In many cases energy, water and resources contained in wastewater may have significant value if recovered. Therefore, the EU is currently confronted with a paradigm shift from wastewater treatment to resource recovery. To facilitate this shift, the SuPER-W European Joint Doctorate programme trains early-stage researchers (ESRs) in developing technologies for water, energy, nutrient and metal reuse, and bioproduction from (waste)water. The ESRs obtain knowledge and skills needed to turn environmental problems into economic opportunities. SuPER-W focuses not only on technology development through research, but the ESRs are also trained in translating research into policy, creative problem-solving, identification of bottlenecks for effective implementation of resource recovery technologies, development of business cases and urban/industrial ecosystems, and assessment of sustainability and the role of public perception and policy in innovation. Furthermore, they acquire a set of commercial, entrepreneurial and managerial skills that prepare them as future leaders. All ESRs are supervised by at least 2 promoters from 2 universities and co-supervised by a researcher from a non-academic partner organisation. Moreover, they conduct an internship in the non-academic sector in the first and last project year, contributing to more effective dissemination and exploitation of their research results. To organise the training, SuPER-W brings together leading researchers from 5 renowned universities and 12 associated non-academic partner organisations, including industrial partners involved in technology development, SMEs focused on consultancy/engineering, a service provider, a government agency, and professional network organisations. ESRs who successfully defend the PhD thesis and finish the doctoral training programme receive a double or joint PhD degree, jointly awarded by the universities of his/her promoters, as well as a joint doctoral training certificate of SuPER-W.
In this study, enzymatic pretreatment of microalgal biomass was investigated under different conditions and evaluated using biochemical methane potential (BMP) tests. Cellulase, glucohydrolase and an enzyme mix composed of cellulase, glucohydrolase and xylanase were selected based on the microalgae cell wall composition (cellulose, hemicellulose, pectin and glycoprotein). All of them increased organic matter solubilisation, obtaining high values already after 6 h of pretreatment with an enzyme dose of 1% for cellulase and the enzyme mix. BMP tests with pretreated microalgae showed a methane yield increase of 8 and 15% for cellulase and the enzyme mix, respectively. Prospective research should evaluate enzymatic pretreatments in continuous anaerobic reactors so as to estimate the energy balance and economic cost of the process.
The anaerobic digestion of microalgae is hindered by its complex cell wall structure and composition. Thus, several pretreatment methods have been used for increasing microalgae anaerobic biodegradability. Since the methane yield depends on biomass characteristics, pretreatments should be compared using the same microalgal biomass. In this study, physical pretreatments including thermal (95 degrees C; 10 h), hydrothermal (130 degrees C; 15 min), microwave irradiation (900 W; 3 min; 34.3 MJ/kg TS) and ultrasonication (70 W; 30 min; 26.7 MJ/kg TS) were evaluated in terms of microalgae solubilisation and methane yield increase in batch tests. Organic matter solubilisation was improved in all cases, with the highest increase on soluble proteins, followed by soluble carbohydrates and soluble lipids. This was attributed to the macromolecular and cell wall composition of the main microalgae species composing the biomass, i.e. Monoraphidium sp. and Stigeoclonium sp. Furthermore, the methane yield was increased by 72% for thermal, 28% for hydrothermal and 21% for microwave pretreatments, whereas no significant increase was found for ultrasonication as compared to control. Outstanding results of the thermal pretreatment should be validated in prospective pilot-scale studies in order to quantify the potential increase in biogas production upon continuous operation. (C) 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
The Research Group on Cooperation and Human Development (GRECDH) of the Technical University of Catalonia (UPC) has long promoted Bachelor, Master and PhD Theses in the framework of sustainable energy projects in low income countries. In this way, students combine their work at UPC with tasks in these countries. The aim of this paper is to present and evaluate the program through the experience of several students who participated in sustainable energy projects in Central and South America.
