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Ultrasonic Sludge Disintegration is a “Bubbly” Solution for an Anaerobic Digestion or BNR Process
Bryen Woo, PE
Aeration/Aerobic Digestion Product Manager OVIVO USA, LLC
2404 Rutland Drive
Austin, Texas 78758
Anaerobic Digestion Marketing Manager OVIVO USA, LLC
4225 Lake Park Blvd, Suite 100
Salt Lake City, UT 84120
One of the ongoing challenges in wastewater treatment facilities is handling the Biosolids. It has been found that the total Biosolids generation continues to increase each year. In fact, the processing, treatment and disposal of sludge for beneficial use accounts for approximately 40% to 60% of the total wastewater treatment plant expenditures. These expenditures can certainly add up over the life of a wastewater treatment plant, therefore it is important when designing a wastewater treatment plant, to have an efficient and effectively operated solids handling system. Ultrasonic sludge disintegration, by way of ultrasound, is a proven method to help mitigate this very issue.
BACKGROUND AND DESCRPTION OF ULTRASOUND AND THE ULTRASONIC SLUDGE DISINTEGRATION TECHNOLOGY
Sound travels in waves and generates acoustic energy. The human audible frequency range is between 20 Hz to 20 kHz, anything above that is referred to as ultrasound. A sound wave, at any given frequency, has a minimum and maximum point referred to as rarefaction and compression. During the rarefaction stage particles move away from each other into lower density areas to create a lower pressure. In the compression stage, particles move together into high density areas to create a higher pressure (or the opposite of rarefaction).
By way of ultrasound, acoustic cavitation can be created. When sonicating liquids (applying acoustic energy to agitate particles), the sound waves alternating between compression and rarefaction cycles, where small voids are created in the liquid creating micorbubbles As shown in Figure 1, the bubbles will grow until they attain a volume at which they can no longer absorb any energy. At that state, the bubbles implode violently (during the compression cycle). This implosion is referred to as cavitation and in liquids, produces an enormous amount of energy. It is estimated that these bubbles (from cavitation) have temperatures as hot as 8,900 deg F and pressures as high as 7,250 psi.
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