Environmental Protection

WERF, Suez to Research Siloxanes Issues

A new research collaboration between the Water Environment Research Foundation (WERF) and Suez Environmental, a research and development organization for the wastewater industry, will address the fate of siloxanes in biogas. This project is being conducted under WERF’s Optimization Challenge.

According to WERF, while biogas produced from anaerobic digestion of wastewater solids is a renewable energy source with a high (60 percent) methane content, most of the biogas currently produced within the U.S. wastewater sector is either vented or combusted in flares. The requirements for cleaning biogas to remove contaminants, such as the family of compounds known as siloxanes, are becoming increasingly stringent in order to employ energy recovery technologies.

The manufacture of products containing silicones, particularly personal care products, continues to increase and eventually end up in wastewater treatment plants. This leads to increasing siloxane levels in biogas and increased maintenance and rising costs for cogeneration of energy from biogas. The issues of siloxanes in biogas are compounded by a lack of standard sampling and analytical protocol, the foundation said.

The scope of work includes state of the science reports, sampling and analysis of siloxanes in biogas, biogas typology and evaluation of siloxane removal technologies.

This research is projected to be complete in the summer of 2012.

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