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Demand for Process Intensification in Wastewater Treatment is on the increase

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Demand for Process Intensification in Wastewater Treatment is on the increase

According to the UN 55% of the world’s population currently live in urban areas, this is expected to increase to 68% by 2050. The gradual shift in movement from rural to urban areas, combined with the overall growth of the world’s population could add another 2.5 billion people to urban areas by 2050.

Across the world, countries are struggling to provide critical infrastructure and services to support growing populations. Providing essential services such as wastewater treatment and amenity spaces to the ever-increasing communities will become difficult to balance, if at all possible, due to limited land availability, the cost involved in acquiring land and the cost of building infrastructure needed to cater to the extra demands placed on the services. 

Going forward it will be critical that investments are made in technologies that offer sustainable growth, while also protecting the environment and the ecosystem.

Process intensive technologies will be a key method of expansion and may well be the only means of sustaining population or industrial growth for many communities across the globe. With the foreseen growth it simply will not make sense for large areas of land to be taken up by wastewater treatment facilities, when alternative technologies requiring much smaller footprints exist.

Process Intensification

OxyMem MABR technology offers wastewater treatment plant owners and operators the opportunity to transform their plants to cope with the upcoming challenges. OxyMem technology now gives operators a real opportunity to treat more process load, achieve higher quality effluents, and with no requirement for additional land.  Up to five times the process load can be treated in an existing tank when using OxyMem technology compared with conventional systems.  Lower operational costs are also offered by this alternative to traditional wastewater treatment solutions. 

 

Less Energy Consumption

It is estimated that the energy required for aeration of activated sludge systems accounts for 2 -3 % of an established community’s electrical energy demands. 

The OxyMem Membrane Aeration Biofilm Reactor (MABR) delivers bubble-less aeration and can achieve very high oxygen transfer rates (up to 95%) even at very low operating pressures. This results in up to 7X energy savings over Conventional Activated Sludge (CAS) and process performance of 14kgO2/ kWh.

A significant increase in oxygen transfer efficiency and overall aeration system efficiency, coupled with the ideal habitat for biofilm growth means our solution can help move plants away from a 100-year-old energy-intense bubble design. In today’s world where energy usage and carbon footprint issues are very high on the global agenda, it is imperative that designs and owners assess the environmental benefits of using the latest technologies in place of old.

Increased Biological Treatment Capacity with no Additional Footprint

 OxyMem`s ‘drop-in’ technology increases the amount of wastewater that can be treated biologically within an existing tank on site. Enhanced biological treatment performance, simple deployment and effective biofilm control enable this.

Due to the MABR’s ability to deliver oxygen efficiently to the active biofilm, the OxyMem solution can result in significant space savings with a footprint of less than 20% compared to conventional activated sludge. A reduced footprint amounts to a capital saving in land costs; not to mention less concrete, steel and process equipment will be needed.

Our modules can be installed without the need to stop flow/production or add additional infrastructure. Civil modifications along with onsite time are minimal; avoiding disruption of current production or processes.

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Reduced Operational Costs 

The simplicity of the OxyMem design, coupled with an automated MABR control process, significantly reduces operator support time. High-performance staff can be deployed more effectively elsewhere.

The core equipment requires zero scheduled maintenance and minimal operator intervention over the life of the product. The OxyMem MABR is self-regulating in that it does not require removing or chemical cleaning; operators can easily obtain feedback on the performance of the installed modules and carry out a scour either on a regular basis to control biofilm thickness, or on demand, to maintain optimum performance.  With the patented biofilm control system, measurements can be made at any time in a continuously operating OxyMem MABR, and an automated and active response can be programmed. 

Given that this is a highly automated technology, there is a reduced requirement for operator engagement. OxyMem MABR presents a significant OPEX reduction in this respect.

To learn more about OxyMem MABR contact us today.

