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Waste Utilization and
Management Research Team

Waste Utilization and Management Research Team (IWUT) is working with a Center of Excellence that developed from the Waste Utilization and Management research group (ECoWaste) of the Biochemical Engineering and Pilot Plant Research and Development Unit. ECoWaste was established in October 2005 under the cooperation between National Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (BIOTEC) and King Mongkut's University of Technology Thonburi (KMUTT) by a research team of management and utilization of agro-industrial wastes. With a mission to develop technology for the environment and energy that related to anaerobic digestion process and the production of biogas from waste or agricultural and industrial wastes/residues for increasing the efficiency of waste treatment and the production of renewable energy. Conduct research to build knowledge of relevant microorganisms along with the development of knowledge in engineering for the reactor and system design which lead to the use of these technologies in the agro-industry with widespread potential. Including research and development in production engineering which focusing on producing zero waste that helps to minimize the country's climate change.

The mission of ECoWaste is to develop biogas technology and increase the efficiency of biogas usage for the community, and food and agriculture industry which is in line with the policy and goal of promoting production and use of renewable energy from biomass in the country. To reduce the import of fossil fuels and increase the ability of the country's competitiveness. In addition, the development of production in the industry is to focus on zero waste concept, which helps to reduce environmental impacts and increases the opportunity to export products. These are related to Bio-circular Green Economy (BCG) model, which will enable Sustainable Development Goals (SCGs) through the promotion of sustainable agriculture, clean energy and responsible consumption and production, ensuring the conservation and sustainable utilization of biodiversity, and protecting environment and ecosystem. Therefore, the framework of the research and development plan is based on the knowledge and expertise of the center, as follows:

• Reactors and process configuration for wastewater treatment and biogas production
• Research and development of microbial communities in anaerobic digestion process to increase the efficiency and stability of the biogas system
• Research and development in the production process to move towards the zero waste agricultural industry.

In addition, the center also has a framework for its implementation in various fields, including academic services, technology transfer, human resource development, organization management, and strategic plans in collaboration with BEC R&D Cluster Bangkhuntien at KMUTT and various cooperating agencies.

Current status

The research group has directions and goals to meet the goals of the Center. Aside from the research mission, the center also has a framework that covers academic services, technology transfer, consulting services, testing service, and engineering design by the expertise of researchers and engineers. This framework will support to bring the knowledge, technology developed for practical in the industrial sector according to the mission, direction and goal which is summarized, as follows:

• Research groups in Microbiological and Molecular Technique

The goal is to research and develop knowledge and understanding about microorganisms in anaerobic digestion by studying microbial ecology and then applied to improve the efficiency of microorganisms on methane production. Moreover, a highly effective anaerobic microorganism (HEM) sludge is also established to apply for increasing the efficiency and stability of biogas production systems. The research plan can be summarized as follows
• Production of high effective anaerobic microorganism (HEM) for using in treating high concentrations of wastewater
• Application of molecular techniques for characterization of microbial community, enumeration of microorganisms and detection of targeted microorganisms in biogas system
• Development of detection techniques to analyze quality and activity of microorganisms in biogas system
• Study of microbial community and interaction of Sulfate reducing bacteria & Sulfide oxidizing bacteria

• Research Group in Reactor and Process Development

The goal is to research and develop wastewater treatment systems and produce biogas with high efficiency. With a higher organic load rate (smaller system size) as well as the development of high solid content reactors - Anaerobic digester. Research in this group includes, as follows:

- Biogas production system with high COD concentration such as wastewater from ethanol production plant, grease wastewater.
- Biogas production system for wastewater with high Sulfate such as wastewater from latex factory
- Biogas production system for entering highly solid composite materials (Co-substrate, Farm waste + bio-crop)
- Biogas production system for wastewater with high salinity such as wastewater from noodle factory, fermented vegetable factory
- Developing the process of removing hydrogen sulfide in biogas

• Zero Waste Group

The goal of research / development of agro-industrial potential begins with the tapioca starch factory by improving the process of tapioca starch production for zero waste as a model for the industry, and training for staff members, new graduate students, consulting companies by providing strategies, as follows:

• Development of engineering and researching knowledge, and technology related to the production process, and efficient use of resources and energy
• Development of human resource in the tapioca starch industry through the zero waste concept training program and industry benchmarking index
• Development of technology and engineering skill development through the Starch Engineering Process Optimization (SEPO), which helps to produce engineers, and research and development, technology in higher efficiency production, and use of resources efficiently
• Development of tapioca starch industry standards through partner with both public and private sectors. This research includes, as follows:

- Increasing efficiency of rasping unit in tapioca starch production process
- Technology for increasing starch concentration and purification by hydrocyclone technology
- Technology for increasing starch extraction efficiency
- Knowledge of production factors that affect the starch quality (Damage starch)

Services provided

WECoWaste also includes technical service section which focuses on the obtained scientific knowledge of anaerobic technology for waste treatment and biogas production as alternative energy would then be implemented to industrial level via industrial services and technology transfer. In addition, the development of energy and resource efficiency in the tapioca starch industry is focusses. The technical service includes;

1. Advisory service on environmental management and existing waste treatment systems

- Evaluation and performing feasibility study on the construction of a biogas or wastewater treatment system
- Consulting on the design and construction of a wastewater treatment system
- Consulting on biogas utilization
- Consulting on wastewater treatment system startup and operation
- Management and monitoring a wastewater treatment system
- Evaluation and improvement a failed wastewater treatment system

2. Testing and Analysis

- Testing and evaluation of biogas potential from different raw materials or wastes
- Testing toxicity of compounds on biogas system
- Testing Bio-Methane Potential of different wastes in the laboratory
- Testing and analysis efficiency of wastewater treatment system
- Audit resource and energy utilization in any system
- Improvement and minimizing waste production
- Consulting on the improvement of production process
- Consulting on waste minimization and management

3. Training Course/Workshop

- Organizing training course and/or workshop on waste utilization and management
- Organizing training course and/or workshop on control and monitoring a biogas system
- Organizing a workshop on microbial aspect of anaerobic wastewater treatment system
- Capacity building of agro-industrial personals on problem solving and production effectiveness

4. Networking/Industrial Cooperation

It is a collaborative network construction through work on joint research projects, research services, technical consulting services and others.
- Agro-industry such as Thai Tapioca Starch Association (TTSA) and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) to train personnel in the starch industry
- Biofuel industry such as PTT Public Company Limited, SCG Public Company Limited, etc.
- Development of a pilot plant for the co-substrate biogas production in ranch

- Process development of biogas production system for flexible substrate
- Development of high effective anaerobic sludge for increasing the performance and the stabilization of biogas system
- New hydrocyclone design for tapioca starch granule-water-impurity separation

Waste Utilization and Management Research Team

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Pimprapa Chaijak

Postdoctoral researcher

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Wootipong Sritongkum

Senior Analyst

Contact

Excellent Center of Waste Utilization and Management (EcoWaste)

Pilot Plant Development and Training Institute (PDTI) Building
King Mongkut's University of Technology Thonburi (KMUTT)
49 Soi Thienthale 25, Thakham, Bangkhuntien, Bangkok 10150, Thailand
Tel: (662) 470-7435
Fax: (662) 452-3455