Aquafin NV

Aartselaar, Belgium

Aquafin NV

Aartselaar, Belgium

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Krauss M.,Eawag - Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology | Krauss M.,Helmholtz Center for Environmental Research | Longree P.,Eawag - Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology | Van Houtte E.,Intermunicipal Water Company of Veurne Ambacht IWVA | And 2 more authors.
Environmental Science and Technology | Year: 2010

Source control or elimination of precursors of NDMA and other nitrosamines in wastewater requires information on their physicochemical properties, which is still limited. Thus we developed a multistep fractionation method based on a combination of consecutive filtration steps to <1 μm, <0.2 μm, and <2.5 kDa followed by solid-phase extraction on a C18 column and validated it using model NDMA precursors covering a wide polarity range. The membrane filtration to <2.5 kDa was suitable to separate a low-molecular weight precursor fraction but partially removed hydrophobic compounds by sorption. Fractionation on a C18 column allowed distinguishing highly polar precursors (such as dimethylamine) from less polar ones (such as ranitidine or other pharmaceuticals). Application of the fractionation procedure together with the formation potential test revealed that in the influent of one studied wastewater treatment plant about 50% of all precursors were associated with colloids or macromolecules, suggesting that these fractions comprise sorbed hydrophobic precursors. During activated sludge treatment small polar and charged NDMA and other nitrosamines' precursors were removed to about 80%. In contrast, less polar precursors were more recalcitrant. In advanced treatment steps, only small fractions of the precursors were removed by the prechlorination/ultrafiltration step, while reverse osmosis removed >98% of all precursors. © 2010 American Chemical Society.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP | Phase: ENV.2013.WATER INNO&DEMO-1 | Award Amount: 7.78M | Year: 2014

Reuse of water, Recovery of valuables and Resource efficiency in urban wastewater treatment The main objective of the project is to demonstrate solutions that support the transition from a treatment plant for urban wastewater to a production unit of different valuables. So far waste water treatment plants are usually regarded as facilities to avoid emissions from wastewater. Current research and development shows that these plants can be converted and upgraded into production units to provide energy, nutrients, water for re-use and possibly other valuables. This is achieved by improved resource efficiency in the plant as well as new technologies and business models that allow the re-use of resources from the incoming water. The 3 main objectives for the project are: Demonstrate new technologies and solutions for increased resource efficiency in existing UWWTP performance thanks to innovative monitoring, advanced control strategies and management measures Demonstrate innovative wastewater technologies that enable reuse of water, recovery of valuables such as nutrients Facilitate market uptake for the demonstrated solutions for the European and global market by demonstrating solutions in different geographical context and reaching relevant stakeholders. The project will develop the following concepts for a number of important aspects to facilitate the transition to a production unit: Resource and climate efficient treatment, thanks to: Facilitating water re-use (e.g. monitoring) Recycling of nutrients (and other valuables) Within the field of these topics, new and innovative technologies will be tested and demonstrated. For demonstration, 3 sites are involved in Belgium, Spain, and Sweden Results are disseminated to different stakeholder groups including Water treatment works, water authorities including international outreach e.g. to China.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: BIOTEC-02-2016 | Award Amount: 6.57M | Year: 2016

VOLATILE aims in the development of an innovative Volatile Fatty Acids Platform for the bioconversion of municipal solid bio-waste fraction and sludgy biowaste from other industries. The platform will be integrated in anaerobic digestion. The volatile fatty acids will be recovered continuously using sophisticated membrane technology and will be provided as feedstock / carbon source for value added fermentation approaches such as biopolymer PHA to be tested in material applications, single cell oil as precursor for oleochemical industry as well as long chain unsaturated health-promoting Omega-3 fatty acids to be used as food ingredient or nutraceutical. PHA will be obtained by bacterial fermentations, single cell oil from yeast cultivation and Omega-3 fatty acids via heterotrophic microalgae. The process development will be accompanied with sophisticated LCA study in order to ensure environmental friendly process design. The project will also work on solutions to typical barriers beside others such as quality requirements, continuous and sufficient feedstock supply or interaction between members of value chain using agent-based modelling. Also the effect of legal stimuli and restrictions and subsidies and taxes will be studied and a link between product requirements and markets will be established. VOLATILE will prepare a Roadmap indicating future research needs but also giving suggestion for legislative improvements. A CEN workshop will be initiated to discuss with external stakeholders rules for the VFAP & to set up standard requirements in the form of a CEN workshop Agreement.


