LaDePa is a faecal sludge pelletising machine in eThekwini (Durban)

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Re: LaDePa is a faecal sludge pelletising machine in eThekwini (Durban)

Further to my last post, Delft University have now placed an order for a Lab scale LaDePa plant. It is to befitted with a full recycling waste heat system, to test for efficiency with regards using waste heat to dry and pasteurize the waste, as opposed to our MIR's. The design includes recycling heat that has been used, putting it through a hot box to reheat, and forcing this through the system again. It has multiple test and monitoring instrumentation points, which would not normally be found on a commercial unit, but will give a good indication on efficiency, and possible, where we could make improvements to our design. More to follow....

Massimo Zanette -Parsep / LaDePa
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  • Reinb
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Re: Progress On Ladepa

Please be advised that PSS has supplied 1 Ladepa to the Kwazulu Natal University (University of KZN) for test work.

A second pilot plant is under construction for TU Delft. This pilot plant is designed to make use of waste heat and medium wave infrared radiation. This plant will also go to University of KZN for research.

The Ladepa technology ( www.parsep.co.za ) pasteurises pit latrine sludge at 180 - 240 degrees celcius but the performance has not yet been optimised. We hope to have much more information once testing commences next year.

Rein Buisman

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  • SeptienS
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Re: LaDePa is a faecal sludge pelletising machine in eThekwini (Durban)

Dear colleagues,

I have posted a couple of videos from LaDePa process plant and its laboratory pilot.

1 - The LaDePa (Latrine Dehydrtation Pasteurization) machine has been installed in Tongaat wastewater treatment plant, located in the eThekwini municipality (Durban, South Africa), in order to process feacal sludge collected from ventilated improved pit latrines. The product target consist in dried and pasteurized pellets which can be used in agriculture or as a biofuel.




2 - The laboratory scale LaDePa, located in the experimental facilities from the Pollution Research Group, in the University of KwaZulu-Natal (Durban, South Africa), is the prototype of a full scale machine in Tongaat wastewater treatment plant, for the drying and pasteurization of faecal slugde from improved pit latrines. Its objectives are to better understand the phenomenology and optimize the process, and to evaluate the product for agriculture use or as a biofuel.




If you have comments about the videos, please let me know.

I wish you a lovely day.

Best regards,
Dr. Santiago Septien Stringel

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  • muench
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Re: LaDePa is a faecal sludge pelletising machine in eThekwini (Durban)

For those interested in the LaDePa process, I would like to highlight a presentation from the recent FSM3 Conference:

Towards a Sustainable Pit Latrine Management strategy Through LaDePa technology, Dave Wilson and John Harrison, Department of Water and sanitation, the eThekwini Municipality, Durban, South Africa
www.susana.org/images/documents/07-cap-d...-2/2-2-3-5Wilson.pdf

The basis for needing something like the LaDePa process was:

• Council had approved that the pits would be emptied on a 5 year cycle
• Any additional emptying required would be to owners account
• Only VIPs would be emptied (this has now changed, also UDDTs are being emptied free of charge every two years).

Therefore, they needed a process to render this faecal sludge safe for reuse, otherwise it would have taken up valuable space in landfills.

Some notes that I took while listening to this presentation in Hanoi (I hope they are all correct):
  1. LaDePa is pronounced like this: "LaDeehPa" and it stands for Latrine Dehydration and Pelletisation.
  2. The incoming material is 25% solids, the outgoing material is 75% solids
  3. It is not meant to process faecal material from UDDTs as that is too dry for this processs.
  4. The cost for one machine is currently 640,000 USD (that sounds like quite a lot).
  5. The energy requirements are 0.5 L of diesel per year and per person (i.e. they must have calculated how much VIP sludge one person produces per year)
  6. The commercialisation of this process is ongoing with an Australian company called LaDePa Global.
I am going to follow further develpments with interest. Anything that comes out of eThekwini municipality, kwaZulu Natal University etc. is worth keeping an eye on!

Regards,
Elisabeth

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Re: LaDePa is a faecal sludge pelletising machine in eThekwini (Durban)

hello eThekwini,

I follow with much interest all your activities around sanitation and also the LADEPA. Although I hope that we can overcome the pit latrines in urban environment and replace them all with UDDT or similar system, we have to live with pit latrines for some years to come. In Tanzania about 60% of (peri-) urban and close to 90% of rural population depend on pit latrines. Thus in the urban environment we have to find ways to deal with the sludge from the pits as they cannot be relocated when full. LADEPA is definitely an answer.

