BioSuck – an international research project

BioSuck is an EU-funded project of an international group consisting of IWR GmbH, Fraunhofer UMSICHT, the Norwegian University of Science and Technology Trondheim (NTNU) and the Institute for Ecology of Industrial Areas Katowice (IETU) lead by the Ministry of the Environment of Poland.

The project’s goals are a reduction of the high amount of wastewater in the food processing industry, optimising the reuse of valuable waste materials as well as raising awareness for a more conscious approach to their handling.

Pneumatic sewer systems allow for the hygienic transport of enormous amounts of refuse materials while using far less water (50–80%, depending on the industry). Reducing a company’s overall water consumption not only is positive in regard to sustainability but also saves costs. Through concentrating waste materials via pneumatic drainage and the separation of distinct material flows, the subsequent reuse of the waste is optimised according to the principle of a circular economy.

Possible uses of residual waste are incineration, fermentation to biogas or bioethanol or conversion into a brown coal substitute via hydrothermal carbonisation (HTC). Processing of waste materials also makes possible a direct recirculation into the particular industry or their use as a basic material for fertiliser.

A decision support system (DSS) grounded in data from literature, spectral analyses and case studies is intended to analyse a company’s processes in view of the applicability of BioSuck and the suitable use of waste materials while also highlighting areas for improvement.

Advantages of pneumatic drainage over gravity drainage are, besides the optimisation of waste recycling and the reduction of water use and costs, first, the small diameter of the pipes, which allows the use of existing service ducts, and second, the ability to install it independently of the ground’s gradient, which greatly reduces the effort for adjustments of the system. The pneumatic system prevents odour pollution through water leaks and enables the hygienic diversion of waste.

IWR GmbH’s focus in this project lies on the planning and dimensioning of a pneumatic system for its use in the food processing industry.

The project BioSuck is supported by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research and was represented at IFAT, World’s Leading Trade Fair for Water, Sewage, Waste and Raw Materials Management, in May 2016.