Alberta wastewater pilot project nears completion for granular sludge reactor

granular sludge reactor image
Granular sludge reactor technology has the potential to reduce the energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions generated by wastewater treatment. Photo Credit: Alberta Innovates

A pilot project between the University of Alberta and the City of Calgary is nearing completion after exploring the development of cost-effective and energy efficient processes and control strategies for ammonia-rich sludge liquor treatment with a pilot-scale granular sludge reactor (GSR). 

Set for completion in September, the Alberta Innovates project highlights energy efficient and reliable high-ammonia wastewater treatment processes to reduce nitrogen loading in wastewater discharge for protected natural water systems. The project has employed biochemical and molecular tools to advance the knowledge of physicochemical and biological properties and activities of microbial granular sludge under various operation and control conditions. 

According to Alberta Innovates, which invested $300,000 in the three-year $1.2-million pilot project, the technology under review enables stable and robust ammonia reduction under shock loading conditions. 

Led by Dr. Yang Liu, a professor in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department, the technology is expected to be applied for cost-effective ammonia reduction in wastewater under a wide range of ammonia concentrations. It offers high potential for the treatment of different types of wastewater from municipalities and industries.  

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“Additional semi-pilot-scale reactors have been operated to evaluate reactor startup strategies. These findings will ensure a fast and smooth startup for the pilot-scale reactor and help reduce operational risks,” states a project update from Alberta Innovates. 

The technology has the potential to reduce the energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions generated by wastewater treatment. 

The project’s research partners also include the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI).  

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