Research Project Information

Research Project Summary Information

Development of Microwave conditioning system for wastewater sludge(ST10881)

Thermex-Thermatron, Inc.


In New York State, sludge conditioning, dewatering, and disposal costs at many wastewater treatment plants (WWTP) can exceed 50% of a plant’s operating costs. The major fraction of this cost is associated with sludge disposal, which can range from $50 to $200 per ton. Additionally, although energy prices continue to rise, and despite the Btu value of sludge, a large portion of the potential energy associated with sludge is either not extracted or is wasted. Improved methods for extracting the maximum available energy from sludge, for increasing the efficiency of sludge dewatering, and for reducing sludge disposal volumes are required.

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Project Description

This is a proof-of-concept project with objectives to develop the process design parameters for a microwave energy application system for conditioning of WWTP sludge and an engineering and economic analysis to demonstrate the technical and economic feasibility of the system.


Post-microwave operations have the potential to generate energy revenues at a rate of $3,812 per year per million gallons of water treated per day (MGD). Polymer costs could decrease by a projected $11,460 per year per MGD. Sludge disposal costs could decrease by $65,291 per year per MGD. The results of a preliminary economic analysis show a payback of 4.9 years for application in a one (1) MGD WWTP.

Project Results


Thermex-Thermatron, Inc.
10501 Bunsen Way Suite 102
Louisville, KY 40299

Principle Investigator

Warren Chesner

Universities Involved


Project Type:

Product Demonstration

Technologies Types:

Waste Management and Pollution Prevention
Water/Wastewater treatment systems

NYSERDA Contact Information

Kathleen O'Connor


R&D - Environment & Energy Res

Contract Details

Start Date: 1/22/2009
Project Status: Active
Contract Number: ST10881

Last Updated: 2/4/2014 1