Thermocouples: Types and Uses

Thermocouples are sensors used to measure temperatures. These devices consist of different metals to form two wire legs forming a junction. Manufacturers weld together these two wire legs to make sure the connection is stable. Thermocouple junctions are used to check for changes in temperatures. There are different types of thermocouples available in the market, and these models have distinct characteristics and features.

The Types of Thermocouples

The manufacturing of a thermocouple requires producers to classify units with distinct color codes. Manufacturers classify these codes in either ANSI/ASTM E230 OR IEC60584. The thermocouples, their calibrations, and their color designations (in ANSI/ASTM E320) are:

  • Type K: Yellow (+) / Red (-)
  • Type T: Blue (+) / Red (-)
  • Type N: Orange (+) / Red (-)
  • Type S: Black (+) / Red (-)
  • Type C: N/A
  • Type J: White (+) / Red (-)
  • Type E: Purple (+) / Red (-)
  • Type R: Black (+) / Red (-)
  • Type B: Black (+) / Red (-)

Conversely, here are the thermocouples once more and their calibrations, but with their IEC 60584 color designations:

  • Type K: Green (+) / White (-)
  • Type T: Brown (+) / White (-)
  • Type N: Rose (+) / White (-)
  • Type S: Orange (+) / White (-)
  • Type C: N/A
  • Type J: Black (+) / White (-)
  • Type E: Purple (+) / White (-)
  • Type R: Orange (+) / White (-)
  • Type B: Orange (+) / White (-)

Thermocouple Temperature Range

Aside from the color codes, thermocouple types have specific melting points and continuous maximum temperatures. For example, the thermocouple Type B with a platinum 30% rhodium (+) composition may have a temperature range of 2,500 to 3,100 degrees Fahrenheit. Conversely, a platinum 6% rhodium (-) composition of the same thermocouple type may yield a similar temperature range.

Another example is a thermocouple type E with a chromel (+) composition. For this model, you may use it for handling temperature ranges of 200 to 1,650 degrees Fahrenheit. Still, consider the environment before using specific thermocouple types.

Uses of Thermocouples

Different thermocouple types may have diverse uses. Hospital thermometers, automotive technologies, and machines handling renewable energies might use thermocouples to help users detect changes in temperatures. Here are a few thermocouple types and their uses:

  • Type J

This thermocouple type may have an iron and Constantan leg. Various organizations in different industries find this model to be helpful in several operations. For example, it may be useful in reducing, oxidizing, and vacuuming atmospheres. Type J models may have durable constructions. Thus, these units may not require sensitive handling when installing them in other machines or industrial environments.

  • Type K

This thermocouple has a Chromel and Alumel composition for its wire legs. Consider using this type to oxidize or inert atmospheres with temperatures of up to 2,300 Fahrenheit. Companies may use this thermocouple model thanks to its relatively accurate and stable readings even at high temperatures.

  • Type N

Type N thermocouples may be akin to better Type K models. This type has a Nicrosil and Nisil composition for its wire legs. It also has a similar temperature range as the Type K. However, type N models might have better resistance than its type K counterparts thanks to its temperature cycling features. Furthermore, its hysteresis and green rot allow type N models to be more cost-effective units than type Ks.

  • Type T

A copper and Constantan composition reside in the wire legs of type T thermocouples. Like the type J models, type Ts help users reduce, oxidize, vacuum, and inert atmospheres. Still, this thermocouple class has excellent resistance against corrosion in several atmospheres. It may also offer high-stability readings at sub-zero temperatures.

  • Type E

For this thermocouple, it has one Chromel and one Constantan leg. Like the type T thermocouple, it may also be resistant to corrosion in various atmospheres. However, there’s one characteristic that may put type E thermocouples better than other models: Type Es may have the highest EMF per degree in comparison with different thermocouple types. Nonetheless, it might not be resistant to sulfurous environments.

  • Type C

Environments that have sweltering temperatures may use type C thermocouples. This model has a tungsten and rhenium composition for its wire legs. Organizations may use this thermocouple type in extremely high-temperature environments of up to 4,200 degrees Fahrenheit. While it can withstand high temperatures, this thermocouple may have a brittle construction. Proceed with caution when handling it as one false move might break the device.

Conclusion

Always consider the right thermocouple type when you want to read temperatures accurately in specific environments. For instance, consider the right thermocouple when reading temperature levels in automotive technologies and their hot engines. These devices may also activate gas shut-off modules aside from reading temperatures. Take time in researching the right model for the job to avoid complications.

How to Properly Scale Up Your Environmental Consulting Firm?

Environmental laws are important to keep our planet safe, especially from large industries that can unknowingly impact our world. Hence, these laws are strictly enforced, with punitive measures that are apt for its necessity. That’s why an environmental consulting firm is necessary for every business, to ensure the highest level of compliance in terms of such laws.

Now if you’re reading this article, then, most you most likely already know this. What you’re probably really interested in is how you can expand your business and cast a wider net across different states and possibly tap a global market. So here are a few things you must know to properly scale up your environmental consulting firm.

environmental-consultancy

Perfect your Fundamentals

The reason I started this article with a pretty basic definition about what an environmental consulting firm is tasked to do is because I want to remind you of the core value that such companies should impart on their clients. If you’re failing to do this, then it’s not yet time for you to scale up. Perfecting your fundamentals like proper project management and follow through is important because you should polish your current services before thinking about growing the business itself.

