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A cost- energy-efficient treatment technology to remove pharmaceutical pollutants from water

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - PFS (A cost- energy-efficient treatment technology to remove pharmaceutical pollutants from water)

Période du rapport: 2019-03-01 au 2020-06-30

Widespread contamination from pharmaceuticals, such as synthetic or natural chemicals found in prescription medicines, over-the-counter therapeutic drugs & veterinary drugs, that are finding their way into the drinking water supply via wastewater, is posing serious threats to public health. Pharmaceutical compounds such as hormones and endocrine disrupters are already responsible for major health issues. Their presence in water, even at low concentrations, has raised concerns in the EU among drinking water regulators, governments, water suppliers & the public regarding these pharmaceutical contaminants’ risks both to human health and the environment.

The challenge is that current wastewater treatment methods do not degrade many of such pharmaceutical contaminants, and may even generate more toxic by-products. Modern wastewater treatment facilities (WWTFs) are built for collection, transportation and purification of wastewater. In this Phase 2 project the PFS technology has been demonstrated at three separate wastewater treatment plants.
Firstly, Pharem believes that the best way forward is to make technologies and combination of technologies available so that more WWTPs can start focusing on treatment of OMPs. However, to be able to do so, the existing barriers such as high CapEx costs, unsafe operations and high OpEx costs must be addressed.

In the project, Pharem has proven that enzymatic treatment can offer a unique alternative to established technologies.

Following the project objectives, the results have confirmed that Pharem can offer a treatment step which:
• Low CapEx, lowering the entry barrier for any WWTP
• Adjust removal level according to customer specification (70%-90%)
• Offer OpEx between 0,05-0,10 €/m3 (depending on site specific requirements)
• Simple application by plug-and-play or using familiar sand-filtration infrastructure
• Add no new hazard requirements and possibility to full-service solutions

With PFS we have aspired to deliver a solution that is easy to implement and do not require large budgets to both initiate and operate. The ambition is to make it easier for small to medium sized WWTPs to take the step to implement removal of pharmaceutical residues and organic micropollutants. The only way to solve the environmental issue is to achieve a broad market application of these types of technologies.
Period 1 of this project took important steps toward optimizing the technology for large scale production and implementation. The PFS technology was stress tested at the test-bed facility of Hammarby sjöstadsverket where increases in flow-capacity and improvement of the system design where the key aspects developed at site. Improvements where made for the filter-matrix to better reach large-scale production and where awaiting evaluation during period 2.

For business development an early success was established in the industrial wastewater treatment market and the first customer projects where established based on development made within the project. The company, technology and project also managed to generate medial interest and culminated during period 1 as one of three winners at EUtop50.

Advancing into period 2 of the project the final version of the PFS technology for the project was established. All necessary components were successfully replaced with large-scale alternatives. The successful completion of pre-trial stress tests could show that the general improvement of the material has been increased from 51% relative efficiency drop after 28 days, to 7% relative efficiency drop after 92 days and is a tremendous improvement beyond our highest expectations.

The final system was then subject for implementation at several site for being run in operational environment. The Swedish sites of Rustorp ARV and the plant at Kristianstads CRV. The collaboration with KWR resulted with the implementation at Apeldoorn WWTP.
The sites at Rustorp ARV and Kristianstad CRV were equipped with a sand-filter system containing PFS filter material. The Apeldoorn WWTP was equipped with a system built developed as a final solution from previous system designs. The implementations at Rustorp and Kristianstad had almost identical extrapolated removal effect of >70% after 9 min residence time and >80% at 15 min residence time with several pharmaceuticals well above >90% of removal, while the system in Apeldoorn slightly underperformed.

The company has been on several exhibitions to expose the technology with the most prominent and successful one being Aquatech Amsterdam, where the technology took the stage on several occasions during the event. Pharem has successfully established collaboration with several agents and other collaboration partners in markets such as
• Sweden and other Nordic countries
• The Netherlands
• Germany
• Switzerland
• Baltic countries
And continue to further build our network of turn-key contractors and distributors.

This has led to several established collaborations and partnerships to bring the technology to the market following the SME Instrument project. Success has been established with the industrial version of the PFS technology. Here several projects and pilots have been established with the customer paying for these services and is a successful entry into the market. This development has been so successful that the company will develop its own branch for the industrial PFS within the Pharem/PFS product family.
The municipal side has great prospect with several partnership and collaborations established and will see its first paying customers after the end of the project The SME instrument has given the timeframe and resources to reach these first customers and laid the foundation for the continued success of PFS.
"Without technological & infrastructural interventions the Global Sustainable Development Goals on clean water and sanitation (Goal #6) and on biodiversity safety (Goals #14-15) are at risk of not getting achieved. Pharem Filtration System is a solution designed to make an important contribution to address the safe and clear water and the environmental impact challenges. With Pharem Filtration System we provide a technology to remove pharmaceutical residues and other organic pollutants from wastewater. As a result, we prevent these residues from reaching humans and animals in drinking water. This results in cleaner water that is released into the environment, and ultimately in cleaner water that is returned to humans for drinking.
One impact deserves a separate mention—traces of antibiotics routinely show up in drinking water samples in the EU countries. This means that different groups of population, regardless of their levels of consumption of antibiotics, are exposed to them indirectly.
With PFS we have aspired to deliver a solution that is easy to implement and do not require large budgets to both initiate and operate. The ambition is to make it easier for small to medium sized WWTPs to take the step to implement removal of pharmaceutical residues and organic micropollutants. The only way to solve the environmental issue is to achieve a broad market application of these types of technologies."