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

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

This has been an interesting and inspiring project/post to follow!
About the step where the solid garbage/detritus is separated from the fecal sludge (before the sludge is processed into pellets): What happens to the detritus separated out in the screw conveyor? Does it receive special treatment or go to a special landfill? I was concerned about those who work in informal sector waste recycling.

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

Dear Hajo,

Good questions! I would also like to know about an update.
Just letting you know that I've e-mailed some people in the background in May. So far no luck. I was told by Santiago Septien that the main responsible for the LaDePa plant is Dave Wilson. I've just sent him another e-mail now. So I hope we'll soon hear something either from Dave or from someone else from Durban.

John: as far as I know the garbage that was separated out just goes to landfill. What kind of special treatment would you have in mind or why? Are you thinking of incineration?

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Elisabeth

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

Just a little update on the LaDePa machine in Durban:

I have been told that "there has been a delay in procurement for various reasons but that we should be on track in September".

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Elisabeth

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

Hi Elisabeth,
Considering that the garbage was mixed in with fecal sludge, the was concern was for anyone coming into contact with the detritus once separated. (Some countries do not secure dump/landfill sites and informal workers scavenging would come into contact with potentially dangerous pathogens.)
In July I had the chance to meet Teddy Gounden (e Thekwini Municipality) at the AGUASAN workshop on Circular Economy in Switzerland. He said that waste sites are secured--reducing the chance of detritus coming into contact with people. We agreed that this should be a requirement for any city considering LaDePa technology.
Best regards
John

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

Thanks for this clarification on the solid waste issue, John.


Meanwhile, I received another update about the situation with the LaDePa plant in Durban. This one came from Rein Buisman, the owner of the company who manufactures Ladepa plants (PSS Technologies):

+++++++++

We received the order in November 2015 for the lease of 3 Ladepa plants .

We have been battling to get finance , because we are a small company.
And No commercial Bank wants to finance any project for a Municipality in South Africa .

And we now after 17 months due diligence finally have the loan approval , but with lots of conditions .
So I am still not sure when we get the funds ( Eur 800,000) to build the 3 plants

Our agent in Finland is more successful in that they get Government assistance
The first Ladepa is to go into the WWTW in the town of Puumela

The test work they have done on the 600 mm wide small production unit is extremely promising in that they managed to cut the power consumption in half.

Tomorrow I am in Durban , as DEM wants the Tongaat machine modified and re –commissioned

Rein Buisman
Director
PSS Technologies (Pty) Ltd
www.parsep.co.za/index.html

+++++++++++++

Thanks for this update Rein!
We hold our breath to see how this drama unfolds! Upscaling is so much harder than it seems at first, even with a technology that seems to make so much sense such as this one.

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Elisabeth

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

hello eThekwini, hi Dave,

as indicated in my post of May I would like to know how the LaDePa is going during its normal operations with advantages and disadvantages.

It also looks to me that the machine is only operated sporadically because the pits are emptied in one go every few years? Like they fill up over 5 years and then there is a contract to empty them over the course of two years, is that correct? In between the machine is not being used?

If so, would it not be more economical to have a smaller machine, operate it (almost) continuously while also the emptying process is ongoing without break?

ciao
Hajo

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  • dorothee.spuhler
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Re: LaDePa is a faecal sludge pelletising machine in eThekwini (Durban)

I am currently doing some research to quantify mass flows (N, P, H2O and TS as an indicator for organics and energy) in a broad range of sanitation system options considering novel technologies. The LaDePa is one of these novel technologies.
there are some information from my conversation with Rein Buisman, the owner of the company who manufactures Ladepa plants (PSS Technologies) and Santiago Septien from the Unviersity of KZN that might be interesting for others:


+++++++++++++++++++++++

Under the typical operating conditions, the faecal sludge is fed into the LaDePa at a mass flowrate of 1000 kg per hour, from which approximately 150 kg/h of detritus are removed prior to the drying zone. Therefore, approximately 850 kg/hour of sludge at a moisture content of 75 -80% are dried up to a moisture content of 15-20%, leading to a mass flowrate of 300 kg/h of dried sludge. I have attached into this email a document with the technical details of the operation of the LaDePa.

According to my investigations in a laboratory-scale prototype, the nutrient and ash content are not affected during the process, which suggests that the LaDePa process only affects the moisture content of the solid by leading to its evaporation (which is the objective of the LaDePa), but does not influence the composition of the dried material. I had an oral presentation in the WEDC conference about this investigation.

At 80-85% moisture content (typical initial value of the faecal sludge from VIP latrines in Durban), the sludge contains considerable amounts of water (4 – 5.7 0.2/g of water per g of dry solid). However, when the sludge is dried up to 20-25%, the moisture in the material is very low (~0.3 g of moisture per g of dry solid). At this dryness level, the moisture should be quite bounded to the material, so it is hardly available for transfer to the environment. So, I think that the moisture in the sludge won’t have an effect in the growth of crops if the dried pellets are used in agriculture. However, I am not at all,a specialist in agriculture so I suggest to seek for a second opinion. I have added Dr. Alfred Odindo in the Cc list. He is a partner of our research group, specialist in agriculture, who has already performed agriculture trials of the LaDePa pellets. So you can contact him for all your questions regarding the use of pellets in agriculture.

The pellets have great potential to be used as a biofuel (calorific value of 17 MJ/kg, similar to the value of wood), but this option has not be considered by the municipality so far.

the inputs of the LaDePa are transported stabilized sludge with trash;
the outputs of the LaDePa are trash (for landfill) and dried faecal sludge pellets (agricultural product);
not all the moisture from the sludge is lost in the air (there is still remaining around 0.2-0.25 g of water inside 1 g of sludge);

Ladepa in extruded form evaporates 3.0 -3.2 litres of water /kWatt hr input at 20 % solids
The new improvements will save 25-30 % on electricity

We discharge at 80 % solids when the product is basically dry .

That is better than any technology available on the market
And more affordable than anything available on the market .
It is simple and unskilled operators can run it .

Using ECO add-on the Ladepa technology is totally self-sustainable .
More than that it produces a High Carbon organic fertiliser.

+++++++++++++++++++++++

Based on these information, I have defined the LaDePa as follows for my model:


InputsOutputs
transported sludge, transported stabilized sludge, transported pithumus, trashtrash (for landfill), dried faecal sludge pellets (agricultural product or biofuel)
ORAND

Transfer coefficients
total phosphorus (TP):1% to the air, 99% to pellets, with an uncertainty range of 10%
total nitrogen (TN):1% to the air, 99% to pellets, with an uncertainty range of 10%
water (H2O):77.5% to air, 22.5% to pellets, with an uncertainty range of 10%
total solids (TS):1% to the air, 99% to pellets, with an uncertainty range of 10%

I also quantified some appropriateness attributes of the technology including energy requirements, water requirements, operation and maintenance requirements, design and construction skills requirements, etc. I am not posting all the details here, but please feel free to contact me if you are interested in my definitions...

Cheers, Dorothee

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