An integrated microalgae-based system for urban wastewater treatment, microalgae production and bioenergy generation through anaerobic digestion was evaluated over a period of one year. The pilot HRAP was effective at removing COD (similar to 80%) and ammonium(similar to 95%) and robust, despite common variations in wastewater composition and weather conditions in the Mediterranean region. Biomass production showed a strong seasonality, reaching an annual average of 10 g TSS/m(2).day and the highest values in spring (23 g TSS/m(2).day). Conversely, the macromolecular composition was fairly constant (58% proteins, 22% carbohydrates and 20% lipids). Predominant microalgae species varied throughout the year, influencing biogas production. Indeed, the anaerobic biodegradability of harvested biomass was 20-25% in July-October 2012 and May-July 2013 and 25-38% in November 2012-April 2013. Adapting the content of particulate inert COD in Anaerobic Digestion Model No. 1 (ADM1) was crucial for model calibration. After adjustment, ADM1 was able to predict microalgae anaerobic digestion performance, which showed an average methane yield of 0.09 L CH4/g COD at 15 days HRT and 0.16 L CH4/g COD at 20 days HRT. (C) 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
In the context of wastewater treatment with microalgae cultures, coagulation-flocculation followed by sedimentation is one of the suitable options for microalgae harvesting. This process is enabled by the addition of chemicals (e.g. iron). However, in a biorefinery perspective, it is important to avoid possible contamination of downstream products caused by chemicals addition. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of potato starch as flocculant for microalgal biomass coagulation-flocculation and sedimentation. The optimal flocculant dose (25 mg/L) was determined with jar tests. Such a concentration led to more than 95% biomass recovery (turbidity < 9NTU). The settleability of flocs was studied using an elutriation apparatus measuring the settling velocities distribution. This test underlined the positive effect of starch on the biomass settling velocity, increasing to >70% the percentage of particles with settling velocities >6.5 m/h. Finally, biochemical methane potential tests showed that starch biodegradation increased the biogas production from harvested biomass. (C) 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
The effect of hydraulic retention time (HRT) and seasonality on the removal efficiency of 26 organic microcontaminants from urban wastewater was studied in two pilot high-rate algal ponds (HRAPs). The targeted compounds included pharmaceuticals and personal care products, fire retardants, surfactants, anticorrosive agents, pesticides and plasticizers, among others. The pilot plant, which was fed at a surface loading rate of 7-29 g of COD m(-2) d(-1), consisted of a homogenisation tank and two parallel lines, each one with a primary settler and an HRAP with a surface area of 1.5 m(2) and a volume of 0.5 m(3). The two HRAPs were operated with different HRTs (4 and 8 d). The removal efficiency ranged from negligible removal to more than 90% depending on the compound. Microcontaminant removal efficiencies were enhanced during the warm season, while the HRT effect on microcontaminant removal was only noticeable in the cold season. Our results suggest that biodegradation and photodegradation are the most important removal pathways, whereas volatilization and sorption were solely achieved for hydrophobic compounds (log Row >4) with a moderately high Henry's law constant values (11-12 Pa m(-3) mol(-1)) such as musk fragrances. Whereas acetaminophen, ibuprofen and oxybenzone presented ecotoxicological hazard quotients (HQs) higher than 1 in the influent wastewater samples, the HQs for the effluent water samples were always below 1. (C) 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Research on new sources of bioenergy is nowadays driving attention to microalgae. Cost-effective biomass harvesting and thickening pose a challenge for massive microalgae production for biofuels. In this study, coagulation-flocculation and sedimentation with natural flocculants (Ecotan and Tanfloc) was evaluated on microalgae grown in an experimental high rate algal pond treating urban wastewater. Jar tests showed how flocculant doses of 10 and 50mg/L of Ecotan and Tanfloc enabled over 90% biomass recovery. Furthermore, settling column tests showed that both flocculants increased microalgae settling velocity, performing fast and efficient biomass recovery (>90% recovery in 10-20min). Thus, the use of either flocculant would enhance microalgal biomass reducing the HRT and settler volume. Finally, the potential toxicity of flocculants upon biomass production was assessed in biochemical methane potential tests. Results indicated that doses of 10-50mg/L of Ecotan and Tanfloc did not affect anaerobic digestion, leading to the same methane yield (162-166mL CH4/g VS) with the same methane content (70%) as the control without flocculants. This study demonstrates that Ecotan and Tanfloc flocculants would be appropriate for microalgae biomass harvesting and subsequent biogas generation.
