The Role of Aeration in Wastewater Treatment

Industrial wastewater treatment is the process used to treat wastewater that is produced as a by-product of industrial or commercial activities. After treatment, the treated industrial wastewater may be reused or released to surface water in the environment.
What is Aeration?
Wastewater aeration is the process of adding air into wastewater to allow aerobic bio-degradation of the pollutant components. It is an integral part of most biological wastewater treatment systems. Chemical treatments make use of chemicals to react and stabilize the contaminants in the wastewater stream whereas biological treatments use microorganisms that naturally occur in wastewater to degrade contaminants.
When is Aeration Used?
The activated sludge process is the most common option under the secondary treatment used in municipal and industrial wastewater treatment. Aeration is part of the secondary treatment process. Aeration in an activated sludge process is based on pumping air into a tank, which promotes the microbial growth in the wastewater. The microbes feed on the organic material, forming flocs that can easily settle out. After settling in a separate settling tank, bacteria forming the “activated sludge” flocs are continually circulated back to the aeration basin to increase the rate of decomposition.
How does Aeration Work?
The bacteria in the water require oxygen for the biodegradation process to occur. Aeration provides oxygen to bacteria for treating and stabilizing the wastewater. The bacteria in the wastewater break down the organic matter containing carbon to form carbon dioxide and water utilizing the supplied oxygen. Without sufficient oxygen, bacteria are unable to biodegrade the incoming organic matter in a reasonable time.
In the absence of dissolved oxygen, degradation must occur under septic conditions that are slow, odorous, and yield incomplete conversions of pollutants. Under septic conditions, some of the biological process converts hydrogen and sulphur to form hydrogen sulphide and transform carbon into methane. Other carbon will be converted to organic acids that create low pH conditions in the basin and make the water more difficult to treat and promote odour formation. Biodegradation of organic matter in the absence of oxygen is a very slow biological process.
There are two common types of water aeration: subsurface and surface.
What is Subsurface Aeration?
Subsurface is the most common type of aeration. Large wastewater treatment plants in urban areas commonly use it. Subsurface aeration uses porous devices that are placed below the liquid’s surface. These diffusers or submersible aerators are lowered into the water or fluid and compressed air is released, creating bubbles. This method delivers the most oxygen available into the water and ensures the water and oxygen are thoroughly mixed.
What is Surface Aeration?
Surface aerators push water from under the water’s surface up into the air, and then the droplets fall back into the water, mixing in oxygen. The jets of water break the surface with varying degrees of force.
Why is Aeration Important for Wastewater Treatment?
Aeration is the most critical component of a treatment system using the activated sludge process. When properly implemented, aeration also eliminates seasonal problems such as algae growth or stratification. When exposed to heat and sun, still bodies of water such as reservoirs become stratified. This causes problems, such as foul odors, weed and algae growth, and fish kills. By improving the nutrient-oxygen balance, aeration helps improve water quality. A well-designed aeration system has a direct impact on the level of wastewater treatment it achieves. An evenly distributed oxygen supply in an aeration system is the key to rapid, economically viable, and effective wastewater treatment.

Energy Audit – An Overview

Energy Audit is the first step in Energy Conservation and Energy Efficiency Projects for Industrial Plants. Energy Audit is a periodic exercise undertaken by a plant to assess its energy consumption and identify opportunities for Energy Conservation and Energy Efficiency. It also helps plant personnel in modernizing the plant with new technological solutions. It benefits plants cut down production costs.

In India, Energy Audit is quite popular in an Industrial or Commercial Facility. Many companies have realized the potential of energy saving in their plant. However one must realize that Energy Audit is only the first step in the direction of energy efficiency and energy conservation. The recommendations made as part of the energy audit have to be implemented to achieve the energy saving targets.

The energy saving recommendations doesn’t require much investment. In some high cases, the investment may be higher. The plant then takes up the investments in a phase-wise manner, which result in delayed energy saving for the plant. In fact the plant may never take some of the recommendations up. This renders the entire energy audit exercise futile.

