Project 2

Sewage Pre-Treatment

And Energy Recovery


For reliable water reuse, organic material has to be removed from the water. Our aim is to develop a stable and robust process for the removal of organic material and its conversion into biogas. By combining and adapting separation and anaerobic conversion technologies, our process can deal with the large fluctuations in wastewater flow rates that are typical to monsoon climates such as New Delhi. This system will ensure superior effluent quality which is suitable for additional treatment.   


In the initial research stages, the interaction between different separation, conversion and recovery technologies are investigated. By combining the separation and conversion technology a robust system will be developed. Special attention will be given to optimization of the membrane modules, the effect of the combined technology on the anaerobic process conditions and the direct linkage of biogas utilising fuel cells.


The organic material in the water will be removed using anaerobic treatment where anaerobic (no oxygen present) bacteria convert the organic material into biogas. The energy that is contained in the biogas will be recovered using solid oxide fuel cells (SOFC). In the Indian context, the pre-treatment process has to deal with large fluctuations in wastewater flow rates. The two technologies membrane filtration (as part of anaerobic membrane bio reactors, AnMBRs) and dissolved air flotation technology (DAF) will be tested to effectively separate solids from the treated wastewater.


Our pre-treatment technology offers a variety of benefits which ensure its utilization in practice. Besides the production of a particulate-free nutrient-rich irrigation water, several by-products are formed. Recovering these “value-added” products, will make the treatment system very interesting from a broader local resource recovery and economic perspective. By demonstrating such a robust wastewater pre-treatment technology and show the scaling up potential in an urban context, we contribute to the success of future water reclamation projects.


The developed technologies will be able to treat water effectively while promising stable performance even with fluctuation in water flows and solids concentrations, thereby ensuring stable operation of the post treatment steps (subproject 3: Vital urban filters and Photobioreactors). Our technology has the following features:

  • High rate anaerobic digestion process
  • Novel integrated solid/liquid separation solutions
  • Resistant to large hydraulic fluctuations
  • Hybrid anaerobic digester dissolved gas flotation reactor
  • Cost-effective through energy and resource recovery


The project is a collaboration between the Indian and Dutch research institutes. The Indian side is represented by Indian Institute of Technology Delhi and The Energy and Resources Institute. On the Dutch side, Delft University of Technology and IHE Institute for Water Education are involved.    

Our contributing partners are:

  • Nijhuis Water Technology BV which helps us in developing dissolved air/gas flotation (DAF/DGF) technology by providing equipment and expertise.
  • JCI is our membranes supplier and offers us materials and expertise.
  • Saxion University of Applied Sciences also focuses on AnMBR technology and provide student exchange and their expertise on cost effective reactor automation.
  • WASTE provides their expertise on solid waste management to help us handle the plastics, debris etc. that float through the drains.

All our partners can be found here.

Illustrations: Projekt C| Text: Steef de Valk & Maaike Spuij | Logo: Annemarie van Aken
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