Microalgal biomass grown in wastewater treatment raceway ponds may be valorised producing bioenergy through anaerobic digestion. However, pretreatment techniques seem to be necessary for enhancing microalgae methane yield. In this study, hydrothermal pretreatment was studied prior to batch and continuous reactors. The pretreatment increased organic matter solubilisation (8-13%), anaerobic digestion rate (30-90%) and final methane yield (17-39%) in batch tests. The highest increase was attained with the pretreatment at 130 degrees C for 15 min, which was attested in a laboratory-scale continuous reactor operated at a hydraulic retention time of 20 days with an average organic loading rate of 0.7 g VS/L center dot day. The methane yield increased from 0.12 to 0.17 L CH4/g VS (41%) in the pretreated digester as compared to the control. Microscopic images of microalgal biomass showed that pretreated cells had unstructured organelles and disrupted cell wall external layer, which may enhance the hydrolysis. Indeed, images of the pretreated reactor digestate showed how cells were more degraded than in the control reactor. (C) 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Les llacunes d'alta càrrega (LAC) es caracteritzen per ser una tecnologia de tractament d'aigua residual econòmica i ambientalment sostenible. Dins les LAC, les microalgues i les bactèries heteròtrofes creixen en relació simbiòtica de manera que l'oxigen que les bactèries necessiten per a la degradació de la matèria orgànica és produït durant la fotosíntesi de les microalgues. Així doncs, en contrast amb els sistemes convencionals de fangs activats, les LAC no requereixen d'aireig mecànic, principal consum energètic de la planta. D'altra banda, la biomassa microalgal, recollida dels decantadors secundaris, pot ser valoritzada en digestors anaerobis alhora que es produeix biogàs. Aquest procés de digestió, però, es veu limitat per la hidròlisi de les macromolècules retingudes dins la paret cel·lular de les microalgues, impedint que aquestes es trobin fàcilment a l'abast dels microorganismes anaerobis. L'objectiu d'aquesta tesi doctoral és doncs investigar la digestió anaeròbia de la biomassa algal cultivada en una LAC i alhora, estudiar possibles mètodes de pretractament per tal de millorar la producció de biogàs.Inicialment, la digestió anaeròbica de la biomassa algal va ser avaluada en una LAC (escala pilot) i en un reactor (escala laboratori) sense aplicar-hi cap pretractament. Quan el reactor fou operat a 15 dies de temps de retenció hidràulica (TRH), la productivitat de metà mitjana fou de 0.13 L CH4/g SV i quan el TRH fou de 20 dies, de 0.17 L CH4/g SV. La biodegradabilitat anaeròbica de les microalgues fou variable i baixa al comparar-la amb d'altres substrats orgànics. Les especies microalgals existents dins la LAC variaren també al llarg del temps, com a conseqüència de les condicions ambientals, la composició de l'aigua residual i les interrelacions amb d'altres microorganismes. Per últim, els resultats suggeriren que la biodegradabilitat de les microalgues depenia de les característiques de les cèl·lules que composaven la biomassa en cada període i que, per tant, era específica segons l'espècie.Com a conseqüència d'aquests resultats, i per tal de millorar la digestió anaeròbica de la biomassa, es van avaluar quatre tècniques de pretractament (microones, tèrmic, hidrotèrmic i ultrasons) utilitzant testos en discontinu. En cada cas, diversos paràmetres operacionals (temperatura, temps d'exposició, potencia consumida i energia específica aplicada), van combinar-se i, posteriorment, les millors condicions s'estudiaren utilitzant reactors en continu. En tot els casos estudiants, el pretractament augmentà tant la solubilització de la biomassa com la productivitat de metà. El pretractament termal a 95 ºC (0.31 L CH4/g SV), fou el que presentà un augment superior (70%) en relació a les microalgues no pretractades. Els anàlisis amb el microscopi indicaren que els mètodes de pretractament estudiats no van aconseguir trencar les parets cel·lulars de les microalgues; tot i això, la majoria de les cèl·lules queden malmeses, augmentant la biodegradabilitat i la bioaccessibilitat de les molècules orgàniques. Les espècies de microalgues que contenien proteïnes i carbohidrats a les parets cel·lulars resultaren en un augment de la productivitat de metà superior a aquelles especies amb parets cel·lulars més resistents, tals com les diatomees. El balanç energètic del procés suggerí que els pretractaments calorífics (tèrmic i hidrotèrmic), més que els elèctrics (microones), foren més eficients a nivell energètic. Els millors resultats s'aconseguiren amb l'aplicació del pretractament tèrmic a 75 i 95 ºC, assolint un balanç energètic positiu (es produí un 30% més d'energia de la consumida). Finalment, la realització d'un balanç energètic estimat del sistema complet, mostrà com les plantes de tractament d'aigua residual basades en les microalgues serien neutrals a nivell energètic amb una producció mitjana de biomassa de 15 g SST/m2¿d en les LAC i amb una producció de biomassa de 10 g SST/m2·d si s'apliqués el pretractament tèrmic.