Energy Audit works for every single Plant or Commercial Facility, as there is always scope for Energy Optimization through Energy Conservation & Energy Efficiency. Every plant goes through some changes over a period of time. Moreover an external Energy Audit team works across departments and brings in rich experience gained from Energy Audit of several plants. This not only results in gaining fresh perspective of Energy saving possibility by an external team also results in bench-marking based on similar parameters.

Energy Audit gives a positive orientation to Preventive Maintenance, Safety and Quality Control programs thereby improving the overall efficiency and output of existing system.

Nearly all the Industrial Units and Commercial Complexes have a potential to save 10-15% on Energy Bills and additional savings in Thermal Energy.

The evident reason why a plant goes for an Energy Audit is the saving of energy. This saving translates into monetary saving and hence can have a direct impact on profitability of a Company. It is also a step towards sustainability.

However, Energy Audits should look at a more comprehensive approach than just reducing cost. Industries should focus more on reducing their carbon footprint as necessitated by Governing Environmental Laws. Energy Audits must go beyond the conventional approach and adopt newer technologies for Green Power Generation.

With increased environmental awareness the pressure on Industries is mounting to reduce their Carbon footprint by adopting Greener Methods wherever possible. In such as scenario Energy Audit would play a crucial role in offering Industries a comprehensive approach towards a Greener Plant.

There is no specific answer as to how much energy a plant could save post an Energy Audit. An estimate could certainly be provided and in all cases Energy Audit could prove to be useful and economically viable. This is especially true in the present day scenario when Energy costs are ever rising and are expected to rise further.

Each Industrial Plant must carry out Energy Audits for reducing their energy usage by adopting energy conservation and energy efficiency measures.

Temperature Mapping for Pharmaceutical Industry

Temperature mapping is important for verifying the efficacy of temperature controlled storage systems such as cool rooms, fridges and warehouses. It is vital for businesses that work with temperature sensitive products such as pharmaceuticals or warehouses.

The process of mapping outlines the differences and changes in temperature that occur within a single temperature controlled system. This is due to influences like opening doors, proximity to cooling fans, personnel movement, and the quantity of products being stored at any given time. Temperature mapping locates the points of greatest temperature fluctuation and difference then analyses the causes of these. Conditions are created to verify that a system maintains the correct temperature in all situations when influenced by external factors such as weather and internal factors such as airflow restrictions and the operation of the Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning systems. The effects in difference of temperature are calculated to ensure the systems meet industry standards.

The temperature of different spaces within cooling rooms, industrial fridges and other controlled temperature environments can vary by up to 10°C. Generally, the central space within a chamber maintains constant temperature, however the corners and areas surrounding the fans will fluctuate. External seasonal weather must also be taken into account especially for warehouses.

Temperature mapping is important for businesses and organisations dealing with temperature sensitive products, like biochemical products such as medications and vaccines. Verifying that the refrigeration systems maintain an acceptable temperature level for each specific product at all times is what temperature mapping is all about, and this is supported using ongoing monitoring systems.

Once mapping has established where temperature variation points lie within the control system then monitoring can be installed. It is important to re check any back up systems to be sure that the chambers will work in other circumstances.

Different mapping equipment gives different results. It is important to ensure that the equipment being used has sufficient accuracy ratings to give reliable data. For example, better equipment will provide readings that are accurate within plus or minus 0.3°C, whereas budget equipment may only have accuracy ratings of within 2.0°C. For products that must be stored within a limited temperature range, this budget equipment cannot provide sufficiently specific temperature data.

Warehouses must have information regarding the building’s external conditions, as it is vital for effective mapping and monitoring. Warehouses are generally mapped for a full year to ensure all external conditions are accounted for in the data. This also helps to determine placement of monitoring systems due to influence of external conditions.

Temperature-controlled rooms such as fridges or cold rooms can be mapped once as their external environment is controlled. However, it is advisable to make sure that other external forces that could change their temperatures significantly do not heavily influence the HVAC systems of these buildings or environments. The mapping in warehouses should take into account the fluctuation in the warehouse temperatures and conduct the tests during its most extreme levels.

