Suez operates over 2,200 wastewater treatment plants (WWTP) throughout the world providing sanitation services for over 65 million people. Many of these plants employ the activated sludge process to treat the wastewater resulting in high energy consumption, high operating costs and high greenhouse gas emissions. In addition, some of these WWTP have been constructed several years ago, and require upgrading to meet more stringent effluent limits (typically tighter nitrogen and phosphorous limits) or to meet higher COD load than originally designed. Therefore, Suez is always on the lookout for treatment solutions that can increase the capacity of existing, overloaded, WWTP while at the same time reduce energy consumption.
Suez has a strong focus on research and development and is very excited by the potential of the Membrane Aerated Biofilm Reactor (MABR) a groundbreaking technology for the aerobic biological treatment of wastewater as it can increase treatment capacity while at the same time reduce energy demand. In particular, the flexibility of deploying the MABR as a standalone system or directly into an existing activated sludge tank along with the high removal rates that can be achieved, make it an ideal technology for upgrading a WWTP.
In 2015 Suez and OxyMem began a collaboration to test the potential of MABR to upgrade an existing WWTP from secondary treatment only to tertiary treatment. The Montcada i Reixac located near Barcelona was selected as the test location. This plant is designed for secondary treatment only and is meeting all its current requirements. The MABR was seen as an ideal technology for any future potential upgrades.