Demonstration of the feasibility of vibrant reverse osmosis for the treatment of pig slurry

Project funded by the Government of Catalonia under the Rural Development Plan 2014-2020

Reverse osmosis membrane technology could be an eficient alternative to treat the liquid fraction of slurry
  • Total project budget: 29.983,75 €

  • Start Date: 16/10/2018

    End Date: 30/09/2020

Project Summary: 

Throughout the value chain of the livestock sector, a wide range of liquid waste is generated that is difficult to manage both (i) because of its composition (high organic load, concentration of salts and nutrients, etc.) and (ii) because of its volume (large volumes at low concentrations). Among the most important effluents are livestock waste (slurry) generated on farms, which is characterized by its high water content (85-95%) and nutrient content (mainly phosphorus and nitrogen). Although their application to the soil turns them into good fertilizers, we are faced with a scenario where livestock waste has increased significantly while the surface area of application of these has decreased, leading to an imbalance between generation and application and generating problems associated with contamination of groundwater by nitrates. In addition, the high water content of livestock waste makes it difficult to transport it due to the high costs associated with it. This shows the great need to look for efficient technologies capable of making the treatment of pig slurry economically viable and the possibility of exporting the surpluses generated to areas with a deficit of nutrients or with a risk of desertification. Conventional membrane processes used for slurry treatment are limited mainly by fouling problems due to the high content of suspended matter present in the effluents to be treated. This fouling causes the loss of efficiency of the system, as well as the requirement of frequent cleaning. The new technology based on vibrating reverse osmosis (VSEP) is characterized by being a reverse osmosis membrane system highly resistant to fouling, thanks to a unique vibrating process in the market that makes the technology not require physical or chemical pre-treatment prior to the membrane stage, offering efficient and accurate separation in a single treatment step.  


Our role in the project: 

BETA Technological Centre has demonstrated the viability of vibrant reverse osmosis membrane technology for the treatment of the liquid fraction of slurry as well as digestate to reduce management costs. Therefore, BETA Technological Centre has carried out the operation of the pilot plant as well as the monitoring of parameters and sample analysis. In addition, BETA Technological Centre has validated the use of the final products obtained by the VSEP technology through agronomic studies.