Trial Reservoir Supports Vortex Aeration for MBRs

Cutting Costs and Carbon: Trial Reservoir Supports Vortex Aeration for MBRs

Vortex Powered Aeration™ for MBRs boosts energy efficiency and lowers costs in beverage production.

Beverage production creates wastewater that must be treated before it can safely return to the environment. The use of membrane bioreactor (MBR) installations is growing globally as a solution to wastewater treatment. MBRs are effective at producing clean water, require minimal space and generate a low amount of waste. However, this comes at a cost: MBR installations require regular cleaning and maintenance to function effectively. They are high-energy consumers, adding to a site’s carbon and operational costs.

VorTech Water Solutions has developed a better solution called Vortex Powered Aeration™ (VPA™). VPA™ simplifies the process using energy-efficient, low-maintenance aeration. Unlike traditional MBRs, VPA technology is pump driven and is less prone to breakdown and failure, requiring less maintenance. The technology is also more energy efficient compared to legacy technologies. VorTech deployed their innovative VPA™ technology at a beverage processing facility through a commercial project where support was received from the Trial Reservoir initiative.

Two VPA units were installed, one in each MBR. The aim was to solve problems with membrane fouling, poor oxygen transfer and low energy efficiency, along with frequent diffuser failure necessitating reactor drain down and component replacement. Performance data was monitored over the course of a year, and measurable improvements were found. Key improvements from using VPA™ technology include a 30% reduction in specific energy consumption and a 90% reduction in maintenance time and cost. The VPA upgrade is estimated to deliver a total annual operation saving of 39% over 20 years.

Benefits of Innovation

Highly effective: Improved Dissolved Oxygen control and transfer efficiency with effective treatment performance compared to conventional MBRs.

Safe and efficient retrofit: VPA™ can be retrofitted to live infrastructure without removing equipment/disrupting reactor performance.

Reduced maintenance costs: VPA™ requires only a pump and the design allows for easy access, reducing maintenance time and cost by 90% and improving operator safety.

Innovative Technology Deployment Support: Trial Reservoir partnered with Xylem Innovation Labs to support the project and provide an opportunity for VorTech to perform additional monitoring of the system before and after installation for reference site reporting and validation purposes.

Specialist Services Involved:

Trial Design support: We evaluate technology trial plans based on users’ innovation frames.  The Trial Reservoirs specifically address key questions that the trial must answer.

Trial validation: We receive and assess the trial end report from the technology vendor.

Due Diligence: Isle has a robust process for helping stakeholders adopt innovative technologies and ensuring they are fit for purpose.

Loan funding: Isle facilitates negotiation with technology developers and end users to agree upon the trials’ critical success factors and key performance indicators (KPIs). Loans are then released to the technology developers.

Zero Risk Trial: Should a trial not meet its KPIs, there is no obligation for the tech company to pay back the loan. Similarly, there is no obligation for the end user to make a purchase order; the Trial Reservoir assumes the risk.

Investor Introductions: Isle uses its extensive worldwide network to provide introductions to potential investors.


Trial achieved aims: Although the project and equipment was commercially paid for by the client initially, the reference site evaluation supported by Trial Reservoir met all the KPIs outlined by the project team.

Reduced specific energy consumption: VPA reduced the site’s specific energy consumption by 30%. This equates to an annual energy saving of more than 38,000 kWh.

Reduced GHG emissions: Energy savings result in an annual carbon equivalent saving of more than 13,000 kgCO₂e.

Reduced operating costs: VPA will deliver a total annual operation saving of 39% over 20 years.

Key Contacts:

For inquiries and further information, please contact Dr. Jo Burgess, Head of Trial Reservoir at Isle.


Service Spotlight
Trial Reservoir supported VorTech to supply a beverage manufacturer with cutting edge vortex aeration technology for MBRs to cut energy consumption and reduce operating costs.
Trial supported cutting edge green tech
Revolutionized effluent treatment
Reduced maintenance and energy costs
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