Microalgae have been intensively studied as a source of biomass for replacing conventional fossil fuels in the last decade. The optimization of biomass production, harvesting and downstream processing is necessary for enabling its full-scale application. Regarding biofuels, biogas production is limited by the characteristics of microalgae, in particular the complex cell wall structure of most algae species. Therefore, pretreatment methods have been investigated for microalgae cell wall disruption and biomass solubilization before undergoing anaerobic digestion. This paper summarises the state of the art of different pretreatment techniques used for improving microalgae anaerobic biodegradability. Pretreatments were divided into 4 categories: (i) thermal; (ii) mechanical; (iii) chemical and (iv) biological methods. According to experimental results, all of them are effective at increasing biomass solubilization and methane yield, pretreatment effect being species dependent. Pilot-scale research is still missing and would help evaluating the feasibility of full-scale implementation. (C) 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
High rate algal ponds are an economic and sustainable alternative for wastewater treatment, where microalgae and bacteria grow in symbiosis removing organic matter and nutrients. Microalgal biomass produced in these systems can be valorised through anaerobic digestion. However, microalgae anaerobic biodegradability is limited by the complex cell wall structure and therefore a pretreatment step may be required to improve the methane yield. In this study, ultrasound pretreatment at a range of applied specific energy (16-67. MJ/kg. TS) was investigated prior to microalgae anaerobic digestion. Experiments showed how organic matter solubilisation (16-100%), hydrolysis rate (25-56%) and methane yield (6-33%) were improved as the pretreatment intensity increased. Mathematical modelling revealed that ultrasonication had a higher effect on the methane yield than on the hydrolysis rate. A preliminary energy assessment indicated that the methane yield increase was not high enough as to compensate the electricity requirement of ultrasonication without biomass dewatering (8% VS).
The Research Group on Cooperation and Human Development of the Technical University
of Catalonia (UPC) has long promoted Bachelor, Master and PhD Thesis in the framework
of sustainable energy projects in low income countries. In this way, students combine their
work at UPC with tasks in the low income countries. The aim of this paper is to present and
evaluate the program through the experience of several students who participated in
sustainable energy projects in Central and South America.
This paper describes the anaerobic digestion of microalgal biomass from high rate ponds in continuous anaerobic reactors for biogas production. With hydraulic retention times (HRT) of 15 and 20 days, the volatile solids (VS) removal did not exceed 30%, and the methane production rate ranged between 0.12 and 0.14 L CH4/L day. To improve process performance, microwave irradiation at 900 W for 3 min (specific energy similar to 70,000 kJ/kg VS) was applied as a pretreatment step. The VS removal increased to 40 and 45% at 15 and 20 days HRT, respectively. Consequently, the methane production rate increased to 0.16 and 0.20 L CH4/L day at 15 and 20 days HRT, respectively. Microscopic analysis confirmed cell wall damage, although generally without lysis, after irradiating microalgal biomass. However, the energy consumption was much higher than the extra energy production of the process. Indeed, microalgal biomass should not only be thickened but also dewatered if microwave irradiation was to be applied as a pretreatment to anaerobic digestion for biogas production. (C) 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
This study was carried out in response to the growing interest on household biogas digesters in Latin America, particularly in rural Andean communities. The aim was to compare the fixed dome and plastic tubular digester in terms of biogas production, cost and environmental impact, using the life cycle assessment methodology. Design and operational parameters, construction materials and implementation costs were based on our previous research and literature results for plastic tubular and fixed dome digesters, respectively. According to this analysis, the main advantage of the plastic tubular digester was
its ease of implementation and handling, and lower investment cost compared to the fixed dome digester, which appeared to be more environmentally friendly.
