Wastewater aeration is the process of adding air into wastewater to allow aerobic bio-degradation of the pollutant components. It is an integral part of most biological wastewater treatment systems. Unlike chemical treatment which uses chemicals to react and stabilize contaminants in the wastewater stream, biological treatment uses microorganisms that occur naturally in wastewater to degrade wastewater contaminants.
The world needs better wastewater treatment facilities to cope with water shortages caused by climate change and the ongoing population explosion.
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.
Clean water is an essential resource for people and their environments throughout the world.
Those who provide effective solutions for wastewater treatment play a major role in returning clean, safe water back to its source.
Operational efficiency is always of utmost importance in treatment facilities and this has driven innovation in the sector for quite some time. Recently, great advances have been made in the development of efficient technologies but challenges still remain.
Make Your Wastewater Treatment Plant More Efficient
Wastewater Treatment plants are not usually the source of innovation - with many continuing to operate much as they did a few decades ago. However, you may have heard of some recent successes due to the commercial application of an innovative approach to treatment - using Membrane Aerated Biofilm Reactor (MABR) technologies.
This solution is gaining a lot of attention around the world due to the quantified benefits that combine to improve overall operational efficiency.
These benefits include significant improvements in energy efficiency, and reductions in tank footprint, in sludge production and in operator support time.
Simply installing a number of MABR modules in an existing tank enhances treatment performance, and provides additional process capacity overnight.
Key Benefits Include:
- 75% Energy Saving
- 50-80% Tank Savings
- 50% Less Sludge
- 50% More Capacity
So how do you explore whether you should be considering OxyMem for driving efficiencies at your plant?The following 3 step process will help you quickly evaluate whether this area warrants further exploration.