Natasa Atanasova investigates new tools and technologies for decentralized treatment of urban grey water, Hèctor Monclús is adapting an automatic control system for membranes to treat surface waters and industrial wastewaters, and Gaetan Blandin seeks to optimize osmotic membrane bioreactors to produce drinking water from wastewater. The three projects have been awarded with a TECNIOSPRING grant. TECNIOSPRING is a program launched by ACCIO and co-funded by the European Union to foster the mobility of experienced researchers carrying out an applied research and technology transfer project in a TECNIO centre in Catalonia.
Natasa Atanasova – decentralized management of natural resources in the cities
Project REUCITY of Slovenian researcher Natasa Atanasova seeks for feasible solutions at technological and conceptual level towards circular management of waste and water flows in cities: grey water (showers, taps, dishwashers, washing machines, black water (toilet) and bio-waste. Thus, efforts are currently being made on increasing the feasibility (energy efficiency) of small-scale membrane bioreactors (MBR) for treating grey water, which is being reused for toilet flushing. In the second stage, the knowledge about the MBR technology will be complemented with knowledge about other re-use oriented technologies to develop a decision support system (DSS) for selecting optimal re-use oriented concepts for a certain scenario. The ultimate goal is providing knowledge and tools to foster the shift towards re-use oriented water management in cities and thus stimulate urban biodiversity, green infrastructure and urban food production, using local resources.
Hèctor Monclús – New applications for patented system Smart Air MBR®
Smart Air MBR is an automatic control system to reduce up to 22% of energy consumption in membrane bioreactors. The system was patented by University of Girona and GS INIMA Environment S.A. and successfully validated at full scale in the urban wastewater treatment plant of La Bisbal d’Empordà (Girona). One of its inventors, Dr Hèctor Monclús, is now the fellow of the SSAMBRA project, which aims at adapting and validating the technology for different membrane configurations and manufacturers, and applying it to the treatment of industrial wastewater and surface waters. The “Outgoing+Return” modality of the TECNIOSPRING program is an excellent framework to achieve these goals: 1 year in the membrane French manufacturer Polymem and 1 year at LEQUIA, the research group that developed Smart Air MBR®.
Gaetan Blandin – Osmotic membrane bioreactors to reuse wastewater treatment as drinking water
All experts agree that one of the main challenges of water management in the XXI century is producing water with drinking quality standards from wastewater and making it feasible economically. Our third TECNIOSPRING project, OMBReuse, seeks to achieve this ambitious goal through the optimisation of osmotic membrane bioreactors (OMBR). OMBReuse fellow, French researcher Gaetan Blandin, will focus his research on three axis: the process optimization with new membranes and the implementation of hydraulic pressure, the modelling of the fate of emerging pollutants in comparison with MBR, and the development of new monitoring and control tools.
Applied research and technology transfer within the water field
TECNIOspring is a program launched by ACCIO to foster the mobility of experienced researchers that carry out an applied research and technology transfer project in a TECNIO centre in Catalonia. The projects are framed in two modalities: “incoming”, with researchers of any nationality carry out a 2 years project in a TECNIO centre, and “outgoing+return”, that includes 1 year of mobility abroad by researchers resident in Catalonia an 1 year of return in a TECNIO centre.
These three TECNIOspring projects reinforce LEQUIA consolidated research lines on membrane bioreactors and environmental decision support systems, with a strong focus on technology transfer. Fellows will work under a scientific supervisor: Dr Manel Poch (REUCITY project, Dr Natasa Atanasova), Dr Joaquim Comas (SSAMBRA, Dr Hèctor Monclús) and Dr Ignasi Rodriguez-Roda (OMBReuse, Gaetan Blandin). TECNIOspring fellowship programme is co-financed by the European Union through the Marie Curie Actions “Co-funding of regional, national and international programmes (COFUND)”. Therefore, successful candidates will be Marie Curie fellows as well as TECNIOspring fellows.
Picture: from left to right Hèctor Monclús, Natasa Atanasova and Gaetan Blandin at the UdG Science and Technological Park