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Easily Deployed Smart Packaged Plants from Fluence

With portable and quick-to-deploy Smart Packaged plants, treatment can be taken wherever it’s needed around the world.

A decentralized water and wastewater treatment strategy can provide the efficiency and flexibility needed to deal with water challenges around the globe

Decentralized treatment is the practice of placing water or wastewater treatment at the site of supply, demand, or ideally both. It’s a flexible, sustainable alternative to large treatment plants that require miles of costly supply and delivery infrastructure.

According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, water scarcity is one of the greatest challenges of the century. It affects not only human health and the environment, but also local economies, which depend on water for business, industry, and agriculture.

Often, the hardest-hit areas are smaller, isolated, or poor, making them difficult to serve with modern infrastructure. So, while there is an explosion of need for sustainable water and wastewater treatment facilities, the design, financing, permitting, building, and commissioning of new conventional plants and piping may take years. These costs may be crippling for smaller communities, resorts, or industries with problematic water situations.

Benefits of Decentralized Treatment

Decentralized treatment is an important solution for global water scarcity for a number of reasons:

  • Positioning plants near the source of supply and need eliminates the prohibitive cost of pipelining to distant plants.
  • Decentralized systems are more scalable and portable than traditional plants. Their quick construction limits the risk of “white elephant” plants, plants that become obsolete before they’re paid for.
  • Smaller-scale projects may bypass politically challenging negotiations across diverse regions and facilitate local control of community water treatment systems.
  • In industry, decentralized treatment can provide quality control for individual sites and improve community relationships by reducing ecological impacts and competition for local water resources.

Technology and Packaging

The combination of new, cost-effective technology with containerized packaging is making decentralization more viable than ever. Fluence Smart Packaged plants are available for water and wastewater treatment, including desalination of surface water or groundwater. These units:

  • Are pre-engineered for quick, plug-and-play commissioning
  • Are packaged in standard shipping containers for minimal site prep and construction
  • Have small footprints, low-odor, and low-noise operation
  • Are portable, allowing easy transport by ship, rail, or truck
  • Are readily scalable by adding or removing units, which can then be redeployed or sold
  • Minimize energy requirements, in some cases to the point where alternative energy sources are viable in off-grid applications.
  • Are rated for hurricane-force winds and coated with weather and corrosion-resistant coatings
  • Feature smart technology that allows for remote monitoring and operation

Fluence offers two lines of Smart Packaged solutions that are ideal for decentralized systems:

  • Aspiral™ wastewater treatment plants use revolutionary membrane aerated biofilm reactors (MABR) for exceptional nutrient removal. Aspiral slashes energy costs through passive aeration, minimizes chemical use and sludge production, and its effluent is suitable for reuse, complying with both California’s Title 22 and China’s Class 1A standards. The units come with capacity starting at 20 m3/d.
  • The NIROBOX™ line features solutions for seawater and brackish-water desalination, as well as freshwater purification. They are pre-engineered with all necessary process equipment, including pretreatment to remove suspended solids and reverse osmosis (RO) for desalination. Flow rates start at 500 m3/d. They also contain devices for energy recovery, chemical dosing, compressed air supply, instrumentation, and controls.

Decentralization, a New Paradigm

Although decentralized treatment has long been promoted by leading voices in the water treatment sector, technological and logistical challenges have limited its application, particularly for water reuse. As Global Water Intelligence publisher Christopher Gasson put it:

The obstacle to growth is not really lowering the cost of the process. […] It is about technologies that help change the paradigm. Specifically, we need decentralised systems that reduce the need for investment in collection networks […]

Since Gasson’s assessment, advances in both technology and packaging have emerged and are being used in extensive projects that exemplify the wide range of benefits decentralized treatment has to offer. Here are some examples.

Decentralized Wastewater Treatment for a Chinese Highway Project

Decentralized Wastewater Treatment

A Smart Packaged Aspiral™ treatment plant handles 200 m³/d of high-nitrogen wastewater at a highway service area, treating it to China’s strict Class 1A standard. Learn more about the project here.

The deadlines and scale of China’s current Five Year Plan motivated Chinese officials to think outside the box when they planned a system to treat wastewater from service areas along the Hubei Province highway system. They settled on a decentralized wastewater treatment strategy using Fluence technology, specifically the newly unveiled Aspiral™, which was chosen after proving itself in local demonstration plants.

With service areas placed at 50 km intervals across the highway system, the conventional approach would be to try to connect the widely spaced service areas to the nearest wastewater treatment plant, truck the waste out, or even discharge it untreated. The 80-plant project, however, efficiently treats each service area’s wastewater on-site and discharges it into the environment as safe, irrigation-quality effluent, eliminating the need for thousands of kilometers of costly pipelining.

Decentralized Water Treatment in the Caribbean

Containerized Treatment with NIROBOX

Smart Packaged NIROBOX™ plants provide highly efficient seawater and brackish water desalination, as well as freshwater purification, in even the most remote locations.

Fluence NIROBOX™ units bring decentralized water treatment and desalination to small, remote areas. For example:

  • At Costa Rica’s Reserva Conchal resort, Fluence NIROBOX™ desalination units were hidden in a nearby wooded area to provide approximately 1,500 m3/d of drinking water without disturbing the resort’s aesthetics.
  • When a luxury resort was planned for the tiny island of North Bimini, stakeholders turned to Fluence for a practical water treatment solution. Where residents once struggled to collect rainwater, three NIROBOX SW units now supply 800,000 GPD (3 million L/d) of fresh water to the resort, with excess water to share with the rest of the island.

Financing to Fit Your Needs

With Fluence NIROBOX™ and Aspiral™ plants, Fluence presents an essential facet of a flourishing decentralized water future: flexible financing structures that fit customers’ needs. Fluence has decades of worldwide experience in financing for large and small-scale projects alike. Fluence offers customizable packages and business models through international private banks and financing partners, as well as national and international financing agencies.

At Fluence, our mission it to deliver resilient water and wastewater treatment to a rapidly changing world. Contact our experts to learn about the decentralized solutions that can help make that happen.

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