ARM Consultant, Patrick Hawes introduces the new FP7 project that ARM is involved in.
Last year ARM along with four other SMEs and two research establishments were successful in securing funding for an FP7 Research for SMEs led research project, funded by the Research Executive Agency within the European Union.
Starting in September last year, the Autonomous Reed Bed Installation project (ARBI) will run for two years. Primarily the project is investigating the capacity of magnetic resonance (MR) to detect levels of clogging within reed beds and subsequently to develop a suitable probe for use in-situ in the field. This would enable measurement and ongoing monitoring of the degree to which a reed bed is clogged and how this is affecting its performance.
The ability to predict clogging rates and effects on water treatment capability will enable reed bed operators to plan refurbishment strategies and forecast budget requirements more accurately.
The primary parameters that govern the microbial mechanisms of action within reed beds are oxygen transfer and temperature. The first can be controlled by using aerated systems and the latter through heating. Increasing either of these parameters will enhance microbial activity and hence treatment performance. Improving microbial activity, however, can also raise biomass levels and thus clogging rates within the bed.
The ARBI project is looking at using the data generated from the MR probe to adjust aeration and heating within the reed bed to optimise the clogging rate against water treatment requirements. The adjustment of effluent delivery point is also being reviewed.
The final element of the project is to focus on commercialisation of these elements in the form of a ‘pre-packaged’ reed bed in a container which can be linked to other similar units expanding treatment capacity. The ARBI systems could be hired or purchased for temporary or permanent treatment situations and maintained/operated under a service agreement depending on the particular client requirements.
The mobile and flexible nature of these systems would be most attractive to small industrial applications, temporary treatment scenarios or housing developments. Although the fundamental technology developed from the project could be applied to larger schemes also.
The four SMEs and two research establishments involved in the ARBI Project are:
ARM Ltd, UK – SME,
Lab Tools, UK – SME,
Lightmain, UK – SME,
Nottingham Trent University, UK – Research Establishment,
Oxyguard, Denmark – SME,
Technosam, Romania – SME
Universitat Politecnica de Catalunya, Spain – Research Establishment.