Sustainable Product, Energy and Resource Recovery from Wastewater

SuPER-W is a "European Joint Doctorate" programme for highly motivated young scientists, combining state-of-the-art research with a comprehensive joint training programme on Resource, Product and Energy Recovery from Wastewater.

Wastewater today represents mainly an environmental hazard. However, in many cases the resources contained in the water, e.g., (rare) metals, organics and nutrients, may have significant value if recovered. In some cases it has already been shown that recovered products from wastewater more than offset the installation cost for the treatment plant. Therefore, the Sustainable Product, Energy and Resource Recovery from Wastewater (SuPER-W) European Joint Doctorate programme focuses on training early-stage researchers in developing environmental technologies for water, energy, nutrient and metal reuse, as well as bioproduction from (waste)water. Leading researchers from the EU are brought together to train doctoral candidates within a multidisciplinary context. The 3-year joint PhD programme focuses mainly on technology development, but attention is also given to training in policy input formulation, ethics, environmental, economic and social sustainability. SuPER-W is offered by the consortium partners Ghent University (Belgium), Delft University of Technology (The Netherlands), Rheinisch-Westfälische Technische Hochschule Aachen (Germany), Institute of Chemical Technology Prague (Czech Republic), and Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya-BarcelonaTech (Spain).

Anaerobic digesters (AD) at full scale often do not reach their full potential of biogas production. It is postulated that this is caused due to a large extent by incomplete mixing causing heterogeneities and stratification, inducing reduced performance. In order to optimize the design and operation of ADs, more process knowledge needs to be gathered. This can be achieved by advanced modelling in conjunction with dedicated experimental validation.

Using available information from the literatures regarding to the sludge rheology is challenging since there are no defined protocols to study the sludge rheology and the nature of sludges are vary from plant to plant. So dedicated rheological and density experiments with AD influent, sludge and mixtures will be performed as well as at different locations in AD. This will lead to new process insight and is to be used as input in computational fluid dynamics (CFD). The modelling work will be initiated by studying the behavior of ADM1 in conjunction with a continuous stirred tank (CSTR) and Tanks-in-series (TIS) approach. Next, a CFD model will be developed to model hydrodynamics full scale AD reactors of different design and optimization of mixer impeller (blade number, speed, position, and etc.). Computed CFD is used to derive a more accurate compartmental model (CM) based on velocity patterns, which is more accurate compared to the TIS. The advantage of the CM compared to CFD is that the interaction with kinetics using ADM1 is more feasible from a computational perspective. This potentially leads to better process insight and potential actions for process optimization. The optimal CM subsequently needs to be translated into an improved design of the AD tank and mixer. Validation at full-scale is envisioned in the work.

Project duration: 2016-03-01 - 2020-02-29

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Yohannis Mitiku Tobo
Department of Applied Mathematics, Biometrics and Process Control
Coupure Links 653
9000 Gent
Tel: 09 264 59 35

Last update: 01 december 2008,

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