Microbubble technology has the potential to revolutionise OPEX costs of traditional water treatment works. We need to assess this technology to separate the myths from reality through independent pilot trials.
In wastewater treatment, microbubble technology is proven and being evaluated in the UK. Domestic appliance manufacturers are promoting washing machines that have better cleaning characteristics at low temperatures using a similar technology.
Common water treatment processes use aeration technologies which employ gas bubble formation techniques. These are carbon and energy intensive with an inherent degree of inefficiency. Microbubble technology has the potential to reduce both energy and chemical use and thus costs and carbon footprint. The performance needs to be evaluated and proven at pilot scale before full-scale trials can be considered.
In wastewater treatment, the energy expended in aeration has been shown to be reduced by 18% by improving bubble formation. Assuming similar energy savings in a 20Mld WTW using DAF and ozonation, the energy cost could be reduced by £10k per year for a single works.
Through pilot trials and desk studies, the use of microbubble technology in ozonation and DAF would be evaluated. The business case with investment costs and benefits will be developed to assess where this technology can best be deployed for water treatment in the future.
Microbubble technology has been proven to have lower energy requirements and more efficient oxygen transfer characteristics than conventional aeration technologies in other applications. The technology has the potential to change the energy and carbon balance in a water treatment process but needs to be independently tested and evaluated to ensure manufacturers’ claims can be corroborated.