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Research & Development

See the latest innovations our scientists, engineers, and researchers have been working on
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We're committed to extending the reach of water and wastewater treatment through technological advances

At Fluence, we're working to create a better world through ongoing technological innovation. We're embracing sustainability, economy, and flexibility in our quest to provide clean water wherever it's needed around the world. We strive for excellence through innovation and technological leadership, and our intellectual property is an important aspect of that: Our patents extend across a wide range of treatment equipment and processes.

We believe that the emerging concept of distributed, or decentralized, water management is the key to water sustainability, providing the right water treatment at the point of use, at the right scale -- and at the right price. Recent developments in treatment, automation, remote control, and communication technologies are allowing us to break new ground with systems that lower infrastructure and operating costs and maximize flexibility. Our Smart Packaged water and wastewater treatment solutions take advantage of these innovations to make treatment even more viable.

We're also working to standardize essential features of wastewater treatment to allow for consistent specification of energy consumption and efficiency.

Rigorous Research and Testing

Research and Development

Fluence's R&D center in Israel is the biggest MABR research facility in the world, including pilots and experiments for existing and future product lines. The research center includes a dedicated laboratory equipped with all the sampling equipment necessary to test water and wastewater for BOD, COD, TSS, VSS, TN, TKN, TP, NH4+, NO3, NO2, conductivity, pH, dO2, ORP, and more. Several small-scale pilot plants running at the research center continually test MABR treatment under a range of streams and loads, providing information for small to larger-scale commercial sites.

Some of these pilots have included five in China in 2016, one in the CENTA research center in Spain, and one in 2018 at Stanford University's Codiga Resource Recovery Center in California, which tested MABR systems with very concentrated wastewater streams. The plants reduced the loads to very strict effluent criteria, meeting and exceeding regulations in China and in California, which has some of the most stringent in the United States.

Fluence is currently conducting several collaborative research programs:

  • Investigating water reuse in agriculture under the Horizon 2020 PRIMA program, as part of the DSWAP consortium
  • Researching side-stream treatment with a U.S. company under a binational U.S.-Israel grant
  • Improving the efficiency of energy recovery as part of a U.S.-Israel consortium dealing with the water-energy nexus

We are constantly looking for interesting partnerships for development of new and improved treatment process technologies. Please contact [email protected] with any inquiries.

Meet Our CTO

Ronen SchechterFluence Chief Technology Officer Ronen Shechter is a chemical engineer with more than 25 years of experience in water and wastewater technology and more than a dozen granted patents and pending applications. Before joining Fluence, Shechter co-founded Emefcy and served as its CTO for more than nine years, with a focus on membrane aerated biofilm reactors (MABR) and electrogenic bioreactors (EBR).

Ronen and the rest of Fluence’s R&D team look forward to collaborating with researchers and academic institutions around the world and sharing data on our latest innovations. Contact us to learn more.

NIROBOX™ Smart Packaged Water Solutions provide advanced treatment technologies in affordable and compact packages. NIROBOX offers the industry's smallest overall footprint, making it ideal for decentralized treatment in remote locations, and even off the grid.

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When a conventional activated sludge wastewater treatment facility has reached its limit, Fluence's SUBRE can come to the rescue. SUBRE MABR towers can be submerged in existing chambers, improving effluent quality, lowering the use of chemicals, saving energy, and increasing capacity.

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Optimizing Nutrient Removal With MABR

Revolutionary wastewater treatment technology optimizes nutrient removal while slashing energy requirements

In the field of biological wastewater treatment, Fluence has invested years of research and development into the innovative and energy-efficient membrane aerated biofilm reactor (MABR), which provides exceptional nutrient removal while minimizing energy use, making treatment possible even off the grid.

Fluence's MABR uses a proprietary, spirally wound membrane for maximum treatment surface area and optimization of several processes, including simultaneous nitrification-denitrification (SND).

After 7 years of researching and manufacturing MABR membranes, continual improvement remains at the top of our agenda. We have built research stations and are testing different types of materials, packaging forms and other membrane properties to optimize our product for the next generation of MABR.

For example, Fluence is operating a full-scale pilot plant to test the technology's performance in cold climates, as well as developing a smart control system that will allow for SND in MABR-free basins, producing superior effluent quality with minimum energy usage.

One of the first MABR pilot modules we created more than six years ago has been running nonstop ever since under a variety of conditions to test its durability. We have dried it, flooded it, and fed it a wide variety of wastewater streams, and it has continued to do its job!

This revolutionary technology is available in stand-alone plants, as well as in towers that can be used to retrofit existing wastewater treatment plants.

MABR Benefits

Fluence's membrane aerated biofilm reactors:

  • Feature simultaneous nitrification and denitrification for optimized nutrient removal
  • Use up to 90 percent less energy than conventional treatment, cutting operating expenses in half
  • Are quiet and odorless, making them neighborhood-friendly
  • Have lower requirements for an external carbon source
  • Require no internal circulation for nitrogen removal

CONTACT OUR EXPERTS

MABR products in our research center include...

Aspiral™ L

This powerhouse is the foundation of our Smart Packaged series. Since October 2017, a pilot prototype has operated at Fluence's R&D site in Israel, undergoing numerous experiments, and the Aspiral L was based on the results. This pilot continues to be used extensively for experiments to ensure ongoing improvement.

Aspiral™ S

The smallest product in the Aspiral line is configured as a plug-and-play Smart Packaged plant. Since May 2019, Fluence has collaborated with the Spanish research institute, CENTA, to test the Aspiral S, operating it continuously under a wide range of conditions.

