Have You Seen the Stack?

January 28, 2016

Construction of the Surrey Biofuel Facility, located in the Port Kells Industrial Park, is progressing on-schedule and in January 2016, the 70-metre vapor stack was raised. Maybe you’ve noticed it – it looks like a giant candy cane or a milkshake straw, but it plays a very important role at the facility mitigating nuisance odours.

Turning organic waste into renewable resources has big environmental benefits but managing odours at composting facilities takes skill, science and specialized equipment. The Surrey Biofuel Facility was purpose designed with a comprehensive odour abatement system. The system extends to the entire building and contains 100% of the composting odour. Odour abatement begins at the front door as a sophisticated negative air pressure system draws air into the facility when the loading doors open to admit the waste collection trucks.

Once unloaded, the organic material is deposited into specially designed composting tunnels. Each tunnel is sealed with a gas tight door. Inside the tunnels, carefully controlled amounts of air and water support microorganism colonies in the process of transforming organics into compost and biofuel. Ammonia is released during the decomposition process and ammonia gas is the primary source of the bad smells associated with composting.

As the air is expelled from the tunnels, it is channelled first through an ammonia scrubber, where sulphuric acid reacts with ammonia to produce Ammonia Sulphate. The Ammonia Sulfate is recovered and used as fertilizer. Next, the air is cooled to less than 40° and humidified by a counter current water spray. Once cooled and suitably saturated, the air passes through a woody bio-filter where another group of microorganisms are used to absorb remaining odours. Finally the air is sent up the vapour stack and is rapidly dispersed 70m (20 stories) above the ground. Odour control at the Surrey Biofuel Facility is monitored continuously using E-nose technology.

Every element in the system, from the microscopic microorganisms to our landmark vapour stack, are part of what make the Surrey Biofuel Facility one-of-a-kind and ensures Surrey residents can see, not smell, biofuel and compost in the making.

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