MaxWest Upgrades to Therma-Flite’s IC 5400 Bio-Scru Biosolids Dryer: Florida Site to Become a Showcase Facility in Biosolids Management

The Sanford South Water Resource Center (WRC) in Sanford FL, uses MaxWest gasification technology for biosolids management. This advanced technology has a distinct advantage in its ability to convert biosolids to energy.

Sanford, FL -- MaxWest Environmental Systems, Inc. are the technology leaders in the design, implementation, and operation of biosolids management facilities. MaxWest technology provides municipalities with state-of-the-art gasification systems, which are safe, cost effective, and environmentally friendlier than traditional methods of biosolids management. Over the years MaxWest’s proprietary gasification process has undergone continued refinements to increase performance, efficiency, and adaptability. This fall, MaxWest is pleased to announce that a biosolids dryer from Therma-Flite (Benicia, CA) has been added to its integrated system. The Therma-Flite IC Series Bio-Scru Dryer is a quantum jump forward for MaxWest. An efficient, reliable, continuous, biosolids dryer is a key component of the MaxWest system. The dryer is a vital link in the conversion of biosolids into green thermal energy and inert ash. With the Therma-Flite dryer, the system will have a significant surplus capacity that will be sold to neighboring cities as a source of additional revenues.

The MaxWest gasification process converts wastewater and municipal biosolids into renewable green thermal energy. The benefits of this process include the reduction of land application and ensuing air and water pollution related to it. With the MaxWest gasification system, municipalities can not only expect on-going reduction in overall costs, such as cost of sludge transportation, but also a reduction in extremely volatile energy cost that has prevailed in recent years. Each MaxWest gasification system is designed and built to fit the specific needs of the location. Modular and scalable, the system can be scaled up to meet the requirements of large regional biosolids disposal facilities, and is easily expanded as the biosolids volume increases.

The City of Sanford: Goals and Challenges

Sanford, home to 55,000 people, is located in Seminole County, on the northern edge of the greater Orlando Metropolitan Area. Sanford’s local economy was at one time, primarily agriculture based. Sanford has diversified to include small industries and distribution centers. For many years, Sanford had taken a progressive stance in managing its utility department, embracing a series of technological innovations to provide continuing quality service at stable rates for its citizens. Planning for continued long-term growth, the City decided to build the Sanford South WRC in 2006. This facility incorporates a state-of-the art wastewater treatment plant and recycled water distribution center. Historically, Sanford disposed of its biosolids by land application on a city owned, 1868 acre agricultural site. Beset by regulatory issues and environmental concerns, Sanford South WRC added a natural gas fired, batch process, biosolids dryer to produce Class A biosolids. Soon after, natural gas prices rose to a historic high, which forced Sanford to consider alternative solutions that would be more cost effective. With budget constraints a major concern and a forecasted growth rate averaging 2% per year, the City was eager for new technology to solve the rising energy cost concerns. Sanford also wanted a solution that would be environmentally superior to the traditional biosolids management technology. Rising to the challenge, MaxWest Environmental Systems, Inc. proposed to design, build, own, and operate an integrated biosolids gasification system at the Sanford South WRC. The MaxWest system utilizes the biosolids as a source of renewable heat energy to dry biosolids replacing, the use of natural gas. By eliminating the variable natural gas bills, Sanford South WRC hopes to capture an estimated savings of $12 million over the life of the contract.

Upgrading the Dryer Improves the Entire Process Creating the Potential for Revenue

Early operation revealed that both the capacity and the efficiency of the MaxWest system were being limited by the old batch dryer, which by design, has a variable energy demand. Gasification produces a continuous thermal energy flow, which would be extremely difficult and inefficient to balance with the energy consumption requirements of a batch dryer. One of the benefits of using a Therma-Flite dryer in the gasification process is the ability to continuously use the heat from the gasification process. For the dryer and gasifier to work in balance, the dryer needs to be able to convert that heat input into dry fuel output for the gasification process. The Therma-Flite Bio-Scru dryer is continuous, with minimal variation in processing temperature, and produces a consistent product.

Last fall MaxWest, together with independent consultants CPH Engineers, began a search for a new dryer. The solution was the selection of a dryer system manufactured by Therma-Flite, Inc. Therma-Flite is a long established manufacturer of drying equipment, with a reputation for products of high efficiency, quality and reliability. Therma-Flite Bio-Scru dryers are continuous and incorporate a fully automated PLC control, requiring minimal operator interaction. The Bio-Scru Dryers dual inter meshing rotor design is self-clearing and incorporates features to homogenize the particle size yielding a uniform Class A end product. The Bio-Scru chamber is sealed and drying occurs in an anaerobic environment, insuring a safe process. It was a perfect match for Sanford. “The Therma-Flite tech team has proven to be resourceful and creative in integrating their equipment with our equipment and meeting our requirements,” according to Jeff Snyder, Director of Operations for MaxWest. Full integration is anticipated by years end. The new dryer will not only improve efficiency of the gasification system but will increase overall system capacity. MaxWest and Sanford will be able to expand the concept of a mini-regional biosolids disposal center for small cities and private utilities by as much as 50%. Surplus capacity can be sold locally by agreement, thus creating potential revenue opportunities for Sanford and MaxWest.

A Showcase Facility in Biosolids Management

The MaxWest facility in Sanford will serve as the commercial showcase for the company’s proprietary gasification systems as well as for Therma-Flite’s line of continuous feed, Bio-Scru biosolids dryers.. The MaxWest gasification system is the future of biosolids management. The installation, adaptation, and integration of the new Therma-Flite Bio-Scru biosolids dryer in the fourth quarter 2010 will allow MaxWest and the city of Sanford to expand their handling of biosolids to include other cities and utility operators. Visitors will see an operating regional disposal system with financial and environmental benefits to the host utility and surrounding wastewater systems.

Therma-Flite’s IC Series Bio-Scru dryers are available in six different standard sizes from 800 lbs per hour water evaporation capacity to 10,000 lbs per hour water evaporation capacity. Larger sizes are available as custom designed units. The system is extremely efficient, has a small footprint and is very competitively priced.

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