Marketplace

  • Panasonic - heating & cooling solutions Air Quality
    Panasonic - heating & cooling solutions

    Science & Technology Key for Better Indoor Air Quality

    To keep our minds sharp and our bodies healthy, we need to breathe in approximately 18kg of air a day. This is a lot of air, especially when you consider that we eat just 1.3kg of food and drink 1.4kg of water per day. A large proportion of this air is consumed within buildings that we live, work and sleep in, in fact, a report from the European Commission indicates that Europeans now spend up to 90% of their time inside.

  • Lord Redesdale answers frequent questions about EMEX Energy & Resource Management
    Lord Redesdale answers frequent questions about EMEX

    Lord Redesdale, EMEX Conference Chair, says: "We have so much to discuss and achieve to drive forward energy efficiency and Net Zero," and has put together answers to the main questions raised about the well established EMEX exhibition and conference, which for 2021 takes place next Wednesday 24 and Thursday 25 at ExCeL in London's docklands. 

  • Holding Mayor to account on floods - London Assembly Member & Councillor to speak at Floodex Water
    Holding Mayor to account on floods - London Assembly Member & Councillor to speak at Floodex

    Hina Bokhari, London Assembly Member & Merton Councillor to speak at Floodex 2021

    Newly elected London Assembly member Hina Bokhari will be joining Floodex to talk about her work holding the Mayor of London to account on flooding. In her work at City Hall, she's Deputy Chair of the Economy Committee, and sits as a member of the Environment Committee and the Fire, Resilience and Emergency Planning Committee.

  • Edge Hill Sustainability Festival Trade Shows & Conferences
    Edge Hill Sustainability Festival

    Excitement builds for Edge Hill's major new Sustainability Festival

    Excitement is building ahead of Edge Hill University's major new Sustainability Festival, which takes place this week.

v ecohouse button

web mossborough spud field copy

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