This work studied the anaerobic conversion of neutralized volatile fatty acids (VFA) into biogas under Autogenerative High Pressure Digestion (AHPD) conditions. The effects of the operating conditions on the biogas quality, and the substrate utilisation rates were evaluated using 3 AHPD reactors (0.6 L); feeding a concentration of acetate and VFA (1-10 g COD/L) corresponding to an expected pressure increase of 1-20 bar. The biogas composition improved with pressure up to 4.5 bar (>93% CH4), and stabilized at 10 and 20 bar. Both, acetotrophic and hydrogenotrophic methanogenic activity was observed. Substrate utilisation rates of 0.2, 0.1 and 0.1 g CODCH4/g VSS/d for acetate, propionate and butyrate were found to decrease by up to 50% with increasing final pressure. Most likely increased Na+-requirement to achieve CO2 sequestration at higher pressure rather than end-product inhibition was responsible. (C) 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
'Subsurface-flow constructed wetlands have become a very popular cost effective and green technology for treatment of waste water throughout Europe and the rest of the world. Original predictions over the longevity of constructed wetlands were approximately 50 -100 years (Conley et al 1991). However, it has become disappointingly apparent that these systems are clogging and have on average a lifetime of less than 10 years (Griffin et al 2008). Currently when a wetland becomes clogged, the whole site has to be refurbished and the reeds regrown, which takes several years and has significant economic consequences for the operators.
Our project ARBI aims to develop and trial an Autonomous Reed Bed Installation containing a magnetic resonance probe, can be deployed in several locations within a wetland to give measurements at different depths. By measuring the relaxation times of MR, sufficient information can be obtained to determine the clog state of the gravel bed of a wetland. This would enable the operators to isolate those areas of the bed where the problem resides and make a partial intervention, without the need to remove and re-plant the whole reed bed. When the system is developed, we will have potential for application in other water treatment systems based on subsurface flows like: slow rate sand filters, and river bank filtration.
The project will have major benefits for those organisations who would like to install reedbeds but have resisted doing because of concerns over performance and maintenance costs. These will increase the potential size of the market for reedbed installers and benefit the SMEs in the consortium who currently are operating in a constrained market which has not achieved its true potential.'
The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of microwave pretreatment on the solubilisation and anaerobic digestion of microalgae-bacterial biomass cultivated in high rate algal ponds for wastewater treatment. The microwave pretreatment comprised three specific energies (21,800, 43,600 and 65,400. kJ/kg TS), combining three output power values with different exposure times. Response surface analysis showed that the main parameter influencing biomass solubilisation was the applied specific energy. Indeed, a similar solubilisation increase was obtained for the same specific energy, regardless of the output power and exposure time (280-350% for 21,800. kJ/kg TS, 580-610% for 43,600. kJ/kg TS and 730-800% for 65,400. kJ/kg TS). In biochemical methane potential tests, the initial biogas production rate (27-75% increase) and final biogas yield (12-78% increase) were higher with pretreated biomass. A linear correlation was found between biomass solubilisation and biogas yield.
This study was carried out in response to the growing interest on household biogas digesters in Latin America, particularly in rural Andean communities. The aim was to compare traditional and novel digester designs, in terms of biogas production, cost and environmental impact. Three household digesters were compared: 1) fixed dome – Chinese model; 2) fixed dome – Camartec model and 3) plastic tubular – Taiwanese model. Data concerning design and operational parameters, construction materials and costs were obtained from our previous results on plastic tubular digesters and from the literature on fixed dome digesters. The biogas production rate
ranged around 0.07-0.5 m3 biogas m-3 digester d-1 in plastic tubular digesters and around 0.35-0.7 m3 biogas m-3 digester d-1 in fixed dome digesters. The novel design of the Camartec model reduced construction materials and capital cost by 27 % compared to the Chinese model. The cost of plastic tubular digesters was mainly attributed to the geomembrane. The life cycle assessment showed how the Camartec model caused the lowest impact, while the plastic tubular digester had the highest impact; which was mainly attributed to plastic materials (greenhouse and biogas reservoir) and geomembrane (digester). In the Chinese model, the main impact was caused by concrete and bricks, which were respectively 38 and 22 % higher than in the Camartec system. The highest impact of the tubular digester may be explained by the lifespan of construction materials. From an economic and environmental perspective, the Camartec model seems the best option; the main advantage of plastic tubular digesters being its ease of implementation and handling.
