US 20080209752 A1
The invention concerns the optimization of the design, manufacture and insertion of air ventilation pipes equipping air ventilation tiles and their associated plugs.
1. A device to distribute, draw in or blow out air, through an aeration bed (1), into waste, materials or products to be stabilised, dried, purified, composted or broken down, comprising: a multiplicity of aeration pipes (4), each pipe (4) comprising a multiplicity of aeration pipettes (5) coupled to the pipe (4) by a first extremity forming a bottom part of the pipette, with the opposite extremity forming a head of the pipette (5) which is oriented toward the top surface of the bed (1) so that the air flows through each pipe (4) and each pipette (5), and through the waste, materials or products, wherein the pipettes (5) of a given pipe (4) are manufactured from a single part and include, at the level of their bottom part, at least one fixing and clipping device (12) used to fix the pipette (5) to the pipe (4).
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This present invention concerns the areas of composting, the elimination of pollution, and the treatment of waste. Its main purpose is to improve composting processes and certain other processes associated with the elimination of pollution and the treatment of waste.
It is known that composting processes on an aeration bed improve the composting process and bring about a reduction in the length of the composting process. In this context, it is traditional to consider that the composting process is accelerated by virtue of the aeration bed, and that it can be divided into three phases, namely a first phase, known as fermentation, which traditionally lasts for about four weeks, a second phase, called maturation or secondary fermentation, which lasts for six to eight weeks, and finally a phase known as refining, which can last from several weeks to several months, with a view to refining the product and its commercialisation. It should be noted that the commercialisation of composts can also take place from the end of fermentation and or from the end of the maturation period, before it has been refined.
After the fermentation phase, the compost produces is described as “fresh”.
After the maturation phase, the compost produced is described as “mature”.
In practice, if one wishes to produce a “mature” compost, it is necessary to leave the compost to break down on the fermentation base and then on the maturation base, which in all is at least 10 weeks or even 12 weeks or longer, and to complete the aeration of the organic waste on the fermentation base, or on both of these bases (fermentation and maturation) through the complementary turning of the waste, using a machine of the loader or spinner type, at least during the maturation period or even the fermentation period.
It is also known that, in the context of composting processes on aeration beds, composting solutions have already been developed with maximum heap heights, recommended by the process inventors, of three metres, for green waste and the fermentable waste or biowaste, and maximum heap heights of two metres to two metres fifty for composted sludges.
It is further known that composting processes have recently been improved by technological innovations concerning measurement of the gas content in composting platforms (patent PCT FR 02 00039 dated 8 Jan. 2002 and entitled “An optimised device for discontinuous regulation and measurement of the content of oxygen or any other gas, in platforms used for composting or the treatment of waste”).
It is further known that other improvements have also been made to the design of the aeration beds, in particular by the design of modular devices and new clip systems for the design of aeration pipettes fitted to the main aeration pipes and installed in the aeration composting beds (patent PCT 03 01382 dated 2 May 2003 and entitled “Modulable and optimised installation for the composting of organic materials”).
The composting installations of prior art, and those installed with the last two technologies mentioned above, have different drawbacks which will be described in detail below.
Turning of the compost heaps is the standard technique in the area of composting and the treatment of certain waste materials (stabilisation of the refuse, elimination of pollution from polluted soil and earth, etc.) since this allows one to ensure consistently even breakdown of the organic material and purification of the latter in depth.
The recommended height of the compost heap on an aeration bed nevertheless remains limited to three metres for green waste, biowaste and fermentable waste, and to two metres fifty for sludges. Above this, the breakdown of the organic material is poor, since it is uneven due to variability of the air passages in the heaps.
The new technology of air sampling and measurement of the oxygen content has the drawback that it favours the appearance of condensation products in the intake pipes for sampling of the gases in each heap. Over time, the gas-sampling pipe fills up with condensation products and also clogs, preventing measurement gases from being monitored. In certain waste composting applications, the air drawn in from the sampling rods inserted into each compost heap, for measurement of the oxygen, transports organic particles or fine materials in suspension, which are able to form a sticky substance in the gas measuring pipe, which can prevent operation of the solenoid valves that control sampling of the gases under investigation.
