Concrete jungle: Lincom Group

Lincom Group’s Concrete Washout Reclaim plant is allowing recyclers to recover sand, water and aggregates for reuse while reducing waste storage areas and handling costs. 

Recovering sand, water and aggregates for beneficial reuse and minimising waste storage and handling costs have been on the agenda of Lincom Group over the past year.

The materials processing equipment specialist recently created a new division – environment and process – to go beyond its capabilities and establish a strong position in the water filtration and water management sector.

Pete Godwin, previously an independent filtration and dewatering consultant, was brought on full-time to lead Lincom’s new environment and process division as manager. Pete says that developing a product with Lincom allows it to service a greater proportion of the market.

“We’re doing something very separate and distinct from the normal sand and aggregates business. The solutions our new division offers are appropriate not just for sand and aggregates, but we’re now servicing a much wider market in food, wastewater treatment, tailings, minerals and a variety of other areas,” Pete explains.

After extensive research and testing, the company developed its concrete washout reclaim system – a Rapid Reclaimer and OFS filter press. The winningcombination allows concrete recyclers to capture clean sand, aggregates and water for further reuse.

Lincom Group recently put on a demonstration day at the Firth Concrete yard in February in Auckland – the largest national manufacturer of ready mixed concrete.

The well attended demonstration allowed attendees to gain a close-up glimpse of the Lincom concrete washout reclaim system.

Pete says feedback from customers was highly positive with a significant number of New Zealand and Australian customers impressed with its capabilities. He says customers were particularly drawn to the high quality of water.

Notably, Pete says the system reduces the footprint for concrete reclaim significantly.

“The reclaimer was around 30 years ago and the world seemed to lost interest for a time, but right now it’s on the top of everyone’s list,” Pete says.

“The prices of real estate in New Zealand and Sydney are a big driver for this because they can get more work out of a much smaller yard by having just a filter press and a reclaimer.

“If it costs one or two million for a block of land in Auckland, you can take a third of that off because of more efficient use of space.”

The Germany-designed and manufactured OFS recessed chamber filter press uses a proved solid/liquid separation technology. Unlike a traditional settling pond system with its large footprint, the filter press is a much more compact solution where the dirty water is pumped from the agitated storage pond, through the press, then back into a clean water pit.

“The rain that falls from the sky ends up going through the same process so it’s a big general clean-up of the area. Concrete plants spend all day hosing due to the dust created and they use large quantities of water to allay the dust,” Pete explains.

“We’ve reduced the dust from breaking up dry waste concrete. If you can reclaim the concrete at its wet stage there is no dust generated, so environmentally that’s a good thing.”

Pete says that concrete plants used to have large settling ponds that would take up excessive amounts of space with cement and stone settling to the bottom. After a week, they would pump out the water and recover sand and aggregates that emerged as a waste product.

He says the reclaimer has a better washing capability than other competitors and places solids into two distinct piles. Other machines may use one pile.

“When the aggregates come out, they are clean. If I pick up a handful of aggregate, there is no colour on my hand – it’s just clean water.”

The rapid concrete washout reclaim unit takes the waste concrete and deconstructs it back into base sand and aggregate components.

The OFS filter system recovers grey water by filtering and compressing dewatered cement fines into manageable “cake” form, solving a variety of issues for concrete producers.

The rapid reclaimer is capable of processing up to 20 cubic metres of concrete slurry per hour.

The reclaimer discharges the cementitious water into the dirty water pit where it’ss continually stirred to keep the spent cement fine particles in suspension. The clean water, known as filtrate, is captured and returned to a clean water pit for use in further concrete batches and reuse in the reclaimer’s washing and separation process.

Sand and aggregates are separated within the reclaimer, with the dewatered sand conveyed by twin hydraulic screws to one pile, while the washed aggregates exit via a belt conveyor to another separate pile. The cementitious water overflows the adjustable weirs and is piped via gravity to an agitated storage pond.

At the end of the cycle, filter cakes fall into the void below the filter press where they are removed as waste or for beneficial reuse.

In tailings and water management, Pete also predicts that centrifuges will continue to garner additional interest in waste and recycling applications into the future, as they are traditionally being used by many major water authorities at this time.

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Cairns material recovery facility receives $6.9 million for upgrades

Cairns’ material recovery facility will soon have double the processing capacity after a $6.9 million award for upgrade works.

The facility will receive $3 million from round four of the Queensland Government’s $295 million Building our Regions (BoR) program, and $3 million from Cairns Regional Council.

Member for Cairns Michael Healy said the facility improvements would lead to better recovery and recycling results for Cairns, and support more than 22 jobs during upgrade works.

“The upgraded infrastructure will allow the facility to double its processing capacity to 30,000 tonnes of recycling,” Mr Healy said.

“This will see a significant jump in waste diversion from landfill, which will increase to a whopping 90 per cent – up 40 per cent from current figures.”

Mr Healy said work would soon begin to extend the receival hall, with a new glass sorting and processing plant to follow.

