CEBEDEAU • Granular sludge: from applied research to innovative processes

Case study

Granular sludge: from applied research to innovative processes


The adventure began in 2009, on the return from a conference where the subject was raised, and integrated by R&D as a technology of the future: the first pilots and the first granules were born, admittedly imperfect but promising. The desire to continue this work and the development of molecular biology techniques led us to conduct a first research project co-financed by the SPW (Collective research BIAGRA - BIomasse Aérobie GRAnulaire - 2013-2015) in collaboration with the microbiology department of the UCLouvain.

Following the very encouraging initial results, the company exelio entered into a partnership with CEBEDEAU to develop a granular sludge process in an SBR configuration. At the end of the research (2016 - 2019), the GRASS® process (Granulated Activated Sludge System) was born. A compact process with a high sedimentation rate, it has demonstrated excellent industrial wastewater treatment capabilities (including N and P), with a significant reduction in energy consumption. BeFLOW® is the second result of research conducted within CEBEDEAU on granular sludge, in partnership with the John Cockerill company (2019-2021). The challenge of the BeFLOW research was to succeed in developing granular sludge for activated sludge plants operating in continuous mode, with more diluted urban water. This did not exist at the time: the only granular applications were to convert conventional plants into sequential plants for renovation.

All this was developed over several years at CEBEDEAU on pilots of up to 500 L before being applied in real conditions on platforms of several tens of cubic metres, built by exelio (GRASS) and John Cockerill (BEFLOW).

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