In the presentation by Dave and John it is said that the emptying of the VIPs is subcontracted. Are these services supervised/monitored by eThekwini? Do you know in detail how your subcontractors empty the pits? I am asking because we have several threads on this forum where difficulty of pit emptying seems not yet resolved. And I think also your KwaZulu University is researching the very varying properties of pit contents which makes it difficult to find one effective way of pit emptying.

ciao, Hajo

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Re: question about Ladepa and pit emptying on the forum

Hi,

We, at eThekwini are about to start the next cycle of pit emptying – the city has undertaken to empty pits free of charge once every five years, and we are already overdue for the second round. What we are aiming to do this round, is the following:

In short we are going out on two contracts; a five year lease contract for the lease of the Ladepa plants, and a management contract to operate the Ladepa plant and empty the pits.

We own one Ladepa plant but we require four to run the pit emptying on a continuous basis, so we intend to lease three more from the manufacturer, on a five year lease basis. The manufacturer is happy to lease and maintain the plants, but not operate them. We are going the lease route purely as a consequence of the Municipality’s supply chain management system, which is not geared up to deal with plant failure that may need to be repaired in a hurry in order to keep an independent contractor operational.

The Management Contract will cover the pit emptying, transporting sludge to the Ladepa plants, plant operating and the overall co-ordination and management of the operation. The Ladepa plants will be established at four of our wastewater treatment works for security and reduced environmental licencing requirements. The management Contractor will be encouraged to subcontract with private Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs), who in turn will be required to employ labour local to where the pits are being emptied, in order to empty the pits and do any other unskilled work that is required.

We classify pits into “wet pits” and “dry pit”. Dry pits are ones with sludge that is dry enough to be processed through the Ladepa machine and wet pits as those that need to be pumped out and disposed with our septic tank sludge. We are still of the opinion that dry pits are easier to deal with than wet ones, and certainly cheaper if one is considering the mass of dry solids removed. (This is due to the transport costs due to the added volume of water). At the moment we still think dry pits are most easily emptied by hand, using long handled spades etc.; limited access to pits and the “stickiness” of the sludge seems to frustrate any mechanical solution.

Some features of the operation:
  • Health and hygiene of both the community and the workers is a high priority, and as far as we are concerned, the main means of dealing with this issue, practically, is education and awareness, so this will be emphasised. Providing people with personal protection equipment does not solve the problem without the users understanding how transmission of disease happens, and how to reduce the risks. So workers will have to pass both a theoretical and a practical examination.
  • On the last round of pit emptying we suspect that a lot of the sludge that was removed from the pits was dumped back into the environment. This happened because we paid per pit emptied. This time round we will pay primarily on volume of sludge processed through the plant, which should force the contractor to deliver the sludge to the plant and thereby overcome this problem.
We wait and see what we learn from the next round of pit emptying.

Regards
John Harrison, eThekwini Municipality (EWS)
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Re: question about Ladepa and pit emptying on the forum

Hi John,

Firstly, thank you very much for the detailed description of the management structure of your pit latrine service chain.

I would be very much interested to promote such a pit service chain in our town of Moshi, Tanzania where we are currently trying to improve sanitation governance and services.

Therefore some comments and further questions relating to your presentation, I hope you will again find the time for a reply.

1) Emptying pits free of charge every 5 years (or whatever) is beyond the finance and the sanitation policy in Tanzania. But people are used to pay for the emptying, thus an improved service will be appreciated and hopefully paid.

2) You say EWS owns one LADEPA and leases three more. In your Hanoi presentation you quoted the price of a 2000 m3/year plant at 6.5 million ZAR (about 550,000 USD). Is that still valid about? 2000 m3 stands for 2000 m3 sludge input into LADEPA? How many kg is that?

3) Since lease and maintenance by PSS would be not possible for Tanzania (or?) we would have to find other ways for maintenance. Also in Moshi neither municipality nor utility would be able to maintain the plant.

4) You are lucky in SA that you can tender out a management contract for pit emptying and LADEPA operation. In Tanzania we probably will have to consider an additional capacity development plan for such contractor. But that should not be an obstacle. I guess PSS would also provide O&M training?

5) You differentiate ‘wet’ and ‘dry’ pits. Do you envisage problems that some pits may be too dry to be pumped, but at the same time still too wet to go into the LADEPA. Do you have figures to judge which sludge can still be pumped, and what maximum moisture content is acceptable for the LADEPA process?

