Anaerobic system to pretreat pharmaceutical wastewater, generate energy

Sept. 27, 2010
RATINGEN/PENZBERG, Germany, Sept. 27, 2010 -- Pharmaceutical company Roche Diagnostics will implement new anaerobic plant for the biological pre-treatment of a partial wastewater flow at its Penzberg site in Upper Bavaria...

• Sets standards in environmentally sound wastewater treatment at Penzberg biotechnology site

A 480 m³ Biobed® EGSB reactor (Expanded Granular Sludge Bed) will be used for the biological treatment.RATINGEN/PENZBERG, Germany, Sept. 27, 2010 -- The pharmaceutical company Roche Diagnostics has decided to build a new anaerobic plant for the biological pre-treatment of a partial wastewater flow at the Penzberg site in Upper Bavaria. The plant, which produces energy-rich biogas, will supplement an existing membrane bioreactor system. The new anaerobic plant will be built by Aquantis, a subsidiary of Veolia Water Solutions & Technologies.

The new system is to pre-treat partial wastewater flows especially rich in carbon as well as biologically degradable liquid waste from the bio-technological production. A 480 m³ Biobed® EGSB reactor (Expanded Granular Sludge Bed) will be used for the biological treatment. In the course of this process energy-rich biogas is produced, collected and processed. The gas will be used in a combined heat and power plant in the Penzberg site boiler house to generate both forms of energy. The amount of electricity thus gained will cover more than 90 per cent of the energy requirements of the wastewater treatment plant, and the thermal energy will be used to pre-heat the boiler feedwater of the power station. Further savings will be achieved by eliminating the upstream aerobic high-load step. The carbon dioxide emission will be reduced by about 950 metric tons per year, so that Roche Penzberg will achieve a sustainable reduction of its carbon footprint. Assembly of the anaerobic plant is planned for end of March 2011 and start-up for November 2011. The project was planned by consulting engineers Dr, Resch, Weissenburg.

More than 500 Biobed® reference plants have been installed worldwide, of which the Aquantis team has built 60 plants. The key factor for Roche's decision in favour of a Biobed® system was the proven process technology. Roche compared operating experiences of various reference plants by selected suppliers. This evaluation was favourable for the Biobed® system so that Roche decided to award the contract to Aquantis.

The Roche Penzberg plant with a size of approx. 350,000 m² is one of the largest biotech centres in Europe and one of the leading biotechnology research, development and production centres of the Roche Group worldwide. In addition, the site is an important international centre for the Group for development and production in healthcare diagnostics. The focus is on diagnostic verification procedures, for example for infectious diseases such as hepatitis, or diagnostic purposes. With more than 30 years of experience in biotechnological production, the Penzberg site with approx. 4,600 employees is a pioneer in the industrial application of biotechnology.

Aquantis GmbH, based in Ratingen (near Düsseldorf), is a subsidiary of Veolia Water Solutions & Technologies. Within the group, Aquantis is the global Membrane Business Centre for wastewater applications. Aquantis is also generally responsible for industrial wastewater applications, using all VWS technologies. Veolia Water Solutions & Technologies (VWS) is one of the leading plant builders and providers of technical solutions for water treatment. With about 9,500 employees in 57 countries, VWS achieved sales of €2.5 billion in 2009. VWS is a subsidiary of Veolia Water, the water division of Veolia Environnement, and world market leader in the water supply and wastewater disposal sector. Web:;


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