© Advetec 2019

Advetec sets hotel on the route to Zero Waste

Exothermic Reactors are a fuss-free, compact and flexible technology with clear environmental and cost benefits for small businesses with diverse waste profiles. Richard Goff of Advetec reports on how one of his company’s systems is making a real difference to one West Country hotel.

‘Zero Waste to Landfill’ is a common boast (or aspiration) nowadays, mostly commonly from large organisations able to benefit from economies of scale with their chosen solutions, coping typically with substantial volumes of homogeneous waste. And in fact, the challenges in achieving this goal for smaller businesses with a wider range of waste types can be, relatively speaking, far more significant.

The hotel sector is a case in point, with food waste from the restaurant balanced by waste from the rooms across a wide range of organic and non-organic types.

Science and engineering company Advetec stepped into this gap with its second-generation biothermic digester. This was installed in January 2017 at local hotel the Best Western Plus Centurion at Midsomer Norton, near Bath. Since then, it has reduced the volume of the hotel’s waste by a staggering 85%. The installation of the system also inspired General Manager Mark Manley to embrace the goal of zero waste to landfill.

“All the waste goes through a shredder into the digester, and after that, no intervention is required from hotel staff at all,” he says. “It’s easy to use. You can just forget it’s there.” The Advetec continuous feed system takes just 72 hours to reduce waste significantly in terms of both mass and volume. It can process around 10,000 litres of waste a week.

“If something were to go wrong, Advetec would probably know about it before we did, thanks to remote online cameras mounted outside and inside the system,” says Mark.

Advetec’s systems use a bespoke blend of thermophilic bacteria and bio-stimulants. The digestion process generates an exothermic reaction which in turn helps to sustain the bacteria and reduces external energy requirements.

At the hotel, use of the digester means that the 4 x 1,100-litre bins which were previously emptied twice a week have been reduced to just one per week. The Centurion says it will have made a net saving of over £4,500 over the year on haulage and disposal costs.

The residue has the calorific value of  wood. Although rigid plastics, glass and metal are segregated for recycling, some plastics find their way into the digester. “Once we get to the point of eliminating plastics from the residue, we can use it as a fertiliser on the golf course,” says Mark.

While Best Western is an umbrella brand for independent hotels, he reports that news about the digester has spread. “Within the Southwestern cluster, the general managers meet, and there’s been a lot of interest in how we’re getting on with the Advetec system a year in,” Mark says.

For the Centurion and other interested hotels, the biothermic digester is all about the dual benefits of making significant cost savings and demonstrating environmental responsibility by diverting waste away from landfill.

These benefits for hotels, restaurants and other small businesses will improve still further as Advetec works on a more compact next-generation system tailored to the specific needs of the hospitality sector.

Advetec is rapidly developing a range of systems to suit the waste requirements of businesses of all sizes. Earlier in 2017, it launched the next generation of exothermic reactors, the Advetec XO. This refines Advetec’s application of its bacterial blend, reducing the mass of organic waste by up to 90%. This leaves a dry digestate between 48 and 72 hours.

Both the mechanical integrity and internal processes of the system have been improved, as have the control software and remote monitoring. Among other benefits, this means that the operation can adapt more easily to changing waste profiles at different times.

Specific improvements include a rugged exoskeleton to allow for easier transportation, drive units with increased torque, and a redesign of internal processes determining the flow of waste through the system. Together, we have calculated that these various enhancements deliver a 10% increase in system efficiency compared with previous models.

Importantly, unlike other on-site solutions, Advetec’s Exothermic  Reactors can process non-organic waste mixed in with the organic matter, minimising the need for sorting and separation.

The Advetec XO can either be purchased outright or leased on a managed service agreement. Infrastructure requirements are minimal, since the Advetec XO can be set up on any concrete pad of appropriate size with a correct power supply. The Advetec XO is available in three unit sizes between one and 13 cubic metres.