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Pain Points of WWTP Upgrades - The Energy Challenge


Wastewater Treatment and the 

Water Energy Nexus

Increasing populations, industrial growth and tightening environmental standards are pushing wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) close to and often beyond their design limits. Many of the world's existing wastewater treatment plants need upgrading; due to treatment capacity issues or regulatory targets, where upgrading is not a choice but a necessity for compliance. These existing treatment plants can face several challenges when it comes to upgrading


In this "Pain" series we will look at some of the critical challenges wastewater treatment plants face when it comes to upgrading their facilities. 


Challenge 3:  The Energy Challenge


The increasing cost of energy can be a challenge when it comes to operating wastewater treatment plants. With increasing regulations and carbon footprint goals, many of today's wastewater plants are having to upgrade their systems.


One of the main challenges facing treatment plant operators is that traditional expansion solutions result in more energy being required as more equipment means more power. This can be a detriment for companies who have carbon footprint goals as it moves them further away from their commitments.

On a global scale, conventional wastewater treatment typically consumes
2-3% of the total national electricity production.

In the last 30-40 years, it is evident that the energy costs represent a severe drawback when using systems such as MBBR, IFAS, and RBC at any scale. To improve reaction rates, they combine mechanical mixing and bubble aeration. 

Biological wastewater treatment consumes 50 – 80 % of an entire plant's power supply. Energy efficiency thus depends predominantly on plant design. Typically, with bubble aeration, less than 30 percent of the oxygen supplied by diffusers is transferred to the wastewater, resulting in enormous energy waste. More and more end-users are considering TOTEX over CAPEX as upgraded plants will operate for more than 20 years.

Now an alternative solution to traditional upgrades is available. One that requires significantly less energy.



OxyMem is not like other solutions. OxyMem MABR is a fixed-film technology that doesn't use conventional aeration to move, treat and discharge water.

OxyMem MABR is much more efficient as the driving force for the transfer of oxygen across the membrane is diffusion and not pressure. This is one of the key features of the OxyMem MABR system because it means the air blower does not have to overcome the hydrostatic head and thus can be operated at low pressures which saves energy.

Our patented, bubble-less transfer of oxygen, designed to emulate a natural respiratory system, gives simultaneous nitrification and denitrification for total nitrogen removal, energy savings up to 75%, reduces sludge by up to 50% and decreases your plant carbon footprintwith no additional infrastructure needed.

The results are considerable OPEX saving over other upgrade solutions for the life of the plant.

OXYMEM_What is MABR_Membrane Aerated Biofilm Reactor Explained



Contact us today if you would like to discuss how OxyMem MABR can help you overcome your plant challanges.

Contact Us 


If you missed our first article of the series read it here: The Land Challenge

If you missed our second article of the series read it here: The Time Challenge

Sandra Murray
Sandra Murray
Marketing Executive

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