Joaquim Comas

Joaquim Comas
ICRA Catalan Institute for Water Research | ICRA · Technologies and Evaluation Area

PhD

About

263
Publications
39,631
Reads
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4,839
Citations
Additional affiliations
January 2009 - present
Universiteit Gent
January 2000 - present
Universitat de Girona
January 2000 - present
Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya

Publications

Publications (263)
Article
Full-text available
There is a need for water reuse technologies and applications to minimize the imminent water crisis, caused by the world population growth, the reduction of freshwater resources and the increasing water pollution. Fertilizer-drawn forward osmosis (FDFO) is a promising process capable of simultaneously extracting fresh water from low-quality sources...
Article
Decentralized water reuse in cities is a prominent alternative to mainstream top-down models for urban water treatment, which are based on centralized, linear dynamics of resource management. In this sense, Nature-based Solutions (“green” technologies) coupled with advanced technologies (“grey” technologies) constitute a promising approach for fome...
Article
Full-text available
A main reverse osmosis (RO) limitation is the operational costs (including energy filtration costs), which are significantly affected by energy costs and the expense of membrane maintenance. Both costs are affected by influent characteristics, including feedwater temperatures (T), electrical conductivity (EC), and recovery set points. A fuzzy logic...
Article
Full-text available
Nature-Based Solutions (NBS) have been proven to effectively mitigate and solve resource depletion and climate-related challenges in urban areas. The COST (Cooperation in Science and Technology) Action CA17133 entitled “Implementing nature-based solutions (NBS) for building a resourceful circular city” has established seven urban circularity challe...
Article
To counteract increasing water scarcity in the Mediterranean region, this study provides data on the efficiency of a decentralized, nature-based solution for hotel greywater (GW) treatment and reuse. A pilot plant of a constructed wetland called Vertical Ecosystem (vertECO), installed in a large hotel with GW separation, was operated continuously f...
Article
Full-text available
In the last five years, European research and innovation programmes have prioritised the development of online catalogues and tools (handbooks, models, etc.) to facilitate the implementation and monitoring of Nature-Based Solutions (NBS). However, only a few catalogues and toolkits within European programmes are directly related to mainstreaming of...
Preprint
Full-text available
In the last five years, European research and innovation programmes have prioritised the development of online catalogues and tools (handbooks, models, etc.) to facilitate the implementation and monitoring of Nature Based Solutions (NBS). However, only a few catalogues and toolkits within European programmes are directly related to mainstreaming of...
Article
Full-text available
The commitment or academic implication (engagement) of universitystudents has become a fundamental element for their welfare and academicperformance and, furthermore, it is also related to their professional futureand social commitment. For this reason, the definition of the concept and theprovision of assessment strategies and tools are essential...
Preprint
Full-text available
The concept of Nature-Based Solutions (NBS) has emerged to foster sustainable development by transversally addressing social, economic, and environmental urban challenges. However, there is still a considerable lack of agreement on the conceptualization of NBS, especially concerning typologies, nomenclature, and performance assessments in terms of...
Article
The concept of Nature-Based Solutions (NBS) has emerged to foster sustainable development by transversally addressing social, economic, and environmental urban challenges. However, there is still a considerable lack of agreement on the conceptualization of NBS, especially concerning typologies, nomenclature, and performance assessments in terms of...
Article
Integrated Membrane Bioreactor (MBR) models, combination of biological and physical models, have been representing powerful tools for the accomplishment of high environmental sustainability. This paper, produced by the International Water Association (IWA) Task Group on Membrane Modelling and Control, reviews the state-of-the-art, identifying gaps...
Article
Ultra-low pressure gravity-driven membrane (GDM) systems have the potential to be significantly less costly and complex than conventional membranes for water treatment applications. To build upon this inherent advantage, this study assesses the reuse of recycled membranes in GDM systems for producing drinking water. Two reverse osmosis spiral-wound...
Article
The source control of pharmaceuticals involves influencing the everyday consumption volume and compound choice. This paper evaluates how source control contributes to protecting the environmental health and decreasing the investment needs in urban wastewater infrastructure. Different levels of reduction in diclofenac consumption (as recommended by...
Article
Membrane bioreactor models are useful tools for both design and management. The system complexity is high due to the involved number of processes which can be clustered in biological and physical ones. Literature studies are present and need to be harmonized in order to gain insights from the different studies and allow a system optimization by app...
Article
Full-text available
Forward osmosis is envisioned as a technology for microalgae concentration but fouling propensity during dewatering is currently a limiting factor that requires better understanding. The purpose of this study is to define the impact of microalgae culturing conditions on the downstream forward osmosis (FO) separation process—water recovery and micro...
