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POME-MAS™ (Palm Oil Mill Effluent Mesophilic Anaerobic Treatment System)
POME-MAS™ was borne through BiON’s in-house R&D capabilities and knowledge of 40 years in mesophilic anaerobic digestion for wastewater treatment.
POME-MAS™ is designed to provide higher yields of biogas production and greater reduction efficiency in the chemical oxygen demand (COD) of treated POME.
A higher efficiency in the treated POME’s COD reduction enables greater amounts of biogas to be produced and increased power generation supply to the grid or palm oil mills.
BiON continuously strives to progress its R&D efforts of innovating new techniques and methodologies to enhance the anaerobic processes in the treatment of POME.
Anaerobic Digestion in Waste Treatment
Anaerobic digestion is a sequence of processes where microorganisms (i.e. bacteria) break down and degrade organic materials in the absence of oxygen, resulting in the production of biogas which ultimately can be harnessed to generate power and heat.
In industrial processes such as wastewater treatment, anaerobic digesters are utilised to help manage these wastes and create renewable energy.
POME-to-energy applications utilise the anaerobic digestion process to produce biogas namely methane and pre-treated water that are abundant in nutrients such as phosphorus, nitrogen etc. which can be used for agricultural purposes.
System Description and Features
POME-MAS™ utilises an enclosed digester tank reactor system for the anaerobic process within the POME to ensue.
The process flow commences with the channelling of POME from a palm oil mill’s final cooling pond into an equalisation holding tank, where it is equalised and homogenised accordingly.
Once the POME mixture is stabilised, it is directed into closed anaerobic reactor tanks which are operated under mesophilic settings at 30°C – 40°C in fully mixed conditions.
The biogas generated from the anaerobic digestion process in the reactor tanks are flowed through pipes into a moisture trap. The trap segregates the biogas from the moisture before it is channelled into a biogas scrubber.
The composition of biogas produced from POME contain various forms of gases such as methane (CH4), hydrogen sulphide (H2S), carbon dioxide (CO2), ammonia (NH3) and other substances.
The biogas scrubber utilises a biological process to remove any harmful gas elements (i.e. H2S, NH3 etc.) and further reduces the biogas’ moisture content through condensation.
The CH4 gas obtained during the scrubbing process is captured and stored into a storage tank. The stored CH4 is directed into a biogas engine generator set which converts it into electricity, then routed to a power utility sub-station for distribution to the grid.
Any excess biogas produced from the anaerobic digestion process resides at the top part of the reactor tanks. and released through pipes into an automatic Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) compliant closed flaring system.
At all times, the exhaust temperature in this system is maintained above 550°C and any excess methane produced is extinguished before being flared out of the chimney.
Any POME overflow produced from the reactor tanks is channelled through a pipeline into a settling tank and this supernatant liquid is flowed back into aeration ponds for further treatment.
The settled sludge residue derived from this process would either be recycled back into the reactor tanks or funnelled out through pipes and onto a sludge drying bed.
This bed of dried sludge is rich in nutrients and can be used by the nearby oil palm plantations as crop fertiliser.
POME-MAS™ APPLICATIONS FOR PONDS AND LAGOONS
Utilising the same anaerobic digestion principles, BiON has successfully adapted and applied the POME-MAS™ technology to treat POME waste in ponds and lagoons directly.
This alternative application of POME-MAS™ is targeted at palm oil mills with restricted space or insufficient land area that are unable to construct a digester reactor tank onsite.
A protective membrane cover is laid across the surface of the pond or lagoon to enable biogas capture through anaerobic digestion.
The ponding or lagoon system is very popular and accounts for 85% of the waste treatment systems applied in Malaysia as it is a simple, low cost and easy to operate system.
This system has different stages of waste treatment: a cooling pond, an anaerobic pond, a facultative pond, an acidification pond, an aerobic pond, a stabilisation pond and others.
The final discharge of the treated wastewater’s biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) must comply with the standards set by the Department of Environment (DOE) Malaysia before it is released into the river or waterways.
System Description and Features
The anaerobic process and POME-MASTM are directly applied into the POME ponds or lagoons. In this application of POME-MASTM, the ponds or lagoons themselves are turned into a biogas capturing unit and digester.
The engineered lagoon digester is developed with a very good raw effluent distribution system to ensure proper digestion under mesophilic conditions.
A protective membrane cover is laid onto the surface of the POME lagoon containing microorganisms and bacteria to stimulate the anaerobic process, thus trapping the biogas produced – namely CH4.
