De Nora recognised at the Water Europe Innovation Awards

The company’s sludge ozonation technology addresses growing concern around contaminants in soil and water

(Image: Water Europe)

Committed to solving water treatment challenges with sustainable solutions, Industrie De Nora has been recognised in the 2022 Water Europe Innovation Awards, and named best in the water technology and infrastructure category for its sludge ozonation application in advanced sewage treatment. The technology, suitable for municipal or industrial use, improves process efficiencies without the use of harmful chemicals, protecting the environment from micropollutants in accord with the European Union’s Zero Pollution Action Plan.

“We are delighted to receive this honour from Water Europe alongside other trailblazers working toward a water-smart society,” said Cristian Carboni, market development manager of innovative disinfection systems. “The water industry is in a unique situation, where we are tasked with protecting our most precious resources using increasingly sustainable methods from both an environmental and economic point of view. Our sludge ozonolysis technology and success at current installations will be crucial in the future of wastewater treatment, both in the EU and other countries around the globe.”

The sludge ozonolysis is a simple plug-in process, where injectors dose ozone into a side stream of the returned activated sludge (RAS). Since no ozone buildup occurs, it does not leave a residue, allowing unreacted ozone to revert back to oxygen and be utilised by microorganisms in the aerobic reactor. Current installations in Italy have shown success in minimising excess sludge volumes, improving sludge settlement characteristics and effluent quality, and alleviating bulking problems. Dewaterability and micropollutant concentration levels are also improved — two characteristics that will be key as treatment providers explore new technologies in response to directives regarding agricultural sludge valorisation and landfilling.

Economic sustainability was demonstrated in real cases with more than five years of data. ROI (return of investment) is typically three to four years. The application can also be used for sludge destined for biodigestion as the process increases the amount of biogas produced. 

Carboni added: “There is a lot of debate around the potential effects of spreading of untreated sludge on agricultural fields. Many believe the practice is reintroducing dangerous contaminants, such as 1, 2, 3-TCP and heavy metals, back into our soil and water. A recent study in the US estimated the number to be as high as 20 million contaminated acres. Sludge ozonolysis provides an option to address the widespread problem.”

Representatives from De Nora were presented with the award at a special ceremony hosted by Water Europe on Tuesday, 14 Jun.