sometimes, manufacturing companies experience issues with overproduction. Other times, their machinery fails, and unexpected defects can also occur.

While it’s essential that every manufacturing plant follows a set of practices that allow them to minimize waste, often, it’s simply unavoidable and an inseparable part of running operations. Luckily, whether it’s been created by CNC router machines or 3D printers, the waste can still be reduced.

How to Manage Industrial Machinery Waste

To dispose of it correctly, manufacturing plants need to develop and follow proper waste management strategies. These can include reducing the number of packaging materials used, organizing the warehouse, and lowering water usage to the necessary minimum.

By following such practices, manufacturers can reduce their environmental impact and emphasize eco-friendliness. Here’s a closer look at some of the most effective strategies.

Better Warehouse Organization

When it comes to manufacturing operations, especially those that deal with a lot of different raw materials, having a well-organized warehouse is key. Once your warehouse has been organized, you can be sure that your workers can make the most out of their time, and everyone will be able to locate the right tools, materials, or supplies quickly.

Regardless whether your company focuses on precision casting parts or CNC milling, to reduce waste, you should create a flowchart that shows exactly how all materials move from one stage to another and where they should be stored. The chart should also highlight possible bottlenecks and where the expenditure of more resources would be advantageous.

It’s also essential to remember the importance of marking your warehouse. Without the right marking, you can’t expect anyone to navigate such a huge structure. Even if they’ve been there at some point, they could’ve already faded or become outdated. This all may be extremely confusing, especially to new hires. Try to dedicate a part of your busy days to organizing the messy and mislabeled parts of your warehouse to minimize waste and increase productivity.

Volume Reduction

This term may sound quite foreign at first, especially to those who are new to the topic of managing industrial waste. It refers to quite a simple process of limiting the biological, chemical, mechanical, and thermal methods used by manufacturers to reduce the volume of waste materials. This allows them to compress them to a greater degree and put them in a form that’s the most suitable for later storage or disposal. The methods used can be divided into two main categories: source segregation and waste concentration.

Source segregation focuses on separating the solid waste that consists of different materials so that certain waste can be easier processed. For instance, when the plastics aren’t mixed with the metal waste, the latter can be processed separately with no effort, and the metal value can be recovered.

Waste concentration, on the other hand, helps increase the probability that there will be enough of certain material to recycle it into something else and reuse it later. When the small scraps of materials are collected over time to accumulate enough for recycling, the waste can be limited significantly. Both these methods require proper storage and sorting, but the benefits are worth the effort.

Recovering, Sorting, and Recycling

Just three words are all you need to keep in mind and turn into an active effort to improve the way your manufacturing plant is managing and minimizing its waste from industrial machinery.

First, it’s essential to emphasize the process of recovering as much waste as possible from both the onsite and offsite locations that are a part of a certain plant. Water can be recovered through filtration or reverse osmosis, and different scraps and particles of materials can be separated thanks to centrifugation. Apply the right methods where they’re needed and recover whatever is possible instead of letting them go to waste.

Then, you can also focus on sorting, which is the first step to proper recycling. When the waste is going into the right bins from the very beginning, it’s much easier to recycle in the next step. You can even choose someone who will be responsible for ensuring that the waste bins are monitored and used as intended by the workers.

Separated waste can then be recycled, be it paper, plastic, or metal. Recycling hazardous materials often requires chemical, thermal, biological, and physical methods, so it may be better to leave it for professionals or consider whether it will have any environmental benefits. When dealing with waste such as wood, rubber, or asphalt, industrial shredders can be used to reduce these materials to much smaller sizes and make them more manageable.

Using Proper Packaging

Creating an abundance of waste in the form of packaging materials is yet another issue that many manufacturing plants face and don’t deal with efficiently. Fortunately, a solution to such issues is quite straightforward and doesn’t require an enormous effort. In most cases, every company can find some ways to reduce the environmental impact of their packaging.

To begin with, plastic packaging can often be easily replaced with cardboard packaging. But the possibilities go far beyond just the plastic vs. cardboard issue. Depending on the kind of machinery your plant uses, you’re likely to be able to buy the materials in bulk and reduce the amount of necessary packaging this way. Your machinery will still have all the materials needed, but there won’t be as much waste created along the way.

In Conclusion

As you can see, there are always different ways to reduce the waste created by machinery used at manufacturing plants, as well as all the other operations required to keep the manufacturing processes going.

These methods outlined above may require some effort, but they can certainly be done and be immensely helpful in keeping the environment clean while also helping you keep your company afloat. It’s all about being efficient and organized and making the right decisions regarding getting rid of your waste.

That being said, try to ensure that your warehouse is well-organized, consider following steps that will allow you to reduce the volume of the waste, opt for recovering, sorting, and recycling whenever possible, and limit the amount of packaging used.