Any business for that matter must be scalable to an extent and for that you would need an organized business plan that can make your enterprise repeatable and enforceable no matter where you go.

Prepare a budget ready for any situation

This goes without saying but a sufficient budget is necessary if you really want to expand your business. It will take a big enough money for you to add to existing operations and to prepare for any emergency situation that may arise from it. However, if you do have a business plan and follow it by heart, you will most likely be able to use your funds more efficiently.

Know who to trust

Scaling up a consultancy firm relies heavily on how big a network you have already built for yourself over the years. This network will not only give you a reliable supply of clients wherever you go, but also a good team of suppliers that you can trust for all your operational needs.

For example, you definitely need to tap a construction materials supplier who can keep up with your demand as your business grows. You also need a good mobility partner for all transport needs such as renting your fleet that can travel far and wide to bring the materials, supplies, and manpower to any site across different states.

You can also expand by experimenting on trustworthy subcontractors that could do the job for you at a fraction of the cost. Let’s face it, it may take more managerial work but it removes a lot more responsibilities off your plate, which is pretty valuable once you’re already growing your business.

Improve your Efficiency

Improving your efficiency may be something you’d want to do before actually trying to scale up your business. But it’s also better if you can explore ways to automate processes like basic consultations and your financing. You can also try to develop an application or look for an existing software that can do most of the dirty work for you.

environmental-engineers

Know your End-Goal

What’s the point of expanding your consulting business? Do you want to make a bigger impact for the environment? Do you want to offer more jobs to people especially during this time? Or do you simply want to earn more money and make a name for yourself in the industry? To be honest, any of the aforementioned reasons are perfectly valid. However, you should once again keep in mind that your business thrives for a reason: you keep big corporations in check against possible environmental issues and make them sustainable. This means you have a social responsibility to keep that and ensure that this happens especially to all your clients.

Your end goal should guide you in how you will operate your consulting firm. There must always be an objective and an endpoint so you can properly rest on your laurels and won’t allow yourself to be a corporate slave for the rest of your life. Remember that there are ways you can let go especially if you feel like it’s already time.

Blindly pushing to expand your environmental consulting firm has serious repercussions not just for your company but also for the environment in general. So you must do your part and understand the list above so you can successfully scale up and be known as one of the best eco consultants not just in your area, but perhaps in the entire world.

6 Strategies To Improve Aerospace Waste Management

The aerospace industry has numerous waste streams that can produce enough waste to disrupt the world. This is mainly from the manufacture of aircraft, engines, and parts. However, the Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) confirms that the industry is doing its best to prioritize waste management.

In fact, the association feels that the industry is making good strides toward ensuring that the natural environment is protected. But there’s always room for improvement as waste management and environmental protection are continuous processes. For many players in the aerospace industry, waste reduction and management are the most significant hurdles to overcome.

This article looks at six strategies aerospace companies can employ to help improve waste management.

Strategies To Improve Aerospace Waste Management

1. Waste Prevention

The best way to manage waste is to prevent its production in the first place. That’s why waste production prevention is usually a top goal in any industry looking to manage waste effectively. If the aerospace industry can eliminate the production of some of its waste materials, it’ll be able to make significant progress in waste management.

There are numerous and technologies that the industry can utilize throughout the product cycles to help steer clear of waste. For example, aerospace precision machining companies like Moseys Productions use certain techniques that are meant to reduce manufacturing waste. This creates a chain reaction where there’s waste prevention in the rest of the stages in the product cycle.

2. Waste Reduction

The first strategy mentioned would be the best and only one needed for aerospace waste management in an ideal world. However, zero waste production isn’t always possible for various reasons, such as the steps followed in the manufacturing process. But there are other things the industry can do to ensure that there’s minimal waste production.

In waste reduction, the industry will need to look at all of the processes that lead to waste production. This may include changing the design of the products or the way they’re manufactured to ensure that the least amount of waste is generated. The industry can take the same steps to ensure that the waste produced isn’t as toxic or harmful to the environment.

For the aerospace industry to get the most out of waste reduction, it needs to identify areas with high waste production. The necessary changes have to be carried out in a way that won’t compromise the quality of the final products. Pinpointing such areas is the key to the success of this strategy. Precision machining can also be applied in this waste minimization strategy.

sustainability practices in aerospace industry

3. Sustainable Material Use

Apart from making efforts to eliminate or reduce waste, the industry would do well to use sustainable materials. These are materials that the industry can have produced in precise volumes. This would help make sure that there’s no disruption of the established environmental balance or depletion of nonrenewable resources.

The beneficial result is ensuring that waste is cut right at the production of raw materials so there isn’t much to waste in the manufacturing process. The focus here is on what materials the industry purchases and their quantities. Waste management is possible when it starts from the very beginning of the product cycle—at the sourcing of raw materials.

4. Recycling And Reuse

Even in the aerospace industry, materials such as wood, paper, glass, and plastics can be used to fabricate fresh products. When more materials are recycled and reused, the need for new ones is significantly reduced. In addition, it allows for the recovery and use of materials that would’ve otherwise gone to waste.

Having a waste material recycling strategy is essential in aerospace waste management. Not only would it help conserve energy and reduce emissions in raw material extraction, but it’s also an excellent way of keeping waste to a minimum.

