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Wastewater treatment plant of the future: Carbon capture and recovery from wastewater using a high-load biological process and advanced primary settling.
Coordinator: Florent CHAZARENC Partners :


Background :

·         The greatest challenge facing humanity tomorrow will be to control energy consumption while at the same time offering a sustainable use of resources.

·         In addition to general awareness, the international agreements signed at recent meetings have led to regulatory and behavioral changes aimed at applying the “3 Rs” rule, mainly in the energy and environmental fields, i.e. reducing consumption (greater efficiency), reusing by-products or waste and recycling raw materials.

·         This energy transition has been applied to the field of wastewater treatment, with a dual challenge: to develop new technologies/approaches to reduce the environmental footprint and energy consumption of the plants while maintaining the quality of discharges in compliance with standards.


Objectives of the project

·         The general objective of the CAPTURE project is to respond to a growing need for knowledge on the implementation of innovative processes for the capture and recovery of pollutants contained in wastewater to support operators in the transition from the Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) to Water Ressource Recovery Facilities (WRRF).

·         More specifically, the aim of this project will be to develop knowledge on two processes tested under controlled conditions and on full scale: improved primary settling (with new generation organic coagulants) / the very highly loaded activated sludge process (A process).

·         The characterization of these processes will be done at three levels:

o     performance characterization (purification, hydraulics, applicable loads, associated sedimentation)

o     characterization of the mechanisms (type of coagulants, nature of the organic fraction, characterization of extracellular polymeric substances (EPS), proteins, microorganisms)

o    characterization of the impact of the insertion of these processes on the downstream stages (methanogenicity of sludge, residual organic matter, nutrient recovery, nitrogen treatment).



·         In order to maximize the capture and energy recovery of carbonaceous material from wastewater, the various fractions should be extracted as quickly as possible. Also, the rapidly biodegradable fraction should be preserved (rbCOD), i.e. it should not be “lost” in the bacterial metabolism, and in addition the soluble and poorly biodegradable fractions should be separated. The two technologies that the CAPTURE project proposes to study have the particularity of allowing this double approach and given their impact on downstream treatments, the ambition of the project will be mainly to study these approaches and their consequences on the following steps:

o    Treatment of the remaining nutrients in the water line

o    Valorization of nutrients in the digestates coming out of the sludge line anaerobic digesters

o    Impact on available water bodies and their qualities for reuse