Sa­sol con­verts waste sludge

The Star Early Edition - - BUSINESS NEWS -

SA­SOL is look­ing to use mi­crobes to turn thou­sands of tons of waste sludge into com­post. The oil and chem­i­cal gi­ant said yes­ter­day that it had de­vel­oped a novel method to trans­form the po­ten­tially harm­ful trace el­e­ments found in in­dus­trial waste sludges into an en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly form. “While com­post­ing of do­mes­tic sludges is prac­tised world­wide, com­post­ing of in­dus­trial waste sludges is a unique con­cept,” it said. The process in­volved us­ing spe­cialised “mi­cro­bial pop­u­la­tions” of heavy-metal com­post­ing bac­te­ria to “tar­get, as­sim­i­late and bio-chem­i­cally trans­form the po­ten­tially harm­ful trace el­e­ments” found in the sludges. Sa­sol is us­ing a type of grassy fod­der crop called sug­ar­graze. It is then mixed with the treated sludge, trans­form­ing it into a com­post, which can be used to grow more of the fod­der crop. Sa­sol en­vi­ron­men­tal tech­nol­ogy man­ager Sarushen Pil­lay said: “We are look­ing at five waste sludge streams from pro­cesses at our Se­cunda coal-to-oil plant… in­volv­ing 200 000 tons of sludge a year.” Pil­lay said the firm hoped to have the project up and run­ning by “the sec­ond half of next year”. – Sapa

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