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Environmental award for innovative Travenhorster

Travenhorst - Thorsten Dickhuth has separators so constructed, that when cleaning accumulates significantly less water, saved skim milk, while the operating times were increased. A total of 64 innovations from all over Germany competed this year at the Signal Iduna environmental and health Price of the Handwerkskammer Hamburg. Among the three winners was the Reinsfelder Thorsten Dickhuth, specialist for separators.

Through modifications to the separators in a large dairy in Lower Saxony, he succeeded in that in the purification process significantly less waste water is, the use of cleaning chemicals such as sodium hydroxide solution or nitric acid is greatly reduced and also the operating hours of the plant can be increased.

Separators operate on the principle of the centrifuge and disconnect especially liquids higher from such a lower density. In dairies separate them, for example the cream from the skim milk. "It used to be that quite a lot of debris floating in the milk, which was also singled out in the separator" says Dickhuth. Therefore had and the devices must be cleaned frequently: depending on size every 15 to 45 minutes. It lost twelve to 14 liters of skimmed milk, and more than 20 liters of water are needed for flushing.

"Nowadays the milk is already very clean to the dairy because the technology in the cowshed has also made enormous progress," says Dickhuth. In this respect, it is no longer necessary to be so intensively and frequently cleaned. By extensive reconstruction work in the plant, optimization of cleaning, improvement of wearing parts and the installation of a soft water system, Dickhuth succeeded in starting the cleaning procedure not after 40 minutes, but only after 270 minutes. "That saved the environment and the dairy about 1.4 million liters of waste water in 2006," says the Reinfelder specialist.

Furthermore, the maintenance intervals could be extended by means of the continuous running times. Due to the longer operating times, the system also requires only half of gear oil and significantly fewer spare parts due to wear, since it does not have to be increased and decreased so frequently. "The savings in maintenance and parts for the dairy was 35,000 euros last year, and the dairy has also received almost 420,000 liters of skimmed milk."

"The signal Iduna Environment and Health Prize of the Chamber of Crafts of Hamburg supports creative projects in areas that will be decisive for our future. Especially against the background of the threats caused by climate change, we need a lot of new ideas And pragmatic solutions. " Peter Becker, President of the Hamburg Chamber of Crafts, also said, "The award is a driving force for saving resources, reducing emissions and improving the health situation in companies."

As his own key experience for environmental protection, Dickhuth himself described an assignment in Russia for his then employer Alfa Laval. In Novokuibishev on the Volga River, he commissioned an oil purification plant, where waste oil had caused an environmental disaster in the Volga.
How was it that Dickhuth specialized in separators? "Working with oil separators in ships is usually a very dirty matter, the youngest technician or machinist is always entrusted with the maintenance and repair work." The result was that over the years he developed into an absolute specialist, whose aim was to have "his" separators run as smoothly as possible and to avoid damage and repairs by appropriate care of the equipment.

After six years of training, he spent two years as an engineer assistant at MS Transfinlandia (Travemünde). Afterwards, he studied four semester ship operations at the Fachhochschule in Flensburg, where he made his patent as a Technical Ship Engineer. After graduation, however, Dickhuth no longer hired with a shipping company, but with the Swedish company Alfa Laval in Glinde. The founder Gustaf de Laval had invented the separator in 1883.

Here, the twofold family father was a "trouble-shooter" on the road, as separators are used in a variety of ways - whether in the machinery room of ships (the continuous operation of the lubricating oil), in the food industry (winery, beer breweries, dairies) or in the chemical industry (pharmacy, Cosmetics). After the takeover of Alfa Laval by Tetra Pak, Dickhuth decided to leave the company and become self-employed.

Because of his special knowledge and abilities, this was not a big venture. Ten years ago, he was also appointed expert for the Chamber of Handicrafts for Separators and Separators - he is the only expert in this field all over Europe. The Special Prize of the Chamber of Crafts, which has now won 2,500 euros, is an impressive reward for Dickhuth's commitment and dedication to environmental protection and profitability.

Joachim Strunk, LN