The Dutch defense department is testing the NEW GeneratorTM wastewater treatment technology that uses X-Flow membrane modules. The army wants to know how up to 80 percent water savings on military bases can be achieved.
The patented NEW Generator technology was developed at the University of South Florida. The modular and mobile units allow for decentralized wastewater treatment. The system can produce clean water and energy anywhere, in military locations, but also in villages or towns, city slums, disaster areas and refugee camps.
Smart Base program
In 2016 the Royal Netherlands Army invited business and science to come up with ideas on the military base of the future. The Ministry of Defense is seeking out new state-of-the-art solutions in logistics, protection, energy, and water. As part of a program called Smart Base, a fieldlab was set up to test the practical value of innovative technologies and services.
Smart Base aims for drastic reductions in water and energy consumption in military bases and camps. Over 600 companies showed initial interest in exploring the opportunities. From 150 proposals, 18 pilot projects were selected. At a testing facility prepared at a military site in Soesterberg, the selected solutions now have to demonstrate their ability to operate under various demanding conditions.
Treating black water
The Ministry of Defense is working together with various companies in the Smart Base project. Seven pilots are focused on water reuse. NEW GeneratorTM, with Pentair membranes at the heart of the system, is being tested as the ultimate solution for black water. Pentair X-Flow collaborates with Jotem Water treatment, a company specializing in solving engineering issues in the treatment of water from various sources.
Black water is basically toilet wastewater. In the NEW GeneratorTM this feed is anaerobically converted into biogas and clean water. The membranes separate the water from the solids, ensuring that bacteria and viruses remain in the bioreactor. The water can be used for toilet flushing, vehicle cleaning, or irrigation. It can also be treated further for other applications.
The anaerobic membrane bioreactor,
or AnMBR, produces very little sludge compared to aerobic systems and does not require aeration. The combined use of solar collectors and the biogas ensures that the system produces clean water while providing its own energy.
The system can also process additional organic flows such as kitchen waste. Pentair is currently assessing several energy optimization options, including using the biogas for power generation.