Washington-based engineering firm Janicki Bioenergy has developed an ingenious sewage sludge treatment plant, OmniProcessor.
According to a recent study, more than 2 billion people lack access to sanitation, thus are plagued with diseases. As many as 700,000 children die of diseases every year.
Though there are numerous technologies to manage proper disposal of human waste, these are limited only to cities in developed countries and are very expensive to set up in backward regions of Africa and Asia.
However, things are about to change soon thanks to this wonder OmniProcessor technology from Janicki Bioenergy, which can turn sewage waste into safe drinking water, generate electricity and make a profitable business out of it.
How OmniProcessor works?
The sewage sludge is let into the processor's large dryer tube, where it is boiled at 100 degrees Celsius. There the dry solids get separated from the water-vapor. Then the dry waste is fed to fire chamber as fuel to turn water vapour to steam, and this is fed to inbuilt steam-engine to generate electricity. This steam, at the end of the cycle is condensed back to water which is said to be as pure as distilled water.
Once operational, OmmiProcessor becomes self-sustained requiring just continuous supply of sludge. One of the by-product of sewage, the dry solids are used to fuel to power the fire-furnace, which in turn converts another byproduct water to steam to generate electricity.
The energy produced by the steam engine is sufficient to power the treatment plant for the next batch and the spare electricity can be diverted to the electricity companies, which delivers it to the city.
Janicki OmniProcessor test model measures 11.5m X 20m in size and can produce 86,000 litres of clean bio-safe water per day and is capable of generating 300 kW power output.
Is the OmniProcessor treated sewage water is safe enough for drinking?
Yes, absolutely. It is 100% safe. It is believed that sewage sludge usually contains 80% water and this when enters the OmniProcessor, it gets boiled at 100 degrees killing almost all pathogens, whereas vaporised water absolved of all germs is then condensed back to liquid form.
This process is similar to natural condensation process which takes place at oceans and seas off-land. Salty water gets transformed to vapour and when condensed in the air and falls back as rain, which is said to be the purest form of water (close to 99.9%).
[Note: People are warned not to drink rain water around nuclear plants, radioactive sites or any other man-made chemical factories since they release toxic fumes into the air which can contaminate the rain water.]
In OmniProcessor, after the condensation process, pH level of water is adjusted and then it is pushed through numerous filters for further purification. Its quality matches any bottled distiller water.
The drinking water produced by OmniProcessor has passed both United States FDA (Food and Drug Administration) and World Health Organisation standards, says the company.
Even the popular billionaire philanthropist, Bill Gates gave his stamp of approval by drinking water from treatment right in front of the cameras [check video below].
"The water tasted as good as any I've had out of a bottle. And having studied the engineering behind it, I would happily drink it every day. It's that safe," he said.
Impressed by this ingenious technology, he has already planning to fund this project via Gates Foundation's effort to improve sanitation in economically backward regions of Africa and Asia.
Checkout the official Bill Gate's tour of OmniProcessor plant detailing the treatment process:
OmniProcessor, a boon to all developing countries:
This simple, yet incredible technology has the potential to transform the standard of living in developing countries like India, which lack a proper sanitation facility in numerous villages and even cities.
This OmniProcessor sewage treatment plant technology can be used as a potent arsenal to drive the Central government's Clean India Mission- "Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan' and the ambitious river Ganga cleaning project.
Besides improving sanitation, it also has the potential to bring huge employment opportunities and as said before, excess power generated can be put back to the community.
It is also environment-friendly as it produces clean energy and less carbon foot-prints compared to coal-powered thermal electricity stations and nuclear power plants.
As a pilot project, government can install this OmniProcessor treatment plants in southern India, where most of the states depend on the rain-fed rivers for hydro-electricity. Bengaluru (Karnataka), the IT capital of India, faces constant power-cuts and severe garbage crisis throughout the year. If the government is really committed to finding an end to the waste-management problem in the city, we believe OmniProcessor is the solution.
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