The Power & Water Soneco® process is a unique, patented, electrocoagulation system for the removal of Phosphorus from wastewater discharges. The technology represents an affordable, simple, robust, sustainable and safe alternative to the use of liquid chemicals.

The Water Industry is facing a series of major challenges at present. This includes the removal of Phosphorus from the discharges of hundreds of rural Wastewater Treatment Works (WwTW) under the Water Industry National Environment Programmes (WINEP). As a result, the need for phosphorus removal is becoming fundamental for wastewater treatment. This is driven by a decline in aquatic life, including harmful algal blooms. As part of the UK trying to significantly improve its water quality, it is projected that spending on P-removal will increase by a factor of 5 in both Amp 8 and 9, compared to Amp 7. The UK is trying to significantly improve its water quality, however it is anticipated that the demand for liquid ferric salts will surpass the available supply, requiring the use of alternative solutions.

At Power & Water, we have taken a proactive approach to resolve this issue with our Soneco® technology, which has already positioned us as a prominent player in the aquaculture industry. At its core, the foundation of our technology relies on the well-established process of electrocoagulation. However, the major barrier to its use in water treatment was electricity consumption, largely due to a phenomenon known as ‘passivation’. When passing an electrical current across the electrodes, the sacrificial anode dissolves into solution generating the coagulant in-situ which then behaves the same way as liquid ferric. However, a ‘crust’ builds up on this anode and this ‘passivation’ increases the electrical resistance, meaning the required dose rate can only be maintained by increasing the electrical voltage. Power & Water have solved this through a unique and patented innovation; the use of ultrasound, which prevents the formation of this ‘crust’ on the iron plates and keeps the electrical consumption low.

With the Soneco®, Power & Water are currently in the process of fulfilling orders for multiple UK Water Companies and in discussion with several others. The most recent trial to demonstrate the technology was at the Scottish Water Horizon facility at Bo’ness WwTW. These trials clearly illustrated the ability of Soneco® to deliver P concentrations < 1.0 mg/l treating screened crude, primary tank effluent and final effluent; the energy cost per m3 treated was also low.

A key part of the interest in this technology is the significant reduction in both embodied (82%) and operational carbon (51%) when compared with liquid ferric dosing. These figures are expected to further reduce as a result of the Water UK Net Zero 2030 routemap to decarbonising water treatment.

This is partly due to the fact that use of Soneco® does not require a potable water supply or safety shower, does not need a storage tank nor containment nor pH correction; unlike liquid ferric dosing, electrocoagulation does not consume alkalinity and therefore does not require any pH correction. Moreover, our DBi reactors offer the advantage of effortless dose adjustments, eliminating the need to deal with the monthly resourcing and potential depletion of liquid chemicals for optimum water treatment. By utilizing our plates, water companies avoid the risks associated with transportation, cost, and availability of ferric chloride, ensuring a reliable and continuous stream of phosphorus removal for efficient water treatment. Another important additional consideration is that the concentration of subsidiary (and potentially harmful) chemicals e.g. Zinc, Arsenic, is significantly reduced when electrocoagulation is utilised.

Power & Water offer unparalleled expertise and experience in supplying this modular, liquid chemical free solution to P-removal. Soneco® process is specifically designed to provide an affordable, robust and sustainable solution for rural WwTW. This is a viable solution for easily upgrading your wastewater treatment works to deliver phosphorus removal, thus revitalising our water bodies and safeguarding aquatic ecosystems at a competitively low cost.