Researchers at the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) have optimized their proprietary filtration method for processing facility effluents. The so-called dynamic filtration method was tested on actual processing effluent and found to provide significant advantages over currently used filtration methods. Specifically, dynamic filtration gives increased recovery of fine suspended solids such as fats and proteins, providing more material for rendering. It also provides enhanced opportunities for water reuse and recycling inside a processing plant.
The research team, led by John Pierson, principal research engineer, has filed a full patent application under the name Cyclic Filtration System. Research efforts are now focused on confirming scale-up design parameters that achieve high throughput with optimal filtrate quality.
“The preliminary development work used commercially available off-the-shelf components to fabricate the filter apparatus versus manufacturing a one-off prototype,” says Pierson. “The scale-up will follow the same approach, but build on the lessons learned regarding the physical rate processes affected by scale.”
While the off-the-shelf parts were relatively inexpensive, the team used a more costly servo motor driven with a programmable logic controller (PLC) to provide motive force. The servo with PLC was used so that in addition to time, the team could monitor position, torque, or pressure data, and use that data as feedback for managing the flux rate and backwash.
Moving forward, researchers plan on constructing a device that will more closely resemble a commercial prototype, which means using a variable frequency drive and pneumatic actuated valves.
Pierson says funding from the U.S. Poultry & Egg Association’s Harold E. Ford Foundation allowed the team to understand the considerations that needed to be addressed to move from a bench-top device toward a prototype that could be demonstrated on-site.
“With base funding from GTRI’s Agricultural Technology Research Program (ATRP), we have commissioned a device that has about five-times the total chamber volume of the first machine. Using the servo motor and position feedback control, we can simulate a variety of chamber sizes in order to ensure the design parameters are valid,” adds Pierson.
Current research efforts are focused on validating the design parameters needed to scale-up the bench system. According to Pierson, three criteria for scaling-up the system have been identified, and work is underway to verify those. These include confirming the volumetric flow versus working volume ratio for the new prototype, considerations for the inlet design, and maintaining the flux rate. An additional objective is to confirm the overall balance of system requirements for scaling-up, depending on the flow rate and separation surface selected.
“We know that poultry processors want a device that is ‘fit for purpose,’ or in other words, ready to treat poultry processing water. Our goal is to examine all the system components that are needed to make our system work so that licensing partners have the best starting point from which to work,” comments Aklilu Giorges, GTRI senior research engineer and co-inventor.
The team is actively seeking an industrial licensing partner that can bring the technology to market. In fact, plans are underway to showcase the technology in ATRP’s booth at the 2016 International Production & Processing Expo (IPPE) scheduled for January 26-28 in Atlanta. The Expo is the world’s largest trade show for the poultry, meat, and feed industry.
“We are really looking forward to the IPPE, which will give us unparalleled exposure to industry experts within the poultry processing business, including equipment specialists and suppliers of separation technologies,” says Dr. Doug Britton, ATRP program manager.
Such exposure, adds Britton, will hopefully bring the Cyclic Filtration System one step closer to making its way to processing plants.