Emschergenossenschaft and Lippeverband operate 59 wastewater treatment plants which produce approx. 100,000 Mg TS of sewage sludge each year. Using sludge pressure pipelines, about 60 % of this sludge are transported to the central sludge treatment plant in Bottrop. The digested sludges are conditioned using fine coal and polymers and are dewatered using membrane filters. By adding coal, the heating value of the sludge is raised which enables autothermal combustion of the dewatered sludges in fluidised bed furnaces at the central sludge treatment plant. In order to replace coal, a fossil fuel, as conditioning agent, experiments were conducted using alternative materials with high heating values. The addition of shredder fluff agglomerates proved to be particularly successful. Shredder fluff agglomerates are a residue from the recycling of used cars and are generated in a multistage process (e.g. Volkswagen-SiCon Process) by separating the light shredder fraction (plastic components etc.) from the total shredder fluff. The fibrous material is outstandingly suitable for improving the dewaterability and for sufficiently raising the heating value of the dewatered sludge in order to enable autothermal combustion. Since first experiments showed very positive results, a full-scale long-term test-run will take place in 2007.

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