The configuration of the disc diffusers and pipework was designed by Sulzer for optimal efficiency
The configuration of the disc diffusers and pipework was designed by Sulzer for optimal efficiency

The newly expanded Sleeuwijk wastewater plant serves around 64’000 people and has been designed to optimize the performance as well as efficiency of sewage treatment in western Rivierenland. Consolidating three older wastewater facilities into one, an important part of the rationale for the new treatment plant was the opportunity to install a more efficient sludge digestion facility to produce biogas to supply a power generation unit.

The “Energy Factory” at Sleeuwijk is one of the first facilities of its type to use Ephyra® technology, an innovative approach to sludge digestion that offers greater capacity in a smaller space. Developed by Royal HaskoningDHV, this process breaks down sludge more effectively than conventional reactors, increasing gas production by 20 to 30 percent. The system requires fewer chemicals for sludge thickening and generates an end-product that is easier to dewater before disposal. In addition to the sludge generated on-site, the Sleeuwijk energy factory is also designed to process material shipped in from a number of smaller wastewater treatment plants in the west Rivierenland region.

The Ephyra system uses the plug-flow digestion concept. The reactor vessel at the Energy Factory is divided into three compartments, with sludge moving between the compartments under computer control. The concept allows the different stages of digestion to be optimized separately, maximizing the efficiency of the process while reducing dwell time in the tanks to as little as six to eight days.

A total of five SCABA agitators were installed in the reactor tanks
A total of five SCABA agitators were installed in the reactor tanks

Sulzer in the mix

In order to work effectively, the Ephyra system relies on efficient mixing of the material in each tank compartment. After searching the market for possible solutions, the main contractor selected Sulzer as a key supplier and technical partner for the project.

Flow through the system is highly complex, impacted both by the performance of the mixers and the effect of the pumps that move material between the tank compartments. Using computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulations, Sulzer wastewater treatment specialists developed a customized sludge mixing approach that met the project’s requirements for performance and energy efficiency.

The Sulzer solution uses a combination of five top-entry SCABA agitators, ranging in size from 2.2 kW to 11 kW. Since the reactor tanks produce potentially explosive gases, each unit is built to Zone 1 ATEX specifications.
The floor-standing flow booster optimizes the sludge and air mixing process
The floor-standing flow booster optimizes the sludge and air mixing process

Nitrogen neutralizer

After digestion, the sludge is pumped to another tank for concentration and nitrogen removal using the NAS-ONE anaerobic ammonium oxidation (anammox) process. In this part of the system, air is blown through the sludge to remove excess nitrogen, and once again, the contractor responsible for the work called on Sulzer’s expertise. Compressed air for this process is generated by two highly efficient HST 2500 turbocompressors, and enters the bottom of the tank through 480  DDS PRK 300 disc diffusers, arranged in three banks. One of Sulzer’s floor-standing flow boosters, the XSB 2232 LX, further ensures efficient mixing of air and sludge in the NAS-ONE system.

Elsewhere on the site, two XFP submersible pumps were installed in a sewerage pumping station and two others are responsible for pumping effluent to a buffer tank, from where it is transferred to the heat pump by one of Sulzer’s SNS pumps.

Execution of the whole project required Sulzer’s teams to work closely with the different contractors responsible for the Ephyra and NAS-ONE systems, delivering and installing equipment in accordance with the tight build schedules. Controls for the plant are complex and highly integrated too, with all equipment on-site connected to a master SCADA system. In the case of the NAS-ONE in particular, the HST compressors require extremely precise control to ensure the correct volume of air is always sent to the system, a feature that is built in to these products.

Construction and commissioning of all the equipment was completed on schedule during 2020. The Energy Factory began full operation at the beginning of 2021 and has been performing efficiently since.
  • Scaba top mounted agitator
    Scaba top-mounted vertical agitators are used for mixing and agitating process liquids in many industries, including wastewater and industrial applications.

  • HST™ turbocompressor
    The modern and silent HST™ turbocompressor features an advanced design with proven magnetic bearing technology and a high-speed motor driven through a built-in frequency converter.

  • Disc diffuser system type ABS
    The reliable disk diffuser system is one of the world’s most widely-installed fine-bubble aeration systems, available in four alternative diffuser models.

  • Flow booster type ABS XSB
    The complete answer to low-speed, highly energy efficient submersible mixing in a wide range of applications in industry and municipal treatment plants.

  • Submersible sewage pump type ABS XFP
    Submersible sewage pumps type ABS XFP are the best choice for ensuring efficient and reliable pumping in any wastewater pumping station. The submersible wastewater pumps, mainly installed in network pumping stations, are equipped with Premium Efficiency IE3 motors as standard and with the ContraBlock family of impellers.

  • SNS end-suction single-stage process pump range
    The SNS end-suction pump has been designed to exceed the highest energy efficiency regulations across all industries and also the design requirements of ISO 5199 international standard. The innovative design makes this centrifugal pump more reliable while significantly reducing total cost of ownership.
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