“Reducing landfill waste aligns with the state governments objectives, as well as our new resource recovery and waste strategy, and Queensland’s Container Deposit Scheme,” Mr Healy said.

State Development Minister Cameron Dick said local recycling opportunities created by the upgraded facility would be significant.

“We’ll see more items collected locally, diverted from landfill and, where viable, recycled – all here in Cairns,” Mr Dick said.

“This is a smart, circular approach that will raise the quality of recycling in our state and give us better access to relevant global export markets.”

Mr Dick said the scaled-up facility will help lessen the region’s environmental footprint and lower the cost of recycling for the far north.

“It will also potentially allow the city to participate in recycling collection services from other local governments and commercial premises,” Mr Dick said.

Cairns Regional Council Mayor Bob Manning said the new infrastructure would increase the facility’s viability, and create an economic opportunity to decrease waste while improving recycling rates.

“We know our community takes its environmental responsibilities seriously given where we live. This much needed upgrade to the material recovery facility will provide fantastic benefits to Cairns and the region,” Mr Manning said.

“It will not only allow us to significantly increase the recovery rate of recyclables, but also as a consequence significantly reduce the amount of waste needing to go to landfill.”

Round 4 of BoR will see the state government partner with 37 councils on 49 projects, work Mr Manning said would create an estimated 657 jobs.

Under previous rounds, the program has allocated $225 million to 174 critical infrastructure projects across the state generating 1762 jobs and attracting additional investment of $353.5 million from councils and other organisations.

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Cleanaway unveils new optical container sorting facility

Cleanaway has officially opened its new automated optical Container Sorting Facility at Eastern Creek, NSW.

The facility initially opened on 1 December 2017 and included a manual sorting line, which used magnetic sorting and manual picking to separate steel, aluminium, cartons and plastics with a capacity of 1.5 tonnes per hour.

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With construction of the new automated sorting line completed, the facility now has a capacity of eight tonnes per hour.

Optical sorters used in the plant identify containers based on their material type at thousands of reads per minute with air jets being used to separate them for compaction and baling.

These baled materials are then distributed domestically and internationally to be recycled back into food grade containers.

Since beginning operation last year, the facility has processed most of the 900 million containers collected by the NSW Return and Earn scheme.

The NSW Government’s scheme aims to reduce the volume of litter across the state by providing a 10-cent refund for each eligible container returned.

Cleanaway CEO and Managing Director Vik Bansal said schemes such as Return and Earn require the community to pre-sort containers for recycling, reducing the level of contamination at the source.

“With the new sorting technology installed at this facility, we are now able to improve the quality of the commodity streams even further,” Mr Bansal said.

“The Eastern Creek Container Sorting Facility is a critical part of our Footprint 2025. We’re committed to putting the infrastructure and facilities in place to deal sustainably with Australia’s waste, well into the future.”

Mr Bansal says the challenges facing the waste industry over the past 12 months have changed the way Australians view waste.

“It is more important than ever before that we work together to address these challenges. Return and Earn is a great example of that,” he said.

“It has been encouraging to see so many people getting involved and increasing the amount of recyclables being sorted at the source.

Coupled with a better network of facilities to sort the containers collected, we can produce commodity streams which are in demand, meaning more items are being recycled into new products,” Mr Bansal said.

NSW Environment Minister Gabrielle Upton said the Return and Earn had been a great success, reducing litter across NSW by a third.

“I commend the people of NSW and congratulate Cleanaway on their state of the art facility that supports Return and Earn to provide a smart solution to reduce litter in NSW and contribute to a more sustainable future,” Ms Upton said.

City of Ballarat signs waste to energy agreement with MRCB

A due diligence study can now be undertaken for the construction of a $300 million municipal waste to energy plant in the Ballarat West Employment Zone.

It comes as a result of the City of Ballarat signing a Waste to Energy Heads of Agreement with the Malaysian Resources Corporation Berhad (MRCB).

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The City of Ballarat has been planning for a waste to energy facility for five years, which would divert 60 per cent of the city’s waste into an energy source for industries and reduce the current regional landfill’s environmental impacts.

Currently, 30,000 tonnes of waste are deposited in the landfill each year, with waste disposal costing more than $18 million per year.

It is estimated that the plant would increase the size of Ballarat’s economy by $202 million through building and flow on effects, with about 420 jobs created during construction and 120 ongoing jobs.

MRCB’s technology partner, Babcock and Wilcox Volund, built its first waste to energy plant in 1931 and has gone on to build more in the United States, China, Sweden, Ireland, Denmark, Malaysia and Korea.

City of Ballarat Mayor Cr Samantha McIntosh said the Western region was already a leader in renewable energy production, particularly wind energy, but this announcement would further enhance its standing.

“Signing this Heads of Agreement means we are one significant step closer to a Waste to Energy plant in Ballarat that would be a regional solution to our waste reduction issues while providing an affordable and reliable energy source,” Cr McIntosh said.

“It would also be a driving force in attracting industries and employment to BWEZ by delivering a uniquely competitive advantage.”

“We will also maintain our commitment to minimising waste through continual education about re-use and recycling.”

