Energy-saving UCD technology breathes life into wastewater treatment

Research at UCD has developed new technology to save up energy in wastewater treatment. Conventionally, bubbles of oxygen are forced through wastewater to support bacteria that remove nutrients and contaminants, but this wastes energy.

Professor Eoin Casey and colleagues at UCD have developed an alternative tech- nology: membranes that diffuse or 'breathe' oxygen and thereby directly support biofilms of bacteria.

Their studies show that this Membrane Aerated Biofilm Reactor (MABR) technolo- gy can save up to 75% of the energy conventionally needed to support bacteria in their wastewater treatment role.

In 2014 UCD spin-out company OxyMem delivered the first commercial MABR technology to the market, and it is now reducing energy use for wastewater treat- ment in numerous countries..