TU Delft's promising water-treatment technologies combined

Sep 06, 2012 by Roy Meijer

Thanks to research by Mari Winkler, it should now be possible to integrate two successful TU Delft technologies for the treatment of waste water with bacteria, Nereda and Anammox, into a single plant. On Wednesday 5 September, Winkler was awarded her PhD at TU Delft for her work on the subject.

Granular sludge

Nereda and Anammox are both so-called granular sludge technologies for the treatment of waste water with bacteria. Both of the successful treatment methods were jointly discovered and developed at TU Delft. With Nereda and Anammox, compact granules are formed that settle relatively quickly, which makes the treatment process much quicker, cheaper and more efficient both in general and in use of energy.

The core of the Anammox process is a group of bacteria that are capable of converting ammonium into without the use of oxygen or organic carbon. In 2011, there were eleven Anammox plants in operation worldwide.

The core of the Nereda process is, just as with Anammox, a group of micro-organisms that convert into harmless substances; in this case, not only ammonium but also and . The first full-scale Nereda plant was opened in Epe in May of this year.

Integration

PhD candidate Mari Winkler was able to make the Anammox process suitable for standard granular sludge technology, which occurs at normal . This means that both processes, Nereda and Anammox, should now be able to be integrated.

The problem was that waste water for the Anammox process always had to be warm, owing to the fact that the Anammox bacteria only multiply slowly at low temperatures. Winkler circumvented this problem by looking at the competition in a reactor between, on the one hand, nitrite oxidised bacteria (NOB) and, on the other hand, oxidising bacteria (Anammox), at relatively low temperatures. The white granules that formed were dominated by NOB and, after settling, landed more on the upper-lying sludge bed. Red were localised in the lower part of the sludge bed and were dominated by Anammox bacteria.

It proved possible to remove surplus sludge selectively from the upper layer and therefore give Anammox a competitive advantage over NOBs. This also made it possible to enable a stable Anammox process at low temperatures.

Earlier this year, Winkler won the Huber Technology Prize 2012 at the most important water technology trade fair in Europe (IFAT) for her work.

Mari Winkler's PhD research was financed by the engineering company DHV and the Dutch Foundation for Applied Water Research STOWA.

Explore further: Website shines light on renewable energy resources

More information: The thesis 'Magic Granules' is available at repository.tudelft.nl/view/ir/… a-9c6b-89329dd17048/

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

New water-purification method promises radical improvement

Jun 27, 2006

Delft University of Technology (Netherlands) research has discovered a method that could drastically change the way we purify water within a few years. Delft, in partnership with DHV engineering bureau, has developed a compact ...

Pee power: Urine-loving bug churns out space fuel

Oct 02, 2011

Scientists on Sunday said they had gained insights into a remarkable bacterium that lives without oxygen and transforms ammonium, the ingredient of urine, into hydrazine, a rocket fuel.

Recommended for you

Website shines light on renewable energy resources

20 hours ago

A team from the University of Arizona and eight southwestern electric utility companies have built a pioneering web portal that provides insight into renewable energy sources and how they contribute to the ...

Better software cuts computer energy use

21 hours ago

An EU research project is developing tools to help software engineers create energy-efficient code, which could reduce electricity consumption at data centres by up to 50% and improve battery life in smart ...

Cook farm waste into energy

Dec 17, 2014

It takes some cooking, but turning farm waste into biofuels is now possible and makes economic sense, according to preliminary research from the University of Guelph.

Developing a reliable wind 'super grid' for Europe

Dec 17, 2014

EU researchers are involved in the development of a pan-European 'super grid' capable of dispersing wind power across Member States. This will bring more renewable energy into homes and businesses, help reduce ...

Boeing 737 factory to move to clean energy

Dec 16, 2014

Boeing said Tuesday it plans to buy renewable energy credits to replace fossil-fuel power at the factory in Washington state where it assembles its 737 commercial airplanes.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.