Researchers from the Radiation Chemistry Department of the Energy and Environmental Safety Institute at the ELKH Centre for Energy Research (EK-CER), in collaboration with their Chinese partner, have developed a highly efficient technology for wastewater treatment using an electron accelerator. The new process involves irradiating the effluent from sewage treatment plants with a low dose of accelerated electrons, which effectively breaks down drug residues, inactivates bacteria and genes, and reduces the toxicity of the wastewater. The three-year project was supported by the National Research, Development and Innovation Fund and the Chinese-Hungarian TET Grant Program.
Traditional methods such as biological wastewater treatment have proven to have low efficiency in removing antibiotics and bacteria from wastewater, which flows from households and hospitals to sewage treatment plants. Consequently, the effluent of the sewage treatment plant contains antibiotics and antibiotic-resistant bacteria, contributing to the spread of antibiotic resistance. The technology developed during the project provides a solution to this problem, as it can effectively break down drug residues, inactivate bacteria and genes, and reduce the toxicity of the wastewater by irradiating the effluent of the sewage treatment plant with a small dose of accelerated electrons.
The experts of EK-CER also provide assistance to users during the practical application of the technology. They support the adjustment of the appropriate treatment parameters based on experience gained in their laboratory and semi-industrial experiments, as well as the experience of their Chinese partner in successful industrial implementation.
The project titled ’Development of technology for removing antibiotics and inactivating antibiotic resistance genes from treated wastewater using ionizing radiation’ (2017-2.3.6-TÉT-CN-2018-00003) was implemented between June 1, 2019, and October 31, 2022 with the support of the National Research, Development and Innovation Fund and the Chinese-Hungarian TET Grant Program.