From Planes to WWTPs: Wastewater Technology Finds Inspiration in Surprising Places

Often, a technology’s initial application is only the beginning of its usefulness. After a technology is proven in one industry, another may adapt it to suit its needs. As wastewater treatment professionals look to improve efficiencies, some are turning to technologies that originated far afield from wastewater treatment — in aerospace, for instance. Airplanes and the activated sludge process might not seem to have much in common. But turbo blowers adapt- ed from the aerospace and defense industries can help reduce the costs of supplying oxygen to biological reactors, which can use 50% to 90% of the energy consumed in an activated sludge treatment system. “If you look at the layout of our blower, it has the same layout as a turbofan jet engine,” said Omar Hammoud, president of APG–Neuros (Montreal), a turbo blower manufacturer. The turbo blower lubricates impeller rotation with air instead of oil, according to Hammoud.

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