Article
Sewage biogas valorization to different energy applications is hampered by the presence of volatile methyl siloxanes. Despite the high operating costs, adsorption onto activated carbon is the most implemented technology for siloxane removal from biogas. In order to purify biogas sustainably, the current work explores the diffusion of siloxanes (oct...
Article
The inclusion of construction inventories in Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) studies of wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) involves the quantification of materials and energy required during the construction phase. Even though the most accurate option is to obtain such inventories from project drawings/budget, this is a tedious task and often a limite...
Article
Ultraviolet radiation (UV)-activated peroxydisulfate (PDS) and peroxymonosulfate (PMS) advanced oxidation processes were examined for their capacity to remove nine pharmaceutically active compounds (PhACs) from secondary effluent. The effect of operational parameters (initial oxidant concentration, UV exposure time, pH, common coexisting anions and...
Article
This paper presents a methodology for assessing the selection of stormwater control measures (SCM) within an urban drainage system that combines hydrological-hydraulic modelling and multi-criteria analysis (MCA). The methodology's utility is illustrated on urban catchment in the city of Girona, Spain. The SWMM model was applied and calibrated to si...
Article
Forward osmosis (FO) was studied as a concentration step for volatile fatty acids (VFA, especially acetic acid) to optimise downstream microbial desalination cell (MDC). First, it was demonstrated that water concentration factor (WCF) of wastewater (WW) above 10 (15–30) is achievable with seawater or brine as draw solution and similar flow for feed...
Chapter
This paper evaluates the use of Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems (SUDS) measures with hydrological-hydraulic modelling and multi-criteria analysis on a case study of Girona, Spain. To assess their effectiveness for rainwater runoff reduction and consequently the reduction of combined sewer overflow (CSO) the software Giswater was employed for dev...
Article
Full-text available
Abstract A growing emphasis on water recycling resulted in intense research activity, aiming to develop and validate reliable and high-quality water treatment processes at lowest cost. In parallel, significant advances in the field of osmotically driven processes have been obtained in the past decade. While the combination of membrane bioreactor (M...
Article
Full-text available
Submerged forward osmosis (FO) is of high interest for bioreactors, such as osmotic membrane bioreactor, microalgae photobioreactor, food or bioproduct concentration where pumping through pressurized modules is a limitation due to viscosity or breakage of fragile components. However, so far, most FO efforts have been put towards cross flow configur...
Article
Investments for upgrading wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) with tertiary treatment to reduce microcontaminant loads in surface waters at a catchment scale can be daunting. These investments are highly sensitive to the selection of environmental quality standards (EQSs) for the target microcontaminants. Our hypothesis is that there is a balance b...
Article
Forward osmosis (FO) technology that has been applied to a membrane bioreactor (MBR) is referred to as osmotic MBR (OMBR). The new concept developed in this study aims at retrofitting (partly or fully) existing MBR into OMBR, thus limiting the investment costs, allowing for more flexible and combined operation of MBR and OMBR and to fulfil water qu...
Article
WWTP effluents have been identified as main point sources for Pharmaceutical Active Compounds (PhACs) entering into water bodies. For the first time, the suitability of a biological activated carbon (BAC) filter coupled with an ultrafiltration (UF) unit to be applied as stand-alone advanced tertiary treatment was evaluated at industrial scale, in a...
Article
The removal of pharmaceuticals (PhACs) present in urban wastewater by membrane bioreactors (MBRs) followed by reverse osmosis (RO) or nanofiltration (NF) membranes has been frequently addressed in the literature. However, data regarding the removal of their main human metabolites and transformation products (TPs) is still scarce. In this study, the...
Article
Models of microcontaminant fate and transport in wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) and rivers have been developed and used to assist decision-making in the field of water management. These models come with parameter uncertainties that must be properly incorporated in the decision-making process. The main goal of this study is to evaluate how the...
Article
The aim of this work is to quantify the relative contribution to the overall environmental impact of the construction phase compared to the operational phase for a large conventional activated sludge wastewater treatment plant (WWTP). To estimate these environmental impacts, a systematic procedure was designed to obtain the detailed Life Cycle Inve...
Conference Paper
In this study the performances of a biological activated carbon filter (BAC) followed by an ultrafiltration step have been evaluated with specific regard to pharmaceutical active compounds removal (PhACs) from secondary effluent of wastewater treatment plant. The long-term operation of this technology resulted in overall removal (>75%) of the studi...
Conference Paper
Recently, forward osmosis (FO) has been applied to the context of membrane bioreactor (MBR) and is called osmotic MBR (OMBR). This promising process relying on a dense FO membrane and osmotic gradient demonstrated higher rejections of all contaminants and lower fouling propensity than for MBR. The concept that we developed aims at (partially) retro...
