Fluence's first SUBRE unit (left), manufactured in December 2016, and the design of SUBRE units installed in an existing aeration basin (right).
Fluence's first SUBRE unit (left), manufactured in December 2016, and the design of SUBRE units installed in an existing aeration basin (right).

Water and wastewater treatment solutions provider Fluence has been awarded its first SUBRE MABR contract to upgrade a centralized wastewater treatment plant for an Israeli customer.

SUBRE is the company's 'next generation' membrane aerated biofilm reactor (MABR) technology and is designed for larger, centralized treatment plants.

Water utility Mayanot Ha-Amakim (MAH) has selected Fluence to upgrade its Mayan Zvi (MZ) plant, built in 2007. The facility has two treatment lines designed to treat a daily volume of 6000 m3. The SUBRE upgrade will aim to boost treatment capacity by 15-20% to a daily volume of 6,900-7,200 m3.

The project, with an estimated total value of US$450,000, is also expected to reduce the treatment cost per unit volume and improve the plant’s effluent quality to comply with local reuse requirements.

Large potential market

Fluence reports that SUBRE enables compliance with tighter nitrogen discharge rules without using hazardous chemicals, while also increasing plant capacity.

The company estimates that several thousand plants globally require upgrades. Full upgrades can cost an average of US$4-5 million per plant.

According to Henry Charrabé, Fluence's Managing Director and CEO, Europe could potentially present an almost $2 billion opportunity for SUBRE, with the USA and China offering even larger market potential, as regulations regarding total nitrogen content in treated effluent become stricter. He says Fluence is already discussing SUBRE applications in China.

The technology is expected to be commercially available by the second quarter of 2018.