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GE and University of Guelph open innovative wastewater treatment pilot in Canada

The pilot plant in Guelph is the first large-scale project funded by Canada's Advancing Water Technologies programme
The pilot plant in Guelph is the first large-scale project funded by Canada's Advancing Water Technologies programme

GE’s Water & Process Technologies is collaborating with a Canadian university on a research initiative to maximise renewable energy generation and simultaneously produce a pathogen-free biosolids fertiliser.

The new pilot is located at the Southern Ontario Water Consortium (SOWC) wastewater demonstration facility adjacent to the city of Guelph wastewater treatment plant, and operated together with the government, the University of Guelph, and GE.

The pilot is the first large-scale project to receive funding under the SOWC’s Advancing Water Technologies (AWT) programme, which supports collaborative, industry-led technology development projects.

SOWC is funded by the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario, with the AWT programme supplying nearly C$600,000 (€427,000) to collaborators for this project.

In addition, GE is investing C$900,000 in infrastructure and support.

“This first large AWT project epitomises what SOWC is all about,” said SOWC executive director Brenda Lucas.

“We are connecting the needs of industry with Ontario’s academic expertise and enabling real-world testing in unique facilities to help bring innovative technologies to market.”

GE’s goal is to shift wastewater treatment from a burden to an opportunity where valuable resources can be extracted – namely renewable energy, clean water, and fertiliser.

Enhancing anaerobic digestion (AD) through biological hydrolysis technology is one of the keys to realising this goal.

Biological hydrolysis technology maximises the efficiency of existing AD infrastructure by increasing its throughput capacity by up to three times.

This enables plant owners to not only treat more sludge, but potentially other organic materials, dramatically increasing biogas production that can be converted to renewable energy.

At the same time, a valuable pathogen-free fertiliser product is produced.

“We are very pleased to support this demonstration of our biological hydrolysis technology,” said Glenn Vicevic, executive product manager at GE’s Water & Process Technologies.

”This pilot project further validates the viability of energy neutral wastewater treatment that can produce valuable resources in the form of clean water, renewable energy, and fertiliser.”

Member of Provincial Parliament Liz Sandals also announced C$500,000 in provincial funding for SOWC at the pilot facility’s opening ceremony on behalf of the Ministry of Research, Innovation and Science.

The investment will allow SOWC to build on the University of Guelph research project and other innovative technologies developed by Ontario companies for capturing value from wastewater treatment.

The pilot plant in Guelph is the first large-scale project funded by Canada's Advancing Water Technologies programme