By Mikhail Feoktistov
Brest’s Domestic Waste and Sewage Sludge Recycling Plant, being constructed by Austrian Strabag, is using biogas fuel — generated from silt or sewage sludge fermentation. The latter is pumped from the city’s sewage purification facilities to special storage containers.
The Austrians began building the enterprise in the spring of 2009 and, by the time the first stage came into use, Belarusian specialists had passed internships at similar facilities in Western Europe. Today, they are managing the new plant, which Brest needs desperately. Sewage purification facilities in the city suburbs have been overflowing into the floodplain of the Mukhavets River, running into the Zapadny Bug River and creating ecological problems. Now, gas is being manufactured from the sludge, used as fuel to power three local mini power stations, generating heat and electricity. Biogas is being burnt in a huge cylinder-torch in trial mode, monitored by specialists; they’ll determine its heating capacity and opportunities for purification to enhance energy efficiency.
Meanwhile, construction of the plant continues, with the second stage due to be complete by summer 2011; the enterprise will then be able to recycle solid communal waste. The Brest project is a pilot one for Belarus, with Strabag Concern favouring a joint venture to promote similar technologies countrywide.