Load testing is important aspect of the temperature mapping process. It investigates how expected product levels interact with individual temperature controlled chambers. This testing takes into account whether the product will arrive in the required condition or if cooling is necessary. Testing should verify whether the chamber could cope with the maximum specified load arriving all at once to then be cooled. If it can operate properly in this situation, as well as operating effectively at full capacity, the chamber can be considered sufficiently load tested. It is also advisable to test the system’s performance by simulating failures, to ascertain whether the system could be used even while experiencing some equipment failures.

Once the mapping process has been completed, sensors should be installed to allow for continued surveillance of the areas that have been identified as being most influenced by temperature change. The stable areas should be monitored to help with any troubleshooting.

Monitoring systems should be planned and documented according to the scientific rationales shown by the temperature mapping procedure. This development strategy should then be reviewed and approved by the system owners as well as by an independent quality unit before being installed. Sensors should be placed around the products, around major potential temperature influences such as doors and cooling fans, and at different heights, especially in larger chambers.

Sensor equipment can be split into zones according to the area affected by similar influences. For example, in a square or rectangular chamber, the zones in corners away from doors will behave much the same as each other, as will the zones adjacent to doors or fans. If the monitoring devices are zoned, data can be compared to provide overall information on how the system usually functions.

To summarize, temperature mapping provides information on warmer and colder areas within temperature-controlled environments. They supply details on the overall operation of the systems. After temperature mapping a system, monitoring equipment can be installed to provide real-time feedback on system operations and its stability for product protection.

Why Chemical Industries Need Process Engineers

Large chemical and manufacturing plants convert raw materials into products. This conversion requires meticulously designed processes and systems. That’s where the role of Process Engineers comes into play. These plants employ chemical process engineers to create, modify, and monitor the chemical and biochemical processes used to make these goods. Process engineers choose or develop the materials and manufacturing methods that will convert materials into the desired good. Those final products can include chemicals, fuel, plastics, food and drinks, clean water, and bath and hygiene products etc.

Process engineers do not provide theoretical consultation rather they are involved with the daily operations of a commercial or industrial enterprise.
Process engineers are entirely capable of using their expertise to help companies improve profitability and efficiency. Working with one of these professionals can be a great asset for a business.

Many times production suffers due to inefficiency in the process or systems. Most companies do not know how to deal with it. Process engineers are experts at coming up with solutions to these kinds of problems.

At times product defects may pop up frequently. Such an issue can cause significant damage to a company’s reputation. The knowledge of a process engineer allows him or her to identify the issue causing the defect, allowing them to be rectified. Even if there are currently no problems with a company’s product, any opportunities to enhance overall quality should be taken. A process engineer can take a look at what is being used in production and make suggestions for methods of improvement.

The amount of products a company is physically able to produce in a given period of time is always of concern. In order to increase profitability, process engineers analyze a company’s processes and make recommendations for amplifying their effectiveness. Any major upgrade for a company’s facility must be managed with great care. A process engineer can make suggestions for areas that would result in greatest possible return.

Labor is a significant part of the operation of any large facility; it is also a large expenditure for companies. Fortunately, process engineers are able to analyze how people are working and find ways for them to be more efficient. Process engineers’ skills can be useful in many areas of a company, from material moving to labor to production. All areas have ways, large or small, in which they could be more efficient.

While saving energy is great for helping the natural environment, it also helps out with the monthly costs of running a company. Process engineers have the ability to find areas that can contribute to lowered costs.

If a company is to stay in business for a long period of time, it is crucial that the products it creates are of a consistent quality for its customers. The process control solutions that process engineers can offer are of tremendous assistance in this regard.

Just about every industrial undertaking has some sort of waste in the manufacturing process. A process engineer can find ways in which the waste can be minimized, thereby helping to better control costs.

Many companies work with tight deadlines on a regular basis in order to keep their customers satisfied. By improving the efficiency of daily operations, process engineers make meeting these deadlines a much easier task. Outdated systems need to be replaced. Process engineers can ensure that the right systems are chosen.

