BENS TA begins in earnest at wastewater treatment plant
The third Transnational Access experiment at a Universidade da Coruña (UDC) facility has begun on Tuesday, April 18, 2023. Researchers from two small and medium enterprises (SMEs), Photrack AG from Switzerland and Ubertone from France, have joined UDC staff at the research installation at Coruña’s Bens wastewater treatment plant, managed by EDAR BENS S.A.
The main goal of this TA is to assess new devices to monitor wastewater flow and quality in actual operational conditions. The TA experiment builds on the technologies developed at the visiting institutions — Photrack and Ubertone — as well as at the Polytechnical University of Cartagena (UPCT), in south-east Spain.
Each of these innovations is focused on a specific development area. Ubertone’s velocity sensor (UB-Flow AV) already shows a better performance than Doppler’s sensor currently available on the market: this experiment will compare its capacity, quality, and limitations with other analytical methods, by installing commercially-available probes in the Bens flume. Photrack, in turn, has developed a flow calculation image-based system which has already been successfully tested in river flow monitoring. This experiment is going to be crucial to test its viability in urban wastewater treatment facilities. UPCT, finally, has developed equipment for continuous characterisation of urban wastewater pollutant load. The device is capable of determining parameters such as Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD) or nutrient concentration, among others, from spectrophotometric analysis of the water. The aim of this experiment is to test a new more advanced device and generate new correlation models with other pollutant parameters such as heavy metals.
The BENS TA experiment would not have been possible without the availability and collaboration of EDAR BENS SA staff and management. This transnational access is a very valuable example of cross-institutional cooperation in the field of urban drainage and water management research: one academic institution is coordinating the work of two European SMEs at a municipally-owned and run wastewater treatment plan. Activities able to enhance and empower this kind of multi-actor synergy are at the core of the Horizon 2020 INFRAIA framework.
The BENS TA will be active until July 2023, when the core data obtained at the facility will be analysed. The output of this research effort and collaboration will be available for Co-UDlabs’ research activities and will be part of the improved know-how of the visiting SMEs. The BENS TA is going to set a very important example for effective public-private partnerships, as Co-UDlabs will open its 2nd global call for TA proposals in July 2023.