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13-Feb-2018 13:09:34

Energy-saving UCD technology breathes life into wastewater treatment

Chemical engineers at University College Dublin (UCD) have developed new technology to save energy in wastewater treatment.

Our approach targets a particularly wasteful step in wastewater treatment. Conventionally, this step involves forcing oxygen bubbles through the wastewater ‘sludge’ in order to support bacterial growth. The bacteria then absorb contaminants and nutrients from the water, thereby helping to clean it so it can be released back into the environment or recycled for human use. 

My research group at UCD’s School of Chemical and Bioprocess Engineering has developed an alternative technology: membranes that diffuse or ‘breathe’ oxygen and thereby directly support biofilms of bacteria. Our studies show that this membrane-aerated biofilm reactor (MABR) technology can save up to 75 per cent of the energy conventionally needed to support bacteria in their wastewater treatment role.

In 2014, OxyMem (the UCD spin-out company) delivered the first commercial MABR technology to the market, and it is now reducing energy use for wastewater treatment in numerous countries.

17-Jan-2018 15:37:26

Spanish Winter IFAS Deployment

Reading the Irish Independent Business sum up of 2017, I could not help but think they were, in fact, writing about OxyMem's 2017; a number of points resonated. The 'A good year for Irish tech firms...' article looks back at events, legislation and social changes that occurred in 2017 but will have an effect on 2018.

 

07-Nov-2017 22:08:33

Legislation puts pressure on legacy WWTP’s

Some of the harshest wastewaters across the globe may be closer to home than you think.

 

Thankfully, over the past few decades the world population has turned a corner in terms of increased environmental awareness and the need for a sustainable future. Formal environmental protection agencies and groups have been established, regionally and globally, to both protect ourselves and our natural resources. One area that has gained considerable attention is wastewater. Effluent discharges, especially those from companies into our streams, lakes and rivers are now under scrutiny. Though it hastaken tens of years to arrive at this welcomed environmental awareness juncture, and no doubt will take considerably more years from now to engrain in our mindset, the reality is that this first step on this journey has been the easy one. Looking after our planet in a sustainable manner, though possible, is not easy.  Step one, saying “we will take action” is always easy…

The hard part comes after the decision to take action has been made. Solutions are then sought and when they are found they must be implemented. Not so easy as step one.

13-Sep-2017 12:09:58

Time To Invest In Water

“Thirty to 50 years from now, more or less, the water wars are going to start,”  predicts Matthew Huber and Steven Sherwood - An Adaptability Limit to Climate Change Due to Heat Stress (2010).

The context for this claim was rooted in their analysis of climate change, and when viewed through the lens of recent events their assessment seems pretty accurate.

14-Jul-2017 15:02:17

Increase Treatment Capacity, Increase Revenue

The wastewater treatment facility is viewed only as the back end of industrial plants. To most, it holds no value.

If an investor was to assess an industrial business for its current and potential future worth, he or she would simply note the fact that an asset or structure exists on site for treating a process by-product (wastewater). Few spot the opportunity that exists in this underutilized asset.

 

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