MRCB’s Group Managing Director Imran Salim arrived from Kuala Lumpur to witness the Heads of Agreement signing by Ravi Krishnan, CEO of MRCB International.

“MRCB is delighted to be in Ballarat and looks forward to working closely with the City of Ballarat and the wider community on providing a world class facility,” Mr Salim said.

CEFC finance composting facility for Melbourne councils

Organic waste from eight Melbourne councils will be sent to a new composting facility, to be built by international waste management company Sacyr Group.

The Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) will commit up to $35 million towards the new composting facility.

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The $65 million South Eastern Organics Processing Facility will be the most advanced of its type in Victoria and will produce approximately 50,000 tonnes of high grade compost each year.

The compost will be made from processed household garden and food waste from council kerbside green waste collections in Melbourne’s south-east, which will then be used on local parks and gardens.

Food and green waste makes up an estimated 42 per cent of landfill for Australia’s municipal and commercial waste streams.

The Melbourne councils include Bayside, Cardinia, Casey, Frankston, Glen Eira, Greater Dandenong, Kingston and Monash.

Sacyr expects the fully-enclosed, in-vessel aerobic composting and maturation plant will be operational by mid-2019. It will aim to operate for 15 years, with a potential five-year extension.

The new facility will have an annual processing capacity of 120,000 tonnes of waste each year, the equivalent of 12,000 truckloads of waste. It is expected to abate more than 65,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions annually. This would cut the greenhouse gas emissions from landfill by 85 per cent if it were to be landfilled, which is equivalent to taking 13,900 cars off the road.

Sacyr Group has built 48 plants around the world and handles more than three million tonnes of waste each year. It currently operates in Australia through its subsidiary, Sacyr Water, which has built and operates the Binningup desalination plant.

The technology used in the plant has been developed over two decades, ensures plant storage reservoirs are completely closed, and uses efficient and reliable deodorisation systems.

Federal Government  Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg said converting waste to compost can play a part in Australia’s long-term waste solutions.

“This facility alone, which will be the most advanced of its type in Victoria, can process around 12,000 truckloads of waste per year,” Mr Frydenberg said.

“It means food and organic waste produced by south east Melbourne residents will not end up in landfill and will instead produce high-grade compost for our gardens and parks.”

CEFC CEO Ian Learmonth said the corporation is looking across the economy to identify finance opportunities to reduce Australia’s emissions.

“We’re pleased to be making our first project investment to help councils and communities tackle emissions from their organic waste,” he said.

“When organic waste such as food and green waste ends up in landfill it breaks down and produces methane. With this technology, councils can avoid those emissions by turning their organic waste into reusable compost, while also reducing our unsustainable reliance on landfill as a waste disposal option.

“We strongly endorse the principle of avoiding and reducing waste at the source. Our finance is about effectively manage the remaining waste, so that it doesn’t end up as landfill and we make a meaningful difference to our greenhouse gas emissions,” Mr Learmonth said.

CEFC Bioenergy Sector lead Henry Anning said the CEFC finance model for the Melbourne project was an industry first, providing councils with access to a project financing structure that has rarely been leveraged across local government.

“Australia’s waste sector is facing enormous challenges, because of the growing amount of waste we produce as well as increasing community concerns about the way we handle that waste. This new Melbourne facility provides us with a practical and proven way to turn organic waste into a reusable commodity at the same time as avoiding harmful emissions,” Mr Anning said.

“We expect to see more councils and communities consider innovative ways to manage all forms of waste. This innovative project finance model offers opportunities for other groups of councils considering investing in substantial waste management infrastructure to reduce landfill waste.”

New mercury treatment plant to eliminate contaminated exports

One of the largest mercury treatment facilities in the southern hemisphere has opened and will eliminate the need to export mercury-contaminated waste from Australia.

Located in Karratha, Western Australia, the Contract Resources’ Gap Ridge Processing Facility is capable of handling all mercury contaminated waste produced by Australia’s oil and gas sector into the foreseeable future.

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It also fulfils the Australia’s obligations under the Basel Convention, an international treaty designed to reduce the movements of hazardous waste between countries.

Contract Resources Chief Executive Adam Machon said the facility sets the international benchmark for best-practice in safe and efficient mercury waste management and recycling of all elements for alternate use. He says it helps avoid the need for mercury contaminated landfill or further processing, as required by other technologies.

“Through combining the world’s best practice processing technologies and Contract Resources’ 30 years of industry experience, the facility has set a new benchmark globally for the safe treatment, recycling and processing of domestic and export-destined mercury contaminated waste from the oil and gas sector,” Mr Machon said.

“The export of mercury contaminated waste has always and continues to concern us, due to the risks of the combination of road, rail and shipping transport, loss of the custody chain and recent high-profile cases of mercury waste being dumped illegally overseas,” he said.

Mr Machon said the opening of the facility demonstrates Contract Resources’ commitment to developing innovative, safe and environmentally complaint, mercury waste management solutions to ensure the safe treatment and recycling of mercury related waste.