In the design of the new platforms for the composting or for the treatment of certain waste materials, the distribution of air, and therefore the associated aeration bed, becomes a central element of the process. The result is an improvement in the aeration potential and the effectiveness of the base or bed, the flows in the latter, and even the design of the aeration pipes and the aeration pipettes associated with them become an important factor. In this context, it has appeared to be useful to make improvements to the design and the industrial manufacture of the aeration pipettes associated with the aeration bed.
It has become apparent that it is possible for the pipettes to become clogged at the head of each pipette, because of the waste present on the aeration bed, when this aeration bed is incorrectly constructed. This is the case in particular when the pipette heads are located above the top screed constituting the aeration bed, and not at the level of the latter. It has also been observed that, despite the securing clips of the pipette heads, there is a risk that the aeration pipettes can easily become detached from the aeration pipes, thereby rendering the formation of the bed more difficult.
In the composting processes, in particular of sludge and biowaste, the creation of a vacuum in the waste is the rule, and the need to deal with the foul air leads to the construction in particular either of biofilters or of the scrubbing towers, to deal with the air in particular, and also, though not exclusively, to deal with gases that contain ammoniac and/or sulphurs.
Regarding the biofilters, these are often equipped with a grating to support the biomass used to process the foul air. Certain manufacturers of composting systems have replaced the support grating by a ballast of angular stones similar to those used to support of the rails of railway lines (the ballast used by SNCF, the French national railway company). The sole function of this ballast is to support and holds the biomass, and/or to position the aeration pipes for distribution of the polluted air under the biomass.
The objective of this present invention is to overcome the drawbacks mentioned above, and to improve the design and the effectiveness both of the aeration bed and, in particular, of the aeration pipettes as well as the composting processes and the treatment of certain wastes.
The purpose of this present invention is to allow the production of a “mature” compost in eight weeks of fermentation and maturation, with no turning in the fermentation and maturation phase, and with no biofilter, in particular for the composting of green waste, biowaste and fermentable waste, and with no production of bad odours.
To this end, the installation of the invention includes an aeration bed that is composed of at least four aeration lines per fan, with a separation between the aeration lines of two metres at most, for the composting of green waste, biowaste and fermentable waste, with an obligatory covering of the waste in the fermentation and maturation phase of at least twenty to thirty centimetres of purified maturing and refining compost, by means of a composting process that functions principally by positive ventilation (blowing of air into the heap under pressure, and the absence of vacuum), with a composting process that is organised in the form of tubular rather than trapezoidal heaps, with a regular separation between the aeration pipettes for distribution of the air, at the level of each (equidistant) aeration line, and therefore a separation between the aeration pipettes that does not vary regardless of the distance between the fan and the linear aeration that constitutes the aeration bed, with a distance between the aeration pipettes of the order of 20 centimetres.
This present invention has the additional objective of efficiently dealing with heights or depths of waste that are greater than those handled up to the present, while also dispensing with any turning during the phases known as fermentation and maturation, and of achieving this without the production of bad odours, and therefore with no biofilter.
In this context, the height of the waste to be composted will no longer be of the order of three metres but even four metres for green waste, biowaste and fermentable waste, and two metres sixty-five for composted sludges.
The length of each linear aeration arrangement can be at least forty metres from the composting machinery, which is at least four times forty metres per fan with a power rating of more than 5 and less than 6 kW, making a total of one hundred and sixty metres of aeration pipes per fan at this level of power.
Parallel to this, whatever the type of waste treated, consideration has been given to the design of tubular aeration pipettes which are in a single piece, fitted with securing clips, these pipettes being inserted directly on the aeration pipes.
Parallel to this, and according to another particular method of manufacture of the aeration pipettes, consideration has also been given to the production of a hollow tube directly.
According to one possible embodiment of the aeration pipette, the manufactured pipette includes a clip in its lower part. According to a second possible method for the design of the aeration pipette, the clip can include at least one notch or cut or even several notches or several cuts, in order to further improve the retention of the clip of the aeration pipette in the main air distribution pipe to which the aeration pipettes are clipped.
According to a second possible design method, complementary to the first method of design of the aeration pipette, the latter can also include a thread to enable the insertion of a plug of the threaded type, into the upper part of the aeration pipette. It is this solid, threaded plug that will then be drilled after formation of the concrete bed. The purpose of this thread is to enable the replacement of any traditional plug inserted into, or located within the pipette head.