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Sandra Murray
Sandra Murray
Marketing Executive

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Nitrous Oxide, Not So Funny After All   Nitrous oxide emissions from wastewater treatment plants are 265 times more harmful to our environment than carbon dioxide. Nitrous oxide (N2O), a greenhouse gas which is emitted as an undesired bioproduct during the biological treatment of wastewater,  it is estimated to be responsible for six per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions, and it has a warming potential 265 times that of carbon dioxide (CO2). It is also one of the main contributors to depleting the ozone layer. The gas is created during the nitrification and denitrification phase due to nitrogen present in urea, ammonia, and proteins found in municipal wastewater. Despite these concerns, there is some reason for optimism because nitrous oxide has a much shorter lifespan of only 114 years compared to carbon dioxide, which can survive hundreds of years in the atmosphere. Therefore, making changes to reduce N2O emission can have a profound effect on the environment in a much shorter time frame. A report from 2019 showed that 6% of nitrous oxide emissions in the United States come from wastewater treatment. Given this prevalence, reducing, and mitigating process emissions from N2O will be paramount for the water industry over the coming decade. Currently the water industry is working towards monitoring nitrous oxide on treatment plants and considering how best to reduce emissions through optimization or upgrading of treatment processes. Could OxyMem be the answer? Investing in technologies which can limit emission and make plant activities more sustainable will be key. To date there has been significant interest in carbon emissions within the sector, but momentum is growing as interest shifts towards targeting harmful nitrous oxide and lesser-known greenhouse gases.  Denmark  In 2018 the Danish EPA launched a funding scheme for Danish utility companies dedicated to measurements of and mitigation actions towards nitrous oxide emissions. In the period from 2018 to 2020, nine Danish utilities have measured and registered nitrous oxide emissions from nine different wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) under the EPA funding scheme OxyMem have supported Vandcenter Syd (VCS) Denmark, who partnered with Aarhus Vand Denmark, to demonstrate the benefits of MABR technology at the Ejby Mølle WWRF. Work started in the summer of 2018. The full-scale demonstration of MABR at Ejby Mølle provided some great insights into the technology, but one key aspect recorded was the significant difference in N2O emissions from MABR when compared against conventional activated sludge treatment. In this project VCS measured nitrous oxide emissions from the conventional activated sludge surface-aerated reactors and the MABR demonstration reactors. Liquid phase sensors were positioned in both the existing activated sludge tanks and the demonstration MABR tanks, and a gas analyser was used to measure nitrous oxide concentrations in the exhaust gas of the MABR units. Results showed that nitrous oxide emissions were on average one order of magnitude lower than those from the conventional activated sludge plant, even under much higher loading conditions. The initial results from the project are very promising and reflect the immense potential for MABR to achieve very intensive total nitrogen removal with low nitrous oxide emissions. United Kingdom -2030 Net Zero Goals Given the potential for the sector, further studies on N2O and the added benefits of MABR are to be formally carried out under a recent initiative by Anglian Water. OxyMem technology was chosen to demonstrate how MABR might help the UK achieve 2030 emissions goals. Plant design is already underway. The project will be funded through an Innovation Fund made available by Ofwat Anglian Water’s Triple Carbon Reduction solution, delivered in partnership with OxyMem, Element Energy Ltd, Jacobs, Cranfield University, University of East Anglia, Brunel University, Severn Trent Water, Scottish Water, Northern Ireland Water and United Utilities, has been awarded more than £3.5 million. It will use novel technologies to target a step change reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and electricity use in used water treatment and provide a new renewable energy source through green hydrogen production – 'triple carbon' synergy and contribution towards achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2030. Adam Brookes, Manager of Innovation Discovery, Anglian Water, said: “Funding for this project will greatly support the delivery of our own net zero routemap and the water sector's drive to Net Zero by 2030, filling a significant missing piece in the challenge. By collaborating with academia, businesses and other water companies, our project creates an elegant solution to eliminate part of the greenhouse gas emissions associated with wastewater treatment and position the sector within the developing hydrogen landscape, in line with the newly launched UK Government Hydrogen strategy.” Amanda Lake, Water Process Lead, Jacobs Europe, said: “We’re excited to couple an innovative pure MABR treatment solution with green hydrogen production. We know the outcomes could be significant for the water sector - lower nitrous oxide process emissions, a role in the green hydrogen economy, valuable resource recovery and application of best practice life cycle assessment methods. What a valuable chance to work together to open the door to the lower carbon, circular economy water sector we urgently require. OxyMem MABR technology could assist the sector in achieving their global environmental goals over the coming years, by enhancing current Wastewater Treatment Plants capacity and at same time help clients move towards achieving their future net zero carbon emissions.  OxyMem MABR enables clients to add or improve ammonia reduction on existing large works using only a few kW's, and the technology can be simply dropped into existing treatment plants without the need to build additional structures or stopping live processes which are key benefits to enable the sector to achieve global environmental goals over the coming years.