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This SERDP and ESTCP webinar focuses on DoD-funded research to improve wastewater treatment and reuse at DoD facilities. Specifically, investigators will discuss the assessment of a baffled bioreactor-based greywater reuse system and the development of a self-sustainable and scalable organic wastes and wastewater treatment system that also produces freshwater and energy.



“Low Energy Baffled Bioreactor -based Water Re-use System for Energy and Water Security” by Dr. Chris Griggs (ESTCP Project ER20-5290)

Water is a critical resource for sustainability and global security. Because conservation measures alone do not sufficiently mitigate water shortages, reusing water to offset consumption must be part of the equation. The overall goals of this project are to evaluate the use of a baffled bioreactor (BBR)-based greywater reuse system and to assess the long-term system performance with respect to operations and management and energy demand. The BBR-based system can harvest 8,000 gallons of freshwater from greywater per day, at a power rating of 1-2 kilowatts per cubic meter (kW/m3), with maintenance time of less than 2 hours per week, and a recovery efficiency of 95%. The team will perform a field-scale pilot demonstration using “real” greywater from training areas. The BBR-based system will be evaluated for the following objectives: low energy demand compatible with solar energy (1-2 kW/m3), minimal operator requirements and maintenance, blackwater treatment/recovery capability, and wastewater properties needed to maintain effective treatment rates of at least 95% freshwater recovery (i.e., wastewater strength, biological oxygen demand (BOD), total nitrogen, and greywater chemistry. Dr. Griggs will present water quality objectives for high tier water re-use in order to reduce water demand, navigate regulatory drivers and deal with increasing concerns with emerging contaminants and micro-pollutants.

System Integration and Multi-objective Optimization Toward Sustainable Solutions for Small-scale Wastewater Treatmentby Dr. Wei Liao (ESTCP Project ER20-5228)

This presentation will cover the creation of a novel, self-sustainable, and scalable organic waste and wastewater treatment system. The treatment system integrates solar, biological, electrochemical, and membrane technologies. The goals for the system are to not only reduce the mass of organic wastes and reclaim the wastewater but also to generate renewable energy. A multiple-objective optimization tool was used to connect individual unit operations into an integrated system that is suitable for different operational conditions.  The demonstration treatment system has been designed and is under construction. Together with a multiple-objective optimization tool, it will be used to provide waste and wastewater treatment solutions for small-scale wastewater management operations.  


Speaker Biographies 
Dr. Chris Griggs

Dr. Chris Griggs is a senior research physical scientist at the U.S. Army Engineer Research Development Center (ERDC) in Vicksburg, Mississippi. Dr. Griggs is the principal investigator of the Sustainable Water Infrastructure and Materials Research (SWIMR) team which focuses on the development of new chemistries, processes, and materials to treat water. Before joining ERDC, he worked in the private sector with engineering and wastewater firms. He is an expert in the development of composites from renewable polymers such as chitin and chitosan coupled with advanced carbons such as graphene for novel separations and transformations. Dr. Griggs earned his bachelor’s degree in environmental science from the University of West Alabama. He received his master’s degree in chemistry from Mississippi College and doctoral degree in analytical chemistry from the University of Alabama.


Dr. Wei Liao

Dr. Wei Liao is a professor and the director of the Anaerobic Digestion Research and Education Center in the Department of Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering at Michigan State University. Dr. Liao’s research and teaching focuses on renewable energy and environmental sustainability. He leads an active research program to develop integrated systems to recycle organic wastes to produce energy and chemicals. His group’s current research areas are integrated farm-based biorefining, solar-bio-based solutions to convert organic wastes/wastewater into energy and clean water, and one-carbon platform of food/fuel/chemical production. Dr. Liao is a member of the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineering (ASABE), American Institute of Chemical Engineering, Algal Biomass Organization, and Coalition for Renewable Natural Gas. He currently serves as an associate editor for the Journal of Biotechnology for Biofuels and Bioproducts, and is on the editorial boards of Journal of Biomass and Bioenergy and Journal of Industrial Biotechnology. Dr. Liao is the chair of the Global Engagement Committee at ASABE and is currently organizing the ASABE global engagement conference “Sustainable Energy for Sustainable Future” that will be held in Costa Rica in 2022. He earned his bachelor’s degree in fermentation engineering and technology and a master’s degree in biotechnology from the Wuxi University of Light Industry in China. He completed his doctoral degree in biological systems engineering at Washington State University.