In the context of the aeration pipette with threading of it upper part, it is intended that the depth of the thread in the pipette head should be exactly equal to the thickness of the threaded plug. The firsts drilling tests on the threaded plugs showed in fact that when the thread of the aeration pipette has a thread depth that is greater than the thickness of the threaded plug, then during the drilling out of the threaded plug, the latter is pushed into the pipette head. This pushing inward of the threaded plug then obliges the operator to re-screw and re-position all the aeration plugs that have been pushed into the aeration pipette head, level with the top part of the concrete screed, and this very constraining.
Usually, the bed is formed at the level of the heads of aeration pipettes in order to avoid the clogging problems associated with the processing of the waste. In fact, when the plug is positioned level with the concrete bed, the air pressure is easily able to expel any pieces of sludge and fine particles clogging the air distribution holes of the aeration pipettes.
Normally, the formation of the concrete over large areas cannot ensure that all of the pipette heads will be positioned level with the concrete screed. They can therefore be buried several millimetres or even some centimetres under the concrete. The pipette heads must then be uncovered so that they can be drilled out. This then creates a space of a few millimetres or centimetres forming a volume between the top level of the concrete screed and the buried aeration pipette head. During the operation of the platform, this space fills up with sludge or fine particles, resulting in plugging of the buried aeration pipette head. The aeration pipette then becomes unfit for its purpose. In order to remedy this situation, a new type of threaded plug has been designed that allows errors due to formation of the concrete to be corrected.
Likewise, for the aeration beds intended for use in the design of biofilters, another type of threaded plug has been considered, in which the shape of the top part is raised in relation to the concrete screed, and whose shape is more particularly sloped or even rounded or conical, thus avoiding the risk of clogging of the pipettes in the long term, associated with the breakdown over time of the organic biomass.
According one particular method of design of these threaded plugs, they are manufactured from a threaded rod of greater length that the threaded original plug inserted in the pipette head. The threaded rod is directly cut to the correct height so that the resulting aeration plug will be positioned level with the concrete screed. This positioning of the threaded plug eliminates the risk of later clogging. The plug, level with the concrete screed, is then drilled to allow distribution of the air. In a second possible method for the design of the threaded plugs, they can include a reaming or hollowing out at the lower end of the plug, of larger diameter than the air distribution hole (in the internal position of the pipette), thus reducing the thickness of the plug, between the air distribution chamber created for the tube of the aeration pipette and the top part of the plug in contact with the waste.
The purpose of this reduction in the thickness of the plugs is to improve the effectiveness of the expulsion of any pieces of organic particles or sludges that may have plugged the holes in the said aeration pipettes.
In parallel with the above, another innovation has been introduced for monitoring the processing in platforms for the composting and treatment of waste. This involves installing, on the devices for regulation and measurement of the gases, and in particular for measurement of oxygen or any other gas, a filter for trapping of the dampness and of the particles drawn in by the intake pump of the measurement and air-sampling device. This filter is installed at the level of each of the intake pipes of the air drawn into in each heap, at the position where the air is sampled for the said gas measurement. The result is pipes that are clean and free of condensation products, and which are fit for reliable measurement the gases to be analysed.
Again in parallel with the above, it is also planned to install, in addition to the gas measurement device, a compressor for the production of compressed air. The purpose of this compressor is to regularly purge the condensation products present in the pipes used to transport the air drawn in by the air pump, toward the probes for measurement of the gases analysed. The transmission of air in the gas measurement and sampling pipes is controlled by a solenoid valve which is timed or controlled by the automatic process control system. The compressor can take the place of filters installed on the pipes for analysis of the gas or gases.
According to one possible method for installation of the waste composting or treatment process, which combines the compressor and the trapping filters (using a number of filters that is determined according to the number of heaps in which gas analysis is effected), short-circuiting of the filter installed on the gas sampling or analysis piping is effected using an additional pipe installed as a bypass to the pipe feeding the filter, for each filter installed. Each of these additional pipes, installed as bypasses, is equipped with a non-return valve, so that the air blown in by the compressor is able to escape and not be blocked or impeded by the installed filter. This filter is intended to operate in the direction opposite to the direction of transmission of the air supplied periodically by the compressor. The compressor sends the air from the compressor toward the compost heap in order to purge the pipe of sampling air. On the other hand, the gas measurement pump draws in the air coming from each heap, which it draws toward itself and then transmits to the probes, which it supplies with air. This drawn-in air therefore moves in the reverse direction to that sent by the compressor.
