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Sweden: Waste Water Treatment Nouryon and Van Remmen Cooperate to Remove Pharmaceutical Pollution from Waste Water

Editor: Alexander Stark

Nouryon has joined forces with water treatment company Van Remmen UV Technology on a novel method to address the growing concern of pharmaceutical micropollutants in waste water.

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Wastewater treatment plant in Växjö municipality, Sweden
Wastewater treatment plant in Växjö municipality, Sweden
(Source: Van Remmen)

Amsterdam/The Netherlands — Growing global pharmaceutical use is creating a significant pollution problem for urban waste water treatment systems. With an advanced water treatment concept, customers in the water treatment market are to have access to two proven technologies that together enable measurement, monitoring and means to control micropollutants in waste water streams.

The process combines the Advanox ultraviolet (UV) treatment process from Van Remmen UV Technology and Nouryon’s Microx hydrogen peroxide, is expected to remove more than 90 % of pharmaceutical residues. The process is being tested in a plant that treats the sewage of the city of Växjö, Sweden. By combining their respective know-how, the companies want to offer an improved oxidation solution to address the growing problem of pharamceutical pollution.

The pilot consists of an Advanox reactor, hydrogen peroxide dosing and mixing, catalytic filter beds, cleaning in place functions, power supply, PLC, and a dose of clever engineering. All put together with the help of Jotem Waterbehandeling. The reactor is specially designed for advanced oxidation with UV/HP in wastewater. Extensive modelling and 48 UV-lamps ensures optimal treatment with a high throughput compared to other types of reactors. The prototype currently used in the pilot can handle flows at up to about 150 m3/h in wastewater conditions.

Nouryon will supply the hydrogen peroxide required in this project. The company performed the initial laboratory scale tests in cooperation with IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute (IVL Svenska Mijlöinstitutet) on a cocktail of pharmaceuticals which showed a >70 % conversion already at relatively low UV and hydrogen peroxide dose.

The pilot arrived from the Netherlands in Växjö in the end of July 2019 and the research officially started Tuesday 6th of August 2019 for a month long trial. It was kicked off with a series of shorter tests at different UV and hydrogen peroxide doses, before being set up for the longer trials which will run until the beginning of September 2019.

The results will be compiled into a report which will make their way to both IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute and the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency (Naturvårdsverket) where it will be compared to other technologies for advanced water treatment and pharmaceutical removal.

Inside the Advanox reactor the UV light splits the hydrogen peroxide molecules (H2O2) into highly reactive hydroxyl radicals (OH) which in turn break down the pharmaceuticals. After the radicals are formed the breakdown of pharmaceuticals happens in the matter of milliseconds. To further ensure the water quality any rests of hydrogen peroxide are removed after the pharmaceutical removal by passing the water through a catalytic filter bed. The hydrogen peroxide is then split up into water and oxygen leaving only clean water to enter the environment.

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