5. Technology And Waste Processing

Successful waste management in the aerospace industry lies in effectively making waste easy to handle. Fortunately, technological advancement has continued to make waste processing simpler and more efficient. By reducing waste materials at the front-end processing system, there are added benefits such as:

  • Reducing the number of times a company needs to dispose of waste from manufacturing plants
  • Producing better recyclable waste

Properly handling aerospace waste processing goes a long way in improving waste management in the long run. The latest technologies include those used in the briquetter systems, ultrafiltration systems, and coolant recycling systems.

6. Joint Waste Management

It’s good for the industry to open up and embrace partnership initiatives with other entities both public and private. This would result in the accumulation of ideas that can help make waste management more accessible.

Taking a collective approach can benefit the industry as it’ll bring in players who may help with many functions of waste management. For example, having a partner who recycles metal, plastic, or wood waste would make it possible to dispose of such directly and sustainably. It may also help in overcoming some barriers the industry may be facing with waste disposal and management.

Conclusion

Waste management is crucial in the aerospace industry given that it’s a huge waste producer. Having clear strategies for the prevention, reduction, and disposal of waste would go a long way in making sure that aerospace companies achieve their environmental goals.

7 Tips To Ensure Sustainable Mining Operations

While the mining sector is said to contribute significantly to the global economy, nevertheless, it can cause serious irreversible damage to the environment. Its use of natural resources like water, carbon, land, and energy may cause severe harm to the planet’s soil, leaving it very vulnerable to processes like soil erosion. Additionally, reckless mining may lead to pollution, depletion of natural resources, and many more.

Fortunately, players in the mining industry are believed to be starting to take action to offset the negative impacts of years of irresponsible mining and extraction of minerals. Some companies are now opting to use energy efficient fabric structures for mining operations as a step forward. These structures help minimize the negative impact that mining has on the environment.

ways to make mining more sustainable

Are you a mining site manager or owner, a shareholder in the mining industry, and the like looking for ways to turn your current business model into a safer and much more environment-friendly alternative? Here’s a look at more ways to make mining more sustainable:

1. Use Eco-Friendly Equipment

It’s believed that more and more companies are now moving towards battery-driven mining equipment. Battery-driven options are said to be more environmentally friendly compared to diesel-driven options. This shift in options can significantly reduce the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) that mining operations usually produce.

There’s also a need to adopt more advanced and durable equipment to avoid high machinery turnover rates. Damaged equipment also poses a risk to the planet. For example, equipment breakdowns may cause rubber or plastic sheds and others. Mining companies can reduce equipment costs and how much rubber and plastic their operations emit into the environment. This can be done by the exclusive use of electrical mining equipment.

2. Ensure Proper Waste Disposal

There are guidelines to how mining byproducts are disposed of per laws and regulations, which some mining companies unfortunately ignore. This doesn’t help the situation as far as eco-friendly initiatives are concerned. Companies should shy away from improper industrial waste disposal by abiding by enforced rules.

3. Adopt Lower-Impact Mining Techniques

Commonly used mining methods like open pit and underground mining come with very serious risks to nature. Mining operators are advised to move towards low-impact mining techniques like in-situ leaching.

Using low-impact mining techniques will reduce soil erosion as well as move less material needing backfilled. This is a win-win for the mineworkers and the environment because they get to work efficiently using greener mining means.

4. Shut Down Illegal Mining

Illegal miners don’t abide by regulations that reduce environmental impact. It’s regarded that the illegal mining industry has a sizeable hold of the overall economy although it brazenly brushes off safety rules. Additionally, illegal mining is often conducted on land coverages not suited for large-scale mining and adversely affect the surrounding communities.

Take that and illegal miners’ disregard for safety and environmental mining regulations and you have a complete disaster. Preventing illegal mining activities will go a long way in ensuring all mining activities abide by the same regulations and environmental standards to encourage accountability.

5. Conduct Consultations With Different Mining Industry Stakeholders

It’s generally advised that mining managers prepare and set up periodic consultations with different stakeholders that have a relation with their mines. Participants may include local community leaders, environment experts, and non-profit organizations specializing in sustainable mining operations. These consultations can focus on ensuring that mining operations are up to standard and safe. Other sustainability-related concerns can be hashed out during these meetings.

Many groups regard that the method mentioned above is also a means to deal with similar woes in the mining industry like unlawful businesses still carrying out their operations.

6. Improve Manufacturing Process Efficiency

You can make it your goal to consistently and closely monitor the standard mining supply chain. This can help you identify the areas in which you need improvement where promoting eco-friendly manufacturing processes is concerned. It’s important to be flexible in the way you think as well as the management or supervisory tools you use.

mining industry hazards

You should adopt management tools that promote or cushion the company’s transition into less environmentally-harmful processes of resource use in today’s modern society. Bear in mind that the business world is forever evolving. Thus, the processes, as well as technology used for business, also continue to change and gear towards efficiency and eco-friendliness.

7. Replenish The Environment

Replanting trees, natural forestry, site inspections, and replenishing native soils and grasses can work to increase the environmental sustainability of mining activities. Rather than continuously taking from the environment, giving back to it can help restore it and make it a safer place for everyone to enjoy.

Conclusion

Mining operations often have negative impacts on the well-being of the miners along with the environment. However, this doesn’t have to continue to be the case. Use this insightful guide to help you carry out your mining activities sustainably and lawfully.