Aspiral™ MBR

This has already become one of Fluence's most popular products. It integrates MABR wastewater treatment technology with ultrafiltration under a smart control system that makes the most of the combination. A pilot plant at our research site in Israel has provided the data needed to demonstrate our ability to comply with stringent treatment regulations in the U.S. state of Maryland.

SUBRE

Making a dream come true, SUBRE brings the tremendous advantages of MABR technology to existing wastewater treatment plants. After a small pilot proved the feasibility of the product, we joined forces with an existing plant to test it at full scale. Eleven MABR towers are immersed in the plant's anoxic basin, and together with third-party validators Black & Veatch, we have been monitoring and measuring all the parameters and wastewater data at this installation.

Calculating Energy Use With ISO 21939

The new international standard gives engineers and operators a universal way to calculate energy consumption

In today's environment, energy consumption is an increasingly important consideration in efficient wastewater treatment plant design. The energy consumed by biological treatment processes significantly impacts operational costs and environmental footprints.

ISO 21939-1:2019 introduces a standardized means to express energy consumption for biological wastewater treatment processes. This method accounts for all pollutants and normalizes the calculation of energy consumed to allow meaningful comparisons among facilities and technologies.

Fluence supports ISO 21939. In order to give a more accurate evaluation of process energy use, Fluence uses Normalized Energy Consumption calculations in accordance with the new standard. Learn more here.

Turning Waste Into a Resource

Fluence Italy’s R&D team has a track record of developing groundbreaking waste-to-energy solutions

Waste-to-Energy Pilot Plant

For more than 20 years, the experienced research and development team at Fluence Italy has had a focus on waste-to-energy technology, particularly anaerobic digestion in wastewater treatment. With two semi-industrial plants in addition to laboratory-scale digesters, Fluence Italy can thoroughly evaluate processes to offer the best solutions to clients. Highlights of the team's work include:

  • Groundbreaking research on the continuous stirred tank reactor (CSTR), which positioned the company as the leader in Italy for anaerobic digestion of wastewater and by-products from industries including meat, fish, and dairy, and more recently the pharmaceutical and biorefinery industries.
  • Optimization of the granular sludge rapid digester in a processor known as the up-flow anaerobic sludge blanket (UASB), with further refinements including the proprietary external forced circulation (EFC) reactor, which allows treatment of highly diluted effluent from breweries, paper mills, and confectionaries.
  • Thermophilic anaerobic digestion. With this solution, plants work at a higher temperature, allowing an increase in biogas production by almost 70% while maintaining the same footprint. This application is particularly successful in the dairy sector.
  • Collaboration with the University of Padua on anaerobic ammonium oxidation (Anammox). This post-treatment of digestate with a high nitrogen content reduces energy consumption and the need for external carbon sources for treatment.
  • Hydrolysis processes that lead to a reduction of digested sludge and an increase in biogas production.
In industries that produce waste with a high organic load, Fluence's waste-to-energy technology can generate power, reduce sludge, and help you meet discharge limits.

VIEW WtE INFOGRAPHIC

Containerized Desalination

Specially engineered processes yield high-capacity seawater desalination in standardized, compact units

Containerized Seawater Desalination Units
Fluence Smart Packaged desalination line offers full seawater desalination systems that can treat up to 1,500 m³/d (0.4 MGD) per 40-foot container, the highest capacity available. Developing this standardized and quick-to-deploy product required the engineering of a compact process scheme, using direct feed from UF to RO, as well as a patent-pending UF backwash with RO brine. These features -- in combination with state-of-the-art design and components -- yield lower energy consumption and less chemicals consumption. Learn more about our NIORBOX™ line of Smart Packaged desalination solutions.

Emerging Contaminants

Removing microplastics and other hard-to-treat pollutants to produce high-purity water for industry

Fluence's R&D team in Argentina is studying the removal of emerging contaminants, specifically microplastics, antibiotics, ibuprofen, and PFAS. In July 2020, a pilot plant will be installed to develop multi-barrier solutions for removal of these hard-to-treat pollutants. The processes established in the pilot plant will be used to provide our industrial clients with the best and most efficient methods of producing high-purity water.

Toxic Algae

Toxic algal blooms make water unsafe, but Fluence has solutions to make water safe for irrigation and drinking

Multi-Barrier Treatment for Toxic Algae
Drought is a major cause of global water scarcity, but other factors may contribute to it by rendering existing water unsafe for use. These include harmful algal blooms, which can occur when water is too rich in nutrients, often from wastewater treatment and fertilization runoff. An overgrowth of cyanobacteria, also known as blue-green algae, may release toxins to the water. But affected water can be treated for safe use with a site-specific multi-barrier design. Fluence has developed cost-effective solutions for both safe irrigation (Ecuador) and potable water (Ivory Coast), validating them in the laboratory and through onsite testing.

Aeration

Research and development continue on Fluence's workhorse Tornado® subsurface aerator

The engineering department at Fluence in Minneapolis has been working on the second generation of the Tornado® subsurface aerator, the backbone of our aeration line for more than 30 years. The new Tornado will provide enhanced oxygen transfer and mixing to deal with increasing demand at municipal and industrial wastewater treatment plants, allowing Fluence to pursue new applications and markets.

At Fluence, we're committed to staying on top of technological developments for all of our lines to further our goal of providing high-quality water affordably, anywhere in the world.

Are you looking for cutting-edge solutions for your water and wastewater treatment needs? At Fluence, our experts can help you find the ideal technology to meet your requirements, with an emphasis on economy and sustainability. For more information about any of our ongoing research projects, please email [email protected].

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