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Commercial launch for a hybrid wastewater-treatment process

By Gerald Ondrey |

A hybrid process that combines micro-flotation and flat-sheet ceramic-membrane filtration to remove oil and suspended solids from difficult-to-treat industrial wastewater has been commercialized by akvola Technologies (Berlin, Germany; www.akvola.com). The system can treat water with high oil loads (up to 3 wt.%) with up to 99% removal efficiency, and at a fraction of the costs of alternative technologies, says Lucas León, founder and CFO. In the akvoFloat process (diagram), wastewater is continually fed to the micro-flotation zone, where the akvola MicroBubble Generator induces fine (50–100µm) gas bubbles. The small bubbles have a large surface-to-volume ratio, and agglomerate with suspended solids, oil, grease, algae and organic flocs to form a float layer, which is skimmed from the tank. The water then passes through the membrane module, which contains dead-end-operated, flat-sheet ceramic membranes. The akvoFloat systems are engineered to achieve stable operation at very high fluxes — generally five times higher than that of polymeric membranes, says León. Operation at higher flux enables a reduction in the membrane area required, which translates into lower investment costs, explains León. Operating the membrane dead-end…
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