Risk Management in Industrial Waste Management

Waste management comes with various risks and potential liabilities for your business. Therefore, it’s vital to consider pollution prevention when implementing waste management strategies. It helps prevent air and land contamination while minimizing organizational risks and liabilities.

Often, the general public, plant managers, and government regulators may not have sufficient knowledge regarding industrial waste management. Every business owner wants to improve their industrial waste management strategies to cut costs and meet regulatory compliance. Therefore, it’s important to understand how the industry works and various ways of dealing with inherent and residual risk.

Risk Management in Industrial Waste Management

Industrial Waste Management

Typically, industrial waste management involves segregation, composting, landfill, and waste recycling. Segregation involves various steps of waste separation to ensure effective disposal. Composting is about industrial waste treatment through biodegradation and land application to improve the organic matter in the soil.

On the other hand, landfill involves burying industrial wastes that are unfit for recycling or composting. However, landfill is not an optimal waste management method since it releases pollutants into the environment. Waste recycling involves repurposing waste materials to lower the amount of waste released into the environment.

Most of the processes use waste management technologies offered by modern waste management facilities. Waste management methods can vary from one firm to another. Ideally, waste characterization is necessary to assess the types and volume of waste produced in your facility to ensure proper management. The process may include various experts like:

  • Engineers with knowledge in waste processes management
  • Quality assurance experts
  • A sampling team

The professionals have high knowledge of inventory, products, and processes within your industry. They can ensure accurate waste characterization and tracking to design the appropriate waste management strategy.

Problems of Industrial Waste

Most industrial wastes pose human and environmental risks since they can contaminate the water, air, and soil when not disposed of properly. While the pollutants have far arching health impacts on the general population, the consequences may be more significant for your employees.

For instance, workers in the Oregon electronics plant were exposed to carcinogenic chemicals that contaminated drinking water in the company. The water had exceedingly high concentrations of hazardous chemicals due to improper disposal methods.

environmental issues in niger delta

Waste disposal regulations were flimsy at that time, and dumping was the preferred method for most industries. However, most companies were oblivious of the adverse effects of dumping industrial wastes. But with proper information about effective waste management procedures, you can avoid dangerous incidents and ensure the safety of your employees.

Pollution Prevention

Pollution prevention is the use of practices, processes, energy, and materials to minimize waste and pollutants and regulate environmental and human health risks. According to the EPA’s industrial waste management guide, the hierarchy of prevention methods is based on preference. Ranked from best to least appropriate, the methods include source reduction, recycling, combustion, waste treatment, and safe release into the environment. Source reduction is the best method, while the least preferred is release into the environment.

The advantages of adopting proper waste management protocols include compliance with pollution regulations, increasing profits, and safeguarding employee wellbeing. For example, automotive companies generate significant amounts of money by recycling their waste materials. Regardless of whether you can recover money from waste products, pollution prevention methods can help your business in multiple ways, including:

  • Cost savings
  • Protecting human health and the environment
  • Enhancing worker safety
  • Positive public image
  • Better product quality
  • Lower liability

You can create a pollution prevention strategy by evaluating your waste disposal processes and looking for areas that need improvement.

Pollution Prevention in Industrial Waste Management

There are three elements that shape the prevention of pollution from waste management. The processes include source reduction, recovery/recycling, and waste treatment.

1. Source Reduction

Source reduction involves eliminating or reducing the volume of waste from your plant. Nevertheless, it’s essential to ensure that your methods won’t increase waste production in other manufacturing line processes. Ideally, manufacturing plants use various strategies for waste reduction to ensure efficient waste management.

  • Technology Modifications and upgrades –you can reduce industrial waste by upgrading your facility’s vital equipment. For instance, paint manufacturers often replace multi-tank cartridge fillers with one tank that empties source tanks to eliminate waste disposal.
  • Redesigning and reformulating raw materials –you can use alternative materials that generate fewer waste products. For example, modern medical device manufacturers replace Lead with non-Leaded materials to manufacture some medical equipment. Additionally, you can consider other ways to rethink your production process to ensure minimal waste production.
  • Ensuring a clean and well-organized production facility –better organization helps in inventory management. You can replace the holding containers with designs that prevent accidental spills when handling hazardous materials.

2. Recycling

Recycling is an effective method in industrial waste management. It can include processes like water recycling, alternative use of reclaimed materials, and optimizing raw material use. You can also join waste material exchange networks like Recycler World.

industrial waste recycling

3. Waste Treatment

While waste treatment is still a useful method, it’s the least preferred for waste prevention. It involves transforming hazardous waste materials into less toxic materials. Waste treatment processes may include chemical, biological, and physical treatment.

Physical treatment alters the physical properties of waste materials without affecting the chemical properties. On the other hand, chemical treatment changes the chemical properties of waste products through a series of chemical reactions. Biological treatment involves exposing industrial waste materials to organisms that break down the waste into simpler components and biomass. The treatment process can either be aerobic or anaerobic.

Waste Management Technologies

Waste management can be an overwhelming undertaking since it involves many processes and numerous regulations. However, a good waste management strategy ensures pollution prevention, thus making the efforts worth your time and resources.

To make sure your waste management processes effectively reduce industrial waste, you can deploy automation tools for seamless tracking. Your company can use various waste management software to streamline the production, storage, transit, treatment, reuse, reporting, and disposal of different wastes.

