OxyMem named among winners of £36m Water Breakthrough Challenge

OxyMem membrane aerated biofilm reactor (MABR) technology will be used in the Anglian Water Triple Carbon Reduction project, named as one of the nine winners of Ofwat’s Water Breakthrough Challenge, sharing in £36 million to deliver wide scale, transformational change to benefit customers, society, and the environment. Run by Oftwat and Nesta Challenges, in partnership with Arup, the Water Breakthrough Challenge is the second competition delivered under Ofwat’s £200 million Innovation Fund.

OxyMem MABR technology will be used in the project to support the following outcomes for water and wastewater customers.

  • Eliminate N2O process emissions from secondary wastewater treatment and the associated climate impact on customers through integration of new to market technologies.
  • Improve energy efficiency of secondary wastewater treatment and quantify the potential savings that can be passed on to customers.
  • Validate how the approach can be scaled up and implemented across the water sector for all customers.

John McConomy, commercial director for OxyMem, commented: “OxyMem MABR technology is reshaping how wastewater treatment plants may be designed going forward. Through the Water Breakthrough Challenge Triple Carbon Reduction project, water treatment professionals will gain valuable insight into how wastewater can be effectively and safely treated and returned to the environment using significantly less energy and lower greenhouse gas emissions than traditional treatment systems. As N2O emissions are about 300 times more harmful than CO2, reducing this emission using MABR technology could have a profound impact on the environment and help tackle climate change.

“Knowledge gained from this initiative will provide designers with confidence to tailor more sustainable new-build treatment solutions and could help reduce energy and emissions on the thousands of existing treatment plants across England and Wales over the next decade as the industry strives to achieve 2030 Net Zero Emission goals.”

Adam Brookes, manager of innovation discovery, Anglian Water, added: “Funding for this project will greatly support the delivery of our own net zero routemap and the water sector’s drive to Net Zero by 2030, filling a significant missing piece in the challenge. By collaborating with academia, businesses and other water companies, our project creates an elegant solution to eliminate part of the greenhouse gas emissions associated with wastewater treatment and position the sector within the developing hydrogen landscape, in line with the newly launched UK Government Hydrogen strategy.”

The nine winning initiatives will receive up to £10 million each to address some of the biggest challenges facing the water sector – from reaching net zero, to protecting the natural ecosystems, to using open data to deliver value to customers, society, and the environment.