The continuous removal of TOC and the degradation efficiency of carbamazepine and 17β-estradiol were investigated using actual secondary municipal-effluent RO-retentate solutions. A specific set of operating parameters were applied within the supercritical water oxidizing conditions: temperature range 420–480 °C, 25.1 MPa, hydraulic retention time (HRT) of 1–2 min, excess oxidant molar-ratio of 3–10 and presence of a homogenous catalyst (IPA) at 50–100 mg/L. > 99% organic carbon mineralization, along with complete degradation of model pollutants, was observed at 450 °C/1 min/OC= 5–10 and 100 mgIPA/L. The outlet estrone concentration, 1.03 ± 1.14 ng/L, representing estrogenic pollutants, dropped to the “no effect” range. A model for a SCWO plant treating secondary-municipal-effluent-RO-retentate for a city of 100,000 capita-equivalent was developed, based on a shell & tube SCWO flow reactor, showing > 75% energy-efficiency. The model yielded that for the extreme case of a zero caloric-value feed-solution, the total OPEX and CAPEX would be < $6.0 ± 2.5 per m3 of secondary effluents, i.e., two orders of magnitude lower than the reported environmental shadow-price associated with CECs (contaminants of emerging concern). Further work is required on the continuous and efficient separation of the salt-matrix, which can lead to higher overall heat transfer coefficients and enable further reduction in capital costs.
- Cost assessment
- Effluent RO retentates