Conclusion

As the global population increases, the demand for consumables and non-consumable goods rises. And higher manufacturing comes with increased waste production. While it’s inevitable to avoid industrial waste, you can minimize the impacts by ensuring minimal pollution from your business. Since waste management is a multi-stage process, it’s essential to leverage technology to effectively track and manage your industrial waste.

Torrified PKS: An Attractive Biomass Commodity in West Africa

Even though palm kernel shell has many similarities with wood pellets, it is not easy to reduce its size which makes it difficult for its optimum cofiring with coal in power plants and industries. Few years ago, Indonesia had exported PKS to Poland for cofiring purposes but because PKS was difficult to make powder (low grindability) it made cofiring performance poor, so the use of PKS for cofiring is currently discontinued.

palm-kernel-shells

 

To improve the quality of PKS, especially for the use of cofiring, PKS must be processed with torrefaction (mild pyrolysis). With the torrefaction process, it becomes easier to make powder from PKS, so that the desired particle size for cofiring is easier to obtain. Another advantage of the torrefaction process is that the caloric value of PKS will also increase by about 20%, Torrified biomass is hygroscopic which means ease in indoor as well as outdoor storage.

During the torrefaction process, PKS is heated at a temperature of around 230 to 300 °C in the absence of oxygen. With continuous pyrolysis technology, torrified PKS production can be carried out at large capacities. The need for biomass fuel for electricity generation is also large, usually requiring 10 thousand tons for each shipment. PKS torrified producers must be able to reach this capacity. The production of 10 thousand tons of PKS that are burned can be done per month or several months, for example, to reach 10 thousand tons it takes 2 months because the factory capacity is 5000 tons per month.

PKS-torrefaction

In general, the advantages of the PKS torrefaction process are as follows:

  • It increases the O/C ratio of the biomass, which improves its thermal process
  • It reduces power requirements for size reduction, and improves handling.
  • It offers cleaner-burning fuel with little acid in the smoke.
  • Torrefied PKS absorbs less moisture when stored.
  • One can produce superior-quality PKS pellets with higher volumetric energy density.

Pelletizing of torrefied PKS can be an option to increase the energy density in volume basis. The pelletizing process resolves some typical problems of biomass fuels: transport and storing costs are minimized, handling is improved, and the volumetric calorific value is increased. Pelletization may not increase the energy density on a mass basis, but it can increase the energy content of the fuel on a volume basis.

Africa, especially West Africa, which has many palm oil plantations and also the location where the palm oil trees originate, can supply torrified PKS to Europe to meet its rapidly-increasing biomass fuel demand.

In Africa, palm kernel shell is generally produced from PKO mills. CPO production is generally carried out on a small scale and only processes the fiber portion of the palm oil fruit. This palm oil mesocarp fibre is processed to produce CPO, while the nut that consist kernels and shells are processed elsewhere to produce the main product of PKO (palm kernel oil). PKO mills are usually quite large by collecting nuts from these small scale CPO producers. PKS is produced from this PKO mills.

nut-cracker-machine-palm-mill

The nut cracker machine separates kernel and shell

The distance between Africa and Europe is also closer than Europe to Malaysia and Indonesia. Currently, even though Europe has produced wood pellets for their renewable energy program to mitigate climate change and the environment, the numbers are still insufficient and they are importing wood pellets from the United States and Canada in large quantities. European wood pellet imports are estimated to reach more than 1.5 million tons per year. Torrified PKS from West Africa can help in meeting the biomass fuel demands for power plants across Europe.

For more information about PKS trading opportunities and our technical consulting services, please email on salman@bioenergyconsult.com or eko.sb.setyawan@gmail.com

Torrefaction of Biomass: An Overview

To improve the quality of biomass, especially for cofiring purposes, biomass waste can be processed with torrefaction (also known as mild pyrolysis). With the torrefaction process, it becomes easier to make powder (high grindability) so that the desired particle size for cofiring of biomass is easier to obtain. Another advantage of the torrefaction process is that the caloric value of biomass increases by about 20%. Torrified biomass is essentially hydropobic which means ease in storage including outdoor storage. This condition also makes it easier to handle and use, in addition to reduction in transportation costs.

torrefaction-of-biomass

What is Torrefaction?

Torrefaction, which is currently being considered for effective biomass utilization, is also a form of pyrolysis. In this process (named for the French word for roasting), the biomass is heated to 230 to 300 °C without contact with oxygen. For comparison, pyrolysis of biomass is typically carried out in a relatively low temperature range of 300 to 650 °C compared to 800 to 1000 °C for gasification. Torrefaction is a relatively new process that heats the biomass in the absence of air to improve its usefulness as a fuel.

Torrefaction, a process different from carbonization, is a mild pyrolysis process carried out in a temperature range of 230 to 300 °C in the absence of oxygen. During this process the biomass dries and partially devolatilizes, decreasing its mass while largely preserving its energy content. The torrefaction process removes H2O and CO2 from the biomass. As a result, both the O/C and the H/C ratios of the biomass decrease.

steps-in-biomass-torrefaction

Benefits of Biomass Torrefaction

Torrefaction of biomass improves its energy density, reduces its oxygen-to-carbon (O/C) ratio, and reduces its hygroscopic nature. Torrefaction also increases the relative carbon content of the biomass. The properties of a torrefied biomass depends on torrefaction temperature, time, and on the type of biomass feed.

