How can we tackle wastewater treatment in a greener, more sustainable way? Continuous discharge of wastewater into lakes, rivers, and other streams leads to an intensification of vital nutrients like nitrogen, metals and micropollutants. Recent technologies have emerged as promising sustainable technologies such as bioelectrochemical membrane reactors.
By Kumudini V. Marathe
Unfortunately, not every technique associated with wastewater treatment claims nutrient recovery. In wastewater treatment, focus is usually on separation of water from contaminants, and then these contaminants along with essential nutrients are dumped elsewhere. Throughout the treatment process, carbon dioxide (CO2), carbon monoxide (CO), and other gases are also released into the environment.
In their review article published in Reviews in Chemical Engineering, the authors suggest that the most significant approach would consider wastewater as a resource; reclaiming nutrients and extracting energy out of the process.
They demonstrate how the optimal wastewater treatment system should be to attain maximum sustainability in terms of energy and carbon and high level of nutrient recuperation, as well as achieving an industrial aim of zero effluent discharge.
The authors’ review focuses on how all these ambitious milestones can be effectively and efficiently achieved by adapting the bioelectrochemical membrane reactor (BECMR) technique, which is a cost-effective hybrid of the membrane bioreactor (MBR) and microbial fuel cell (MFC) techniques.
The researchers argue that a BECMR is efficient at removing industrial effluent and micropollutants compared to other systems and that the technology ensures access of affordable water resources to farmers and rural communities for irrigation and other purposes.
In conclusion, energy generated by wastewater treatment could be used to run the process itself, producing a self-sustainable system.
Read the original article here
This article was originally published on Energy Today