Siemens Water Technologies engineers have invented a technology that creates enough methane from purifying sludgy water to power the processes of a wastewater treatment plant. They even set up a pilot facility in Singapore.
The technology they developed is for charging bacteria flakes with organic impurities for an extremely short time during ventilation. This minimizes bacterial reproduction. After separating water from the organic substance, the bacteria ferment the inserted impurities in an anaerobic process.
The researchers reported their system in the latest issue of the research magazine “Pictures of the Future.” There they show how after two aerobic steps and one anaerobic step, their bacteria breaks down the organic sludge so that the minimum amount of it remains. The rest of it is transformed into methane, which is used to power the water treatment plant.
Around 500 liters of wastewater are processed daily by the new pilot facility. To be self-sustaining, the unit has to generate at least 250 watt-hours of energy. Tests will be performed until 2012, when a commercial product will show up on the market.