The fall is a busy time here at Lystek with plenty of conferences and tradeshows, which gives us a chance to discuss our technology and products with engineers, prospective clients and others in the industry. Some questions that are often asked are; “Why a concentrated liquid? Why not dewater it?” These are reasonable questions since we’re the only solution provider in our sector that produces a product like ours (click here to learn more about our product LysteGro), so it’s a natural question.
LysteGro is a unique product (a CFIA registered fertilizer in Canada and considered a Class A biosolids in the United States) in that it is produced and delivered in a highly concentrated, liquid form (ranging from 12 – 17% solids depending on the feedstock). Typically biosolids at this solids range would be in a semi-solid form and not pumpable. However, after the material has been processed with the patented and proven, low temperature Lystek Thermal Hydrolysis Process (Lystek THP®), the product has a viscosity low enough that it is pumpable with standard, wastewater industry equipment and agricultural application equipment that is used to apply it.
The concentrated liquid product offers several advantages, including; simplicity and cost effectiveness at the Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP); improved efficiencies and accuracy in the field; and, for WWTPs that have an existing liquid program with storage limitations, switching to a concentrated LysteGro product can save significant capital and operating costs due to dramatically reduced product volumes.
In comparison to conveying a cake material, pumping a liquid such as LysteGro within the plant and during loading allows for rapid, low maintenance pumping operations and accurate quantification of the volumes. As an example, at the Southgate Organic Materials Recovery Centre in Southern Ontario, where Lystek manages 100,000 tonnes of product annually, liquid tankers hauling approximately 40 tonnes of product can be loaded in as little as 8 minutes with an exact, reliable read-out of volumes. This capability facilitates an efficient and cost-effective application program where volumes hauled off-site per day can be as high as 1,300 tonnes. The capital and maintenance costs required to implement these conveyance systems are much lower in comparison to cake conveyance systems.
Another benefit of running a liquid program is the quality, accuracy and cost effectiveness of the land application program. Lystek utilizes high-end manure application equipment which provides two main functions; off-loading and application of the product. The tanks have a mounted suction pump which off-loads the product in the field directly from the highway tanker in under 5 minutes which is both a very efficient and clean. The fast unloading time allows for short turn-around times and because the application equipment directly off-loads the trucks, this reduces the equipment and man power (and cost) needed to run the operation. These tanks are also outfitted with flow meters and GPS technology ensuring the application is accurate and something the farmer can rely on to reduce and/or replace commercial fertilizer inputs.
At the field, the product is injected 3-4” into the soil at an average of 3,000 gallons per acre. This places the nutrients directly into the root zone, minimizes losses through ammonia volatilization and run-off potential and negates the need to work the material into the soil after it has been applied. The fact that only one pass is required to apply the material reduces soil disturbance, potential for soil compaction and overall program costs.
For certain WWTPs with existing liquid programs that are under stress due to inadequate storage and are considering options, converting to a Lystek system will have several advantages. Because LysteGro is a high solids product, facilities with storage stress when producing a more dilute biosolids (in the 3 – 6 % range) can leverage their existing infrastructure and avoid far more expensive upgrades by installing a highly cost efficient Lystek system. In addition to more storage flexibility, converting to a Lystek system allows the treatment plant to produce a valuable and sellable product, which can help to off-set costs of running the program.
A recent example of this is the City of St. Cloud, Minnesota. The City had a very successful Class B liquid land application program that served their local agricultural community. However, as the community grew and wet weather sometimes prevented timely field applications, their storage capacity was becoming stressed. St. Cloud had infrastructure dedicated to managing liquid biosolids, including underground, liquid storage, tankers and manure injection equipment. By implementing a Lystek system, the city was able to realize significant cost savings by retaining their existing infrastructure, while reducing their volumes by 70% and creating a Class A biosolids product.
As more and more Lystek facilities are commissioned and the wastewater treatment industry becomes more familiar with our solutions, the advantages of a high solids liquid become more apparent. We invite you to review the numerous case studies that show how Lystek has provided solutions to a range of valued customers. A great example of this is the Centre-Wellington “Reduce, Convert & Re-use” project found here. This shows how we were able to help solve a number of challenges including volume reduction, transportation and storage as well as the movement from a historically, non-revenue generating Class B land application program to a highly successful, paid, (CFIA registered), LysteGro product marketing program through the implementation of the Lystek system.
To learn more about the overall advantages of LysteGro, you can also check out our latest information package here, entitled, The Lystek Approach to Product Management: Advantages of a Class A High Solids Liquid Biofertilizer Product.