envirogy

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  • Eriez Waste Management
    Eriez

    All metals recovery with Eriez at RWM 2017

    Eriez will be showcasing their ECS module for complete ferrous and non-ferrous metals separation on stand 5P10-Q11 at the Recycling and Waste Management show taking place at the NEC, Birmingham from the 12th to 14th of September 2017.

  • Bunting Magnetics Europe Ltd Waste Management
    Bunting Magnetics Europe Ltd

    Combined Magnetic Separation Force on display at RWM2017

    For the first time, the combined Magnetic Separation force of Bunting Magnetics Europe Ltd and Master Magnets will be on stand 5P80 at RWM 2017 (NEC, Birmingham, UK 12th – 14th September 2017).

  • RWM 2017 Trade Shows & Conferences
    RWM 2017

    New features and event zones for RWM 2017

    Bigger, better and more collaborative, the UK's premier event dedicated to Energy, Water, Recycling, Renewables and Waste Management is relaunched

  • F&P Sponsors Movers & Shakers
    F&P Sponsors

    F&P reports 'significant interest' at AD and Biogas Exhibition

    Green energy businesses are crying out for investment, and looking at the alternative finance sector to provide it, according to F&P Sponsors, the P2P lending specialist.

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Thursday, 23 March 2017 11:35

Chance discovery of bacteria could shake up energy use of wastewater treatment

A chance find of a type of bacteria accidentally discovered during research could have big implications for water treatment's costs and carbon footprint, and could fundamentally re-shape efforts to cut the huge amount of electricity consumed during the wastewater clean-up of nitrogen.

The discovery, made during research supported by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) has upended a century of conventional thinking. The microorganisms –'comammox' (complete ammonia oxidising) bacteria – can completely turn ammonia into nitrates. Traditionally, this vital step in removing nitrogen from wastewater has involved using two different microorganisms in a two-step approach: ammonia is oxidised into nitrites that are then oxidised into nitrates, which are turned into nitrogen gas and flared off harmlessly.

bacteria water treatmentThe outcome could be a big rethink regarding the energy-saving innovations developed over the last two to three decades in the field of nitrogen removal. Wastewater treatment is a huge consumer of electricity, accounting for 2-3 per cent of all power usage in western countries, and no less than 30 per cent of its energy bill results from the need to remove nitrogen. Most of the sector's efforts to reduce its energy use have focused on the two-microorganism approach.

The discovery was made by scientists working on the EPSRC-funded Healthy Drinking Water project, which is being led by the University of Glasgow and is due to publish its core findings later this year.

Dr Ameet Pinto has led the team, which has worked in collaboration with the University of Michigan in the US. He says: "This discovery took us completely by surprise. It's a superb example of how EPSRC support provides a secure platform for a can-do environment enabling researchers to achieve important spin-off breakthroughs in addition to the primary goals of their research."

Comammox was found in a drinking water system in the US. Other research groups have also detected it in wastewater treatment plants, in groundwater and even in aquaculture systems.

Dr Pinto says: "The discovery of a single microorganism capable of full nitrification will have a significant impact on our understanding of the nitrogen cycle and on efforts to manage nitrogen pollution. The potential is there for the wastewater treatment sector to exploit this breakthrough, which other teams in Europe have made in parallel with us.

"That would be an important step towards informing the development of robust approaches in terms of cutting costs and reducing carbon emissions associated with generating the huge amounts of electricity that the sector uses."

LINKS
EPSRC-funded Healthy Drinking Water project

Comammox Nitrospira-Like Bacteria in a Drinking Water System

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