The scramble to ship effective waste sterilisation or incineration facilities to those West African countries presently affected by Ebola virus infection rolls on. Newest kid on the block is the Newster NW10 machine from Newster Group.
Relatively compact and operating at atmospheric pressure the process is one better described at Pasteurisation than sterilisation, with a heating profile that peaks at 150C but only briefly.
STAATT performance is not given the manufacturer but while that will reassure regulators it really does not matter, for this or any other process, as long as the device heats the load, thoroughly and effectively, in all parts, with sufficient surety and in-process controls to make sure that this is achieved and recorded.
There must be automated lock-out and reprocessing commands pre-programmed into the controller unit. Beyond that, the finely divided treatment floc shown, presumably from a rather selected waste stream and not containing the many ‘problem’ waste components that may create problems for the integral shredded, such as metal and glass, some rigid plastics and vials, and non-woven polypropylene gowns and drapes etc. It would seem inappropriate for sharps waste treatment that is not mentioned on the Newster Group web site, and these would require segregation for separate treatment, unlike with the Pyropure Pyroclave.
Despite these concerns, this Newster NW10 looks like another useful tool to manage Ebola waste. Treatment floc is, or should be, comprehensively shredded and dry making this aesthetically acceptable, low volume and light weight, and ideal as a fuel material or disposal by landfill.
The main concern about devices such as this, which entail loading of a chamber with bags of waste is the temptation to squeeze in an extra bag or two. This places operators at risk as they press down hard to overfill the chamber, as well as concerns regarding satisfactory performance of the process operating with an overfilled chamber.
As with the Pyroclave, this addition to the new range of waste treatment facilities provides an exciting opportunity to study the performance and relative merits, effectively side-by-side in a high pressure environment. With additional and formal studies in less fraught conditions, which have presumably been completed already, this provides a wonderful opportunity to identify and characterise the merits of each process.
Almost certainly, this work will create a new waste treatment category, particularly for the Pyroclave that is neither ATT nor incinerator by sits in an entirely new category mid-way between those two extremes. Suitable in particular for discontinuous waste treatments close to or at the site of arising, do we now need to think of a move away from regionalised incinerator facilities and other large ATT units operating under conditions that need high throughput and thus considerable transport-related costs to operate successfully?