EU Project Brings Innovative Wastewater Treatment Technology to Spain

A test facility in Valencia, Spain, will evaluate energy efficiency and resource recovery in wastewater treatment.
EU Project Brings Innovative Wastewater Treatment Technology to Spain
Built on site at the waste processing facility in Paterna, the prototype will treat up to six tons of sewage sludge, agri-food waste, industrial wet waste and landfill leachates each day and will remain in operation until 2016

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A European Commission-funded project will see the installation of a pioneering sustainable waste destruction technology at a wastewater treatment facility in Valencia, Spain. The LIFE+ Lo2x project will identify the economic and environmental benefits of using AquaCritox technology to treat sewage sludge and other wastes.

Developed by Irish firm SCFI, AquaCritox uses super critical water oxidation (SCWO) to destroy organic waste safely, whilst simultaneously generating renewable energy and recovering valuable byproducts. The Lo2x project, supported by the LIFE+ environmental research funding program, will see AquaCritox operating 24 hours a day exclusively for testing purposes. Built on site at the waste processing facility in Paterna, the prototype will treat up to six tons of sewage sludge, agri-food waste, industrial wet waste and landfill leachates each day and will remain in operation until 2016.

The project is the first of its kind in Europe, providing round-the-clock waste treatment analysis on the Paterna site. Using the data collected, it will identify the best processing conditions for treating and co-treating various wastes with AquaCritox. It will also evaluate the efficacy of energy and resource recovery as well as the wider impact on operations at the plant.

“Extensive trials carried out by SCFI have already shown us the enormous potential of SCWO in delivering a cost-effective, sustainable and scalable treatment solution for a variety of sewage, municipal and industrial wastes," says John O'Regan, SCFI CEO. "The Lo2x project is the next step in this development process. It enables a real-time demonstration of the clear financial, logistical and sustainability benefits AquaCritox offers the waste treatment sector — as well as the positive knock-on effects for related industries, such as agri-food. This is pioneering research that could change the way we treat wet waste on an international scale.”

Using AquaCritox’s patented SCWO process, mixed wet waste at the testing site will be subjected to pressures of 221 bar, and temperatures of 374 degrees C. Under these conditions, water density reduces, the solubility of organics greatly improves and the oxygen transfer rate to liquid significantly increases. When an oxygen supply is added, a very rapid and practically complete oxidation reaction takes place. This not only generates thermal energy, which can be harnessed to generate renewable heat/power, but also converts 99.99 percent of the organic materials present into inert byproducts. The process also recovers resources such as phosphorus and CO2 and removes contaminants, allowing for safe disposal.

Funding from the EU LIFE+ Environment program will be used to meet 50 percent of the Lo2x project’s $4.7 million budget. The project will be coordinated by AINIA at Ivem’s wastewater treatment plant, with delivery and engineering support from Isolux and Imecal. For more information about the project or the AquaCritox technology, please visit www.scfi.eu.

About SCFI Group Ltd
Super Critical Fluids International (SCFI) Group Ltd is an Irish company that owns the patents and worldwide rights to the super critical water oxidation technology, AquaCritox. The AquaCritox product is used in the destruction of wet organic wastes and provides a single-step, energy-positive, cost-effective solution with no hazardous or toxic emissions. SCFI is actively commercialising this technology on a global basis as a sustainable alternative to other disposal methods, such as incineration, landfill and land spreading. 



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