4 Examples of New Wastewater Treatment Technology
Written by AOS Treatment Solutions on December 28, 2016
As the world’s population explodes, the treatment of wastewater becomes exponentially more important. Not only must we find means of treating water that leave a less noticeable carbon footprint, we must find new and creative ways of disposing of the byproduct of wastewater sludge dewatering.
What New Technologies Are Being Developed for Wastewater Treatment?
The following four exciting new wastewater treatment technologies accomplish both… and more.
Thermal hydrolysis technology serves three purposes: wastewater treatment, the reduction of waste byproduct, and the production of biogas. Traditional wastewater treatment plants must plan for dealing with large sums of sludge produced during the industrial wastewater treatment process. Thermal hydrolysis plants, on the other hand, do not define sludge as waste, but a valuable source of energy.
Once wastewater is treated and the sludge is collected, then begins the production of biogas. The sludge is heated and compressed in large vats. The temperatures required range from 160 to 165 degrees Celsius and the pressure required is anywhere from high pressure 7 – 11 or 12 bars.
There are two thermal hydrolysis technologies: batch – or biothelys – and Exelyis.
Biothelys (Batch) Thermal Hydrolysis
Biothelys Technology requires large tracts of land for each plant and must be supplied with large quantities of wastewater every day in order to produce enough biogas to remain viable. However, for large municipalities, neither requisite is generally an issue and the production of biogas can be a considerable revenue stream.
Exelys Thermal Hydrolysis
Exelys Technology can be productive on less space and requires a smaller volume of wastewater to maintain viable. In addition to Exelys Technology requiring considerably less area, it produces 130 percent more biogas than the next most productive thermal hydrolysis systems using the same amount of sludge. The amount of end-waste is also reduced.
The development of an Exelys Plant is expensive, the operating costs are far less than those of other thermal hydrolysis systems.
Microbial Fuel Cells
Another technology that performs three functions simultaneously, microbial fuel cells (MFC) technology uses bacteria to clean wastewater. Even more impressive is the fact that the byproduct of the bacteria’s consumption of wastewater sludge is charged electrons that can be converted into electricity.
Scientists have already had success generating substantial quantities of electricity in laboratory conditions by taking the electrons produced during bacterial oxidation and transferring them to an electrode.
If MFC technology can be produced on a large scale, less fossil fuels would be required to generate electricity.
Solar Photocatalytic Wastewater Treatment
One of the biggest obstacles with respect to treating wastewater is deciding what to do with the sludge produced. Solar photocatalytic wastewater treatment can reduce sludge amounts by over 80 percent compared to traditional wastewater treatment systems.
Sludge, also known as “organic content,” is reduced dramatically by a photocatalytic system because of a microbial decomposition – oxidation – process called “solar irradiation.” Solar irradiation is a synergetic effect that, when combined with hydrogen peroxide, reduces the amount of carbon in the sludge – carbon being the primary element in organic content.
Natural Technologies for Wastewater Treatment
Two of the biggest sources of wastewater are roofs and streets. The water that runs into storm drains is often allowed to spill back into nature after accumulating substantial amounts of toxins, organic waste and pathogens. But, rather than let the wastewater spill back into streams, rivers, lakes and oceans, municipalities and state agencies around the world have started using natural technologies to treat their water.
Natural technologies include things like sediment ponds, excavated wetlands with filtration systems, and large-scale soil filters. By slowing the escape of storm water and allowing the solids and microbes to settle down and become trapped in a natural filter, the water released back into nature is considerably cleaner.