6) The previous question is also of interest because we had discussed to moisture/dilute the sludge to make it ‘pumpable’ which may then prohibit its LADEPA processing.

7) Who is going to market the pellets, EWS or contractor? Do you have a possible sales price / market value from your previous production?

Looking forward to your response, if you feel like also off-line and to my email,
Ciao
Hajo

We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.
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Any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex... It takes a touch of a genius - and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction.
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  • Reinb
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Re: question about Ladepa and pit emptying on the forum

Hi Hajo,

I lost my computer through an encrypting virus and with it somehow also the SuSanA mails and contacts.

I am getting back on track.

We build Ladepa plants although to date we have spent much of our time developing and testing the technology.

The Ladepa (Latrine Dehydration and Pasteurization) can accept sludges from between 16 – 35 % solids. If less than 16 % the extrusions become too wet and clog the belt and “wet” extrusions reform into a wet “pudding” which does not allow air through and so prevent the sludge from drying.

If too dry the extruder may have problems extruding.

The art is to form a layer of extrusions which allow air to pass between the extrusions to remove evaporated water.


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We build Ladepa plants to requirements.

If you could give me an idea of volumes or kilograms then I can make a proposal (for sludge we generally work on 1 litre = 1 kilogram).

The Ladepa has standard belt widths 250 – 600 – 950- 1400 – 1900 – 2500 – 3000 mm.
We build in any length with multiples of arrays. No need to operate all arrays. You use as required and switch off some arrays when there is less product.

If the sludge is very wet I would suggest to place the sludge for a period in paddock until the consistency is better 25 – 30 % solids is ideal, and allows better belt loading.

Generally you can work on 3.0 – 3.5 litre of water evaporation/ kWatt hr. This way you can determine on how many kWatt/hr you need and we can then also size a Ladepa plant.

If you are paid for emptying latrines and you get an off take for the dried product then generally the operation pays for itself on a double shift and a profit on a 24/7 operation.
As for maintenance, we have dryers in operation in the DRC, Angola, Kazakhstan and very remote areas.

Maintenance is very simple and only requires a semi-skilled employee.

The wear items are the extruder flight and housing – extrusion head. Life ± 1 – 2 years, depending on the presence of detritus and abrasive sands/glass etc.

The belt life is 3- 5 years, balance is pulleys and bearings.


Power can be through a Genset and/or network. In future probably direct gas to MIR as well.

I trust I have answered most questions.

Regards
REIN BUISMAN
Director
Particle Separation Systems Holding (Pty) Ltd

Rein Buisman
Director
Tel: +27-11-412-2100
Fax: +27-86-553-8088
4 Tambotie Street, Homelake, Randfontein, South Africa, 1759
Particle Separation Systems Holding (Pty) Ltd
Particle Separation Systems Technologies (Pty) Ltd
Particle Separation Systems Milling (Pty) Ltd

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Re: question about Ladepa and pit emptying on the forum

Hi Hajo

Sorry about the delay in my response. I was very nervous about answering some of the questions as there are a number of students doing post graduate work very closely aligned to the answers to some of the question that were asked and I did not want to publish things that they were about to publish. So I just needed to clear with them first. There was also a minor issue that I am still chasing deadlines. So please accept my apologies.

1) Emptying pits free of charge every 5 years (or whatever) is beyond the finance and the sanitation policy in Tanzania. But people are used to pay for the emptying, thus an improved service will be appreciated and hopefully paid.

This is a comment more than a question and I have no experience in Tanzania so cannot comment further, except to say that Ladepa is not financially self-sustaining. By this I mean that the income from the sale of the product does not cover the cost of the operation of the machine, let alone the cost of emptying the pits. The Ladepa has a positive balance in the case of eThekwini and most of the cities in South Africa, because the alternative legal disposal method is to a hazardous land fill site. There are very few of these in the country and the cost of transport and disposal to landfill, consequently makes the Ladepa viable.

2) You say EWS owns one LADEPA and leases three more. In your Hanoi presentation you quoted the price of a 2000 m3/year plant at 6.5 million ZAR (about 550,000 USD). Is that still valid about? 2000 m3 stands for 2000 m3 sludge input into LADEPA? How many kg is that?

3) Since lease and maintenance by PSS would be not possible for Tanzania (or?) we would have to find other ways for maintenance. Also in Moshi neither municipality nor utility would be able to maintain the plant.

