Wastewater

  • Coastal wastewater treatment plants may be a nasty but necessary way to handle the effluent from our cities, but a new study by Stanford University indicates that by mixing fresh water from the plants with seawater, they have the potential to recover 18 gigawatts of electricity worldwide.
  • Science
    "Hypersaline brine" is industrial waste-water with salt levels that exceed even that of seawater. It’s a big, expensive, destructive problem which a team of engineers at Columbia University in New York City hope to solve with their solvent-based method of desalination.
  • ​Endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) are mostly man-made compounds found in substances such as pesticides, food additives and personal care products. Unfortunately, they're also linked to some serious health issues. It appears that algae, however, could be used for removing them from wastewater.
  • ​When fish are filleted in a seafood-processing plant, or when shrimp and shellfish are boiled, a lot of wastewater is generated. Currently, that water is discarded. An experimental new system, however, is able to draw much of the nutrients from it – and those nutrients could have several uses.
  • Water used for hand-washing is relatively easy to treat for reuse, and now engineers at ETH Zurich have built and tested a standalone hand-washing station for use in public places and developing countries that can do just that.
  • In a potential boon for the mining and textile production industries, scientists in Australia have come up with the new alloy capable of stripping impurities from contaminated water, and say it can do so with greater efficiency and at much lower cost than existing approaches.
  • Researchers have developed a new “mat” that can adsorb and destroy pollutants from water. It's made up of titanium dioxide nanoparticles embedded into polymer fibers, which destroys contaminants through UV light. The team says the design is faster, safer and more energy efficient than other systems.
  • A system called the NEWgenerator is designed to help take the strain off sewage infrastructure in developing countries, acting as a mini wastewater treatment plant that recovers energy, clean water and fertilizer from sewage. Units will soon be installed in South Africa.
  • When olive oil is produced, the leftover water and solid residue are discarded – and that can be problematic. Help may be on the way, however, as scientists have devised a process of converting the wastewater into biofuel, fertilizer and clean water.
  • Aqualia and SEAT are teaming up to develop a sustainable fuel from wastewater. The project, known as Life Metha-morphosis, is aimed at creating a biofuel from treated organic waste, which can then be used to power CNG cars, whose CO2 emissions would be cut by up to 80 percent.
  • Science
    The bacteria Shewanella oneidensis is useful for cleaning water and generates electricity while it chows down. Now, researchers at UCSB have chemically modified the bacteria to increase its energy production, which could lead to wastewater treatment plants that generate some of their own power.
  • Science
    ​When a virus is going around, the earlier it's detected, the better. It's with this in mind that scientists are proposing doing analyses of communities' wastewater to detect rises in the amount of viruses passed by residents, identifying the microbes based on their DNA.