Microalgae have recently drawn attention as a potential resource for biofuels generation. In the short term, anaerobic digestion seems the most viable downstream process. Still, microalgae cell wall restrains the hydrolysis, hampering the methane production potential. This work aimed at improving the anaerobic biodegradability of microalgae through different pretreatment methods: microwave, low temperature and high temperature. For the microwave pretreatment, the specific
energy was the main parameter affecting biomass solubilisation, increasing up to 800 % compared to untreated biomass. For the low and high temperature pretreatments, temperature was the most
important factor, increasing biomass solubilisation up to 1190 and 2140 % in each case. BMP tests showed an increased methane yield after all pretreatments (40-80 %), with the highest results for the microwave pretreatment. In semi-continuous reactors operated at 15 days HRT, the methane production was increased by 30 and 33 % after microwave and low temperature pretreatment, respectively. When increasing the HRT to 20 days, the methane yield was further enhanced by 60 and 52 % after microwave and low temperature pretreatment, respectively. Therefore, initial results showed pretreatment potential for microalgae solubilisation and methane yield
Microalgae have recently drawn attention as a potential resource for biofuels generation. In the short term, anaerobic digestion seems the most viable downstream process. Still, microalgae cell wall restrains the hydrolysis, hampering the methane production potential. This work aimed at improving the anaerobic biodegradability of microalgae through different pretreatment methods:
microwave, low temperature and high temperature. For the microwave pretreatment, the specific energy was the main parameter affecting biomass solubilisation, increasing up to 800 % compared to untreated biomass. For the low and high temperature pretreatments, temperature was the most
important factor, increasing biomass solubilisation up to 1190 and 2140 % in each case. BMP tests showed an increased methane yield after all pretreatments (40-80 %), with the highest results for the microwave pretreatment. In semi-continuous reactors operated at 15 days HRT, the methane
production was increased by 30 and 33 % after microwave and low temperature pretreatment, respectively. When increasing the HRT to 20 days, the methane yield was further enhanced by 60 and 52 % after microwave and low temperature pretreatment, respectively. Therefore, initial
results showed pretreatment potential for microalgae solubilisation and methane yield
The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of low temperature pretreatment on the anaerobic digestion of microalgal biomass grown in wastewater. To this end, microalgae were pretreated at low temperatures (55, 75 and 95. C) for 5, 10 and 15. h. Biomass solubilisation was enhanced with the pretreatment temperature and exposure time up to 10. h. The methane yield was improved by 14%, 53% and 62% at 55, 75 and 95. C, respectively; and was correlated with the solubilisation increase. The pretreatment at 95. C for 10. h increased VS solubilisation by 1188%, the initial methane production rate by 90% and final methane yield by 60% compared to untreated microalgae. With diluted biomass (~1% VS) positive energy balance was not likely to be attained. However, with concentrated biomass (2% VS) energy requirements may be covered and even surplus energy generated.
The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of low temperature pretreatment on the anaerobic digestion of microalgal biomass grown in wastewater. To this end, microalgae were pretreated at low temperatures (55, 75 and 95 °C) for 5, 10 and 15 h. Biomass solubilisation was enhanced with the pretreatment temperature and exposure time up to 10 h. The methane yield was improved by 14%, 53% and 62% at 55, 75 and 95 °C, respectively; and was correlated with the solubilisation increase. The pretreatment at 95 °C for 10 h increased VS solubilisation by 1188%, the initial methane production rate by 90% and final methane yield by 60% compared to untreated microalgae. With diluted biomass (∼1% VS) positive energy balance was not likely to be attained. However, with concentrated biomass (>2% VS) energy requirements may be covered and even surplus energy generated.