These two questions are best answered by PSSH, who I asked to make comment on but have not followed up to see if it was done. However the maintenance in general is not difficult, but certain spares would need to be held in stock in Tanzania. If there are a few Ladepas then the cost of holding stock can be shared, which is one of the reason that we chose to lease from PSSH, so that they would be responsible for holding the stock which cost they can off -set if they get more customers.

4) You are lucky in SA that you can tender out a management contract for pit emptying and LADEPA operation. In Tanzania we probably will have to consider an additional capacity development plan for such contractor. But that should not be an obstacle. I guess PSS would also provide O&M training?

The operation of the ladepa Plant is very simple for anyone with an aptitude for operating mechanical plant. PSSH is going to provide training for our pit emptying management contractor.

5) You differentiate 'wet' and 'dry' pits. Do you envisage problems that some pits may be too dry to be pumped, but at the same time still too wet to go into the LADEPA. Do you have figures to judge which sludge can still be pumped, and what maximum moisture content is acceptable for the LADEPA process?

6) The previous question is also of interest because we had discussed to moisture/dilute the sludge to make it 'pumpable' which may then prohibit its LADEPA processing.

Here in eThekwini we generally have a very strong binary system, in that the VIP sludge is either "wet" or "dry". The "dry" sludge is stiff enough to form "spaghetti" on extrusion through the ports in the barrel of the screw conveyor. These spaghettis form an open voided matrix when it falls onto the belt. These voids allow the air to pass through the pile; this is the deciding factor as to whether it can be treated through a Ladepa Plant. (Wet sludge forms a "cow pat" that does not hold up in a form with voids when it falls onto the belt).

As far as the moisture contents are concerned we generally operate on visual triggers as to whether an open voided matrix will be achieved, and because of the clear distinction between wet and dry sludge it is generally clear which sludge can be treated by the Ladepa and which cannot. Whether a sludge is too dry or not is a far more difficult question and is generally based on what you are prepared to live with.

If the sludge is too dry, there is not a good separation between the detritus and the sludge and the dryer the sludge the more sludge passes through the barrel of the extruder with the detritus, hence my remark about what you are prepared to live with. We have only found the phenomenon of sludge being too dry, on sludge that has been left in the open and has air-dried to a degree. Sludge coming out of the pits and then directly into the machine does not seem to have this problem.

Chris Buckley and his team are busy with a report to our Water Research Commission on trying to determine the moisture content relative to the rheology of the sludge, so I will wait until that is published before commenting on the moisture content. But again based on my experience of the behaviour of wastewater sludge I would guess that the lower solids limit of what can be treated through a Ladepa would be about 22% solids.

As far as pumping is concerned that is an open question and it depends on what sort of pumps are being used. I have seen peristaltic pumps pumping 16% solids waste activated sludge, thickened in a centrifuge with a heavy dose of polyelectrolyte. The problem though is getting the sludge into the pump, because it is well into the sticky phase by then. From Ladepa perspective, as a general rule, if you are able to pump then it is probably too wet for Ladepa.

With regards to the clear distinction between wet and dry sludge, Lungi Zuma and Chris Buckley pointed out is that they have found two different types of "wet" VIPs, the "crust-liquid-settled solids" type and a type where the "liquid" forms pockets or lenses within the more dense sludge.

I have untested hypothesis as to why there is distinct separation between "wet" and "dry" pits based on the mass balance and movement of the liquid into and out of pit. (For simplification of explanation, we can exclude the liquid lost through evaporation). The rate that water leaves the pit is governed by the product of the transmission rate through the wetted surface, and the area of the wetted surface. (This implies that the transmission rate through the surface is rate limiting as opposed to the rate through the soil being rate limiting).

If one considers the situation of water flowing into an empty pit, there is an automatic system of adjustment in that if the water is flowing into the pit faster than the rate that it is currently flowing out of the pit, the level of water in the pit will rise. This will increase the wetted surface area until such time that the product of the surface area and the rate of transmission through the wetted surface matches the inflow rate, (and vice versa, if there is a net loss of moisture).

If we now consider the same inflow rate but in the case where a pit is filled with sludge to a level above that of the level that the water would have risen to in the equilibrium state. In this situation there is more wetted surface area than the inflow rate requires, that is, there is potentially a net outflow of water from the pit or a net drying effect. Now the rate limiting factor is the rate that the water can be transmitted to the wetted surface. In most pits a "conical" top surface forms which moves the water to the sides of the pit. The water will then flow down the path of least resistance between the sludge and pit side, the soil and the sludge.

