TwinMemBio –Two type membrane bioreactor for extreme efficient decentralized wastewater treatment. 01/01/2024 - 31/12/2024

Abstract

Water scarcity is a major issue in Flanders. Up to 80% of our available water resources are utilized, meaning it is high time for integrative solutions that focus on water reuse, preferably decentralized. Source-separated grey water is the largest stream by volume and thus ideal candidate for decentralized domestic water reuse. Current state-of-the-art to achieve this is utilize a membrane biofilm reactor (MBR), which has the advantage of being compact. MBRs, however, have a high energy demand and maintenance, making them relatively expensive to maintain. TwinMemBio tackles these disadvantages by combining a membrane aeration biofilm reactor (MABR) with an MBR to create a system with low energy demand a decreased maintenance. TwinMemBio's unique control strategy makes it an excellent choice for places that require the highest standard for non-potable reuse while also requiring low energy and maintenance cost, making it an excellent choice for decentralized domestic source-separated water treatment and reuse.

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  • Research Project

DeUriNate – Decentral urine conversions for sewer application to maximise resource efficiency and environmental sustainability across the urban wastewater system. 01/11/2023 - 31/10/2025

Abstract

Environmental pressure, urbanisation and resource intensity have shifted the focal point of sewage treatment from public health protection to resource efficiency and recovery. Centralized sanitation is limited in its recovery potential while implementing extreme decentralization may be infeasible in a fast enough timeframe. As urine is highly concentrated in N, P and micropollutants, its decentralised treatment has promising application potential. This proposal argues that diverted urine can provide an overall bigger benefit when seen as a multi-resource product used within system boundaries of urban sanitation, rather than exported outside as a fertiliser or as N2. We hypothesize that the urban sanitation system can significantly improve its resource efficiency and sustainability by decentralized alkalinization, nitrification and activated carbon treatment to generate a multi-component (COD, N, S, P) benefit. Technologies and control strategies, such as energy-efficient membrane oxygenation and nitrified urine dosing in sewers, will be investigated and integrated in terms of kinetics, microbiomes, emissions and overall performance. This paradigm shift will lead to lower operational costs, lower greenhouse gas emissions, better odour management, intensification at the central level and lower energy consumption than both a conventional centralised sanitation system as well as a system with extreme decentral urine management for nutrient recovery or efficient removal.

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  • Research Project

Water Fit for Reuse digital Architecture and Modeling Ecosystem (WaterFRAME). 01/10/2023 - 30/09/2027

Abstract

Flanders together with many other regions in Europa has suffered through one of its driest summers in history and this will unfortunately not be a singular event. To ensure sufficient water availability for all actors in the Flemish region (drinking water, agriculture, industry…), we need to significantly increase the resilience of our water management through optimization of existing infrastructures, stimulation of circular water practices and strategic investments in new infrastructure. However, water management is inherently a very complex subject touching many different actors and covering a large spatial scale. Building water resilience thus requires a decision making tool which is able to incorporate this complexity in order to support holistic decisions that can balance multiple objectives. However, bringing available data and modelling tools together over different scales and application domains to address high level technological or societal challenges is not possible with tools that are currently available. This project will use methodologies based on semantic web standards. More specifically, data standards, a ontology model and a dynamic knowledge graph will be developed as a way to encode and structure knowledge and as such create a standardized and holistic structure of the water domain. The knowledge graph will be dynamic so it can be continuously populated with new data (sensor data, design data, simulation data) and integration of predictive models and optimization algorithms will be foreseen within its structure allowing for the analysis of holistic scenarios to support decision making. Knowledge graphs can be built in a modular way creating a lot of flexibility for future developments/updates. Since they are based on standardized web semantics they can be easily queried (used to answer questions). Moreover their standardized form also allows coupling to other sectors (such as energy) for cross-domain decision making.

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  • Research Project

Concepts for efficient water management 01/01/2021 - 31/12/2021

Abstract

Legionella is a bacterium that can affect many processes operating at higher temperature or functioning discontinuously. Monitoring of this bacterium is currently done primarily through microbiological tests such as plating. This project investigates whether Legionella can be detected using artificial intelligence to monitor existing processes more efficiently.

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  • Research Project