'The here proposed NAwATech Europe proposal is closely interconnected with the partner project NaWaTech India. In order to reach the maximal impact the two projects have formed one common work plan for both projects, targeting the same objectives, will present their results at the same web-site and formed a joint management team. Providing adequate water supply and sanitation, particularly in urban areas, is a challenging task for governments throughout the world. This task is made even more difficult due to predicted dramatic global changes. In order to cope with water shortages in urban areas, there is a need for a paradigm shift from conventional end-of-pipe water management to an integrated approach. This integrated approach should include several actions such as: (i) interventions over the entire urban water cycle; (ii) optimisation of water use by reusing wastewater and preventing pollution of freshwater source; (iii) prioritisation of small-scale natural and technical systems, which are flexible, cost-effective and require low operation and maintenance. Natural water systems, such as manmade wetlands and sub-soil filtration and storage via soil aquifer treatment and bank filtration, are such systems. NaWaTech stands for natural water systems and treatment technologies to cope with water shortages in urbanised areas in India. The concept is based on optimised use of different urban water flows by treating each of these flows via a modular natural system taking into account the different nature and degree of pollution of the different water sources. Thus, it will cost-effectively improve the water quality of urban surface water and restore depleting groundwater sources. Due to the multi-barrier approach, these systems will also be able to treat heavily polluted water (i.e. wastewater) in order to reuse them and to supplement traditional sources to cope with water shortages today and in the future.'
Marianna Garfi'; Ferrer-Martí, L.; Velo, E.; Ferrer, I. Renewable and sustainable energy reviews Vol. 16, num. 10, p. 575-581 DOI: 10.1016/j.rser.2011.08.023 Date of publication: 2012-01 Journal article
Low-cost household digesters are a promising appropriate technology which can help reducing the pressure on the environment due to deforestation and greenhouse gases emissions. The biogas and biofertilizer produced can alleviate poverty, by improving health conditions, increasing crops productivity and saving working time and burden for women and children. The aim of this study is to evaluate low-cost digesters technical, environmental and socio-economic impacts in rural communities of the Peruvian Andes, where a pilot project was developed during the last 3 years. Although the benefits are restricted by the performance of anaerobic digestion at high altitude, the results show that the digesters improve household living conditions and economy, while reducing environmental impacts. Biogas production covers around 60% of fuel needs for cooking, leading to 50–60% decrease in firewood consumption (i.e. deforestation) and greenhouse gases emissions; the annual income is increased by 3–5.5% due to fertilizer savings and potato sales. These values could be improved by enhancing digesters performance and the sustainability of the technology.
The aim ofthis research was to improve the anaerobic digestion of cow and guinea pig manure in low-cost unheated tubular digesters implemented at high altitude, by comparing different operating conditions and codigesting both manures
During the last years, the implementation of new Wastewater Treatment Plants has lead to a significant increase of sludge production. As a response, sludge valorisation in agriculture is the preferred option nowadays, ensuring the return of organic constituents, nutrients and microelements to crop fields. In practice, sludge treatments should provide a final product suitable for land application, with reasonable investment as well as operational and maintenance costs. In this sense, sludge treatment wetlands (STW) appear as a suitable technology for sludge management from an economic and environmental point of view.
The main objective of this research work was to assess the suitability of STW for sludge management; with special focus on small communities of the Mediterranean Region. To this end, technical, environmental and economic aspects of the treatment were studied in 3 full-scale systems and in a pilot plant located in Catalonia. A comparison with conventional treatments for sludge management is presented in order to establish the most favourable solution for the Catalan context. As the final result from this work, design and operation criteria are proposed as a guide for STW implementation in small Mediterranean communities.
The study of the performance of the full-scale STW suggests good treatment efficiency. Moisture content was reduced by 16-30%, reaching efficiencies similar to those of conventional dewatering technologies. On the other hand, VS were reduced up to 30-49%VS/TS, suggesting the progressive sludge stabilisation and mineralisation. Similar values were found at the end of the treatment in the pilot plant. In this case the sludge volume was reduced around 80% and TS increased up to 16-24%. However, the observed VS reduction (up to 50%VS/TS) after 2 months without feeding, indicates that longer resting periods should be applied in order to increase mineralisation of the sludge.
A finite element model able to simulate sludge dewatering in STW was developed by combining the evapotranspiration (ET) and the Terzaghi¿s consolidation theory representing water percolation. The model allows for the determination of the most appropriate feeding frequency as a function of the sludge height stored on the wetland. Similarly, the sludge loading rate is determined as a function of ET, feeding frequency and sludge height. On the whole, the model implemented is a useful tool for the establishment of standardised criteria of STW operation.