Torrefaction also modifies the structure of the biomass, making it more friable or brittle. This is caused by the depolymerization of hemicellulose. As a result, the process of size reduction becomes easier, lowering its energy consumption and the cost of handling. This makes it easier to cofire biomass in a pulverized coal-fired boiler or gasify it in an entrained-flow reactor.

Another special feature of torrefaction is that it reduces the hygroscopic property of biomass; therefore, when torrefied biomass is stored, it absorbs less moisture than that absorbed by fresh biomass. For example, while raw bagasse absorbed 186% moisture when immersed in water for two hours, it absorbed only 7.6% moisture under this condition after torrefying the bagasse for 60 minutes at 250 °C (Pimchua et al., 2009). The reduced hygroscopic (or enhanced hydrophobic) nature of torrefied biomass mitigates one of the major shortcomings for energy use of biomass.

In biomass, hemicellulose is like the cement in reinforced concrete, and cellulose is like the steel rods. The strands of microfibrils (cellulose) are supported by the hemicellulose. Decomposition of hemicellulose during torrefaction is like the melting away of the cement from the reinforced concrete. Thus, the size reduction of biomass consumes less energy after torrefaction. During torrefaction the weight loss of biomass comes primarily from the decomposition of its hemicellulose constituents. Hemicellulose decomposes mostly within the temperature range 150 to 280 °C, which is the temperature window of torrefaction.

torrified-biomass

As we can see from figure above, the hemicellulose component undergoes the greatest amount of degradation within the 200 to 300 °C temperature window. Thus, hemicellulose decomposition is the primary mechanism of torrefaction. At lower temperatures (< 160 °C), as biomass dries it releases H2O and CO2. Water and carbon dioxide, which make no contribution to the energy in the product gas, constitute a dominant portion of the weight loss during torrefaction.

Above 180 °C, the reaction becomes exothermic, releasing gas with small heating values. The initial stage (< 250 °C) involves hemicellulose depolymerization, leading to an altered and rearranged polysugar structures. At higher temperatures (250–300 °C) these form chars, CO, CO2, and H2O. The hygroscopic property of biomass is partly lost in torrefaction because of the destruction of OH groups through dehydration, which prevents the formation of hydrogen bonds.

Black Soot, Unemployment, Environmental Degradation: Is Oil Discovery a Curse to Niger Delta Residents?

With a crude production capacity of 2.5 million barrels a day, Nigeria is Africa’s largest producer of oil and the 13th largest oil-producing country on the globe. Oil account for around 65 percent of government revenue.

Over its five decades of oil exploration, it has made tens of billions of dollars from crude oil proceeds. But despite the humongous revenue year in year out, the oil host communities reek of poverty and many other economic and humanitarian issues, including frequent occurrences of black soot, environmental degradation, high rate of unemployment/underemployment, gas flaring, and oil spill from pipelines.

Most of these problems are recurring issues they have suffered for years without any lasting solution. The health and economic effects of these plights have become a serious burden on residents, including the elderly and children.

environmental issues in niger delta

The Menace of Black Soot

Black soot, which is gradually becoming a persistent challenge in many Niger Delta communities, has been linked to the upsurge in adverse respiratory, skin, and reproductive health conditions. A 2019 report showed that black soot-related health disorders were responsible for about 25,000 deaths in the region.

In the past few months, the situation has become even much escalated, and soot pictures gathered from the communities are devastatingly worrisome. Unfortunately, pleas to the state and federal governments have seemingly fallen on deaf ears as residents continuously groan in discomfort and pain.

There has been rising concern among residents in Bayelsa, one of the states in the Niger Delta, over the noticeable black soot across the skyline.

According to a group known as Niger Delta Vigilante (NDV), the development is largely linked to the increase in ‘Kpo-fire,’ an illegal but booming oil bunkering activity in the Niger Delta region. Kpo-fire is a local oil production process of heating the crude oil in a fabricated oven to get petroleum products while its residual is indiscriminately released into the environment, with no regard for its effects on the ecosystem.

Some other factors said to be responsible include the burning of seized stolen crude by security operatives and setting ablaze crude oil sites by some oil contractors in the industry, all in the name of cleanup.

“Presently, as you walk with barefoot in your home, the sole of your foot becomes black, wash your clothes and hang same outside, they are stained with black particles, you wipe your face with a handkerchief, and it becomes black,” a Bayelsa resident, Oyinkuro Jones noted with concern.

A few months ago, towards the end of the rainy season, some residents in the state raised the alarm over what was described as black rain anytime there was a downpour but did not take their worry seriously until the soot started appearing in late November and turned the cloud to a hazy grey. The problem is reportedly more noticeable in the morning time when the thick blanket of black soot covers the landscape.

Immigration Advice Service (IAS) spoke with some residents in Port Harcourt, Rivers, another Niger Delta state, who lamented the health and environmental impacts of the soot.

“The black soot has been a big problem to the environment. In my home, we do not open our doors or windows because the place gets dirty almost immediately after we clean,” Mildred Alerechi, a health style coach, complained. “My nails are also dirty for no reason; the black soot finds its way into my fingernails.”

There has been a wide outcry on the sheer negligence by the government to the residents’ plight. Unfortunately, concerned authorities both from state and federal levels haven’t shown significant willpower to end the menace.

Another resident who spoke with an IAS correspondent said: “To the best of my knowledge, no concrete action has been taken; I’m sure they [the government] are aware of the underlying cause and can tackle the problem if they want to.”

