WWTPs are designed to eliminate organic materials and in certain cases nitrogen and phosphorus. However, emerging and priority pollutants in WWTPs, regulated by the Water Framework Directive 2000/60/CE (WFD) and later modifications and present in trace concentrations in the wastewater, are generally insufficiently removed and therefore accumulate in water bodies.  

The CALAGUA Mixed UV-UPV Unitgroup is working on membrane applications with the aim of transforming waste water into a provider of resources such as energy, nutrients and reusable water.

CALAGUA group is studying an alternative to the conventional treatment for nutrient removal based on cultivating microalgae in photobioreactors and separating them from the effluent by membranes (membrane photobioreactors or MPBR). Membranes can be used to obtain good quality reusable water.

Anaerobic processes are considered some of the most sustainable alternatives for treating wastewater, due to their lower financial and energy costs and smaller impact on the environment than conventional aerobic methods.

The CALAGUA group develops control systems and algorithms for the most important processes in wastewater treatment. The algorithm designs are based on numerical simulations and subsequent validation in pilot plants. Most of the controllers developed to date have also been validated in full scale WWTPs.

The CALAGUA group studies both biological nutrient removal (nitrogen and phosphorus) from wastewater and their recovery in the form of commercially saleable products

The CALAGUA group is developing mathematical models that are able to reproduce the different types of process included in its research trajectory.

Besides the biological processes, the CALAGUA group also studies the microbiology of wastewater treatment systems by applying basic techniques such as phase contrast observation and differential stains, as well as molecular techniques like FISH (fluorescence in situ hibridization) or qPCR (quantitative polymerase chain reaction).

The CALAGUA group works on characterising wastewaters from different origins as well as different WWTP flows (affluent, effluent, sludge, recirculations, etc.)