SolarSpring Newsletter: Innovative pilot project launched at the municipal wastewater treatment in Forchheim

Innovative pilot project launched at the municipal wastewater treatment in Forchheim South-West
German Federal Environmental Foundation supports development of pilot system


© AZV Breisgauer Bucht, Forchheim (Germany)

A pilot system for the energy efficient recovery of ammonia from municipal wastewater using membrane distillation technology was commissioned at the beginning of October. The partnership project named “Ammonium MD” is co-funded by the German Federal Environmental Foundation and runs until the end of June 2021.

The novel membrane distillation pilot system was developed by the Freiburg based company SolarSpring GmbH and commissioned on site. Ammonia recover from municipal wastewater using membrane technology is a promising new method with little applicational experience. The goal of the pilot project is the demonstration of this technology driven with waste heat to power it. In addition, a minimum use of chemicals during the process will be a target. The project consortium consists of 4 partners: SolarSpring GmbH |Membrane Solutions, Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems, University of Stuttgart and the Association for Sewage Treatment Breisgauer Bucht. All partners expect a significant reduction resources, costs and energy compared to the state of the art.

“”At the beginning of October, we were able to successfully commission the pilot plant at our association sewage treatment plant in Forchheim. We already confirmed our participation last summer. Not only at the AZV but also in general throughout the entire wastewater industry, the interest in future-oriented processes for wastewater treatment is obviously high,” emphasised Jens Herb, laboratory manager at the AZV.

The ammonium sulphate which is created in the process of ammonia recovery is a common fertilizer in agriculture which can be used in the future when this type of technology is implemented as a standard. Another benefit of the concept is the avoidance of nitrous oxide emissions which are normally produced as a biproduct of biological ammonia removal.

Based on the results of the project, SolarSpring GmbH, who is also coordinator of the project, will be capable of transforming the pilot scale membrane distillation system into a full- scale commercial product ready for marketing.

More about that in one of the next SolarSpring newsletters.

Yours sincerely,
Daniel Pfeifle, CEO