Environmental degradation

The debilitating impacts of oil exploration on the ecosystem have been a great concern for decades. According to a report on the Niger Delta ecosystem, the advent of oil production in the region has also negatively affected the communities due to unprecedented oil spill, which has been happening “for the past five decades, making the region one of the most polluted in the world.” The reckless corruption in the government-established agencies that ought to be responsible for the welfare of the region has further contributed to the persisting ecocide.

An NNPC report back in 1983 noted that the slow poisoning of the waters and the destruction of agricultural land and good water source by oil spills usually occurred during petroleum operations. But since the beginning of the oil industry in Nigeria, there has been no effective and lasting effort made by the government and oil operators to control the environmental crisis associated with the industry.

Even to date, oil firms in the country still play the blame game on who should be responsible for these environmental problems. A Dutch Appeal Court recently found the Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) culpable for some farmland and fishpond pollutions in the region.

Despite the court order asking SPDC to compensate the affected farmers, the oil company insisted that the damages were caused by sabotage and the firm should not be held responsible for the financial losses.

It took about a year before Shell began a mediation process with the farmers to settle the case out of court. Until now, the case is still ongoing, and it is left to be seen if both parties will reach a resolution soon.

Unemployment and Other Economic Problems

Economically, most oil-producing areas are poverty-stricken and plagued with a high unemployment rate. They also lack basic amenities such as stable electricity, potable water, hospitals, motorable roads, and a conducive learning environment in their schools.

As the communities suffer all these, paradoxically, local and foreign oil firms and politicians benefit handsomely from oil proceeds. Years of illegal bunkering, pollution from leaking pipelines, and other unwholesome activities have rendered several fishermen and farmers from the region jobless as their livelihood continues to be affected by oil exploration.

“The crude by-products are usually released into the rivers and on farmlands. Take Ogoni as a case study, oil spill has stopped fishing activities in that area, and it’s bad,” said Michael Ndukwu, a University of Port-Harcourt student.

Though unemployment is a nationwide issue in Nigeria, the challenge for Niger Delta residents is peculiar due to certain factors, such as environmental pollution resulting from oil exploration affecting farming, fishing, and other commercial activities in the region.

In a report that explored the root causes of unemployment and poverty rate in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria, Dr. E.D Simon, a researcher at the Cross River University of Technology Calabar, reported that the “Oil and mineral extraction in the region promoted the looting tendency by various government in Nigeria and have linked with unusually high poverty rates, poor health care and high rate of mortality. This means that sustainable development can hardly be achieved under this unfavorable and in a secured environment”.

The cost of living is relatively high compared to most other places in the country, which makes salaries and wages of most employed residents insufficient, as they could best be described as underemployed.

While the huge cost of food importation/transportation usually increases feeding expenses among Nigerians, the burden is greater on Niger Delta residents, as they could barely source any food items locally due to the damage on farmlands and waters by oil exploration. They, therefore, depend more on food items imported and transported from other parts of the country. This, in turn, renders them underpaid even when placed on the same salary structure as people from other regions.

Gas Flaring and Oil Spills

The consequences of gas flaring are also one of the burdens that the people of the Niger Delta region have to endure. According to International Photography Magazine, “Nigeria flares more natural gas associated with oil extraction than any country. With an estimation of the 3.5 billion cubic feet (100,000,000 m³) of associated gas produced annually, 2.5 billion cubic feet (70,000,000 m³), or about 70%, is wasted by flaring.

The effects of this gas flaring affect not only the ecological system but also have adverse health effects on residents in those communities. The poisonous chemicals and carcinogenic substances released into the environment affect the respiratory system. They are also said to be one of the major causes of cancer and leukemia in the world.

Oil spill is another related challenge faced by the host communities. A United Nations Development Program (UNDP) report shows that 6,817 oil spills were recorded in Nigeria between 1976 and 2001. 69 percent of these spills were said to have occurred offshore, a quarter was in swamps, and 6 percent on land.

Some researchers from the University of Lagos found that certain factors are majorly responsible for the recurring oil spill in Nigeria.: About 50 percent occur due to pipeline or truck accidents, 28 percent are caused by sabotage, 21 percent are caused during oil production operations, and 1 percent occur due to inadequate or nonfunctional production equipment.

The “sabotage” part perfectly describes the situation in the Niger Delta, and it is perpetrated by unemployed youths in the region who have embraced illegal bunkering as a source of livelihood. This worsens environmental pollution in the region and reduces people’s life expectancy.

impact of gas flaring in niger delta

“The poverty rate in those places is high; hence the reason residents are involved in this illegal business. There are barely health facilities and educational facilities, says Alerechi.”

Outdated and faulty pumping equipment is another factor responsible for oil spills in the country. However, despite its associated disastrous effects like the disappearance of mangrove forests and the death of aqua life, no serious move has been made to reconstruct these outdated production facilities.

While other oil-producing nations like UAE and Saudi use their generated revenues to develop their countries, oil discovery and its related activities seem to be a curse to the host communities in Niger Delta.

There is also great concern that if no concerted and urgent action is taken, oil exploration could result in an ecological disaster, which could lead to a humanitarian catastrophe in Nigeria’s oil host communities.

