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Wetox Process Invented in New Zealand Breaks Waste Sludge Into Usable Chemicals and Energy

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Cleaning out the dirt that we leave behind is an important task for the well-being of a society. One of the biggest pollution sources is currently the disposal of organic materials coming from animal farms, wineries and dairy factories. Wetox is a clean technology project announced by Viclink, who commercializes products based on Victoria University of Wellington’s (New Zealand) theoretical works.

The Wetox (wet oxidation) technology breaks down organic sludge and turns it into reusable elements such as water, steam, fertilizer and acetic acid. Each of these find immediate uses for producing energy, fertilizing the soil and in the plastic and food industry.

John Errington, Viclink CEO, said: “Traditional wet air oxidation methods have been prohibitively expensive for smaller to medium sized users. The invention of Wetox will bring this technology to industries in a much more cost-effective way.”

Wetox uses a vat that is fed with organic liquid waste, of which 4 to 15 percent solids. Then, by using an undisclosed chemical and mechanical process, Wetox turns that liquid sludge into the fore-mentioned by-products plus nitrates and phosphates.

The device has been tested by Taylor Preston, a meat processing company from Wellington, NZ. Simon Gatenby, CEO, says: “Wetox provides an increased level in environmental sustainability for manufacturing businesses that produce organic waste as part of their processes. We are excited to be involved in the development of Wetox with Viclink and are looking forward to being able to gain benefit from a part of the waste stream that was previously a problem.”

Wetox has been born out of a PhD thesis at Victoria University, that Viclink then started to commercialize, helped by The Foundation for Research Science and Technology (FRST).

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