Designing a Miniaturized Water Treatment Plant at Eden Tech

This sponsored article is delivered to you by COMSOL.The 1985 action-adventure TV sequence MacGyver showcased the lifetime of Angus MacGyver, a undercover agent who solved issues utilizing gadgets he had available. For instance, in a single episode, he made a warmth defend out of used fridge elements. In one other, he made a fishing lure with a sweet wrapper. Greater than three many years later, the present nonetheless has relevance. The verb MacGyver, to design one thing in a makeshift or inventive approach, was added to the Oxford English Dictionary in 2015.Attempt placing your MacGyver expertise to the take a look at: In the event you had been handed some CDs, what would you make out of them? Reflective wall artwork, mosaic ornaments, or a wind chime, maybe? What a couple of miniaturized water remedy plant?That is what a group of engineers and researchers are doing at Eden Tech, an organization based mostly in Paris, France, that focuses on the event of microfluidics know-how. Inside their R&D division, Eden Cleantech, they’re growing a compact, energy-saving water remedy system to assist deal with the rising presence of micropollutants in wastewater. To investigate the efficiency of their AKVO system (named after the Latin phrase for water, aqua), which is made out of CDs, Eden Tech turned to multiphysics simulation.Contaminants of Rising Concern“There are numerous methods micropollutants make it into wastewater,” says Wei Zhao, a senior chemical engineer and chief product officer at Eden Tech. The rise of those microscopic chemical compounds in wastewater worldwide is a results of day by day human actions. As an example, once we wash our fingers with cleaning soap, wipe down our sinks with cleansing provides, or flush medicines out of our our bodies, varied chemical compounds are washed down the drain and find yourself in sewage techniques. A few of these chemical compounds are categorized as micropollutants, or contaminants of rising concern (CECs). Along with home waste, agricultural air pollution and industrial waste are additionally guilty for the rise of micropollutants in our waterways.Micropollutants are added to the world’s lakes, rivers, and streams each day. Many typical wastewater remedy vegetation should not outfitted to take away these probably hazardous chemical residues from wastewater.Sadly, many typical wastewater remedy vegetation (WWTP, Determine 1) should not designed to take away these contaminants. Due to this fact, they’re usually reintroduced to numerous our bodies of water, together with rivers, streams, lakes, and even ingesting water. Though the chance they pose to human and environmental well being just isn’t totally understood, the rising variety of air pollution discovered on this planet’s our bodies of water is of concern.Determine 1. Most typical water remedy vegetation should not capable of take away micropollutants.Ivan Bandura/UnsplashWith this rising drawback in thoughts, Eden Tech set to work on growing an answer, thus AKVO was born. Every AKVO CD core is designed to have a diameter of 15 cm and a thickness of two mm. One AKVO cartridge consists of stacked CDs of various numbers, mixed to create a miniaturized manufacturing unit. One AKVO core treats 0.5 to 2 m3 water/day, which implies that an AKVO system composed of 10,000 CDs can deal with common municipal wants. This raises the query: How can a tool made out of CDs decontaminate water?A Sustainable Wastewater Therapy MethodA single AKVO system (Determine 2) consists of a customizable cartridge crammed with stacked CDs that every have a microchannel community inscribed on them. It removes undesirable components in wastewater, like micropollutants, by circulating the water in its microchannel networks. These networks are vitality savvy as a result of they solely require a small pump to flow into and clear massive volumes of water. The AKVO system’s cartridges can simply get replaced, with Eden Tech caring for their recycling.Determine 2. AKVO with all of its elements labeled.AKVO’s revolutionary design combines photocatalysis and microfluidics into one compact system. Photocatalysis, a kind of superior oxidation course of (AOP), is a quick and efficient technique to take away micropollutants from wastewater. In comparison with different AOPs, it’s thought of safer and extra sustainable as a result of it’s powered by a lightweight supply. Throughout photocatalysis, gentle is absorbed by photocatalysts which have the flexibility to create electron-hole pairs, which generate free hydroxyl radicals which can be capable of react with goal pollution and degrade them. The mix of photocatalysis and microfluidics for the remedy of wastewater has by no means been achieved earlier than. “It’s a very bold undertaking,” mentioned Zhao. “We wished to develop an progressive methodology with the intention to present an environmentally pleasant, environment friendly technique to deal with wastewater.” AKVO’s present design didn’t come straightforward, as Zhao and his group confronted a number of design challenges alongside the best way.Overcoming Design ChallengesWhen in use, a chemical agent (catalyst) and wastewater are dispersed by means of AKVO’s microchannel partitions. The aim of the catalyst, titanium dioxide on this case, is to react with the micropollutants and assist take away them within the course of. Nonetheless, AKVO’s quick stream fee complicates this motion. “The large drawback is that [AKVO] has microchannels with quick stream charges, and typically once we put the chemical agent inside one of many channels’ partitions, the micropollutants within the wastewater can not react effectively with the agent,” mentioned Zhao. With a purpose to enhance the chance of contact between the micropollutants and the immobilized chemical agent, Zhao and his group opted to make use of a staggered herringbone micromixer (SHM) design for AKVO’s microchannel networks (Determine 3).To investigate the efficiency of the SHM design to help chemical reactions for micropollutant degradation, Zhao used the COMSOL Multiphysics software program.Simulating Chemical Reactions for Micropollutant DegradationIn his work, Zhao constructed two totally different fashions in COMSOL Multiphysics (Determine 4), named the Specific Floor Adsorption (ESA) mannequin and the Transformed Floor Focus (CSC) mannequin. Each of those fashions account for chemical and fluid phenomena.In each fashions, Zhao discovered that AKVO’s SHM construction creates vortices within the stream transferring by means of it, which permits the micropollutants and the chemical agent to have an extended response interval and enhances the mass switch between every fluid layer. Nonetheless, the outcomes of the ESA mannequin displayed that the design purified about 50 p.c of the micropollutants below remedy, fewer than what Zhao anticipated.In contrast to the ESA mannequin (Determine 5), within the CSC mannequin, it’s assumed that there isn’t any adsorption limitation. Due to this fact, so long as a micropollutant arrives on the floor of a catalyst, a response occurs, which has been mentioned in current literature (Ref. 1). On this mannequin, Zhao analyzed how the design carried out for the degradation of six totally different micropollutants, together with gemfibrozil, ciprofloxacin, carbamazepine, clofibric acid, bisphenol A, and acetaminophen (Determine 6). The outcomes of this mannequin had been in step with what Zhao anticipated, with greater than 95 p.c of the micropollutants being handled.
“We’re actually happy with the outcomes of COMSOL Multiphysics. My subsequent steps will probably be centered on laboratory testing [of the AKVO prototype]. We predict to have our first prototype prepared by the start of 2022,” mentioned Zhao. The prototype will ultimately be examined at hospitals and water remedy stations within the south of France.