Conference Paper
The European Water Framework Directive has pointed out that the best model for water management is management by river basin. However, to obtain an overview of the water quality in a river basin system, one has to look at the individual components of the system such as the sewer network, the wastewater treatment plant and the receiving water bodies...
Article
Full-text available
Environmental decision support systems (EDSSs) are attractive tools to cope with the complexity of environmental global challenges. Several thoughtful reviews have analyzed EDSSs to identify the key challenges and best practices for their development. One of the major criticisms is that a wide and generalized use of deployed EDSSs has not been obse...
Article
This paper proposes a model-based methodology that allows synthesising the most appropriate strategies for optimising the operation of wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs). The methodology is applied with the aim of maximising the nitrogen removal in membrane bioreactors (MBRs). The proposed procedure is based on a systematic approach composed of fo...
Article
Nowadays, most industries are required by law to treat their wastewater, but the selection of the most appropriate wastewater treatment technologies involves a complex decision making process. Environmental decision support systems can be useful to reduce the time needed to make decisions, to improve the consistency and quality of the decisions and...
Article
Full-text available
Government bodies, utilities, practitioners, and researchers have growing interest in the incorporation of resilience into wastewater management. Since resilience is a multidisciplinary term, it is important to review what has been achieved in the wastewater sector, and describe the future research directions for the forthcoming years. This work pr...
Article
Greywater is an important alternative water source, particularly in semi-arid, touristic areas, where the biggest water demand is usually in the dry period. By using this source wisely, tourist facilities can substantially reduce the pressure to scarce water resources. In densely urbanized touristic areas, where space has high value, compact soluti...
Article
With sustainable development as their overarching goal, Urban Water System (UWS) managers need to take into account all social, economic, technical and environmental facets related to their decisions. Decision support systems (DSS) have been used widely for handling such complexity in water treatment, having a high level of popularity as academic e...
Article
Wastewater treatment selection is a complex task usually addressed by applying separate tools for the correct assessment of multi-criteria evaluation. Novedar_EDSS integrates technical, environmental, economic and social assessment capabilities in one single platform. The aim of this work is to evaluate and demonstrate the capabilities of this envi...
Article
The increasing demand on wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) has involved an interest in improving the alternative treatment selection process. In this study, an integrated framework including an intelligent knowledge-based system and superstructure-based optimization has been developed and applied to a real case study. Hence, a multi-criteria anal...
Article
This study assesses the environmental impacts of four measures proposed for upgrading of the urban wastewater system of Eindhoven and the Dommel River in the Netherlands, against the base-case "do-nothing" option. The measures aim to reduce the overall environmental impact of the Eindhoven urban wastewater system (UWS) by targeting river dissolved...
Article
Full-text available
Purpose The objective was to provide comprehensive life cycle inventories for the construction and renovation of sewers. A detailed inventory was provided with multiple options of pipe materials, diameters and site-specific characteristics, and was embedded into the Excel®-based tool SewerLCA. The tool allows for life cycle evaluation of different...
Article
Full-text available
Forward osmosis (FO) is a promising membrane technology to combine seawater desalination and water reuse. More specifically, in a FO-reverse osmosis (RO) hybrid process, high quality water recovered from the wastewater stream is used to dilute seawater before RO treatment. As such, lower desalination energy needs and/or water augmentation can be ob...
Article
The removal of N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA) formation potential through a membrane bioreactor (MBR) coupled to a nanofiltration (NF) pilot plant that treats urban wastewater is investigated. The results are compared to the fate of the individual NDMA precursors detected: azithromycin, citalopram, erythromycin, clarithromycin, ranitidine, venlafaxi...
Research
Full-text available
This is an excel-based tool to estimate environmental impacts (LCA) for the construction and renovation of sewer systems. This is an outcome of the paper Morera et al. (2016) published in International Journal of LCA, with DOI (DOI 10.1007/s11367-016-1078-9).
Article
Current approaches have failed to deliver a truly integrated management of the different elements of the urban water system, such as freshwater ecosystems, drinking water treatment plants, distribution networks, sewer systems and wastewater treatment plants. Because the different parts of urban water have not been well integrated, poor decisions ha...
Article
The aim of the present work is to investigate, under lab-scale conditions, the removal and transformation of the antibiotic sulfapyridine (SPY) upon advanced oxidation with UV/H2O2. High resolution mass spectrometry (HRMS) analyses by means of an ultra-high pressure liquid chromatography (UHPLC)-linear ion trap high resolution Orbitrap instrument (...
Article
The aim of the present work is to investigate the removal and transformation of the antidepressants venlafaxine (VFX) and its main metabolite O-desmethylvenlafaxine (DVFX) upon advanced oxidation with UV/H2O2 under lab conditions. High-resolution mass spectrometry (HRMS) analyses were carried out by means of ultra-high pressure liquid chromatograph...
