Anaerobic treatment processes offer the potential to treat wastewater without high aeration costs. Application of these technologies in the UK would transform wastewater treatment, significantly reducing energy costs and greenhouse gas emissions.
The Activated Sludge Process (ASP) for wastewater treatment is still widely used despite the fact that it uses large amounts of energy and produces significant amounts of greenhouse gasses. Alternative, low energy forms of mainstream treatment are urgently required to reduce operating costs. Promising deammonification technologies need to be evaluated for operation in the UK.
If applied in the UK, low energy processes offer the potential to reduce aeration costs by £50m/year and greenhouse gas emissions by 300 ktonnes carbon dioxide equivalent/year.
We will examine pilot scale and full scale case studies on low energy processes carried out worldwide and identify any limitations or barriers to their use in the UK such as climatic conditions, sewage characteristics and reliability. We will undertake dynamic modelling to determine the potential to integrate such processes into existing treatment streams.
For the most promising technologies laboratory testing and pilot trials will be carried out to provide estimates of whole life costs and carbon footprint. A decision framework will be developed for process selection and application for particular sites. This will take into account factors such as existing treatment streams, size of works and discharge permit requirements.
Analysis of case study data from around the world will provide evidence of successful application overseas, enabling the potential of anaerobic processes for mainstream wastewater treatment in the UK to be assessed. Laboratory testing and pilot trials will add to the knowledge where gaps in the data exist and will demonstrate the suitability of such processes for use in the UK.