N.E.W.B.I.E.S. Pilot Installation

Current status: project finished

Last updated: 16 may 2022

On this page, you’ll find more information on the pilot installation that has been developed as part of the N.E.W.B.I.E.S. project.

Along with the most notable (physical) characteristics of the installation, up-to-date Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) of the installation as they result from operation on different waste waters will be presented.

Design principles

  • Removal and recovery of 1 kg N / day from selected waste waters
  • At a electrical energy expense of less than 2.75kWh per kg N recovered
  • automated cleaning-in-place procedures to minimize waste pre-treatment requirements
  • future upgradeability – omit use of external stripping acid

 

Specifics per test site

Phase 1: Reject water from digestate sludge centrifuge

Location: Municipal Waste Water Treatment Facility “Trargisa”, Girona, Spain

Period of pilot operation: October 2019 – July 2020

Achieved KPIs:

  • Ammonium Sulfate Concentration in the product: up to 150 g / L
  • Coulombic Efficiency towards recovered NH4: 20-30%
  • %Removal efficiency: 60 % max
  • Energy demand per g N recovered: 10-20 kWh / kg N

Site/waste-specific remarks: Excessive CIP required due to too high Ca : N ratio

 

Phase 2: Human urine (source separated, hydrolyzed)

Location: Eco-community Arneco, Arnhem, The Netherlands

Period of pilot operation: July 2020 – February 2021

Achieved KPIs:

  • Ammonium Sulfate Concentration in the product: up to 250 g / L
  • Coulombic Efficiency towards recovered NH4: 30-40%
  • Removal efficiency: up to 80%
  • Energy demand per g N recovered: 6-12 kWh / kg N

Site/waste-specific remarks: N concentration in hydrolyzed urine was somewhat lower than expected due to flushing water dilution (1 g N / L instead of 3-4 g / L anticipated)

 

Phase 3: Landfill leachate

Location: Evides operated Landfill site, Nieuwdorp, The Netherlands

Period of pilot operation: March  – September 2021

Achieved KPIs:

  • Ammonium Sulfate Concentration in the product: approx. 200 g /L
  • Coulombic Efficiency towards recovered NH4: 13%
  • Removal efficiency: 30%
  • Energy demand per g N recovered: 28 kWh / kg N

Site/waste-specific remarks: due to high sodium content of the wastewater, a substantial part of energy was directed towards sodium transport and not to recovery of ammonia. This wastewater was therefore not deemed compatible with the developed technology.

 

Pilot installation Progress updates

PP#10: Layman report

PP#10: Layman report

As part of the project finalization, the results obtained over the complete project duration have been summarized in non-expert readable form. Click here to download the Laymens report
PP#9: Preliminary results on leachate

PP#9: Preliminary results on leachate

The first analytical results have been analysed for the leachate scenario and are presented in the attached report. As expected the high conductivity of the wastewater and relatively large sodium content caused inefficiencies that we hope to solve in the second and last pilot leg.
PP#8: Last testing site: pilot commissioning on Landfill Leachate

PP#8: Last testing site: pilot commissioning on Landfill Leachate

Time has come for the pilot to move to it's last test site within the NEWBIES project: the Landfill facility of Indaver in Nieuwdorp, Zeeland. Here it will treat the leachate that percolates through the landfills. A challenging wastewater, that compared to previous sites contains elevated salt concentrations and humics. Commissioning of the pilot went smoother than ever though!
PP#7: Second results on treatment of urine

PP#7: Second results on treatment of urine

The full experimental scheme of process characterization conditions on urine has been finished and preliminary results are reported, with some analytical data not available yet. Based on the obtained results, a most favorable combination of current density, operational mode, feed control method and CIP parameters is defined. We're looking forward how these conditions will turn out to perform on the longer run!
PP#6: First results on urine

PP#6: First results on urine

Progress is speeding up! Within weeks after its commisioning on urine, characterization runs were succesfully carried out. Uninterrupted by practical hiccups, the first - albeit very preliminary - results on attained KPIs can be provided. Moreover, the plan for the time ahead is further refined.
PP#5: Pilot commissioned on urine

PP#5: Pilot commissioned on urine

The pilot installation arrives at the second testing location and is commisioned. This time it will treat source separated urine. An impresison of the first weeks
PP#4: Second results on digestate

PP#4: Second results on digestate

With the initial teething problems worked out of the way, a series of characterization runs has been performed to target the most substantial process loss factors. Detailed analysis of measured ion transport is performed, resulting KPIs are reported and some preliminary conclusions on the attainable performance and inherent limitations found for the reject water casus are given. Download the progress presentation here.
PP#3: Facing reality: first results on digestate

PP#3: Facing reality: first results on digestate

Operating the pilot for the first time on a real wastewater caused a small explosion in teething problems to surface. Scaling in places we didn't expect them, process automation showing less stable under conditions not tested before, and composition-specific performance losses that need further investigation. We've got work to do! Read more about in this progress report.
PP#2: Hook up the reject water

PP#2: Hook up the reject water

After a week of Site Acceptancy Testing at LPS, the Pilot has been transported to Girona to be operated on its first real wastewater: reject water from sludge digesters. Some pictures of the first week in a sunny Catalunya.
PP#1: Pilot installation ready!

PP#1: Pilot installation ready!

With great enthusiasm and moderate pride we announce the N.E.W.B.I.E.S. pilot plant is finished and ready to go on ...