Using bacteria to clean up the sewerage system

Biosol is promising to revolutionise the wastewater industry with a technology based on cell signalling - using microbial control to slow down or speed up the metabolism and production of bacteria.

Slowing them down is like sending them into hibernation. The company explains: "Sending bacteria into hibernation, stops the formation of the glues that hold the biofilm/sediment complexes in place. That means that the biofilm sediment complexes disintegrate, which removes the cause of sewage odour, corrosion and methane gas production in the sewers."

At the treatment plant, the process is reversed. That means more bacteria chewing up the sewage resulting in faster process, better-quality effluents and lower biosolid volumes. The additional carbon arriving at the treatment plant from the decreased demand for carbon in the sewage catchment, means that this carbon may be used to improve the efficiency of the plant.

Alternatively this excess carbon may be converted to methane gas to assist in powering the plant, with the excess energy available to export to the electricity grid.

All wastewater authorities are going to have to consider the production of methane gas in sewer catchments, as part of their carbon minimisation strategy. Sewage systems are about the 18th highest source of greenhouse gas emissions.

Methane gas, which is generally vented to the atmosphere in sewage catchments, is a 21 times worse pollutant than carbon dioxide. Nitrous oxides are also a significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions and these also need to be managed.

Microbial control has enormous scope across a raft of industries. While Biosol have products currently available in the market place, the company says it is seeking a suitable partner to rapidly develop this technology and expand its application both in the wastewater and potable water fields.

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