The characterisation of the final product from the pilot plant and from three full-scale systems demonstrated the suitability of biosolids as organic fertilisers. DRI values indicated the partial stabilisation of the product. Moreover, the absence of phytotoxicity and the heavy metals concentrations below the legal thresholds confirmed their viability to be reused in agriculture. However, in the pilot plant, pathogens were still present after 2 resting months, confirming the necessity of a longer resting period. Monitoring the stabilisation degree as phytotoxicity, heavy metals and pathogens' concentration during the final resting period would help optimising its duration.
Looking at the environmental aspects, the static chamber method was successfully adapted to the determination of gas emissions from STW. Aerobic conditions before sludge feeding, characterised by low methane emissions and high nitrous oxide emissions, were strongly altered by fresh sludge feeding, which increases CH4 emissions and reduces N2O emissions. According to the measured emissions, the Global warming potential of STW corresponds to 17kgCO2eq/PE¿y, which is from 2 to 9 times lower than that of sludge centrifugation and transport. Besides,the economic and environmental assessment indicates STW with direct land application as the most cost-effective technique, which is also characterised by the lowest environmental impact.Thus STW are the best solution to manage waste sludge in decentralised small communities.
Guinea pig is one of the most common livestock in rural communities of the Andes. The aim of this research was to study the anaerobic digestion of guinea pig manure in low-cost unheated tubular digesters at high altitude. To this end, the performance of two pilot digesters was monitored during 7 months; and two greenhouse designs were compared. In the dome roof digester the temperature and biogas production were significantly higher than in the shed roof digester. However, the biogas production rate was low (0.04 View the MathML sourcembiogas3View the MathML sourcemdigester-3 d−1), which is attributed to the low organic loading rate (0.6 kgVS View the MathML sourcemdigester-3 d−1) and temperature (23 °C) of the system, among other factors. In a preliminary fertilization study, the potato yield per hectare was increased by 100% using the effluent as biofertilizer. Improving manure management techniques, increasing the organic loading rate and co digesting other substrates may be considered to enhance the process.
Low-cost tubular digesters originally developed in tropical regions have been adapted to the extreme weather conditions of the Andean Plateau (3000e4000 m.a.s.l.). The aim of this study was to characterise biogas production in household digesters located at high altitude, operating under psychrophilic conditions. To this end, two pilot digesters were monitored and field campaigns were carried out in two representative digesters of rural communities. Digesters’ useful volume ranged between 2.4 and 7.5m3, and hydraulic residence time (HRT) between 60 and 90 days. The temperature inside the digester’s greenhouse ranged between 20 and 25 ºC. Treating cow manure, a specific biogas production around 0.35 m3 kgVS1 was
obtained, with some 65% CH4 in biogas. In order to fulfil daily requirements for cooking and lighting, biogas production should be enhanced without increasing implementation costs as not to impede the expansion of this technology at household scale. In this sense, HRT below 60 days and OLR above 1 kgVSm-3 day-1 should be investigated to decrease digesters’ volume
(i.e. costs) and increase biogas production rate. The adaptation of conventional gas burners to biogas characteristics can also contribute in improving the efficiency of the system.
Marianna Garfi'; Ferrer-Martí, L.; Velo, E.; Ferrer, I. International Conference on Micro Perspectives for Decentralized Energy Supply p. 37 Presentation's date: 2011-04 Presentation of work at congresses
Sludge treatment wetlands (STW) emerge as a promising sustainable technology with low
energy requirements and operational costs. In this study, technical, economic and environmental aspects of STW are investigated and compared with other alternatives for sludge management in small communities (<2000 population equivalent). The performance of fullscale STW was characterised during 2 years. Sludge dewatering increased total solids (TS)
concentration by 25%, while sludge biodegradation lead to volatile solids around 45% TS and DRI24h between 1.1 and 1.4 gO2/kgTS h, suggesting a partial stabilisation of biosolids. In the economic and environmental assessment, four scenarios were considered for comparison: 1) STW with direct land application of biosolids, 2) STW with compost post-treatment, 3) centrifuge with compost post-treatment and 4) sludge transport to an intensive wastewater
treatment plant. According to the results, STW with direct land application is the most
cost-effective scenario, which is also characterised by the lowest environmental impact. The life cycle assessment highlights that global warming is a significant impact category in all scenarios, which is attributed to fossil fuel and electricity consumption; while greenhouse gas emissions from STW are insignificant. As a conclusion, STW are the most appropriate alternative for decentralised sludge management in small communities.