Advantages of Used Cooking Oil Recycling

Used cooking oil can be easily recycled. All that is required the availability of a recycling plant and the used cooking oil to recycle. It is not a difficult process and anyone who would want to venture into the industry can quickly learn how to do it. They can then source for the used cooking oil and they are in the business of recycling.

Here are some advantages of used cooking oil recycling.

For your business

If you own a business, used cooking oil recycling is here to help you. Used cooking oil can be recycled to become fuel. If you are in the transportation business, you now have cheaper fuel for your trucks.

used-cooking-oil

Further, in the agriculture industry, used oil recycling can be used to develop high quality organic fertilizer. This is fertilizer that you can trust to not only help produce healthy and nutritious crops but to also help balance and improve your soil in the long run. Organic fertilizer is much cheaper, and you can therefore make significant savings as you farm.

For your home

At home, used cooking oil recycling has numerous benefits. You will never again have your kitchen sink and drainage clogged by used cooking oil. Many people drain their used cooking oil down the sink which leads to clogging.

When you accept to be part of the people who want to have used cooking oil recycled, your recycling team will give you a container in which to pour your used cooking oil. Then you will agree on a day and time that they will come to collect it and leave you with another empty container.

For the environment

Another advantage of recycling used cooking oil is felt in the environment.

In many cities and municipalities, you will find numerous drainage systems full and overflowing.

A major cause for this pollution is used cooking oil. When it is drained in the sink at home and in restaurants, it gets into the sewage system, where it causes blockages that lead to overflow of sewage onto the city roads.

In addition to sinks, many landfills have lots of poorly disposed of used cooking oil. Recycling helps develop better methods of disposal, ensuring that none of the oil finds its way to landfills.

Recycled used cooking oil is also used as an alternative to biodiesel. It is much cheaper and easier to produce and does not affect the price and supply of food in a country or region.

For the economy

Recycling used cooking oil is also a boon to the economy.

With an improvement to the environment, it is likely that the country gets cleaner. This means that it can attract people from other countries to live, work and invest in your clean country.

biofuel-UCO

Used cooking oil recycling also creates jobs for hundreds of people. It creates new jobs for the teams of people collecting the used oil from homes and restaurants. It creates high level jobs for the scientists who understand the chemistry of turning used cooking oil into soap or fertilizer.

With the creation of new jobs, the economy will have more people engaged and more money circulating in it. As a result, there will be significant economic growth in the country driven by used oil recycling.

For your pets

Used oil recycling also has significant advantages to your pets and animals. Used cooking oil can be recycled and turned into healthy, nutritious, organic animal and pet feeds.

Recycled used cooking oil creates high quality fish feeds and dog food. It also creates high quality pig and cattle feed.

Conclusion

Recycling used cooking oil is full of advantages. It can be converted into many things that are useful at home and in industry. It helps bring about a cleaner environment with fewer overflowing drainage systems clogged by used cooking oil that was drained down the sink. It also contributes significantly in developing organic farming affordably.

The Technology Revolutionizing Commercial Waste Management

Every single one of us can do something to improve our impact on the planet, but it is a given that businesses of all sizes have a bigger footprint than families – commercial accounts for 12% of total greenhouse gas emissions. A big factor of that is waste management. From the physical process of picking up garbage, to the methane-released process of decomposition, there are numerous factors that add up to create a large carbon footprint.

Between hiring green focused waste management solutions and recycling in a diligent fashion, there are a few technologies that are helping to break down the barrier between commercial waste management and an environmentally positive working environment.

Cleaning up commercial kitchens

A key form of commercial waste is food waste. Between the home and restaurant, it is estimated by the US Department of Agriculture that 133 billion pounds of food is wasted every year. Much will end up in the landfill. How is technology helping to tackle this huge source of environmental waste? Restaurants themselves are benefiting from lower priced and higher quality commercial kitchen cooking equipment, that helps to raise standards and reduce wastage.

Culinary appliances for varied cuisines also benefit from a new process being developed at the Netherland’s Wageningen University. A major driver of food waste is rejected wholesale delivery, much of which will be disposed of in landfill. The technology being developed in Holland aims to reduce wastage by analyzing food at the source, closer to where recycling will be achievable.

Route optimization

Have you ever received a parcel from an online retailer only to find the box greatly outsizes the contents? On the face of it, this is damaging to the environment. However, many retailers use complex box sorting algorithms. The result is that the best route is chosen on balance, considering the gas needed to make the journey, the amount of stock that can be delivered and the shortest route for the driver. This is an area of intense technological innovation.

The National Waste & Recycling Association reported in 2017 on how 2018 would see further advances, particularly with the integration of artificial intelligence and augmented reality into the route-finding process.

Balancing the landfill carbon footprint

It is well established that landfills are now being used to power wind turbines, geothermal style electricity and so on. They are being improved to minimize the leachate into groundwater systems and to prevent methane escaping into the atmosphere. However, further investigation is being pushed into the possibility of using landfill as a carbon sequester.

AI-based waste management systems can help in route optimization and waste disposal

Penn State University, Lawrence Berkeley and Texas University recently joined together to secure a $2.5m grant into looking into the function of carbon, post-sequestration. This will help to shed light on the carbon footprint and create a solid foundation on which future technology can thrive.

Businesses of all sizes have an impact on the carbon footprint of the world. The various processes that go into making a business profitable and have a positive impact on their local and wider communities need to be addressed. As with many walks of life, technology is helping to bridge the gap.