In most cases, I suspect that the line of most resistance is sludge and consequently the rate at which water ingresses into the sludge is far lower than it will move away from the interface. The time scale between wetting incidents and the relative rate of transmission of water into soil compared to the rate the water moves into the sludge is such that we land up with a "dry" sludge.

"Wet" pits occur when the rate of inflow is greater than the outflow, and this occurs when either there is very low permeability in the soil or the pit walls are blinded or when excessive amounts of water are being added to the pit (when people are bathing in the toilets and discharging wastewater into the pit).

Theoretically, one could find a situation where the sludge layer is exactly equal to the level that the water would rise to if the pit was in equilibrium, in which case the sludge may be somewhere in between "wet" and "dry", but the chances of obtaining this situation is remote particularly at the stage when people come to empty the pits.

7) Who is going to market the pellets, EWS or contractor? Do you have a possible sales price / market value from your previous production?

At the moment we are not marketing the product, we are giving it to our parks department who are passing it on to their community gardens section, we sometimes get a gratuity from the parks department as it reduces their fertiliser costs. However, this is an interesting questions with many facets which we, the Engineering profession, are unable to answer. The accountants do not want sludge as it is a liability to them, however the moment this sludge is converted to a marketable product it becomes an asset to them. In terms of the Municipal Finance Management Act, the disposal of Municipal assets need to be done by public tender. However the question is who does the asset belong to? Does it belong to the Municipality who paid for its conversion, the community who produced the sludge or the owner of the technology that converts the waste into the asset? PSSH have a vested interest in how the product is marketed as this affects their Ladepa machine market. Fortunately it is not my problem.

I think this answers the question as best I can.

Regards John
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  • SeptienS
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Re: LaDePa is a faecal sludge pelletising machine in eThekwini (Durban)

Dear everyone,

I attach here the poster presented during the Conference FSM3, which presents the results obtained in a laboratory-scale LaDePa machine from the Pollution Research Group of the University of KwaZulu-Natal,in Durban, South Africa. These results include: drying kinetics and faecal sludge composition as a function of the MIR emitter intensity; the pasteurization extent concerning Ascaris eggs, as a function of the MIR emitter intensity; the thermal properties (calorific value), chemical composition (P,K) of the the dried sludge in order to evaluate its potential use as a fertilizer or biofuel.

Kindly,
Santiago

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Re: question about Ladepa and pit emptying on the forum

Dear Rein (PSS),
dear John (eThekwini),

you have been pressured by Elisabeth to answer all my questions and when you do, I do not even acknowledge your efforts. SORRY! for that and thank you very much for your comprehensive replies. They had not been forgotten: the alert by SuSanA Forum has been resting in my Intray since May. And I hope very much that once I will be able to make good use of your valuable information.

As we try to promote sanitation governance and activities in Moshi/Tanzania, we face a bunch of problems:
  1. sanitation has low priority with politicians, administrators and customers alike;
  2. although about 60% of the peri-/urban population depend on pit latrines in Moshi;
  3. no formal service chains exist for empying those pits;
  4. also because emptying of pits is a hazardous job from pits which are not made and not meant to be emptied;
  5. building as well as O&M of household latrines in Tanzania is defined as 'private business' by GoT and no donor/financier/business will put money into developing service chains,... not yet :( .


Although I am quite convinced that the LaDePa is a good answer to the processing of faecal sludge from pits, we first need to find ways to empty pits regularly at large scale to justfy the installation of such machine.

I hope we will some day have reason to come back to you for more information and how to lease/procure a LaDePa... :lol:

ciao Hajo

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E.F. Schumacher
Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler. :-)
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Re: LaDePa is a faecal sludge pelletising machine in eThekwini (Durban)

Hi all,
hello eThekwini!

it's almost two years that I posted under this thread and nothing has happened since then... how comes? I still believe that the LaDePa can be a useful tool in peri-urban FSM (OSS sanitation chains) and therefore I like to know what the current status is of its use in eThekwini.

Is there anybody in eThekwini who is willing and has the time to give us on this forum an overview of the current use of the LaDePa? What are technical, organisational and financial successes and shortcomings of its daily operation over the last two years out of the perspective of eThekwini?

It was reported in 2015 that eThekwini is about to tender a further management contract for the emptying of the 35,000 pit latrines and the possible lease of 3 more LaDePas to treat the FS from those pit latrines. Can you report on the progress of that activity?

Looking forward to hear from eThekwini,
ciao Hajo

We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.
Albert Einstein
Any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex... It takes a touch of a genius - and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction.
E.F. Schumacher
Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler. :-)
Albert Einstein
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