U of G part of ‘energy neutral’ waste water treatment project

The University of Guelph is taking part in a novel $1.5-million initiative backed by the federal government that aims to eliminate energy costs for waste water treatment.

U of G will work with GE Water and Process Technologies, along with McMaster University, to test new ways to reduce energy consumption while generating energy from the waste water treatment process and using beneficial resources from waste water.

It’s the first large project to receive funding under the Southern Ontario Water Consortium’s (SOWC) Advancing Water Technologies program, which supports collaborative, industry-led technology development projects and is funded by FedDev Ontario through a $12-million contribution announced by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau last year.

“Waste water treatment is critical to human health and environmental sustainability,” says Malcolm Campbell, vice-president (research). “This project will bolster the University of Guelph’s great strengths in water research and help improve life.”

The project aims to achieve energy neutrality in waste water treatment by reducing demand and by recovering energy from biogas.

U of G will work with GE to test new anaerobic digestion technology, using advanced bio-solids treatment to improve biogas production and kill pathogens.

The research will be done at the University’s cutting-edge waste water pilot facility. Built in partnership with SOWC and the City of Guelph, the facility uses variable waste water streams from the municipal waste water treatment plant for technology testing and demonstration.

Ed McBean, U of G engineering professor and Canada Research Chair in Water Supply Security, heads the pilot facility. Engineering professor Sheng Chang is U of G’s lead researcher on the project.