Water & Wastewater Treatment

WWT November 2018

Water & Wastewater Treatment Magazine

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Page 18 of 39

Innovation – Why use a pilot plant? When designing a pilot-scale plant for trialling new technologies, it is important to be clear about what you are hoping to learn from the process, as this will influence the scope and requirements of the trial The Knowledge www.wwtonline.co.uk | WWT | NOVEMBER 2018 | 19 MARTIN JOLLY BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR AQUA ENVIRO PAUL LAVENDER BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT MANAGER AQUA ENVIRO I nnovation is a widely used word, so much so that it seems to feature in almost every new product or service. Innovation can be defined as 'the process of trans- lating an idea or invention into goods or a service that creates value or for which customers is critical. However, to get to this point, a series of scale- ups must be carried out from proof-of-concept laboratory trials to site-based pilot trials through to successful full-scale implementation. The costs of developing and demonstrating new treatment technologies can be high. Innovative processes typi- cally start life in a university or research company labora- tory. Laboratory treatability trials can be used to test a particular set of controlled conditions such as focusing on a particular wastewater, a set of conditions or chemical reac- tion. Once a significant level of understanding is achieved, it is o•en then necessary to scale this up to pilot scale, but it is important to fully understand the reasons for doing this as these will influence the scale of the plant, the scope of the trials and the monitoring requirement. The reasons may include but not be limited to: l A need to see the process op- erate in real time under a range of real-life operating ranges l Operation under real envi- ronmental conditions l Understanding plant main- tenance requirements and operating costs l Having the plant large enough to allow key process components to be utilised or sufficient samples generated for analysis l A need to replicate physical conditions within the process that cannot be achieved at small scale (hydraulic condi- tions, shear force) l Avoiding blockages that may occur in small pipes Valuable lessons are learned when operating a pilot scale plant that are used to determine if the technology is appropriate to be used for full-scale design and construc- tion or if the technology is not viable to progress further. Aqua Enviro have been involved with many pilot plants over the years, which we have designed, constructed and operated. We have gath- ered together a cross-section of studies using pilot plants below with the aim of provid- ing useful insight for future studies on potential issues and the criteria for successful outcomes. Table 1 gives a sum- mary of the pilot studies and the outcomes with descrip- tions a•er the table. Table 1 - Recent pilot plant experience Title Duration Industry Outcome 1 Digestion of screenings 9 months Water Not progressed as performance lower than expected in scale- up. 2 ASP pilot plants 3 years Water Pilot plant outcome integrated to Asset Standards for capital programme. 3 Enhanced precipitation of metals from mine water 3 years Mining Programme ongoing 4 Ion Exchange for ammonia and P removal 2 years Water Successful but not progressed as conventional techniques more cost effective. 5 Filtration using recycled glass 3 years Water Progressed to full scale but not widely adopted. 6 Fertiliser production from drying sludge 6 months Water Product manufacture and growing trails successful. Not pro- gressed - no further market development. 7 Anaerobic digestion 3 years Textile manufacture Progressed to capital scheme, due to start in 2019. 8 Anaerobic digestion & membrane bioreactor 1 year Sugar refinery Awaiting final permit revision before investment 9 Biological treatment 1 year Chemical manufacturer Due for completion December 2018 and information to be used for a capital scheme in 2019. will pay' but, when we consider the route for new technologies to market in the water sector, this process of translation is far from easy. For a technology to be commercially successful and replicated across multiple sites, full-scale demonstration

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