Being environmentally friendly via AQUAECO–SRORS also provides an immediate solution for millers to better meet increasingly stringent international regulatory requirements. Under the EU Renewable Energy Directive 2009, Biogas producers must reduce bio-gas emissions and effects to the environment to be able to export to Europe. No miller wants to lose their license to export palm oil to Europe if they fail to comply with international regulations.
Reduction of solids in sludge
AQUAECO–SRORS ’s revolutionary advantages for the environment is that it reduces the toxicity (measured as chemical oxygen demand (COD) and biological oxygen demand (BOD) of the water component (‘filtrate’) from palm oil mill effluent (POME), by 70%, before it is discharged into the wastewater ponds for treatment.
What does this mean? A reduction of 70% in COD means that there will be a reduction of 70% green house gases or biogas produced by effluent ponds. A reduction in 70% of BOD (and elimination of suspended solids discharge into wastewater ‘effluent’ ponds) means easier treatment of the effluent, to meet the regulatory effluent discharge requirements set by the Department of Environment.
Reduces toxicity of effluent ponds
How much toxicity is removed depends on the mill process. On whether the mill uses hot water or the sterilizer condensate and also Empty Fruit Bunches(EFB) Liquor for dilution in their clarifier. A lot of mills have installed ‘EFB press’ systems in an effort to recover some oil from the EFB . However, the liquor squeezed out from the EFB is very high in COD and BOD. This is not good, as it then increases the overall COD/BOD percentages of the overall palm oil effluent (POME) that is discharged into the ponds.
For example, the COD of normal effluent of 50,000ppm would be doubled as high as 100,000ppm; and the BOD value goes up from the usual 25,000ppm to almost 50,000ppm. Now, wastewater ponds at palm oil mills are originally designed for normal effluent upload of 25,000ppm BOD. With the increase of COD/BOD of the effluent discharged into the ponds, you can expect these ponds to be overloaded and the ponds will tend to sludge up in 1 year instead of 3 years. This poses a huge environmental problem as now palm oil millers find it difficult and costly to maintain the ponds while meeting the DOE’s discharge parameters.
With the AQUAECO–SRORS technology deployed at mills, even mills with EFB press will be able to discharge filtrate with lower COD/BOD than the initial raw sludge.
For example, a palm oil mill that record a 100,000ppm COD and 50,000ppm BOD in their effluent, will immediately see a reduction to a 30,000ppm COD and 15,000ppm BOD. At the same time, they will have a filtrate (the water component processed from the raw palm oil sludge) that is free from any suspended solids! In short, the AQUAECO–SRORS installation significantly reduces the toxicity levels of the effluents that the mill discharges into their ponds.