Article
Little information is available on pharmaceutical trace compounds degradation pathways in wastewater. The potential of the proteomics approach has been evaluated to extract information on activated sludge microbial metabolism in degrading a trace concentration of a pharmaceutical compound (ibuprofen). Ibuprofen is one of the most consumed pharmaceu...
Article
Wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) play an important role within the urban water cycle in protecting receiving waters from untreated discharges. However, WWTPs processes also affect the environment. Life cycle assessment has traditionally been used to assess the impact of direct discharges from WWTPs and indirect emissions related to energy or che...
Article
Despite the high number of advantages of membrane bioreactors (MBR), operational costs still remain as one of the main obstacles of this technology. In that sense, a full-scale MBR was studied in order to explore and identify viable optimization strategies for improving effluent quality and reducing operational costs through a model-based approach....
Article
Membrane aeration represents between 35 and 50% of the operational cost of membrane bioreactors (MBR). New automatic control systems and/or module configurations have been developed for aeration optimization. In this paper, we briefly describe an innovative MBR air scour control system based on permeability evolution and present the results of a fu...
Article
This paper explores the potential of integrated management of neighboring wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs). The novelty lies in the integration of environmental aspects, with the application of life cycle assessment (LCA) methodology, together with economic criteria for the selection of best alternatives. A case study illustrates how the connect...
Article
Most of the published membrane bioreactor (MBR) models have been proposed for process description and gain of insight, resulting in a large number of parameters to estimate from experimental data. These models are usually too complex for process control, and there is a need for simple, dedicated, dynamic models. In this study, attention is focused...
Article
Membrane bioreactors (MBRs) are a combination of activated sludge bioreactors and membrane filtration, enabling high quality effluent with a small footprint. However, they can be beset by fouling, which causes an increase in transmembrane pressure (TMP). Modelling and simulation of changes in TMP could be useful to describe fouling through the iden...
Article
Two experimental studies evaluated the effect of aerobic and membrane aeration changes on sludge properties, biological nutrient removal and filtration processes in a pilot plant membrane bioreactor. The optimal operating conditions were found at an aerobic dissolved oxygen set-point (DO) of 0.5 mg O2 L−1 and a membrane specific aeration demand (SA...
Article
The fouling behavior in MBR affected by the ragging phenomenon was characterized by the fast increase of the TMP values. It was caused by the rags attached to the membranes which were not removed through the backwashing or recovery cleanings. However, the modification of operational conditions, such as the reduction of the operational flux or the M...
Article
Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is a methodology to generate environmental impact estimates associated with the life cycle stages of a product or process. The approach facilitates a more comprehensive outlook of the end-of-pipe process impacts, in which wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) are included. Here we describe the implementation of the LCA met...
Article
Full-text available
Key developments of instrumentation, control and automation (ICA) applications in wastewater systems during the past 40 years are highlighted in this paper. From the first ICA conference in 1973 through to today there has been a tremendous increase in the understanding of the processes, instrumentation, computer systems and control theory. However,...
Article
The energy-saving strategies and operational costs of stand-alone, hybrid, and dual stream full-scale membrane bioreactors (MBRs) with capacities ranging from 1100 to 35,000 m(3) day(-1) have been assessed for seven municipal facilities located in Northeast Spain. Although hydraulic load was found to be the main determinant factor for the energy co...
Conference Paper
Actual models do not take into account the complexity of the membrane filtration and the subsequent factors altered by the fouling phenomenon in MBRs. In this sense, it is necessary to study the influence of different operational parameters on the efficiency of biological nutrient removal but also on membrane filtration performance and sludge chara...
Article
Full-text available
As the work of the IWA Task Group on Benchmarking of Control Strategies for wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) is coming to an end, it is essential to disseminate the knowledge gained. For this reason, all authors of the IWA Scientific and Technical Report on benchmarking have come together to provide their insights, highlighting areas where knowl...
Article
The bacterial community shift on a lab scale Sequencing Batch Reactor (SBR) fed with synthetic wastewater and exposed to 50μgL(-1) of sulfamethoxazole (SFX) for 2months was investigated in this study. The impact on biological nutrient removal performance and SFX removal efficiencies were also studied. Satisfactory biological nutrient removal was ob...
Data
Sequences were screened for chimeras by the submitter using Bellerophon 3. ##Assembly-Data-START## Sequencing Technology :: Sanger dideoxy sequencing ##Assembly-Data-END##
Data
Sequences were screened for chimeras by the submitter using Bellerophon 3. ##Assembly-Data-START## Sequencing Technology :: Sanger dideoxy sequencing ##Assembly-Data-END##