Vanysacker L.,Catholic University of Leuven | Denis C.,Catholic University of Leuven | Roels J.,Aquafin NV | Verhaeghe K.,Aquafin NV | Vankelecom I.F.J.,Catholic University of Leuven
Journal of Microbiological Methods | Year: 2014

Candidatus Microtrhix parvicella is one of the most common filamentous bacteria reported to be involved in bulking and foaming problems in activated sludge plants worldwide. In order to detect and quantify both M. parvicella and Microthrix calida by quantitative PCR (qPCR), primers targeting 16S rDNA genes were designed. The qPCR reaction was optimized by using the TaqMan technology and an internal positive control was included to ensure the absence of PCR inhibitors. A total of 29 samples originating from different wastewater treatment plants were analyzed and the results were compared by using conventional microscopy, fluorescent in situ hybridization and an existing SYBR Green-based assay. Our assay showed a 100% specificity for both M. parvicella and M. calida, a sensitivity of 2.93×109 to 29 copy numbers/reaction, an amplification efficiency of 93% and no PCR inhibition. By performing a spiking experiment including different Microthrix concentrations, recovery rates ranging from 65 to 98% were obtained. A positive correlation with the SYBR Green assay (R2=0.85) was found and most of the samples were in accordance with the microscopical observation. In comparison with SYBR Green assay, the probe-based TaqMan assay had a much lower detection limit. Compared with microscopy, some samples had a lower or higher enumeration when using qPCR. In conclusion, a qPCR method is forwarded here that could be useful as an early warning tool for fast and reliable detection of Microthrix in for instance sludge bulking events. © 2013 Elsevier B.V.


Wan C.-Y.,Sun Yat Sen University | De Wever H.,Flemish Institute for Technological Research | Diels L.,Flemish Institute for Technological Research | Thoeye C.,Aquafin NV | And 3 more authors.
Water Research | Year: 2011

The total, ammonia-oxidizing, and denitrifying Bacteria in a full-scale membrane bioreactor (MBR) were evaluated monthly for over one year. Microbial communities were analyzed by denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) and clone library analysis of the 16S rRNA and ammonia monooxygenase (amoA) and nitrous oxide reductase (nosZ) genes. The community fingerprints obtained were compared to those from a conventional activated sludge (CAS) process running in parallel treating the same domestic wastewater. Distinct DGGE profiles for all three molecular markers were observed between the two treatment systems, indicating the selection of specific bacterial populations by the contrasting environmental and operational conditions. Comparative 16S rRNA sequencing indicated a diverse bacterial community in the MBR, with phylotypes from the α- and β-Proteobacteria and Bacteroidetes dominating the gene library. The vast majority of sequences retrieved were not closely related to classified organisms or displayed relatively low levels of similarity with any known 16S rRNA gene sequences and thus represent organisms that constitute new taxa. Similarly, the majority of the recovered nosZ sequences were novel and only moderately related to known denitrifiers from the α- and β-Proteobacteria. In contrast, analysis of the amoA gene showed a remarkably simple ammonia-oxidizing community with the detected members almost exclusively affiliated with the Nitrosomonas oligotropha lineage. Major shifts in total bacteria and denitrifying community were detected and these were associated with change in the external carbon added for denitrification enhancement. In spite of this, the MBR was able to maintain a stable process performance during that period. These results significantly expand our knowledge of the biodiversity and population dynamics of microorganisms in MBRs for wastewater treatment. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd.


Butler C.S.,University of Notre Dame | Butler C.S.,Arizona State University | Clauwaert P.,Ghent University | Clauwaert P.,Aquafin NV | And 3 more authors.
Environmental Science and Technology | Year: 2010

Perchlorate is an emerging surface water and groundwater contaminant, and it is of concern because of its mobility in the environment and its inhibitory effect on thyroid function. Microbial fuel cells (MFCs) may be a suitable method for its treatment. We investigated a MFC with a denitrifying biocathode for perchlorate reduction and utilized the system to identify putative biocathode-utilizing perchlorate-reducing bacteria (PCRB). Perchlorate reduction in the MFC was established by increasing the perchlorate loading to the biocathode, while decreasing nitrate loading. Perchlorate reduction was obtained without the need for exogenous electron shuttles or fixed electrode potentials, achieving a maximum perchlorate removal of 24 mg/L-d and cathodic conversion efficiency of 84%. The perchlorate-reducing biocathode bacterial community, which contained putative denitrifying Betaproteobacteria, shared little overlap with a purely denitrifying biocathode community, and was composed primarily of putative iron-oxidizing genera. Despite differences in cathodic function, the anode communities from the perchlorate-reducing MFC and the denitrifying MFC were similar to each other but different than their corresponding biocathode community. These data indicate that PCRB can utilize a cathode as an electron donor, and that this process can be harnessed to treat perchlorate while producing usable electrical power. © 2010 American Chemical Society.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: MC-ITN | Phase: FP7-PEOPLE-2011-ITN | Award Amount: 3.55M | Year: 2011

