Blackwater treatment and post-treatment in an integrated AnEMBR-METland system using Ni coated electrocatalytic ceramic membranes.

01 November 2021 → 31 October 2025
Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO)
Research disciplines
  • Engineering and technology
    • Separation technologies
    • (Waste)water treatment processes
    • Environmental engineering design
    • Environmental technologies
    • Sustainable development
Electrocatalytic ceramic membranes Small scale anaerobic blackwater treatment Microbial electrochemical technology
Project description

Ever increasing pressure on local water supplies has given rise to the closing of the water loop on a local scale. To reduce the impact of groundwater infiltration pollutant load and allow a holistic approach regarding small-scale source separation and water reuse, there is a need for a robust system capable of treating blackwater (BW), in a way that is not energy and maintenance intensive. Anaerobic membrane bioreactors (AnMBR) are well suited for BW treatment, require little space, and enable energy recovery through biogas. However, maintenance is high due to high fouling susceptibility. To address this issue, Ni thin-film ceramic membranes with different surface morphologies will be developed through atomic layer deposition, and electrochemically characterized. These membranes are expected to greatly reduce membrane fouling because of their electrocatalytic properties. An electrochemical AnMBR (AnEMBR) will be designed and optimized for the treatment of real BW, assessing fouling and water quality for different organic loads, anode locations and materials, and applied potentials. To remove dissolved methane and nutrients, a METland will be integrated into the system as post-treatment. Energy balances will be constructed, assessing the techno-economic sustainability of the integrated system. This research aims to open the road to other applications of the electrocatalytic membranes, such as treatment of various other wastewaters and drinking water production.