ESA Entsorgungsservice GmbH & Co. KG was founded in 1998 and specialises in the treatment of oily waste. Five years ago, owner Frank Ackermann moved the company to Nattheim, Germany, and invested in a state-of-the-art environmentally-friendly treatment system. He speaks about his experience in this interview.
Mr Ackermann, what were the reasons behind your move?
We treated oily waste using ultrafiltration at our old location. That was considered state of the art in 1998. Over the years though, our operations had grown considerably and we received our first complaints from the local wastewater treatment plant about problems with the COD loads in the wastewater. Since I was planning on expanding the business anyway, I started looking for a new technology capable of delivering better quality of the purified wastewater while also lowering demands on staff. In this process, I came across vacuum evaporator technology from H2O, which was able to guarantee oil-free wastewater. We were also able to develop a design that made practical use of the waste heat from the evaporator.
So what did the design for the new system look like?
The oily waste is treated using two VACUDEST evaporators. The evaporators separate the emulsions into a clean distillate and a residue, the so-called concentrate. We planned to discharge one part of the resulting distillate and, since the expected quality was so high, use the other part internally as process water. The design even made use of the waste heat from the evaporators! A heat exchanger was planned to heat our offices and social areas and to warm up our separation vessel. We also wanted to further concentrate the residue from the evaporator in a concentrator, so that it could be handed off to a refinery for reclamation.
And did the design work out?
Completely. We were able to implement 100 per cent of our design.
What do you see as the advantages of VACUDEST evaporator technology?
H2O Clearcat technology is clearly the most important thing. This guarantees that I can reliably meet the discharge target values for hydrocarbons in the wastewater. I have operated the facility for over five years now and not once have the authorities come to me with a complaint about the quality of the purified wastewater. This is extremely important to me, as the operator of a disposal company. My customers want to have the peace of mind that all waste will be disposed of professionally, in compliance with all of the legal regulations and official requirements.
Of course, another advantage is the high degree of automation in comparison with ultrafiltration or chemical/physical plants. At the old plant, we constantly had staff busy with cleaning work, refilling chemicals and that kind of thing. Now my staff can attend to other more important tasks.
A significant economic advantage for me is also the high evaporation rates I can achieve using the VACUDEST evaporators. The less residual water remaining in the evaporation residue, the more valuable it is for me to sell on for reclamation. This results in real financial benefits.
Mr Ackermann, would you do anything differently with the benefit of the hindsight from your experience?
No, I haven’t regretted my decision once. I am proud to own one of the most modern systems in the waste disposal industry and this is confirmed by the positive feedback from my customers. The system works to protect the environment and the extracted oil is passed on for reclamation. What more could you want?