In conclusion, Process Engineers are required to overlook every aspect of a chemical or manufacturing plant. Panorama provides skilled process engineering services for Chemical Industries that help build and maintain the plant for increased profitability.

Fire Protection and Safety

Irrespective of its occupancy status, a fire can happen at any time and any place.
Fire has the potential to cause harm to its occupants and severe damage to property. Fire doesn’t only interrupt the whole process of manufacturing and production but also can cause major damage to the building and plant. Much work will be required in order to restore the entire production process.

Successful prevention of fire depends solely o the management who must survey the operation of the business and determine where the loss potential lies.

Inadequately maintained machines can be fire prone. The overheating of bearing, due to insufficient lubrication or the presence of dust, and heat caused by friction are common causes of fire. Frequent inspection and regular maintenance will reduce risk and make the general tidiness of premises easier to achieve.

Major fires start in storage area and warehouses than production areas. Poorly stored goods, even though they are not flammable, may help to spread fire and hinder fire fighters gaining access to the seat of the fire or reduce the effectiveness of sprinkler systems. Goods tidily stored with gangways may help to inhibit the spread of fire.

Fire Safety Audit

Fire has been rated as the 5th largest risk in the Indian Industry. Electrical defaults are the major causes of fire in India. Fire Safety Audit is found to be an effective tool for assessing fire Safety standards of an organization. In other words, it is aimed to assess the building for compliance with the National Building Code of India, relevant Indian Standards and the legislations enacted by State Governments and Local Bodies, on fire prevention, fire protection and life safety measures.

Though fire safety audit is found to be an effective tool for assessing fire safety standards of an occupancy, there is no clear cut provisions in any of the safety legislations in India, regarding the scope, objective, methodology and periodicity of a fire safety audit. Therefore, Fire Safety Audit should be made mandatory for all over India and the work should be entrusted to independent agencies, which have expertise in it. It is reasonable to have a fire safety audit in every year.

Clean agent suppression systems

Clean agent fire suppression systems make the use of inert gases and chemicals in extinguishing a fire.They are also known as gaseous fire suppression. In these systems, fire is suppressed manually or automatically by reducing heat rather than reducing oxygen, reducing fuel or preventing the chain reaction effect of fire. These systems work on a total flooding principle where the agent is applied in a three dimensional method within the enclosed space to deliver a concentrated, highly focused dose of fire suppression.

Clean agent systems are able to suppress fires without causing additional damage unlike water. This drastically reduces the costs incurred for repairs and replacements. This makes these systems the fire suppression systems of choice for commercial and public enterprises that want fast, effective fire suppression that minimizes damage to structures, electronics and other assets.

The agents are non-toxic, they cause no breathing problems for people and won’t obscure vision in an emergency situation.

Automatic Sprinkler Systems

Sprinkler systems are among the most useful tools in firefighting. Automatic sprinklers often are one of the most important fire protection options. The successful application of sprinklers is dependent upon careful design and installation of high quality components by capable engineers and contractors.

A sprinkler system must be installed in compliance with the building’s need. Wet pipe systems offer the greatest degree of reliability and are the most appropriate system type for most heritage fire risks. With the exception of spaces subject to freezing conditions, dry pipe systems do not offer advantages over wet pipe systems in heritage buildings. Preaction sprinkler systems are beneficial in areas of highest water sensitivity. Their success is dependent upon selection of proper suppression and detection components and management’s commitment to properly maintain systems. Water mist represents a very promising alternative to gaseous agent systems.

In India, although there are many rules and regulations, codes and standards related to fire safety they are seldom followed. Laxity in following fire safety measures causes major fires in many buildings. Proper attention must be paid to minimize fire loss because ultimately the community at large has to bear all the losses. There exists large number of different types of firefighting equipment and suppression systems to suit specific requirements. The use of smoke detectors, fire alarms, automatic sprinklers, water mist systems, clean agent suppression system should be encouraged. Above all the success of fire prevention and fire protection mainly depend upon the active co-operation from all personnel.

