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Bord na Móna’s Clean Air Business – A Progress Report

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Ian Phillips, Section Manager

Taken from Scéal na Móna, Vol. 13, no. 64, December 2007, p40-41.

A review of Environmental complaints to regulatory bodies, Environmental Protection Agencies and Local Authorities will quickly reveal that odour complaints are the most prominent.

The Bord na Móna "Clean Air" Business unit has its headquarters in Newbridge. The Irish office is responsible for the Irish market and research and process development. I am its Section Manager and am assisted by Imelda Egan, Jim Fitzgerald, Peter Quinn and Ann McGuinness. The business unit is also responsible for technical support for all air businesses and new business development.

The UK market is serviced from its offices in Birmingham which is managed by Bob Maloney and his team, Bryan Organ, Andy Carter, Frank Pietrzak, Martyn Cooke, Paul de Claire, John Wakeman and Vera Ward.

The Italian market is managed by our Italian Agents, "Air Clean" which has an outlet in Milan. This is a family owned business run by father and son, Mssr Dominic and Paolo Caruson.

Since the early nineties Bord na Móna has been at the forefront of providing biological solutions for the treatment of odour emissions from municipal wastewater treatment plants and industrial processes. In addition, with over twenty reference plants in Italy on emissions from composting, Bord na Móna has also considerable experience in treating emissions from municipal solid waste treatment plants.

Since commencing the "Clean Air" business Bord na Móna has successfully completed over five hundred odour control installations in Ireland, UK, Italy, France, Spain, Portugal, Malta, Cyprus and Greece, Hong Kong, Korea, and Australia.

On the home front, Bord na Móna has recently been awarded a number of large odour control projects including the sewerage pump station bundles in Meath for "Response Engineering" and a project to treat odour in a creamery in Newmarket.

The UK office has just successfully completed a significant upgrade for "Kemfine" in Scotland treating solvent emissions from its wastewater treatment plant. Also, a successful pilot study for "Corus (British Steel)”, on paint booth emissions should deliver a further significant contract.

On the international front, the most recent overseas contract is a large odour control filter currently being installed to treat air from the largest sewerage pumping station in Northpoint, Hong Kong. With its Italian partner "Air Clean", Bord na Móna has just completed supplying filters for odour control for a rendering plant in Madrid. Currently, 3,800 cubic metres of our patented MONAFIL media is being shipped to Italy for a large waste composting plant in Rome.

Biofilters were originally developed from soil filters, in which odorous air was passed through a bed of soil, odours were removed by the action of specific bacteria. Early systems were not ideal because the soil could dry out and its nature led to channelling, uneven distribution and poor treatment.

Improved media selection, such as peat/heather mixes and granular products such as Bord na Móna's MONAFIL, over­came these problems by offering higher specific surface area, higher void volume, good water retention and drainage characteristics and good adsorption properties.

MONAFIL (patented) is crushed and graded fraction of traditional (high density) sod peat. The product often referred to as 'Nodules' or 'Nuggets' are in the particle size of 10-20 mm.

High quality MONAFIL material has been used for a number of years in Italy for the treatment of air from composting of municipal waste processes. One of the earliest and largest of these MONAFIL biofilters was installed in the composting plant which treated most of the organic waste from the city of Milan.

The disposal of municipal solid waste in Milan became a critical issue in the 1990s. The municipality leased a site near the centre of the city to four private companies to install four composting plants on the site. As the site was very close to residential areas, very severe odour limits were imposed by the environmental agency (200OU/M3 at the biofilter outlet).

MONAFIL was first installed in biofilters in France in 1990. Since then the media has proven itself in many applications, in particular, air emissions treatment from Municipal Solid Waste.

"Smells and Shells"

Bord na Móna's patented MONASHELL process uses a by-product of the shellfish processing industry -sea shells. This media has a chemical attraction for hydrogen sulphide, the main offending odour emitted from wastewater. This technology (with hundreds of references) is particularly well suited to applications on sewage treatment plants.

The physical shape, size and rigidity render it highly effective as a filter packing. Also, the calcium content and makeup of the media renders it ideal for pH control.

The shell process is well established as a proven technology. It is also effective on more difficult organic sulphur compounds. More recently the technology has been developed for treatment for of high levels of VOC’s (solvents) on coating and printing applications.

In the realm of biological odour and air emissions control Bord na Móna has led the field for the past 15 years. In the markets where we operate, due to a combination of our excellent technologies and systems know-how we are consistently regarded as market leaders.

Our international client list covers all the major utility groups, international petrochemical and pharmaceutical companies and all the regional authorities in Ireland and the United Kingdom.

The future plan for the business is to exploit our patented technology, process know-how and excellent client reference and introduce our technology to the US. In addition, we intend to expand our business into the emerging solid waste sector and continue to develop the industrial side of our business and fully exploit the media replacement and service opportunity on the many hundreds of installations we have in place.

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