11th Conference of the UK Wastewater Network

11th Conference of the UK Wastewater Network

July 20, 2023 Uncategorized 0

Our annual conference of the UK Wastewater Network took place at Cranfield University on 22 November 2023.

This edition was the eleventh in an annual series addressing innovative treatment options for wastewater.

This year’s conference addressed key developments on the management of the ammonia in the wastewater sector and how this can be recovered through different strategies. Indeed, ammonia plays a critical role as a vital nutrient in agriculture, and global fertiliser production is steadily increasing by approximately 1.5% each year. However, the production of ammonia for fertilisers through the Haber-Bosch process consumes a significant portion, around 1.5-2.5%, of the world’s energy supply. As these ammonia-based fertilisers eventually find their way into the food and water cycle and end up in wastewater treatment plants, contributing to the overall carbon footprint, by as much as 14-26%. On the positive side, ammonia can be recovered and utilised as a valuable resource, as an energy carrier, bulk chemical or fertiliser. Therefore, the development of efficient technologies that combine economic, environmental, and energy considerations for ammonia removal and recovery would contribute significantly to establishing a sustainable nitrogen cycle with in wastewater treatment plants.

This year’s programme featured a great mixture of national and international speakers, both academics and industry leaders, discussing the challenges and innovations related to this year’s topic, including:

  • Amanda Lake, Head of Carbon and Circular Economy, Jacobs, UK. On: The importance of N2O greenhouse gas emissions in wastewater treatment plants.
  • Kai Udert, Professor at the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science (EAWAG), Lecturer at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich, Switzerland. On: Circular sanitation: closing nutrient cycles with urine separation.
  • Denis de Wilde, CEO, Detricon, Belgium. On: Ammonia recovery from municipal wastewater sludge and municipal organic waste.
  • Dr Mingming Zhu, Senior Lecturer in Chemical Engineering, Cranfield University, UK, talking about ammonia cracking and catalytic combustion for hydrogen production and energy application.
  • Hacer Sakar, Research Fellow in Green Technologies for Resource Recovery, Cranfield University, UK. On: Mainstream ammonia removal and recovery using a combination of ion exchange and hollow fibre membrane contactors.
  • Ben Luqmani, Bioresources Process Specialist, AtkinsRealis, UK. On: Repositioning ammonia as a zero-carbon energy resource for the water sector.
  • Lenno van den Berg, Consultant R&D Wastewater treatment, Royal HaskoningDHV, The Netherlands. On: Treating and recovering nitrogen from centrate – Two cases from The Netherlands.
  • Donna Rawlinson, Capital Principal Project Manager Northumbrian Water, UK. On: Recovering ammonia from our Howdon wastewater treatment process.

Our conference also featured a session dedicated to early career researchers, consisting of 5 minute flash presentations, with a best presentation prize sponsored by the IWA UK Committee awarded to Jolien De Paepe, co-founder of HYDROHM (Belgium) for her presentation about “On site electrochemical production of cleaning fluids enabling zero-chemical-input membrane cleaning”.

Next year conference will take place on the 26th November 2024. Watch this space for future announcements.

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