Process Engineering: An Overview

Process Engineering focuses on design processes, operation, process control, and process optimization. This discipline of engineering may focus on physical, chemical, or biological processes. Process engineering encompasses a large array of different industries and sectors. It has a wide range of applications, considerable potential value, and diverse methods.

Process engineering, as a discipline, can be traced back to the era of the 60s, when the term was first coined. However today, this engineering field has gained popularity across the globe. Numerous companies offer Process Engineering services. It is an active area for research, study and application. Process engineering has effected positive change on a global scale.

Since Process Engineering has a broad range of applications in various industries and sectors, the specifications in analysis varies with each sector. Process engineering have various sub-disciplines. Experts usually specialize in one or two of these sub- disciplines.

Process Design – Process design looks at the way the process in question has been designed and set up. It looks for ways to improve this design and structure, and may utilize hierarchical decomposition flow sheets, attempt superstructure optimization, or study plants with multi-product batches. Poor, inefficient design and structure elements can then be removed and substituted with design components that optimize the system better.

Process Operations – Process operations looks at the way the process in question is being executed. It may incorporate real-time optimization or fault diagnosis in an effort to improve operations efficiency. It may also study the operation’s schedule and examine multi-period planning, and other relevant data.

Process Control – Process control concentrates on the reliability of the process. It often employs tools such as controllability measures, robust control, model predictive control, statistical process control, and process monitoring to name just a few. By improving control over the process more consistent, dependable results are gained.

Supporting Tools – Supporting tools in process engineering focuses on the ancillary tools and systems that help support the primary process. These tools may include things such as equation based process simulation, AI or expert systems, sequential modular simulation, global optimization, large-scale nonlinear programming (NLP), optimization of differential algebraic equations (DAEs), and mixed-integer nonlinear programming (MINLP). These supporting tools enhance the overall productivity and quality of the process.

Process engineering is beneficial to industries in various ways. They include everything from debottlenecking certain key problem areas, improving production speed, eliminating unneeded steps from a process, making the process or system safer, and increasing the quality, consistency, and/or volume of output. By and large process engineering provides a way for industries to reduce their costs while increasing the overall efficiency of their processes.

Process engineering has an incredibly far-reaching impact and potentially holds promise for nearly any industrial or commercial business. It is also at the forefront of expanding what is possible in the sciences and technology sectors. Some particular industries served by process engineering include:

  • Chemical
  • Petrochemical
  • Refining
  • Food and food processing
  • Manufacturing
  • Mineral processing
  • Medical
  • Pharmaceutical
  • Bio-techs
  • Biomedical
  • Textiles
  • Transportation

Process engineering is a fast-paced, dynamic discipline that is continually evolving and pushing the envelope of what is possible. Panorama provides a thorough professional service that covers each step of process engineering. With roots in Chemical and Pharmaceutical industry, Panorama provides the best service.

Reducing Energy Usage in Wastewater Treatment

Water and wastewater systems are significant energy consumers with the treatment of water and wastewater. Water shortages, higher energy and material costs, and a changing climate are growing issues of water-energy usage. It is in the best interest for utilities to find efficiencies, both in water and energy use. Performing energy audits at water and wastewater treatment facilities is one way can identify opportunities to save money, energy, and water.

Water and waste- water facilities can be among the largest consumers of energy in a community due to the constant use of pumps, motors, and other equipment operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week,

There are many ways to reduce energy consumption, which can improve the bottom line or provide regulatory-rate relief. The following suggestions will benefit now or in the future to reduce their carbon footprint.

Operational Changes

Facilities should regularly evaluate the condition, performance and remaining useful life of process equipment. Aging equipment is more inefficient, can be costly to repair, and typically requires more energy than newer models. Given that the process that consumes that largest amount of energy in a wastewater treatment plant is the aeration step, this should be a starting point for efficiencies. For a wastewater treatment plant, the multitudes of motors and pumps are dynamic and tend to fall out of calibration over time. To maintain their optimal performance, facilities should be recommissioned every three to five years

Optimize Aeration

Energy saving can be found by installing alternative aeration systems. These systems usually account for more than 50% of a facility’s total electrical consumption. Blowers are a high efficiency and low cost upgrade for existing wastewater treatment plant installations. Upgrading blowers and air distribution systems will decrease the electricity consumption.

