The Engineered Wood & Pellets industry make products such as OSB board, paneling, treated lumber, and wood pellets (burned for energy production). These processes, like all manufacturing processes, use water. All the water that these facilities use is reused back into their process. That's right, the wood industry is very water conscious. These operations utilize valuable equipment like Wet Electrostatic Precipitators (WESP) and Regenerative Thermal Oxidizers (RTO). These units require regular maintenance as excess tars and saps found in the water can gum (sticky seal, like resin) the equipment. It cost as much as $1 million (yes, one million) to replace the RTO media when it becomes fouled. When it is replaced, the plant has to be shut down. That $1 million doesn't include the costs associated with the down time, added labor, or waste disposal... So, the treatment of the water they reuse is a key cost saving factor for these operations, not to mention performance insurance for their equipment. Remember, if the manufacturers are saving, the consumer is too. ProChem, Inc. designs chemical treatment programs that protect the WESPs and RTOs so that the water is usable and the equipment lasts. Here is a case study from a ProChem customer, a Bio pellet manufacturer in Georgia: The customer was incurring high costs associated with maintaining their process equipment. Specifically, they were:
- Replacing their RTO media every 2 to 3 years.
- Shutting down the plant once per month to clean their equipment (taking about 70 man hours each time).
- Storing water on site during downtime, which resulted in non-compliance violation notices.
- Disposing of 100 tons of 80%+ moisture solids from their centrifuges.
The cause was the poor quality of their water, which contained excess tars, saps, tannins, and lignins. To resolve this issue, ProChem, installed a new water treatment system that utilized a custom tailored chemical treatment program, CleanWESPTM, to remove TSS, tars, and saps while reducing the TDS in the recycle tank water. This provided the customer with cleaner recycle water and clean WESP flush water. ProChem also provided a treatment program for the shutdown water so that the facility could treat and discharge within discharge permit limits (rather than storing it on site).
It has now been over 9 years since the system was implemented, and the customer has not had to replace the RTO media at all in that time. Additionally. their costs and manpower required for routine planned maintenance has been reduced by 80%. Furthermore, solid waste generation has been reduced by 60% - 70% with filter case now at 40% - 50% moisture (as compared to the previous 80%+).