Wastewater treatment trial shows promising results

A trial of Microvi’s MNE technology has been completed at Scottish Water’s Waste Water Development Centre at Bo’ness, by the research and innovation team.

Microvi, a green technology company based in California, in collaboration with Scottish Water carried out a six-month trial of the process at the centre near Falkirk. It is part of a range of next-generation bio-technologies the US firm has designed for the water, wastewater and renewable chemical industries.

During the trial the plant treated primary settled effluent taken from the Bo’ness Waste Water Treatment Works primary tanks which are situated right next to the test centre.

The main objective of the trial was to establish if Microvi’s MNE technology can achieve treatment performance of total BOD (Biological Oxygen Demand) and TSS (total suspended solids) of minimum 20 mg/l and Ammonia of minimum five mgN/l, which is the typical effluent consent requirement.

It was also to test if the Microvi MNE can achieve much tighter standards and reduce the amount of ammonia in the final effluent – with a target of total BOD and TSS of five mg/l and Ammonia of one mgN/l. This is was an important element to the trial as wastewater sites face tightening consent requirements and finding out if this technology can achieve very low targets was one of aims of the project.

The technology uses specially selected, naturally occurring bacteria which consume pollutants in wastewater. It creates an optimum environment for these bacteria – known as biocatalysts – to make them work more efficiently. It is designed to intensify the population of the bacteria and speed up the rate these good bacteria out-compete the bad bacteria.

The technology aims to drastically reduce the amount of sludge produced. This happens as a result of the biocatalyst creating an environment where bacteria reproduction is limited. Reducing sludge cuts the energy, transport and chemical requirements to manage bio-solids and in turn means far less space needed for the treatment process.

The results of the trial confirmed the Microvi MNE process can treat ammonia and soluble BOD to below levels of detection at high flow and high organic loading rates.

George Ponton, head of research and innovation at Scottish Water, said: “The trial has highlighted the potential this innovative technology has to meet BOD and ammonia standards in a smaller footprint than conventional activated sludge systems. It showed Microvi can be an effective technology for process intensification at wastewater treatment works, allowing us to enable growth using less energy and a lower carbon footprint.

“This technology, has the potential to be part of our future asset base, enabling sustainable growth and improving process efficiency at Scottish Water’s treatment works.”

Fatemeh Shirazi, Microvi CEO thanked Scottish Water for the opportunity to demonstrate the technology to Scottish Water and the wider UK market, saying: “The opportunity afforded by the facilities at the test centre has been incredible and has allowed us not only further develop the technology, but provide significant exposure to the UK market place. Our hope is that these results will give us the opportunity to soon implement the technology at full-scale, enabling the industry to reduce costs and improve service to customers and the environment.”