Visit to AQUA-K – A new startup company dealing with wastewater treatment

The teaching curriculum in the department has a strong emphasis on industrial waste management and sustainable processing. To this end we constantly seek out industries who would like to collaborate with us to not only provide opportunities for learning for our students, but also to co-develop research and design projects.

Many of our staff members are thus reaching out to industry folk, and on 14 December 2022, Professor Ashvin Thambyah and A/Prof Saeid Baroutian went onsite at Paerata, South Auckland, to visit Chetan Thapar, Bruce Flowerday, and Peter McLeod of AQUA-K.

Discussions were held around the technology used in their water treatment system, and especially the use of Poly-Vinyl Alcohol (PVA) gel beads. These tiny PVA gel beads are mixed with the wastewater and help with reducing excess sludge formation. Each bead can immobilise up to 1 billion bacteria (nitrifiers). The immobilisation of these nitrifiers help to improve the efficiency of the microbial effect and maximises their ability to oxidise ammonia.  

The above schematic demonstrates the entire process, including how nitrates from oxidation are converted to nitrogen gas and water is clarified using membranes and finally UV treated to produce safe and pristine water as the end-product.

The meeting with AQUA-K will lead to new collaborations with the department. If you have similar opportunities for us to engage with, please do not hesitate to get in touch with the department. The department is constantly seeking out partners and collaborators for its sustainable resource recovery teaching and research program.


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