Integrated solutions see China's environmental sector come of age.
20 December 2017
Integrated environmental solution suppliers stole the show at September's International Environmental Expo in Guangzhou. The 2017 event featured some of the latest innovations in environmentally-friendly technology, with digital products – particularly those with Internet of Things (IoT) compatibility – at a premium.
The Chinese mainland's environmental-protection sector has long benefitted from Central Government support, with many of the stringent eco-monitoring and pollution-prevention measures now in place bolstering the growth of the country's green industries. Funded through a number of compulsory state-backed environmental initiatives, China's green-technology sector has matured considerably, evolving from offering rudimentary standalone equipment into delivering comprehensive, integrated one-stop environmental solutions that are now required in both public and private sectors.
Among them is Grandblue Bioenvironmental Technology, a Guangdong-based supplier of integrated solutions for solid-waste processing. The company's services currently extend from treating solid waste and sewage to cleaning up residential/commercial supplies of water and natural gas. According to Wu Bin, the company's Regional Marketing Manager, Grandblue's business scope extends across solid-waste treatment, sewage treatment, tap water and natural-gas supplies.
"The kitchen-waste treatment market is huge,” said Mr Wu. “In our Foshan treatment centre alone, we are processing 300 tonnes of kitchen waste and 30 tonnes of gutter oil every day. We offer a fully integrated service – extending from the front-end collection of kitchen waste to middle-end transportation and back-end processing and treatment – which is what the market seems to want right now.”
He noted that integrated systems allow local authorities to monitor waste treatment, while improving the waste-handling efficiency of restaurants and hotels, cutting costs in labour and resources.
"The mainland environmental industry has developed from just selling equipment to providing turnkey integrated environmental solutions,” said Li Xinqiang, Deputy Marketing Director of the Infore Environment Technology Group, a Guangdong-based supplier of cooling systems and connectivity products.
"With regard to controlling and treating river pollution, for instance, companies used to solely offer local monitoring equipment. Now, we provide a solution that can intelligently manage a whole river system through a combination of different technologies."
Mr Li said that only integrated online solutions, linking IoT-configured units and employing big-data analytics, can properly flag environmental problems and implement effective counter-measures. As the competition to provide such a service is now intense, he said his company invests heavily in R&D every year to maintain and build market share.
Seen as the gatekeeper for all environmental protection and regulation initiatives, environmental monitoring has now become the cornerstone of the industry. Given the demand, monitoring systems were widely featured at this year's event.
Infore Enviro showcased its proprietary range of water quality, water conservancy, soil, fume and air-quality monitoring systems. According to Mr Li, the company's monitoring system allows it to test water quality along the entire course of a river by setting up several monitoring points along key stretches, with the results easily accessible via a number of dedicated websites, along with several micro-websites continuously monitoring the sewage pipes. At the same time, video monitors can track incidents of dumping or other environmentally unfriendly activity.
Through a combination of online and IoT inputs, as well as big-data analysis, changes in water quality can be detected at an early stage, with the source of any such contamination easy to determine. Even if a business or individual is engaged in covert sewage discharge, the data-analysis capabilities of Infore Enviro's systems could potentially identify the offender.
Overall, the majority of this year's exhibitors have incorporated online and IoT capabilities into their systems, regardless of whether they were engaged in environmental monitoring. In the case of Grandblue, digital technology plays a key role in its real-time tracking system, which continuously displays the location and status of its fleet of kitchen-waste collection trucks. This not only allows the process to be remotely monitored by the relevant local government officers, but also sees all of the routes and scheduling of the trucks continuously optimised, including new pick-up requests automatically factored in via a live WeChat link with the hotels/restaurants using the service.
According to Mr Wu, the company also uses big data harvested from the daily interaction of the trucks and the collection/delivery points. Once properly analysed, he said, this allowed for future needs – including the number of trucks, most efficient routes and collection frequency – to be precisely predicted and automatically implemented.
With creating and sustaining green habitats one of the priorities in the mainland environmental industry, a significant tranche of this year's show was dedicated to technology emerging in this sector. In particular, Guangzhou EP Environmental Engineering, a subsidiary of the China Lesso Group, one of the mainland's largest producers of building materials, offered an integrated system for the thermal desorption of semi-volatile organic compound contaminated soil and the catalysed decomposition of persistent organic pollutant waste.
Jointly developed by the company and Beijing's Tsinghua University, the two systems use high-efficiency, low-energy consumption, with zero dust-production rate. With the desorption rate of organic compounds in contaminated soil now said to be in excess of 99.99 per cent, both systems have been designed to rejuvenate soil contaminated by volatile organic compounds with a low boiling point, such as gasoline and benzene, as well as soil contaminated by low-volatile organic compounds with a high boiling point. They are also designed to help restore soil contaminated by chlorinated pesticides and chlorinated organic compounds, as well as by sludge or sediment.
In addition to effectively harnessing new technology, the proper use of all available resources is now seen as increasingly important. In light of this, Mr Wu said Grandblue was pursuing a policy of helping to establish eco-efficient industrial parks. To date, it has constructed a solid-waste treatment industrial park in Foshan’s Nanhai district, which generates power by burning up to 3,000 tonnes of domestic waste a day.
At the same time, while treating kitchen waste in the park, storable, renewable clean energy, in the form of biogas, is generated as a byproduct of the anaerobic digestion process. Similarly, the biogas residue and biogas slurry, produced following the chemical reaction, are nutrient-rich that can be used as fertilizer.
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