In parallel with the above, the inventors have also discovered that in those composting platforms fitted with biofilters, it is possible and more economic to dispense with the gratings traditionally employed to support the biomass, and to replace them with ballast. In this context, the manufacturers of platforms traditionally use very economical ballasts that are composed of crushed and angular stones such as those used to limit vibration of the rails during the passage of the trains (the ballast used on railway lines).
The inventors have discovered that it is advantageous to use not a ballast of crushed and angular stones but rather special ballasts composed of cobblestones (meaning ballast composed of stones that are rolled, blunted and of generally rounded shape such as those that are produced in some fast-running rivers or at the seaside).
In this context, the inventors have discovered that the cobblestones result in a better distribution of the air in the biofilter, since they form a perfectly cellular structure, in contrast to the angular stones. These cobblestones thus provide the right conditions for correct distribution of the foul air under the biomass. The inventors have also demonstrated that this ballast of cobblestones also behaves as the equivalent of the structures that are currently installed within scrubbing towers.
In fact, the ballasts composed of cobblestones favour the fixing of the bacteria in a manner that is similar to the cellular structures placed in the said scrubbing towers.
Moreover, on contact with the damp air, the ballast of cobblestones also favours condensation of the vapour in the said ballast, and converts it to water.
The condensation of the vapour into water limits or even stops the distribution of these vapours outside the biofilter. It should be remembered in particular that part of the bad odours is located in contact with the water molecules. Part of these bad odours can therefore be transported by this condensation water which will be trapped and run off into the ballast of cobblestones rather than escaping to the exterior.
Moreover, if the damp air carried in the cobblestone ballast is acid, then the resulting acid water then flowing in the ballast can also be compared to the equivalent of a conventional scrubbing process of the type employed in a so-called acid scrubbing tower. The advantage of the ballast is then that it improves the treatment of the air and allows an improved reduction of certain malodorous molecules, and in particular in air that is loaded with ammoniac.
The results regarding the purification of the air in biofilters that are made up using cobblestone ballast are therefore superior to those obtained in the case of biofilters constructed with gratings or simply using a ballast of the type used for the construction of railway track (ballast of angular stones).
Advantageously, according to another possible method for the design of the biofilter with cobblestone ballast, a device for the distribution of liquids, either of the acids or alkaline type, can also be installed above the cobblestone ballast, directly between the top part of the cobblestones and the biomass or in the biomass itself, or directly on the biomass above the biofilter. This device, combined with the cobblestone ballast, then allows distribution of the liquid, whether acid or alkaline, or combined with a cocktail of enzymes or bacteria, according to the type of air to be treated, and thus improves the reduction of the bad odours.
In addition to the traditional purification function of the biofilter, this device can thus be used to achieve a second purification function of the air to be purified. The biofilter then behaves as an improved biofilter by virtue of the cobblestone ballast. It also behaves like a simplified, though quite functional, scrubbing tower. The biofilter thus has a double purification function, namely original and new.
Other characteristics and advantages of the invention will emerge more clearly from the description that follows, and which is provided by way of an unlimited guide, with reference to the appended figures, in which:
The descriptions that follow refer to
The installation includes an aeration bed (1) composed of one or more fans (2). Each fan (2) performs the distribution of air in the aeration bed (1) via a minimum of four aeration lines (3) per fan (2). Each aeration line (3) is equipped with main aeration pipes (4) into which are inserted the aeration pipettes (5) for the distribution of air. The aeration pipettes (5) are spaced at intervals of about 20 centimetres, all along the main aeration lines (4). The separation between each of the main aeration lines (4) is two metres at most. The heaps of waste (6), made up in a tubular (7) and not trapezoidal manner, are progressively covered during the filling and creation of the fermentation heaps, consisting of twenty to thirty centimetres of purified maturation or refining compost (8). The composting process is monitored by measuring the temperature, and also by measuring the oxygen in the heap. Each main aeration pipe (4) can distribute the air up to a distance of 40 metres, giving a cumulative total length of 160 metres at most, by means of fans (2). The fan assemblies (2) are of the high power variety, with a consumed power per fan (2) of between 5 and 6 kW. The height of the waste that can be composted can easily reach 4 metres. The effectiveness of the aeration system associated with the aeration bed (1) is such that the waste can be composted with no turning during a period of eight weeks, during which they are left on the aeration bed (1), during which the process