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MODERN PLANT for a holistic approach to wastewater depuration

The project

The project


Sewage advanced treatMent combining resOurce recovery, emerging pollutants DEgradation and caRbon dioxide emissioN reduction: a new strategy to turn a ProbLem into AN opporTunity (MODERN PLANT).

In last decades, increasing attention has been paying on a series of emerging pollutants (EPs) which have been verified to be present in effluents of Wastewater Treatment Plants (WWTPs) after conventional treatments. In fact, WWTPs were originally thought to remove organic pollutants using biological processes, ignoring the presence in the sewage of organic molecules persistent and recalcitrant to these technologies. To completely degrade these organic pollutants, a further tertiary treatment (Advanced Oxidation Processes) needs to be applied, with a consequential increase in the already high management costs.

On the other side, most municipal WWTPs, as presently configured, mainly oxidize organic pollutants generating a large emission of carbon dioxide and consuming a large amount of energy. However, the energetic content of raw sewage is ten times the energy usually necessary for depuration. Potentially, sewage could not only sustain the energetical need for treatment, but it could also produce an excess of energy or resources, turning WWTPs into producers of chemicals and energy.

In the MODERN PLANT project, the main target is to design novel green chemical and biological technologies for the treatment and valorization of municipal wastewater in a unique integrated process capable to recover resources and remove emerging pollutants. New valorisation approaches will be optimised on sewage and sludge to exploit their starting chemical potential.

A new configuration of WWTP will be designed and experimentally tested to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, final sewage sludge generation, management costs and energy needs, improving the recovery of resources and simultaneous destroying EPs. In this joint project, a synergic interaction among Italian and Chinese partners will define the best-integrated processes. This new configuration will be generated by the single contribution of each side and will be tested in both nationalities for possible applicability.

MODERN PLANT project analysis
MODERN PLANT project analysis

This work was supported in part by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation

Grant number CN23GR08