CURRENTA - Newsback
10. May 2012
CHEMPARK operator CURRENTA showcases its range of services at IFAT Entsorga
New approaches support sustainable recycling
At IFAT Entsorga 2012, CURRENTA is training the spotlight on new recycling approaches for the reuse of complex composites. The chemical park operator is also demonstrating its expertise in the disposal of hazardous waste. At the three CHEMPARK sites in Leverkusen, Dormagen and Krefeld-Uerdingen, more and more material flows are being utilized in ways that turn a profit.
“Last year, CURRENTA recycled almost half of the waste streams produced at CHEMPARK and those accepted from the free market,” says Dr. Walter Leidinger, Head of CURRENTA Environment, at the environmental trade fair in Munich. The trade fair stand in Hall B1 (Stand 260) also features numerous other examples, such as the material recycling balance, the A++ climate protection program, energy-efficient wastewater treatment and the new schools laboratory in Leverkusen.
Diverse recycling processes for composites
Tests on used lithium-ion batteries have shown that these can also be thermally pretreated with a high level of efficiency. The batteries burst in the rotary kiln, the organic substances burn off and the battery housing is left, from which metals such as cobalt, copper, aluminum and steel can be safely recovered. CURRENTA will be presenting this new recycling process on June 5 and 6, 2012 at the official residence of the German Federal President in Berlin as part of the "Woche der Umwelt" (Week of the Environment).
CURRENTA offers a similar service for the automotive supplier industry, thermally pretreating hundreds of old engine parts containing electronic control elements each year. The metals are separated from the organic matter and energy generated in the process. These can then be recycled.
Energy efficiency of communal wastewater treatment plant improved by 30 percent
Technical optimizations in the last 10 years have improved the energy efficiency of the communal wastewater treatment plant in Leverkusen-Bürrig by around 30 percent. An analysis conducted by experts from the "Wupperverbandsgesellschaft für integrale Wasserwirtschaft" (Wupper association for integrated water management) (WiWmbH) has shown that the electricity consumption of the biological purification stage at the CHEMPARK Leverkusen site lies well below the reference values defined by the Environment Ministry of North Rhine-Westphalia. Following the most recent benchmark study, the treatment plant in Leverkusen-Bürrig was ranked in the top quartile of the most efficient wastewater treatment plants.
Crucial cooperation with universities
Intensive cooperation with universities and research institutes is essential for creating the foundation for further optimization. For example, the CURRENTA Environment and Analytics business units at the CHEMPARK Dormagen site have developed a test procedure for the protection of nitrification in a wastewater treatment plant. The sensor used in this process is now being optimized in cooperation with the University of Duisburg-Essen to warn of toxic wastewater streams in one to two hours. This may seem like a long time window, but experience has shown that it is sufficient for industrial wastewater treatment plants. Another example of successful cooperation with universities is the project conducted with the Cologne University of Applied Sciences to improve the control of Tower Biology using a fuzzy logic system. This way, air can be added to the biotowers on demand and with a high level of energy efficiency. In the future, the waste air purification process of the wastewater treatment plant is to be equipped with a regenerative thermal oxidizer (RTO). CURRENTA aims to use this project, developed in cooperation with the CUTEC Institute in Clausthal-Zellerfeld, to reduce its consumption of natural gas by 90 percent.
Climate protection made in CHEMPARK
At the start of 2012, CURRENTA had already reached 80 percent of its climate protection target set out in 2008 – to cut its annual CO2 emissions by 200,000 metric tons from 2013. The chemical park operator succeeded in cutting its own greenhouse gas emissions by around 13 percent. Good ideas from employees have also often resulted in high potential savings. Last year, CURRENTA saved more than EUR 2.11 million by implementing 1,636 improvements suggested by its employees. The CHEMPARK operator paid out around EUR 697,400 as rewards for these ideas. For example, staff at the wastewater treatment plant at the CHEMPARK Dormagen site came up with the idea of increasing the cleaning performance at peak loads by feeding in pure oxygen from a pipeline that crosses the CHEMPARK site. On average, this new process helps the treatment plant clean an extra three metric tons of organic carbon and two metric tons of nitrogen. This is equivalent to an increase of over 30 percent. Furthermore, an initiative submitted by plant staff to optimize flue gas scrubbing cut the electricity consumption of the hazardous waste incinerator at CURRENTA's waste management center in Leverkusen by up to 1,800 megawatt hours a year. This was made possible by dynamically adjusting the amount of rinsing water to the automatically measured amount of particles in the flue gases. In total, this reduced the operating costs by EUR 100,000 a year.
Raising awareness of recycling management and sustainability
The schools laboratory of chemical park operator CURRENTA, which was opened at the Bürrig waste management and recycling center in March 2012, aims to give school students an insight into the CHEMPARK world. This project makes the next generation of researchers aware of the diverse career opportunities on offer, explains production processes and provides them with an introduction to environmental protection. A total of 39 experiments pick up on, for example, the topic of recycling management and use practical examples from CHEMPARK and the Bürrig waste management and recycling center by way of explanation. This way, school students learn how substances are separated, chemical compounds created and salt solutions broken down using electricity. They also find out which raw materials and energy sources are needed at CHEMPARK to produce various chemicals on an industrial scale.
About CURRENTA Environment:
The Environment Business Unit of Currenta GmbH & Co. OHG, a joint venture between Bayer AG and LANXESS AG, specializes in all kinds of waste disposal and cleanup tasks. Its broad-ranging portfolio of services, which are delivered by around 600 environmental specialists, extends from the disposal of hazardous waste, the collection and recycling of waste, and wastewater treatment all the way through to the cleaning of large-scale containers, drums and tankers, the demand-based use of environmental technologies, and legal advice. These wide-ranging environmental services are available to customers at the three CHEMPARK sites in Leverkusen, Dormagen and Krefeld-Uerdingen as well as external customers in the chemical, steel, automotive and electronics industries inside and outside Germany.