A decision support system is developed to treat wastewater with membrane bioreactors

The growing importance of reusing of urban wastewater has positioned membrane bioreactors as an expanding technology. In his doctoral thesis, Hèctor Monclús, a researcher from the LEQUIA group of the UdG, has developed a system to facilitate the management of this resource.The treatment of wastewater has generated, in recent years, great interest. Membrane bioreactors (MBR) are an expanding technology that reuses this resource with lower and lower installation and operating costs. The high quality of the water obtained through this technology makes it a more attractive option than conventional wastewater treatment systems.

MBRs are a clear alternative. The main feature of this technology is an ultrafiltration process used to obtain water treated after a biological process, such as the use of active sludge in conventional water treatment plants. However, MBRs also have certain limitations that slow down their expansion, in large urban metropolises and in small towns. For optimal operation the process requires much knowledge and prior training.

Facilitating management
To overcome these inconveniences, a researcher from the Laboratory of Chemical and Environmental Engineering (LEQUIA) of the University of Girona has developed a decision support system for the integrated control of MBRs.

In his doctoral thesis, Hèctor Monclús has conducted various partial studies to develop a decision support system (DSS). DSSs are knowledge-based computational systems that improve the consistency and the quality of decisions and reduce the decision-making time when there are multiple process variables.

Specifically, the research of Monclús has focused on aspects related to the elimination of nutrients – mainly nitrogen and phosphorous – and on the development of indicators or sensors capable of facilitating, automating and controlling the filtration process in an integrated way with the biological processes taking place.

In his thesis, titled “Development of a Decision Support System for the integrated control of membrane bioreactors”, he has also worked on the design, development, implementation and validation of knowledge-based tools that facilitate the automatic control and supervision of membrane bioreactors.

The researcher
Hèctor Monclús Sales (Barcelona, 1979) graduated from the University of Girona in 2006 with a degree in chemistry and completed a master’s degree in water science and technology at the same university in February of 2008. During his doctoral studies he has published articles in international journals and has presented several papers at international and national conferences under the supervision of Dr Ignasi Rodríguez-Roda and Dr Joaquim Comas. He has also completed research stays at the University of Cranfield (United Kingdom) under the supervision of Dr Simon Judd.

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