- 11 May – Sludge: Asset or Waste – Runcorn, UK 
- 22 June – Technical Visit – Baxter Healthcare, Liverpool 
- 14 September – Technical Visit – AstraZeneca, Macclesfield 
- 12 October – Short course 
- 13 October – Filter testing – Chester, UK 
- 13 October – Annual General Meeting 
4 February 2010 – Reducing the Carbon Footprint of Filtration
In spite of the weather over 30 delegates attended the one day international technical meeting held at The Heath Conference Centre at Runcorn. With speakers and delegates from as far away as Germany and Finland reflecting the interest in “how filtration technology can reduce its own carbon footprint” the opening speaker Stephen Taylor from the Environment Agency set the scene by not only outlining the legislative requirements but also how the agency was proactively working with industry to get the best performance and best value out of technology.
Bjarne Ekberg from Larox had travelled a long way from Finland to set a high bar by describing how their “Capillary Action Filters” had reduced the installed power requirement by a staggering 99% compared with existing processes.
The last paper of the morning session was presented by Andrea Smith from Chemviron Carbon Cloth Division. She described how a “Catalytic VOC Destruction Process” had not only reduced the environmental impact of VOC’s but also saving over 80% energy compared with alternative technologies.
After a hectic lunch involving numerous discussions between delegates and speakers the first paper of the afternoon was presented by Andrew Startin from Clear Edge Filtration. His paper “Optimising Resource Utilisation with Catalytic Filter Elements” compared their performance with conventional fabric bag filters and electrostatic precipitators to show that significant savings in energy and other resources as well as reduced construction costs were achievable.
Dr Gernot Pranghofer representing W. L. Gore & Associates GmbH systematically went through their “High Efficiency ePTFE Membranes in Air Pollution Control Systems” detailing how the technology had lower energy and reagent consumptions resulting in a whole life cost way below competitor processes. He also drew everyones attention to what is probably the most inefficient use of energy in manufacturing industry – compressed air delivery networks – where typical losses are in the range of 30 to 40% – Industry take note!
The final paper was presented by David Dubbin from GEA Process Engineering who in his spare time is also current Chairman of “The Filtration Society”. His paper “Maximising Powder Recovery / Minimising Environmental Impact with CIP’able Bag Filters” elegantly demonstrated how their technology not only reduced energy and environmental impact but dramatically increased the yield thereby turning loss into profit!
By the end of the proceedings there was no doubt the authors had demonstrated they had “Reduced the Carbon Footprint of Filtration” and if their lead were followed by engineers and scientists at large then the challenge of global warming would be overcome.”
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11 May 2010 – Sludge: Asset or Waste
Sludges – thick suspensions of fibrous solids, usually organic in nature, in liquids (usually water) – need to be processed before recycle or disposal. This processing will normally involve reducing the amount of liquid associated with the solids (dewatering), so that they can be more efficiently treated if they are to be used as a source of valuable materials, i.e. for their asset value to be recovered. The alternative to recovery is usually disposal, and processing is then required to reduce the water content so that the sludge takes up less space in a landfill, or can be thermally treated, by incineration with energy recovery, for example, leaving only an ash for final disposal.
The main process is thus a dewatering step, using a filter press or centrifuge, to produce a much thicker sludge, or paste, but there may well be a step ahead of dewatering, such as digestion, to reduce sludge quantities (and recover some of the energy content), or a step after water removal, to make the thick sludge more useful or more easily handled, en route to disposal.
This conference is largely concerned with sludge dewatering. It looks at the effect of sludge properties on the dewatering process, and describes improvements in the equipment used for dewatering. If the original sludge does not contain recoverable solid components, then it will be a valuable energy source at the treatment works, or when transformed into a marketable solid fuel. The dewatering process is the key to the economic recovery of the values actually present in the original sludge.
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22 June 2010 – Technical visit to Baxter Healthcare
From the filtration perspective this new pharmaceutical facility built in accordance with cGMP is fascinating, incorporating many and varied unit operations, for product isolation, purification and bacterial removal along with a waste recovery system. The utilities use a purified water plant based upon membrane technology. Air filtration in the facility includes HEPA filtration before the drying plant and bag filters after the plant for powder recovery and environmental protection.
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14 September 2010 – Technical Visit – AstraZeneca, Macclesfield
Macclesfield is the 2nd largest Manufacturing and Supply site in the AstraZeneca network, covering around 100 acres and employing approximately 1000 employees. The site supplies products for all of AstraZeneca’s therapy areas, and currently sources 130 markets worldwide. In addition to manufacturing and supply, the Macclesfield site houses a number of important process R&D facilities. These include the £60m investment of a new laboratory building which was completed in 2009.
Specifically the visit to AstraZeneca Macclesfield will provide an overview of the two sterile manufacturing plants which manufacture the product Zoladex which is used in the treatment of breast and prostate cancer. Zoladex was first manufactured in 1987 and due to the fact that the product is not orally available it was designed to be taken a parenteral form. In addition the product could not be terminally sterilised which resulted in the need to develop a fully sterile manufacturing environment.
The tour will focus on the maintenance aspects of the sterile manufacturing facility to maintain suitable conditions as well as the techniques and procedures involved in filtration systems used to protect the product and environment.
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The Filtration Society’s Filter Testing bi-annual international conference and exhibition is one of the most attended events promoted by the Society and this year is no exception. By popular demand, the main one-day event will be preceded by a short course and workshop.
The short course will introduce all the fundamental principles of filter testing in a relaxing and non threatening way where delegates will have plenty of time to ask some of the questions that might be withheld in a more formal lecture environment.
The introductory session will give an overview of the need for testing and differentiate between media testing and filter system testing in both wet and dry applications. In addition, the fundamental mechanisms of filtration and the classification of filter media will be covered. Most importantly, the selection criteria for a filtration process will be discussed. This is such an important subject because so much money can be lost by using inappropriate filter systems.
Having established the generic filter most suitable for a given application, the various tests for performance, such as porosity, pore size, dirt holding capacity and integrity testing will be discussed. Integral to nearly all filtration processes is an understanding of particle size so the methods and the information they produce will be reviewed.
All the themes highlighted in the introductory session will be developed and exemplified during the day, which will culminate with a discussion of the large array of international standards that apply in the filtration industry. A range of leading testing equipment will be available for close inspection and discussion during the day.
The one day conference continues to attract world leaders in their field and with them, record numbers of attendees and this year is no exception. Confirmed speakers so far include: Professor Richard Wakeman (Consultant), Dr Christophe Peuchot (IFTS, France), Mark Crooks (TSI), Danny Pattyn (Benelux Scientific, Belgium) and Dr Graham Rideal (Whitehouse Scientific). A full technical programme will soon be available.
The exhibition format is unique in that it focuses entirely on filter media and testing equipment and features a mini poster session for each exhibitor. Describing key features of their instruments in a 5 minute ‘technology burst’ has proven to be one of the most popular sessions and generates a real ‘buzz’ both in the lecture theatre and in the exhibition hall afterwards. There are usually 15 – 20 tabletop displays so there is a comprehensive array of equipment and services on view.
Although location should not be the motivating force for attending, choosing historic Chester could have played a part in making the event so popular in the past. A complete circle of Roman walls, an amphitheatre and a medieval centre makes Chester one of the most popular tourist destinations in the UK.
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