Open house to open doors for water free from microplastics and micropollutants

Microplastics and micropollutants accumulate in our water systems and they primarily reach the environment through the discharge of effluent from municipal wastewater treatment plants. Both microplastics and micropollutants are considered to be an increasing global concern as they may have harmful effects on the aquatic life. On September 22 and 23, 2022 Wasser 3.0 hosted an Open House-event at Landau, Germany, wastewater treatment plant to provide insights into their innovations for the detection and removal of microplastics and solutions for micropollutant removal. The promising findings and results from their pilot studies were shared. As a partner Nouryon was present and demonstrated how waters and the aquatic life can be safeguarded through an Advanced Oxidation Process (AOP) including MicrOx hydrogen peroxide and Advanox UV-C light from Van Remmen UV-technology.


The solution that returns clean water to the ecosystem

During the Wasser 3.0 Open House-event Thomas Greschik from Nouryon and Clara Thege from Van Remmen UV Technology stressed the importance of removing persistent micropollutants, such as pharmaceutical residues, from wastewater streams, as they may have harmful effects on humans, organisms, and the environment. Removing micropollutants is today a practice that most often is lacking at traditional wastewater treatment plants.

The live demonstration covered a sustainable solution that can be implemented to handle micropollutant removal, a technology that can be added as a fourth and final treatment stage at a wastewater treatment plant. Here the MicrOx™ hydrogen peroxide is dispersed into the water stream which then passes through the Advanox™ UV-C reactor - optimized for advanced oxidation. The UV-C light transforms the MicrOx™ hydrogen peroxide in the Advanox™ reactor into powerful oxidative hydroxyl radicals. The hydroxyl radicals have the highest oxidation potential next to the fluorine radical, meaning it is the highest oxidation potential that can be used. Due to its high oxidation potential, it is also highly reactive and can break down key bonds in micropollutants within milliseconds. After potentially removing any remaining hydrogen peroxide the water can be safely discharged or reused.

Safeguard water quality protect aquatic life by removing micropollutants using MicrOx™ hydrogen peroxide with the world-class Advanox™ UV technology
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No unwanted by-products

Clara Thege and Thomas Greschiks demonstration resulted in a great interest and also further questions. What about unwanted byproducts and transformation products? This is generally a raise of concern in AOP therefor Nouryon and Van Remmen have previously carried out multiple tests on ecotoxicology and specific byproducts. There have been no findings of bromate or NDMA (N-nitrosodimethylamine) formation and no negative ecotoxicological impact. Another positive finding has been shown on the SIMONI score - Smart Integrated Monitoring strategy – it has been reduced after treatment with UV-C light and hydrogen peroxide meaning the water quality improved.

UV-C + Hydrogen Peroxide = pure removal

  • Removes pharmaceuticals effectively
  • Easy and safe to operate and maintain
  • Scalable, flexible and modular design
  • Cost competitive
  • Eco-friendly - potential surplus of hydrogen peroxide is decomposed into only water and oxygen in a specialized catalytic bed

The pilot study - promising results and findings

The trials have stretched over a period of four months and covered multiple solutions and technologies to remove both microplastics and micropollutants. One of the objectives of the trials, that is now published as a report (view full report), was to carry out a comparative study on the removal of micropollutants by AOP and granular activated carbon processing. The ability of a tertiary wastewater treatment plant to remove micropollutants was investigated and compared with adding a fourth step using an AOP with UV-C light in combination with hydrogen peroxide.

For the AOP, the UV-C light and hydrogen peroxide showed great dose response allowing to obtain the desired removal efficiency. With 40 ppm hydrogen peroxide and 10 kJ/m2 UV-C light, a removal of 97% was achieved. It was concluded that the flexibility and adaptability of the AOP to adjust to real-time water quality, along with a lower resource consumption and waste disposal, make it a promising technology when looking at sustainability aspects.

Full report

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