Innovative Ultrasonics specializes in process development, engineering design, installation and equipment in the area of high-powered ultrasonics for new and existing industrial applications.

Waste Sludge / Effluent Treatment

Ultrasonic processes may facilitate waste treatment in a number of ways by breaking down microbial cells, enhancing biodegradation during digestion, reducing sludge volume, enhancing biogas recovery and reducing the retention time in ponds or digesters.

The composition of a typical sewage sludge is approximately 67% organic material and approximately 33% inorganic material. Of the organic material around 50% is readily biodegradable, 40% is non-biodegradable and 10% is slightly biodegradable. Ultrasound can disrupt the molecules in the non-biodegradable fraction breaking them into small fragments that are then able to permeate microbial cell walls, making them available for digestion. Similarly ultrasound disrupts microbial clumps thereby increasing the number of sites that can take part in digestion. This can increase the rate of digestion and often results in greater degradation of the material, lower BODs and CODs of the final matrix, increased yields of biogas and reduced sludge volumes. Flocculation costs can also be reduced, as lower volumes of flocculant are required.

A commercial system has been installed in a town in Germany (population 250,000). The capital costs for the ultrasonic installation to treat 40,000 m3 sludge/d were recouped within the first 12 months, with an ongoing cost saving of $5 per person per year.