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A Spanish university offers a new anaerobic treatment of complex wastewater with biogas production, which is optimized for the agrofood sector. The new treatment is conformed by a bioreactor. A support material is used, in a non-arranged way, increasing the active biomass accumulation capacity and allowing downwards flow in the digestion tank. Industrial partners specialized in designing and installing depuration plants are sought for a technical cooperation or licence agreement.
Spanish research group has experience and it is focused on applying chemical engineering, specifically to agrofood sector. The group makes emphasis in sustainability with experience in: using carbon dioxide (CO2) as a resource, valorisation of industrial by-products, biogas production and use of clean technologies among others.
Anaerobic membrane bioreactor technology is currently used with good removal efficiencies, but it presents high installation and operation costs. This new technology uses plastic carriers for the biomass retention in the anaerobic digestion tank and gas-lift recirculation in the filtration tank, reducing the damage caused to the biomass by pumping. Biomass adhesion on the support material allows water flow direction downwards in the digestion tank, without the biomass sweeping that would take place in suspended-culture reactors. The organic matter removal efficiency can reach values of 91-98%.
The potential market is wide in the field of improving waste water treatment processes. The main industries in which these technologies could be implemented are biofuels, breweries, dairy industry, distilleries and wine cellars, slaughterhouses and meat by-products, fishing industry, canned food, convenience food, pulp and paper industry, pharmaceutical and cosmetics industry or chemical industry.
The technology is currently protected by patent and the prototype is running on a company. The university is looking for industry partners with experience in designing and installing depuration plants, to scale up the actual prototype and implement the anaerobic treatment under a technical cooperation or a license agreement.
The technical issue solved by this technology is that allows keeping high active biomass concentrations in the digestion tank and low suspended solids concentration in the internal streams. This reduces the membrane fouling, with the aim of increasing the efficiency and efficacy of the system.
Organic matter removal efficiency can reach values of 91-98%, with a biogas production of 460-490 l/kg chemical oxygen demand (COD), with a methane content of 60-70% on a dry basis, depending on the composition of organic matter of the wastewater.
Main advantages of its use are:
- The active biomass accumulation capacity and its treatment capacity are increasing due to the use of the support material.
- The frequency of the membrane cleaning operations is reduced, and its lifetime is increased as a consequence of the decrease in the solids deposition over the membranes surface.
- The recirculation associated to gas bubbling, by the effect known as gas-lift, reduces the pumping costs and, specially, the mechanical stress caused by the use of electromechanical pumps that damages the biomass and deteriorates the effluent quality.
The university is looking for companies with expertise in depuration plants design and installation.
The partners should be specialized in the industry of water depuration
Licensing agreement: The partner would license to implement the anaerobic treatment offered
Technical cooperation agreement: industrial partners to scale up the prototype