Wastewater as a resource: a unique approach to achieving energy sustainability

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A wastewater-treatment flowsheet was developed to integrate uniquely designed biological processes with physical-chemical unit processes, allowing conversion of the organic carbon in the wastewater to methane, the removal and recovery of phosphorus and nitrogen from the wastewater, and the production of water suitable for reuse. In the flowsheet, energy is derived from the wastewater by first shunting a large fraction of the organic carbon in the wastewater to a solids slurry which is treated via anaerobic digestion. The anaerobic digestion system consists of focused pulsed (FP) pretreatment coupled to anaerobic membrane bioreactors (MBRs). Computer modelling and simulation results are used to optimize design of the system. Energy generation from the system is maximized and costs are reduced by using modest levels of recycle flow from the anaerobic MBRs to the FP pretreatment step.

Keywords: anaerobic MBR, energy recovery, municipal wastewater treatment, solids pretreatment

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