SANITAS will create the next generation of integrated Urban Water System (UWS) management professionals by providing a unique Europewide training platform in the technical and complementary skills they will require. This is needed since in the near future climate change will bring dramatic regional variations in excessive surplus and deficiency in water supply and unpredictable variations in water quality placing unprecedented demands on European UWSs. SANITAS is acutely aware of many unmet needs regarding deficiencies in manpower and application of innovation to the field. The partners have realized the need to draw on their Complementary skills, to innovate at all levels and create a critical mass of excellence that will drive the innovation required to comprehensively address the fundamental rethinking of water use management that climate change demands. They have also realized that the scale of the problems to be faced in future will require new approaches to cooperation between academia, industry and policy makers that transcend traditional barriers to the creation and uptake of innovation and enabling technologies. By drawing on expert participation from academia, industry, water authorities and policy specialists, SANITAS will critically examine and develop the cutting edge skills required to meet the future UWS management challenges that Europe faces. SANITAS introduces novel methodologies that will provide direct training to researchers in Intellectual Asset Management, patent application filing and how to write successful reports for policy makers. Over and above regional impact, SANITAS will serve as a source for regional UWS infrastructure integration and policy formulation worldwide. By doing so, SANITAS will support the responsibility and opportunity Europe has to take the lead in technical innovation and policy formulation that the world needs in facing critical challenges of water quality and supply and energy requirements of wastewater management.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: MSCA-ITN-EID | Phase: MSCA-ITN-2014-EID | Award Amount: 1.27M | Year: 2015

Wastewater treatment and management in Europe has a large potential for growth; however needs to be supported by education of a new generation of interdisciplinarily trained wastewater professionals able to face future challenges and implement wastewater-related directives in practice. TreatRec, with the participationof two academic partners (ICRA-Catalan Institute for Water Research and University of Girona) and two non-academic (ATKINS and AQUAFIN) identifies several pertinent technological gaps and knowledge needs around which we have built a research programme. TreatRec involves equally academia and industry with a clear aim of producing a group of young researchers capable of conducting high quality research, but also able to address industrial and societal needs and implement wastewater-related directives in practice. The five researchers will conduct their scientific projects in an environment that combines industrial excellence in the development, design, construction and management of wastewater treatment systems, with complementary academic excellence in a) hypothesis-driven research involving the improvement/upgrading of state-of-the art technologies and the deepening the understanding of fate and removal of emerging contaminants in wastewater treatment systems and in b) applied research involving the development of decision support systems which allow for the encapsulation of knowledge for further use in decision-making processes. As a general goal, academic and non-academic partners of TreatRec, including WWTP operators, engineers responsible for the design and a water authority which has experience in water policy implementation, a set of recommendations will be generated to provide guidance for decision-makers on upgrading wastewater treatment plants for future challenges such as microcontaminants removal and nutrient recovery from a sustainable perspective.


Geerts S.,Aquafin nv | Marchi A.,Aquafin nv | Weemaes M.,Aquafin nv
Water Science and Technology | Year: 2015

One of the options to recycle phosphorus (P) in the wastewater sector is to recover it as struvite crystals from digested sludge. Measurements on a full-scale demonstration plant in Leuven, Belgium, yielded a first indication of the profitability of struvite recovery, in function of different variables such as incoming PO4 3- concentration, MgCl2 dosing, improved dewaterability, etc. An uncertainty and sensitivity analysis was carried out. Although possible improvement in sludge dewaterability when recovering struvite from digested sludge has a positive economic amortization effect, it is at the same time the largest source of financial risk. A theoretical exercise showed that for struvite recovery from centrate, uncertainty would be lower, and the largest sensitivity would be attributed to ingoing PO4 3- concentration. Although struvite recovery from digested sludge is riskier, it is an investment with potentially a higher return than investment in struvite recovery from centrate. The article provides information for possible financial incentive schemes to support P-recovery. © IWA Publishing 2015.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP | Phase: KBBE.2010.3.5-01 | Award Amount: 3.91M | Year: 2011

MINOTAURUS will deliver innovative bio-processes (bioaugmentation, enzyme technology, rhizoremediation with halophytes, and bioelectrochemical remediation), which are all based on the concept of IMMOBILIZATION OF BIOCATALYSTS (microorganisms and enzymes), to eliminate emerging and classic organic pollutants. The immobilization-based technologies will be applied to engineered (ex-situ) and natural systems (in situ) for the bioremediation of groundwater, wastewater, and soil. The selection and adaptation of modern physico-chemical, biological, and ecotoxicological monitoring tools combined to a rational understanding of engineering and enzymology/microbial physiology aspects is a pertinent approach to open the black-box of the our technologies. The reliable process-monitoring will constitute a solid basis to develop and refine our biodegradation kinetics models, which will be the mean to improve the predictability of performances to be achieved with our technologies. A key strength of MINOTAURUS is the possibility of direct implementation of our technologies at five EU reference sites that are confronted with pollutants (two technologies will be tested on-site during the first year). We will deliver not only a set of tools, techniques and processes which will enhance the ability of our communities to respond to the challenges of organic pollutants but also frameworks for structuring and making evidence-based decisions for the most sustainable and appropriate bioremediation measures. MINOTAURUS consortium consists of fifteen partners from eight European and Europe-associated countries. Eight research & education institutions, five SMEs covering the whole chain of our bioremediation approaches (production/monitoring of biocatalysts, bioremediation, and engineering), one large end-user installing wastewater treatment plants, and one environmental agency will work together with the support of an advisory board mainly consisting of environmental decision-makers

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