control means that the heap can be supplied continuously with oxygen, and so that the waste remains in an environment that is totally aerobic, while never allowing the level of oxygen measured in the waste to fall below a rate of 8% in comparison with the quantity of 21% of oxygen present in the air, this reduced level of 8% oxygen being due to the consumption of oxygen by the bacteria present in the waste, in the course of the fermentation and/or maturation phase. This process allows the production of a mature compost (by reference to the Solvita test) by the end of this eight-week period, compared to the usual twelve weeks. It is a process that requires no turning, is free of odour, and does not require the use of tarpaulins to cover the waste. The main air distribution pipes (4) are a minimum of 160 mm in diameter. The bends in the pipes (9) associated with the fans (2) for distribution of the air are of large turning radius, of the 5D type, in order to limit the pressure drops. The first manifold (10) for distribution of the air leaving the fan (2) allows a balanced distribution of the air, with 50% of the air volume sent to each of the two secondary pipes dividing the air between the two secondary manifolds (11). The two secondary air distribution manifolds (11) also effect a 50-50 split between the four main aeration pipes (4) for distribution of the air under the aeration bed (1). The process concerned preferably functions by blowing under pressure so as to allow maximum aeration effectiveness to be achieved. The process also functions as a “pressure chamber”, guaranteeing the same pressure and the same quantity of air distributed at the level of each aeration pipette (5), to each point of the compost heap (6). All the parameters associated with breakdown of the waste within the heap (6) are thus virtually the same, namely the same degree of maturation and therefore the same temperature of the compost produced at any given moment for the similar mixtures of waste made up into heaps (6).
According to one particular embodiment of the invention represented by
According to this particular embodiment, the aeration pipette (5) can be mass produced by a process involving the injection of plastic materials in a mould.
According to a second particular embodiment of the aeration pipettes (5), the latter can be manufactured from a simple hollow tube (16), as shown in
The tube (16) can be also be manufactured from other suitable materials such as resin or glass fibre though not excluding others. The tube (16) can be processed so as to allow the formation, in its lower part, of a clip (12) as represented in
According to a variant of implementation of the clip, as represented in
According to a variant of implementation of the aeration pipette (5), as represented in
In this context, the thread created (14) will be located inside the tube (16). According to a preferred a embodiment of the invention, as represented in
According to a preferred embodiment of the threaded plug (15), the latter will be manufactured from a solid tube which is then machined for creation of the internal thread, or even from a full rod which is directly threaded and cut to the desired length.
According to one particular embodiment of a special plug (17), as represented in
According to one particular embodiment of a special plug (20), as represented in
The top part of the plug, as represented in
According to a variant applicable to the creation of all these plug types, such as that presented in
The thickness of the reamed plug (25) should be at least three or even four millimetres so as not to be too fragile, and in order to cope with the passage of machines over the aeration bed (1).
Regarding sampling of the gases, for their analysis and for monitoring the composting or waste treatment processes, the installation as represented in
The installation described above, and as represented in
The compressor (33) will preferably be installed upstream of the air pump (30) and downstream of the solenoid valves (34) used to control the intake of the gases, in such a manner that it is also able to clean the latter because of the cleaning effect of the compressed air injected into the pipe used to sample the gases analysed (28).
It goes without saying that the installation, as represented in
In this context, the installation is then equipped with an additional pipe (36) used to short-circuit the filter (29) when the compressor (33) is operating. This pipe (36) is also equipped with a non-return valve (37), forcing the air drawn in by the pump (30) for sampling of gases to be analysed to pass via the filter for trapping of the condensation products (29).
The composting installation can then also be equipped with biofilters (34), as presented in
In a variant, the biofilter (34) can be equipped, between the cobblestone ballast (39) and the biomass (38), with a device for the distribution of acid or alkaline liquids (40), or of enzyme or bacteria cocktails.
It goes without saying that the liquid distribution device (37) can be placed directly between the cobblestone ballast (39) and the biomass (38) or even within the biomass or on the latter. The improved biofilter (34) will therefore have a purification function of the scrubbing tower type, in addition to its biofilter function.
The device for the distribution of the liquid or liquids (40) or of the cocktails of enzymes or bacteria, can be of the sprinkler-bar type, though not exclusively so. It goes without saying that all these innovations can be used individually or in combination in the composting processes or for the elimination of pollution and the treatment of waste.