AGRO-EKO Ltd.: Verification is bearing fruit

EWA Aerobic Fermenter

Interview by Kristina Veinbender, CEMC, ETV accredited verification body.

AGRO-EKO Ltd. consider their decision to undergo ETV verification to have been very fruitful and share their experiences in an interview with the Czech ecological magazine Waste Management Forum.

EWA Fermenter developed by the company was the first technology in the Czech Republic to receive an EU ETV Statement of Verification. Technologist Miroslav Hurka from AGRO-EKO expects that the verification will simplify the process of putting the device into operation both on EU and non-EU markets.

How long did it take to develop the fermenter and what was your funding based on?

We started developing our fermenter in 2003. The prototype was manufactured in 2006 and the first device was put into commercial operation on 1 July 2007, at the compost facility TS Zlin. The development was self-financed from the funds of AGRO-EKO with input subsidies from the Ministry of Industry and Trade and later from the Ministry of the Environment.

You’ve won a number of awards and you now have an ETV Verification. What are your expectations from having your technology verified?

The verified model of the aerobic fermenter is protected by several patents and industrial design protection. However, it’s never enough. Different types of evidence (often very specific) relating to the fermenter’s efficiency, such as reports of laboratory analysis, graphs and affidavits of temperature measurements at different locations of the workspace, are required by supervising authorities in different countries. The analysis of product processing and evaluation of the hygienisation efficiency in accordance with the current legislation was not always sufficient. We had the same problem in EU member states, even though the device already had the European CE certification and the laboratory analyses were performed by entirely independent laboratories accredited for soil chemistry and waste processing.

We expect that the ETV verification will simplify the process of putting the device into operation in both EU and non-EU countries.

How challenging was the ETV verification process? What are the possible pitfalls of the process?

The verification process was challenging due to several substantive and administrative conditions under which the verification was carried out. It is necessary to admit that we have learned a lot in the process because the verification and the interpretation of obtained results were done by experts from several professional fields, which has limited the potential impact of our ‘operational blindness‘.

You are the first Czech company who received the EU ETV Statement of Verification. Could you describe what makes the EWA Fermenter 2014 so unique? What types of waste is the fermenter designed to process?

The EWA Aerobic Fermenter is a discontinuously working device intended for the processing of a wide range of biodegradable waste, including gastro waste, waste from the digestive tract of animals for slaughter and dewatered sludge. Its delivery includes a formula developed for specific user conditions. To deal with non-standard events and servicing activities, a permanent Internet connection of the device is utilised, which enables a remote preview of the fermenter control system.

The uniqueness of EWA consists in its ability to perform the shovelling of the fill inside the fermenter. Together with a special system of fill aeration throughout the container and thermal insulation of the workspace by means of mineral wool, it enables the required oxygenation for hygienisation of the fill. The fermenter workspace and all its parts are made of stainless steel. No auxiliary agents or preparations are used for fermentation initiation.

- ETV accredited verification body CEMC.

AGRO-EKO Ltd technology Statement of verification.