© Photo | ebm-papst, Gernot Walter

Perfect recy­cling

Systems from Hybag AG in Switzer­land turn waste into biomass

Organic waste in the form of rotting food­stuffs from super­mar­kets or left­overs from canteen kitchens which are no longer fit for consump­tion ends up being thrown away. The poten­tial contained in this is demon­strated by Hybag Automa­tionen AG from Linden in the Swiss canton of Bern. The company produces systems for converting waste into biomass – used as fuel for gener­ating elec­tricity in biogas instal­la­tions.

A partic­ular chal­lenge in this process: The biomass must not contain any remnants of pack­aging. It does however often happen that the plastic, card­board or string is not removed from food­stuffs before they are thrown away. So the “Tutto” system sorts out such non-biogenic waste during the produc­tion of the biomass. And a fan from ebm-papst plays an impor­tant part in the process.

Patented sepa­ra­tion system

Following delivery in a tipping trough, the raw mate­rial is conveyed into an inter­me­diate bunker, where the waste is thor­oughly mixed before being trans­ferred to the sepa­rating hammer mill. “Here a patented system sepa­rates the pack­aging from the organic mate­rial,” explains Anton Berger, managing director of Hybag AG. “The indi­vidual hammers crush the entire raw mass and the light pack­aging mate­rial swirls up into the air.” As soon as this happens, the foreign matter is propelled into a sepa­rate container by a jet of air.

Out with the foreign matter

To keep the entire system oper­ating at high speed it is impor­tant to eject the pack­aging mate­rial quickly from the sepa­rating hammer mill. So use is made of a compact centrifugal double inlet fan from ebm-papst to inten­sify the draught of air already produced by the rota­tion of the hammer mill. “We decided in favour of ebm-papst because the fan not only provides the neces­sary perfor­mance but is also extremely compact. It was also very easy to install in the system,” says Berger by way of expla­na­tion.

The inten­si­fied draught of air blows all the synthetic mate­rials into a container, from where they can be recy­cled. Pure biogenic substrate emerges at the bottom of the machine and is then subjected to heat treat­ment if required for the intended appli­ca­tion before being ready for collec­tion. So suppos­edly useless waste actu­ally ends up gener­ating power in biogas instal­la­tions.

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Centrifugal fans

Centrifugal fans with forward curved blades