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Sewage Treatment Plant Power Generation

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Biology
Wordcount: 1835 words Published: 4th Jun 2018

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Answer 1: Sewage treatment plants could be a power house of the future. Sewage contains a number of diverse chemical compounds which can be with the help of microbes converted to useful commodities. The proposed sewage plant is as under.


The waste water sludge of the plant is where a microbiologist is interested in to utilize the components of the sludge and modify them microbiologically. For the correct type of fermentation we first of all need the microbes which operate in the same environment and produce the desired products. For this the sampling of the microbes from the sludge is the first step. After sampling they will be isolated with the help of biochemical tests based on the characteristic property we want to utilize. Here in this case we can grow;  

  • Methanogens
  • Hydrogen gas producers
  • Organic compound synthesizers
  • Heavy metal detoxifiers
  • Safe effluent water
  • Sludge as manure

Microbial Pathways:



The microbes usually found for methane gas production are Methanosarcina, they have the enzyme machinery suitable for the methane gas production.

Hydrogen Gas Producers:


(Sikora, BÅ‚aszczyk et al. 2013)

The pathway responsible for the hydrogen gas production has been shown in red. Lactic acid bacteria have been found to produce hydrogen in the consortium.

Organic compounds synthesis:


(Peralta-Yahya, Zhang et al. 2012)

Biofuels such as butanol is one of the many organic compounds which can be synthesized using the sludge as the feed of the microbes (Revellame, Hernandez et al. 2012).

Heavy metal detoxifiers:


(Gregoire and Poulain 2014)

Microbes like this phototrophic organism exemplified here are a very valuable source for detoxification of water from heavy metals.

Analytical tests:

Analysis accompanying processes and analytical monitoring of quality parameter:

Industrial water treatment:

  • fresh water and industrial water treatment,
  • condensate and feed water treatment,
  • e.g. analytical monitoring of decarbonization, coagulation, reverse osmosis, desalination, ion exchanger;

Power generation plants and steam generators:

  • monitoring of water-steam circulations according to statutory regulations (VGB and VdTÜV),
  • ultrapure water analysis,
  • flue gas desulphurization, REA-plaster (according to VGB-M 701);

Cooling circuits:

  • cooling water treatment, cooling water conditioning,
  • microbiological testing in cooling circuits;

Waste water treatment:

  • waste water declaration analysis,
  • control of waste water discharges according to statutory regulations,
  • supervision of biological waste water treatment plants;

Drinking water analysis, hot water systems (chemically, physical-chemically, microbiologically):

  • drinking water treatment, distribution networks,
  • installation of in-house water systems,
  • water pipe releases;

Ground water analysis:

  • ground water purification plant,
  • ground water gauge networks,
  • landfill leachates;
  • Check of measuring devices by means of on-site laboratory testing and control testing with
  • portable testing facilities;
  • Development of customer-specific solutions and standards for measuring devices;

Waste and residue analysis:

  • declaration analysis relating to the landfill (LAGA-regulations, TA Abfall),
  • declaration analysis for the reassembly at the chemical site Leuna;

Composition of foulings in industrial plants.

(Lubello, Gori et al. 2004)

Parameter of water and waste water analysis


electrical conductivity temperature

redox potential

oxygen coloration

clouding hardness (total- carbonate- and noncarbonate hardness)

acid and base capacity

permanganate index ((MBAS)

particle size distribution

carbon compounds (TOC, DOC, TIC)

calcite saturation according to DEV C10-R3

nitrogen compounds (TNB

biochemical oxygen demand (5 days) chemical oxygen demand










settleable solids

filtrate dry residue

test filtratable solids

anionic surfactants

silicic acid

cyanide easily purgeable

iron (total, dissolved, Fe II)


total phosphor

free chlorine


phenol index

lipophilic substances

nitrification inhibition

depletion test

biodegradability (Zahn-Wellens-test)

suspended solids


Grégoire, D. S. and A. Poulain (2014). “A little bit of light goes a long way: the role of phototrophs on mercury cycling.” Metallomics 6(3): 396-407.

Lubello, C., et al. (2004). “Municipal-treated wastewater reuse for plant nurseries irrigation.” Water Research 38(12): 2939-2947.

Peralta-Yahya, P. P., et al. (2012). “Microbial engineering for the production of advanced biofuels.” Nature 488(7411): 320-328.

Revellame, E. D., et al. (2012). “Lipid storage compounds in raw activated sludge microorganisms for biofuels and oleochemicals production.” RSC Advances 2(5): 2015-2031.

Sikora, A., et al. (2013). “Lactic Acid Bacteria in Hydrogen-Producing Consortia: On Purpose or by Coincidence?”.

Describe the entire process for bioinformatics analysis?

Metagenomic analysis of the sludge needs to be done for isolating the useful bacteria and reusing them for the treatment plant. Moreover when this treated water is subjected to reuse then it is necessary to confirm that the disease causing resistant microbes are not present in the water.

First of all the sampling of the sewage needs to be done for micro floral determination. On the basis of biochemical tests the microbes are isolated. For methanogens for example test kits are available article number 01110015 of Vermicon VIT® Methanogenic bacteria; can be used. For hydrogen gas determination fermentation in an airtight container and sampling the overhead air for hydrogen presence is done(Oh, Park et al. 2003). Same goes for the organic synthesis and the enzyme production(Ausec, Zakrzewski et al. 2011).

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Phylogenetic analysis of the bacteria e.g. methanogens (Anderson, Ulrich et al. 2009)and others will be done. Their evolutionary characteristics and the genes involved in the biochemical pathway would be studied. For this 16s RNA sequencing will be done and phylogenetic trees will be constructed. This gives us the insight of the microbial pathways and helps us in improving the strains during strain construction and increasing the efficiency of the industrial processes.

After genetics next step is the proteome analysis of the microbes, this is done in metaproteomics, this provides us the functional gene expression information (Schneider and Riedel 2010). As we are using these microbes for useful purposes and commodity generation, therefore we need to have a better understanding whether the genes present in the microbe are functional or not because we have to manipulate them later on. For this purpose 2D gels would be run and the proteins separated can be analyzed by first identifying the sequences, then comparing them with databases. On obtaining the protein information we can easily identify the functional genes of the microbial genome (Wilmes, Wexler et al. 2008).

The useful proteins are the enzymes of the biochemical pathways who are the key players in the product generation. Till here the useful or the productive part of the project has been discussed now the effluent safety needs to be ensured as microbes resistant to the conventional disinfectants need to be identified. (Chao, Ma et al. 2013). For this the resistant genes analysis through metagenome study would be done.


Anderson, I., et al. (2009). “Genomic characterization of methanomicrobiales reveals three classes of methanogens.” PloS one 4(6): e5797.

Ausec, L., et al. (2011). “Bioinformatic analysis reveals high diversity of bacterial genes for laccase-like enzymes.” PloS one 6(10): e25724.

Chao, Y., et al. (2013). “Metagenomic analysis reveals significant changes of microbial compositions and protective functions during drinking water treatment.” Scientific reports 3.

Oh, Y.-K., et al. (2003). “Isolation of Hydrogen-producing Bacteria from Granular Sludge of an Upflow Anaerobic Sludge Blanket Reactor.” Biotechnology and Bioprocess Engineering 8(1): 54-57.

Schneider, T. and K. Riedel (2010). “Environmental proteomics: analysis of structure and function of microbial communities.” Proteomics 10(4): 785-798.

Wilmes, P., et al. (2008). “Metaproteomics provides functional insight into activated sludge wastewater treatment.” PloS one 3(3): e1778.


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