Belgian wastewater treatment plant to use ZeeLung technology

Aquafin has selected to upgrade the Schilde Wastewater Treatment Plant with a combined solution of GE's ZeeLung Membrane Aerated Biofilm Reactor (MABR) and ZeeWeed membrane bioreactor (MBR) technologies.

The plant, located in the Belgian province of Antwerp, will be the first in Europe to use the new ZeeLung MABR technology.

GE's hybrid system is designed to treat 50% of the wastewater using ZeeWeed 500D MBR, while the remaining flow of eight million litres per day is treated by an activated sludge system.

The addition of ZeeLung MABR to the plant is expected to enhance the removal of total nitrogen  in the activated sludge stream.

Schilde wastewater treatment plant was initially built to treat 28,000 population equivalents, which then gradually increased to 35,000 population equivalents.

After the expansion is complete in the first quarter of 2017, the plant will have 65% total nitrogen removal capacity.

GE Water & Process Technologies engineered systems global leader Kevin Cassidy said: “Water & Process Technologies’ hybrid solution of ZeeLung and ZeeWeed was about meeting an effluent specification within the plant’s existing footprint.

"The Schilde Wastewater Treatment Plant needed to be upgraded to increase its nutrient removal ability, and by using ZeeLung, the plant will have lower energy consumption.

“The project is the first application of our new ZeeLung technology in Europe."

ZeeLung MABR technology employs a gas transfer membrane to deliver oxygen to a biofilm that is attached to the membrane surface.

On immersing ZeeLung cassettes into mixed liquor, te inventory of biomass in a treatment system increases, thereby intensifying the biological treatment process.

Oxygen is delivered to the biofilm by diffusion through the membrane, which in turn cuts down the energy required for oxygen delivery by up to four times compared to conventional aeration method.


Image: Process flow diagram of how ZeeLung technology fits into MABR system. Photo: courtesy of General Electric.