Utilizing simulation for this undertaking has helped the Eden Tech group save money and time. Creating a prototype of a microfluidic system, like AKVO, is dear. To imprint microchannel networks on every of AKVO’s CDs, a microchannel photomask is required. In line with Zhao, to manufacture one photomask would value about €3000 (3500 USD). Due to this fact, it is vitally essential that they’re assured that their system works nicely previous to its fabrication. “COMSOL Multiphysics has actually helped us validate our fashions and our designs,” mentioned Zhao.
Pioneer within the Therapy of Micropollutants
In 2016, Switzerland launched laws mandating that wastewater remedy vegetation take away micropollutants from wastewater. Their objective? Filter out over 80 p.c of micropollutants at greater than 100 Swiss WWTPs. Following their lead, many different nations are at the moment pondering of how they need to deal with the rising presence of those contaminants of their waterways. AKVO has the potential to supply a compact, environmentally pleasant approach to assist sluggish this ongoing drawback.

The subsequent time you go to throw out an outdated CD, or another family merchandise for that matter, ask your self: What would MacGyver do? Or, higher but: What would Eden Tech do? You is perhaps holding the constructing blocks for his or her subsequent progressive design.
ReferenceC. S. Turchi, D. F. Ollis, “Photocatalytic degradation of natural water contaminants: Mechanisms involving hydroxyl radical assault,” Journal of Catalysis, Vol. 122, p. 178, 1990.MacGyver is a registered trademark of CBS Studios Inc. COMSOL AB and its subsidiaries and merchandise should not affiliated with, endorsed by, sponsored by, or supported by CBS Studios Inc.