The solids that are undigested and scum formed in the digester is collected, mixed in a sump for recycling and then flowed back into the digester once again.
The biogas generated in the digestion process is collected in the membrane cover.
A well-distributed digestion of sludge with an organic loading rate (OLR) of between 1.4 – 2.5 kg COD/ m3/day is required to optimise biogas generation.
The biogas produced is flowed into a biogas scrubber to remove any harmful gas elements, reduce the moisture content of the gases and segregate the CH4 which is captured and used to power the biogas engine generator set.
The power generated can be used for distribution to the grid or power the palm oil mills.
The digestate sludge derived from the lagoon digester is further treated in existing ponds before it is discharged into water bodies.
The final treated effluent adheres to DOE Malaysia’s standard – a BOD 3 level of less than 100 ppm – permissible for discharge into streams or rivers.
GRASS™ (Gas Releasing Anaerobic Sludge System)
The aerobic process is the most conventional wastewater process for sewage treatment.
Oxygen is required for bacteria to break down the organic waste materials resulting in high-energy requirements and large volumes of waste bacteria sludge is produced.
GRASS™ was developed by BiON to counter and remove pollutants from the effluent and is a novel, innovative, energy efficient, space saving treatment compared to the conventional aerobic processes currently utilised in treating wastewater.
GRASS™ is BiON’s very own in-house developed and patented system that has been successfully implemented in numerous sewage treatment plants throughout Malaysia.
System Description and Features
The sewage treatment processes utilised In Malaysia are mainly aerobic based. Alternatively, wastewater can also be treated utilising the anaerobic process.
The anaerobic process is cheaper and simpler to treat wastewater as sludge production is much less and the bacteria the presence of oxygen is not required.
The changes occurring during the digestion are complex and arise from activities of many different types of microorganisms.
Complex organic matter is broken down to soluble compounds which are hydrolysed, mineralised and gasified.
Anaerobic bacteria in the GRASS™ reactor reduces organic compounds in the wastewater to energy rich CH4 (60% – 70%), CO2 (30% – 40%), H2S and a small amount of cell material.
Biogas is generated in this process and recovered to be utilised as an alternative fuel or flared into the atmosphere in a suitable manner (such as a CDM compliant closed flaring system), depending on the volume produced. Every kilogramme of COD reduced, provides around 0.5m3 of biogas.
The sludge produced in the GRASS™ reactor is only 10% equivalent of the sludge produced in an aerobic reactor.
As the anaerobic sludge is much easier to process further, its handling and disposal are more cost effective.
Wastewater and sewage from domestic households, municipals, agricultural and industrials are treated in various ways.
The organic wastes derived are treated by either anaerobic or aerobic processes or a combination of both and BiON has developed GREENPAK™ to address the removal of these waste solids expediently.
GREENPAK™ is a patented system developed in-house by BiON’s scientific team to treat wastewater, namely sewage.
The GREENPAK™ system enables wastewater treatment to have an up-flow individual septic tank with anaerobic and aerobic treatments.
The system is relatively inexpensive and provides a simple, reliable and efficient process for treating organic wastes, digesting sludge and wastewater at a shortened residence time.
System Description and Features
There are various designs of septic tanks to treat primary organic wastes in solid, semi-solid and/or liquids to produce non-hazardous and sometimes beneficial products for release into the environment.
However, some of the individual septic tanks do not meet the requirements and standards of DOE Malaysia for sewage discharge.
BiON has developed GREENPAK™ as a system for wastewater treatment containing organic matter.
GREENPAK™ effectively improves the treatment of sewage waste as the system has:
- a COD removal efficiency of an average 75.1%;
- a BOD removal efficiency of 76.7%;
- a stable pH;
- less sludge production;
- moderately low suspended solids; and
- an aeration device to increase dissolved oxygen levels for the aeration section.
By utilising this system in the treatment process, the total amount of sludge solids is greatly reduced, and a much cleaner effluent is produced for release into the environment or for further processing prior to its discharge.
Organic wastes naturally contain microorganisms and under operating conditions, additional microorganisms for the anaerobic process are not required.
By utilising naturally occurring microorganisms and compartmentalisation of the anaerobic and aerobic treatments, the organic waste, sludge and wastewater are efficiently digested without the need of temperature controls.
Furthermore, the GREENPAK™ system does not require any mechanical effort or complex mechanism for content mixing, thus, it substantially saves electrical energy and greatly reduces operations and maintenance costs to manage and treat the wastes.