April 2017

26 APAC / April 2017 , 1703AP04 A Whale of an Innovation Available at Climate Scale Finds Global Need A university start-up based in Adelaide, South Australia, Baleen Filters Pty Limited, has been gaining widespread recognition both locally and abroad for its innovation inspired by nature – a robust, self-cleaning ‘wastewater’ technology that simultaneously separates ‘waste’ and filters ‘water’ in just one step. Baleen Filters (technology of same name) was established in 1999, and after a successful four-year industry applied research and development program at the University of South Australia, successfully commercialised an innovative fine-screening technology for export markets in 2004. The word ‘baleen’ is an anatomical description for the whalebone that belongs to a group of filter-feeding whales. Baleen is essentially the filter mechanism which enables the whale to collect plankton, small fish, and other marine organisms from the water during feeding. The combination of a sweeping action of the tongue and the reversing of the water flows as the whale dive and re-surface during feeding, enable them to capture and strain food, and clean their baleen prior to the next dive. The Baleen filter technology (Baleen) is an engineered adaptation of the natural technique used by whales, based upon an internationally patented combination of clearing fluid dynamics and mechanical principles to instantly separate fine suspended solids from any process or wastewater stream in a far more effective way than that provided by conventional sedimentation, centrifugal and flotation techniques. Baleen is manufactured in Adelaide, South Australia with product design approved for use in numerous industries by several leading multi-national companies (including Coca Cola, Peabody, Chevron, Tyson Foods, and Fonterra to name a few). As a result, Baleen are in full time operation in more than 200 installations internationally, with each installation providing significant cost-savings and environmental benefits to its users. “Wastewater treatment is the elephant in the room for 21st century water sustainability. Current treatment techniques devour electricity by the megawatt- hour for aeration and leave behind mountains of noxious sludge.” Lux Research, 2014 Baleen’s performance is unmatched, resulting in a concentrated sludge recovered as value-added by-product or used for anaerobic digestion together with a lean filtrate suitable for water re-use at a fraction of the footprint and energy requirement of traditional methods. “With rising commodity prices, recovery of resources from wastewater - especially oil, precious metals and industrial fats, oils and greases - is becoming increasingly feasible.” Lux Research, 2014 Baleen’s value proposition is clear, delivering incremental savings or revenue on the one hand (for existing operations), and ‘closed loop’ opportunity (for a circular economy) on the other, to realise wholistic resource management (recovery over loss) and zero discharge potential (re-use over disposal). In many cases, Baleen delivers a return on investment measured in months. Such revelation is readily explored through Baleen’s ‘Client Revenue Model’, which calculates (from survey) a tangible forecast on the rate of return based upon predetermined inputs of; compliance surcharge, resource recovery, operational savings, environmental-social benefits, and land avoidance. Clients spanning 8-countries lay testament to Baleen’s economic and environmental benefits. Notable accolades include two-time winner of the Artemis Top50 Water Companies (USA), and two-time winner of Frost & Sullivan’s Best Practice Technology Award (Asia Pacific). In recent times, Baleen Filters was invited to submit written advocacies to the G7 (Japan) and G20 (China) meetings and to deliver formal presentations to the Climate Summit (China), Climate Week (USA), COP22 (Morocco), and the World Water Leadership Congress (Mumbai) detailing the direct benefits associated with inline recovery of ‘waste’ and ‘water’ resources from ‘wastewater’. The following industry examples introduce but a few industry applications where Baleen has been applauded. Recovering loss in Fine Ore circuits Use of screen bowls, hydrocyclones and Jameson cells equates to lost ore and profits! Baleen is readily integrated into existing operations via gravity- fed piping with oversize (clean product) dewatered by vacuum belt filter and undersize (gangue) gravity returned to thickener. In fine coal circuits, it is common to find 3-4% of saleable coal is lost to tailings with conventional beneficiation methods losing around 50% of clean coal at 325- mesh (45-microns). One Baleen ‘480-Series plant operating at 45-microns will reclaim as much as 24 metric-tonne per hour. At AU$100 per Tonne (Net Profit)