The Sludge Characterisation and Enhanced Dewatering (Shear) project is aiming to apply classical filtration theory used in the mining and mineral sector to the water industry. This sector produces similar amounts of thin and difficult-to-treat tailings and they have developed a rheological based, quantitative characterisation device leading to improved performance.
Yorkshire Water, Brisbane Water and Melbourne University are working to translate the technique to the water industry. The experimental matrix will be expanded to include different water and wastewater (activated and digested) sludge types and common unit process operations such as plate and frame, centrifuges and belt presses.
- Adaptation of the sludge characterisation device for water treatment sludges will enable quantitative comparison of dewaterability between different sludge sources, process type, coagulant and polyelectrolyte addition. The optimisation of chemical selection and dosing will also be possible.
- Development of the unit process models will allow optimisation of current plant for ultimate dry solids content or throughput (time to target dry solids). The models could be used in equipment design by press manufacturers and optimising sludge treatment plants design.
- Overall applying shear in compression will enable more efficient dewatering while using less power and chemicals for sludge thickening processes.