Sludge Incineration

Fluidized-bed incinerators can be used for the combustion of both organic and inorganic sludge. Sewage sludge with a high concentration of organics has been incinerated, and sludge with high inorganic content, e.g., salts of sodium and calcium, can be disposed in this manner. The pulp and paper industry destroys waste liquors using the fluidized-bed technique.

Two important factors that control sludge destruction in the bed are airflow and operating temperature. Gas passes upward through a bed of sand that contains solid sludge particles less than ]/4in in size. Vigorous mixing within the bed optimizes the reaction. Since air velocity is the source of bed agitation, treatment facilities can increase or decrease the reaction rates by controlling the air supply. Temperatures in these beds normally range from 1300° to 1500°F, and the amount of excess air required is 25%. These two factors insure complete combustion so that odorous materials are completely destroyed.

Previously dewatered sludge, which sometimes contains as much as 35% total solids, is normally introduced into the freeboard area of the furnace above the fluidized-bed material (see Figure 7.50.4). Hot gases from the bed evaporate the water in the sludge while the sludge solids enter the fluidized medium.

Once in the bed, the organic material oxidizes to carbon dioxide and water vapor, which exit from the reactor as exhaust gas. Inorganic material either deposits on the bed particles (which is called the agglomerative operation) or leaves the bed in the exhaust gas, which is the nonagglomerative system. Then, dust collection equipment removes the particles in the exhaust gas. For the agglom-erative system, continuously or intermittently withdrawing excess bed material maintains a constant bed volume.

The advantages and disadvantages of liquid incineration using fluidized beds are similar to those listed for solid waste disposal. Waste incineration is a new application for fluidized beds. The total combustion of the waste does not produce obnoxious gaseous products. The fluidized-bed method is applicable for both solid and liquid waste disposal.

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