LIFE MEMORY - Membrane for ENERGY and WATER RECOVERY
The LIFE MEMORY project aims to demonstrate (at an industrial prototype scale) an anaerobic technology, using the innovative Submerged Anaerobic Membrane Bioreactor (SAnMBR) technology, as an alternative to traditional urban wastewater treatment. The SAnMBR technology combines anaerobic digestion and membrane technology, allowing for the treatment of urban wastewater at ambient temperatures. Anaerobic digestion allows the conversion of the organic matter into a biogas flow (composed mainly by CH4 and CO2) that can be used at the WWTP to generate heat energy and electric power. On the other hand membrane filtration allows the sludge retention time (SRT) to be increased by 100% without increasing the reactor volume – thus in turn permitting anaerobic processes to be used for low-loaded wastewaters. Low growth rate of anaerobic bacteria coupled to longer sludge retention time reduces sludge production, so that there is less residual waste to be disposed of and fewer emissions.
This new approach focuses on a more sustainable concept, where wastewater converts into a source of energy and nutrients, and also a recyclable water resource by membrane disinfection.
The project will demonstrate the economic feasibility of using SAnMBR technology for treating urban wastewater in a pilot plant consisting of an anaerobic reactor with a total volume of 7m3 connected to two membrane tanks, each one with a total volume of 1m3.
- Reduction of the energy consumption per m3 of treated water by 70%: the expected results would be a net consumption of only 0.11 kWh/m3 when treating sulphate-rich urban wastewater, and -0.10 kWh/m3 (net energy production) for low sulphate urban wastewater. Compared to typical consumption ratios in WWTPs based on CAS process (0.25-0.6 kWh/m3) and aerobic MBR systems (0.50-2.5 kWh/m3), the proposed technology offers a significant reduction in electricity consumption and the related carbon footprint;
- Reduction of CO2 emissions from the oxidation of organic matter by 80%, passing from (in CO2 equivalents) 2.4 kg CO2/kg COD eliminated to 1.4 kg CO2/kg COD eliminated;
- Reduction by 50% of sludge production (kg TSS/kg COD removed) compared to aerobic processes;
- Reduction by 25% of the space requirement for the treatment facilities compared to the conventional, ‘aerobic’ WWTPs; and
- Establishment of a protocol for the design and operation of WWTPs based on this new technology.
Contact person: Frank Rogalla