The pilot facility for this process, which is located at a site run by Singapore’s Public Utilities Board, has been operating in an energy- neutral manner since June 2010. Now, the city state is building a much larger pilot facility – one that will process 300 times more effluent than its predecessor, or about as much sewage water as is produced by around 1,000 people.
A typical urban biological water purification facility accommodates water from 10,000 to 100,000 residents. Today an aerobic (ventilated) process is used in which bacteria break down impurities in water by digesting them and converting them into new bacterial substances.
This produced bacteria flakes filled with impurities — forming sludge that is then separated and either deposited in landfills or burned. But the organic impurities contain ten times more energy than needed to do the cleaning itself. They can therefore be used to generate methane, which could be used in gas-fired power plants or combined heat-and-power plants. However, sludge concentrations in municipal sewage systems are too low to produce methane economically.
With this in mind, development engineers from Siemens Water Technologies have developed a technology for charging bacteria flakes with organic impurities for an extremely short time during ventilation. As a result, bacterial reproduction is minimized. After most of the water is separated, the bacteria ferment the impurities into methane in an anaerobic process step. After two aerobic steps and one anaerobic step, the sludge has been broken down so that the least possible amount of sludge remains and the largest possible amount of methane is available, as reported in the latest issue of the research magazine "Pictures of the Future".
The pilot facility now in operation cleans around half a cubic meter of wastewater per day. A conventional water treatment plant requires a little less than 0.25 kilowatt-hours of energy to do this, so the pilot unit needs to generate roughly that amount of energy in the form of methane. A bigger facility could be run in an energy- neutral manner. Market launch of the technology is scheduled for 2012.
Dr. Norbert Aschenbrenner | Siemens ResearchNews
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TU Graz researchers show that enzyme function inhibits battery ageing
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Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...
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