Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

A biological technique could save up to 2 million euros at sewage treatment plants

15.07.2003


A new method for treating the smell of rotten eggs emitted by sewage plants, developed in conjunction by a researcher at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona’s Engineering School (ETSE) and a researcher from the University of California, could lead to worldwide savings of two million euros a year. The researchers have discovered a simple method for transforming the chemical odour filters currently installed in treatment plants into equally efficient, but cheaper and less toxic, biological filters.


Blocks of polyurethane foam with the bacterial covering that substitutes chemical filters in the treatment of smells


The Californian plant where the biological method was tested successfully. The tower on the left uses chemical filters, while the one on the right has been fitted with a biological filter



The treatment of sewage causes unpleasant smells due to emissions of such gasses as hydrogen sulfide (H2S), along with other compounds such as sulfur compounds, amines and carboxylic acids. Of all these gasses, the most noticeable is hydrogen sulfide, with its strong smell of rotten eggs. Therefore, sewage treatment plants include chemical filters for the control of such bad smells. These filters are fast absorbers and degraders of the whole volume of hydrogen sulfide generated, but there are major disadvantages: they are expensive, and generate and use toxic products. The alternative to using chemical filters is the use of biological filters, based on the biodegradation of hydrogen sulfide using bacteria. Until now, such filters were too voluminous to be used in plants treating large amounts of gasses.

The lecturer from the UAB’s High Engineering School (ETSE), David Gabriel, along with Marc A. Deshusses, lecturer at the University of California (USA), have developed an alterative that can transform the chemical filters used until now into biological filters that are just as fast and effective as the former. Via a cheap and simple conversion process, the new biological filters degrade the hydrogen sulfide in a record time: with some 2 seconds of contact between the gas and the filter. The invention has already been tested in Californian sewage plants (USA).


The transformation of a treatment plant’s filter to the new system designed by the two researchers would cost around 50,000 euros, but would imply savings of up to 30,000 euros a year in operational costs and expenses on chemical products. The researchers presented their findings in the prestigious magazine Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), and state in their article that, considering between 25% and 40% of the chemical filters currently in use around the world can be transformed into biological filters, this transformation could lead to worldwide annual savings of up to 2,000 million euros.

Octavi López Coronado | alfa
Further information:
http://www.uab.es

More articles from Process Engineering:

nachricht Intelligent wheelchairs, predictive prostheses
20.12.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Produktionstechnik und Automatisierung IPA

nachricht Jelly with memory – predicting the leveling of com-mercial paints
15.12.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Produktionstechnik und Automatisierung IPA

All articles from Process Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Demonstration of a single molecule piezoelectric effect

Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale

Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...

Im Focus: Hybrid optics bring color imaging using ultrathin metalenses into focus

For photographers and scientists, lenses are lifesavers. They reflect and refract light, making possible the imaging systems that drive discovery through the microscope and preserve history through cameras.

But today's glass-based lenses are bulky and resist miniaturization. Next-generation technologies, such as ultrathin cameras or tiny microscopes, require...

Im Focus: Stem cell divisions in the adult brain seen for the first time

Scientists from the University of Zurich have succeeded for the first time in tracking individual stem cells and their neuronal progeny over months within the intact adult brain. This study sheds light on how new neurons are produced throughout life.

The generation of new nerve cells was once thought to taper off at the end of embryonic development. However, recent research has shown that the adult brain...

Im Focus: Interference as a new method for cooling quantum devices

Theoretical physicists propose to use negative interference to control heat flow in quantum devices. Study published in Physical Review Letters

Quantum computer parts are sensitive and need to be cooled to very low temperatures. Their tiny size makes them particularly susceptible to a temperature...

Im Focus: Autonomous 3D scanner supports individual manufacturing processes

Let’s say the armrest is broken in your vintage car. As things stand, you would need a lot of luck and persistence to find the right spare part. But in the world of Industrie 4.0 and production with batch sizes of one, you can simply scan the armrest and print it out. This is made possible by the first ever 3D scanner capable of working autonomously and in real time. The autonomous scanning system will be on display at the Hannover Messe Preview on February 6 and at the Hannover Messe proper from April 23 to 27, 2018 (Hall 6, Booth A30).

Part of the charm of vintage cars is that they stopped making them long ago, so it is special when you do see one out on the roads. If something breaks or...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

2nd International Conference on High Temperature Shape Memory Alloys (HTSMAs)

15.02.2018 | Event News

Aachen DC Grid Summit 2018

13.02.2018 | Event News

How Global Climate Policy Can Learn from the Energy Transition

12.02.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Fingerprints of quantum entanglement

16.02.2018 | Information Technology

'Living bandages': NUST MISIS scientists develop biocompatible anti-burn nanofibers

16.02.2018 | Health and Medicine

Hubble sees Neptune's mysterious shrinking storm

16.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>