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Increase Treatment Capacity, Increase Revenue

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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At OxyMem our business is to change the minds of owners, operators and engineers the world over, by showcasing our advanced biological wastewater treatment solution. Our product takes advantage of a very simple, naturally occurring biological process that has been used to treat wastewater across the globe for hundreds of years. Biofilm technology was once considered a viable, scalable means of treating wastewater when trickling filters were first implemented industrially in Wales during 1800’s. However, since then there had been little evolution in biofilm technology until the past few decades, with the emergence of moving bed bioreactors (moving media) in place of fixed bed reactors (static media).

In recent years, the significant power consumption of moving bed bioreactors in a world eager to drive down carbon emissions and minimise energy usage, has drawn attention to an alternative advanced media based wastewater treatment solution; one that is emerging as a preferred option to many. The flexible, enhanced media offers a paradigm shift within the world of wastewater treatment; a semi-rigid media, capable of moving naturally with the water current but still within a fixed assembly is rich with air or oxygen, and provides  extremely high oxygen transfer rates, reduced footprint and the lowest whole life cost of all solutions on the market today. This enhanced biofilm media technology is called MABR (Membrane Aerated Biofilm Reactor), and is the solution we at OxyMem have been investing in.

When I personally advise an industry owner that OxyMem could help improve the quality of his or her plant’s effluent, which will, in turn, help the environment, this message usually registers little interest (unless of course that owner has failed or will fail to meet the minimum effluent discharge requirements …. and faces a hefty fine for negatively impacting the local ecosystem). Of course, not all owners react the same. Some do listen, but when chasing profits most follow their default human DNA programming of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!

However, if I point out the fact that he or she is currently operating an ageing plant that is happily (or unhappily) meeting effluent discharge standards but running close to peak capacity, and that OxyMem’s solution can actually increase revenue and profits, the reaction is very different.

In instances like this, the piqued interest comes from talk of a potential increase in revenue and profits as OxyMem can quickly provide additional production capacity through the main works. Our drop-in modules are perfect for freeing up biological treatment bottlenecks at the back end of the industrial facility.

Increasing Return

What OxyMem offers stands to increase the production throughput capacity of any existing biological wastewater treatment plant (municipal or industrial), without the need for downtime and/or modifications to existing civil structures.

The solution offers a 75% reduction in energy consumption above the best in class aeration systems today, alongside its easy deployment and robust operation.

The non-disruptive-to-process drop-in modules provide increased biological capacity and provide an alternative to building new tanks or having to change an overall process treatment stream to a completely new one (that will carry the same risks as the old system of effluent failure).

Each single OxyMem drop-in MABR module can take pressure off a struggling facility or improve effluent quality. OxyMem MABR also serves to protect the aerobic biology from shock loads (eg. Toxins, CIP chemicals), will not get washed out of the system with high flows and can be fed with oxygen enriched air to increase performance when higher seasonal process loads are present.

 

Summary

In summary, many wastewater plants (industrial and municipal) are reaching the end of their natural life with some operating close to capacity. The default response may be to ignore the problem fearing the investment needed to upgrade or replace the existing plant. With OxyMem it is possible to extend the capability of the plant with minimal investment and a lowest ongoing operational cost, ensuring that the plant can operate more efficiently without disruption.

 


 

John McConomy
John McConomy
John McConomy is the Commercial Director of OxyMem. OxyMem solves OPEX intensive wastewater treatment using an innovative Membrane Aerated Biofilm Reactor (MABR).

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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. 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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. 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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. 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