This Practice presents a wastewater treatment plant, designed with the Circular Economy principles; almost zero biomass production and less energy consumption.
Livestock activities, urban and industrial development, create large quantities of wastewater that have to be treated prior their discharge in water bodies or land.
Since decades, a wide range of processes and techniques have been developed for the treatment of municipal and/or industrial wastewaters• the most commonly applied is the biological treatment, which offers significant performance with relatively low cost but it entails significant sludge production. Sludge treatment is necessary in order to avoid soil and water pollution, threats on human health, land devaluation. On the other hand it increases wastewater treatment cost more than 50%.
The Laboratory of Environmental Chemistry and Wastewater Treatment of the Western Macedonia University of Applied Science, INNOVECO Ltd, a technical construction company in the field of wastewater treatment and ALMOPIA slaughterhouse, formed an industrial eco-system that designed and tested a novel activated sludge wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) for treating high strength wastewaters, which is in line with circular economy principles and a key towards sustainable operation of plants, as it minimizes sludge, the most difficult to be treated by-product of this process. The University Lab contributed with its knowhow on designing and with its infrastructure on testing and controlling the novel plant, while INNOVECO Ltd contributed also on designing and furthermore on the construction. Slaughterhouse was the final beneficiar.
Financial resources for running the whole practice (design – constructing-testing) is estimated at 100.000€. Research was financed from the Lab and the company, construction from the slaughterhouse and testing from all. 6 persons (engineers, analysts, etc) were required for running the practice.
Evidence of success
The presented practice can lead to sludge minimization up to 95% and an overall reduction of a WWTP’s construction and operational cost up to 50%. Furthermore, the limited use of electrical pumps reduces energy consumption resulting in a highly energy efficient WWTP, having the lowest specific energy consumption than most of the treatment systems. This ecosystem continues to co-operate on finding sustainable and innovative solutions required by the industrial sector.
The eco-system reports that they have not encountered any major difficulties that would endanger the faction of the eco-system. Under-funding and lack of financial resources are encountered but they manage to overcome them due to their connection to viable industries.
Potential for learning or transfer
This eco-system can be considered successful as it has many benefits such as (a) reduction of the construction and operational cost of WWTP’s (b) lower specific energy consumption (c) Increase in job opportunities (employment) (d) Enhanced research and innovation capacity (e) Reduction of greenhouse gas emissions (f) Improved resource efficiency.
The eco-system managed to expand its activities and replicate this practice to other slaughterhouses in the Region of Eastern Macedonia and other type of food industries in the Region of Central Macedonia.
The eco-system can be easily transferred as the needs it addresses are common among industries, organisations and different regions/countries. In order to apply the practice small changes in daily operations of the industries are needed and can be made without interrupting any procedures.
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