Columbus' giant crap cooker concept is still hot stuff to international innovation buffs.
Called the "Columbus Biosolids Flow-Through Thermophilic Treatment and Cogeneration System Project," the system under construction at the city water authority's South Columbus sewage-treatment plant is designed to cook human waste at high temperatures and use the methane gas from that process to generate energy. It's to produce what's called "Class A biosolids," turning sewage into a fertilizer than can be used with fewer restrictions than the lower grade biosolids the treatment plant now churns out.
This innovative idea already has won two prestigious awards, and it just flushed out a third: The International Water Association announced Wednesday that the Columbus Water Works and engineering firm Brown and Caldwell will be awarded the 2008 Global Project Innovation Super Achievement Award, to be presented Sept. 10 at the IWA's World Water Congress and Exhibition in Vienna, Austria. There to receive the award will be Cliff Arnett, the Water Works' senior vice president for operations, Brown and Caldwell's John Willis and project manager Randy Shaw.
The high-temperature digester and methane power-generation system previously won the IWA's 2008 grand prize for applied research, and the grand prize for research in the 2007 American Academy of Environmental Engineers' Excellence in Environmental Engineering.
Besides producing high-grade biosolids, the thermophilic process cuts the production time from 24 hours to 30 minutes. The energy generated is expected to supply about 40 percent of what the treatment plant uses annually, slicing $600,000 or so off the facility's $1.3 million electricity bill.
The whole system's expected to cost about $18.9 million, about $5.5 million of that in federal grants.
The IWA is online at www.iwahq.org; the Water Works is at www.cwwga.org; and Brown and Caldwell's at www.brownandcaldwell.com.