Renewable energy

Converting wastewater into renewable energy will help to increase energy efficiency. An anaerobic digester produces methane that can be then utilized in a system to supply energy to the facility at significantly lower costs. The overall cuts on energy costs can enable the facility to become more self-sufficient.

Energy monitoring system

Energy monitoring is a simple and cost-effective way to reduce energy consumption. Wastewater treatment plants can install low-cost wireless submeters to help facilities gather additional consumption data. This information can be analyzed with one of the many available energy information software products to provide a thorough picture of energy use and help staff optimize facility performance

Educate Employees

Educating treatment system operators in the relationship between energy efficiency and facility operations is key to meeting energy targets and finding new opportunities for efficiency. Engaging operators in the process by asking for input results in efficiency measures being suggested and embraced. After all, throughout all stages in the facility, it’s the staff that is dealing with the processes every day.

Energy Audit

Lastly, plants wanting to reduce energy can first benchmark their energy use, then perform an energy audit to see how they can operate more efficiently, and finally, implement the audit’s recommendations.

Depending on the systems and the processes, various other methods too can be implemented to reduce energy consumption at the plant. Every little effort should be made to turn the planet from brown to green.

HAZOP Analysis For Chemical Process Industries

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” As this old saying goes, safety should be an important element in every industry. Safety covers hazard identification, risk assessment and accident prevention. Safety should always come first and remain so despite of costs. Good design and forethought can often bring increased safety at less cost.

Operators of volatile plants must implement measures to ensure that their plants are operated and maintained in a safe manner. In the chemical process industry there are chances of a number of potential hazards. A hazard has the potential of causing an injury or damage to the plant as well as the working members. Raw material and intermediate toxicity and reactivity, energy release from chemical reactions, hightemperatures, high pressures, quantity of material used etc. are some of the hazards that can cause damage in a chemical industry plant.

HAZOP refers to Hazard and Operability studies. HAZOP is a systematic technique for examining potential hazards in the system. With HAZOP, the process is broken down into steps where every parameter is considered to see what could go wrong and where. This is the most common hazard analysis method for complex systems. It can be used to identify problems even during the early stages of project development, as well as identifying potential hazards in existing systems.

An important benefit of the HAZOP study is resulting knowledge that can be of great assistance in determining appropriate remedial measures. There are four steps to the HAZOP process:

  • Forming a HAZOP team:
    A multidisciplinary team is formed under the guidance of a leader. The team includes a variety of expertise such as operations, maintenance, instrumentation, engineering/process design, and other specialists as needed. The fundamental requirement is an understanding of the system and willingness to consider various parameters at each step of the process.
  • Identifying the elements of the system:
    The team must create a strategic plan for the entire process identifying individual steps and elements. This typically involves using a plant model as a guide for examining every section and component of the process. For each element, the team will identify the planned operating parameters of the system at that point: flow rate, pressure, temperature, vibration, and so on.
  • Considering possible variations in operating parameters:
    The team must be open to the idea of considering every possible variation to the parameters identified. Every deviation should be studied and potential hazards to be identified for each scenario.
  • Identifying any hazards or failure points:
    Once the team has identified potential hazards, they must estimate the impact of that failure. Existing systems should be evaluated and their ability to handle deviations in the future must be taken into consideration.

The overall aims to which any HAZOP Study should be addressed are:

  • To identify all deviations from the way the design intended to work, their causes and all the hazards and operability problems associated with these deviations.
  • To decide whether action is required to control the hazard or the operability problem, and if so, to identify the ways in which the problems can be solved.
  • To identify cases where a decision cannot be taken immediately and to decide on what information or action is required.
  • To ensure actions decided are followed through.

HAZOP studies can be implemented for new facilities or existing facilities or processes. When a HAZOP study is performed in the planning stage of a new process, completing the study means that all potential causes of failure will be identified.Whereas in existing facilities,instead of one assessment, the results will be released as each problem is identified and solutions are created.