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A project focusing on sustainable wastewater treatment in Jordan is implemented by a network of German and Jordan universities and state entities.

© pixabay

The treatment of wastewater is highly energy intensive. In a world challenged by climate change, high energy prices and the increasing scarcity of water, conventional processes that rely on aerobic oxidation are no longer sustainable: it’s time for a rethink.

This is the driver behind the international ANAJO project which aims to pilot the anaerobic pre-treatment of wastewater in the dry Middle East/North Africa (MENA) region. The project is coordinated by the Technical University Berlin and funded by the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection (BMVU) as part of the Environmental Protection Export Initiative funding programme.

Jordan was chosen as the pilot location because the demand for water and wastewater in the region accounts for 16 percent of the country’s total industrial energy demand. And over a third of its plants use the “activated sludge process” which is high on energy consumption. The existing plant will have an anaerobic unit (i.e. oxygen-free degradation) added at pre-treatment. The energy needs for this stage would be effectively halved – amounting to energy savings of c. 1.5 to 2.0 million kw/h annually.

Furthermore, the biogas produced from anaerobic digestion (AD) can be refined into a high performing, low-carbon energy source. And the amount of toxic sludge that has to be disposed of is reduced, thereby lowering operating costs.

The project brings IMM together the engineering companies p2m berlin and TIA Technologien zur Industrie-Abwasser-Behandlung. On the Jordanian side, the Ministry of Water and Irrigation of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan is involved, as well as the Jordanian Water Authority, the University of Jordan in Amman and the Balqa' Applied University in As-Salt.