Henry van Veldhuizen
We will build on existing cutting edge initiatives in several regions in Europe, where resources with a high added value are produced, such as phosphorus and cellulose from wastewater and iron and calcium carbonate residuals from drinking water.
This will be done by using innovative concepts for (alternative) water supply, wastewater treatment and recovery of resources. A high priority will be given to avoiding loss of water, energy and resources in industrial production and water and wastewater infrastructure.
Although technologies for the recovery of resources exist there is no breakthrough yet because of a number of bottlenecks amongst others:
• Highly fragmented (quality, quantity, geographical availability) supply of residuals from the water cycle.
• Legal and regulatory barriers that prohibit the use of residuals as resources.
• Public acceptance for direct re-use of wastewater resources.
The overall objective of the ARREAU Action Group is to develop market plans to exploit and commercialize opportunities for recovered resources from the water cycle and for the enabling technologies by using innovative concepts.
The ARREAU action group will initially use technologies and data from its own members and their related networks. First focus will be on the current state-of-the-art resource recovery, such as the following examples:
• Iron sludge from drinking water in The Netherlands. In this case a value chain is developed that produces granular iron hydroxide that can be used as a filter material for e.g. biogas purification (H2S removal). This case is partly funded by the Dutch government as part of the Top Sector Water.
• Phosphorus from wastewater in Belgium, Germany, Switzerland and The Netherlands. Several routes for P-recovery are being explored as well as ways to produce high value fertilizers from these resources. Demonstrations of recovery and the end-use of these products will be established. This case will build on the results of national initiatives and on FP7-projects such as ‘P-REX’ .
• Cellulose from wastewater in France, Germany and The Netherlands. Cellulose will be harvested at full scale at wastewater treatment plants. Value chains will be developed for cellulose as resource for e.g. building blocks for bioplastics.
ARREAU action group will produce a number of deliverables such as:
• An overview of current viable and profitable European value chains, leading to efficient and profitable recovery and application of phosphorus (struvite) and cellulose from wastewater and granular iron hydroxide and calcium carbonate from drinking water –this will be available three months after the start of the action group
• A framework for further exploitation and development of viable resource value chains throughout Europe.
• An overview of potential new regional markets and business opportunities for resource recovery from the water cycle.
The innovation to which the ARREAU Action Group is striving relates to the design and operation of value chains. Currently, different strategies to bring residuals to the market can be distinguished. Examples include: i) a ‘free market’ system and ii) a shared service center in developing and supplying the market.
Due to the present low value applications of recovered resources, The ARREAU Action Group will play a pivotal role in the development of more sustainable and viable value chains. Two potential chains are Phosphorus recovery and cellulose recovery.
The European water sector has a high economic importance with an average growth rate of 5% and a turnover of about € 80 Billion a year, representing about a third of the world water market. Economic growth in this sector can be accelerated by developing techniques to be used for, amongst others:
• Reduction of the volume of sludge from a Waste Water Treatment Plant (WWTP)
• Reduction of the use of polyelectrolytes at a WWTP
• Reduction of electrical energy used in treatment proces
• Increasing biogasproduction
Successful cases, like the valorization of drinking water residuals by the Reststoffenunie and resource recovery from wastewater at several European sites will serve as example or template for other resources and other regions in Europe and beyond.
The ARREAU Action Group will be organized in working groups (WGs) for the different resources from the water cycle, e.g. drinking water residuals, phosphorus and cellulose. They will work with water authorities, drinking water utilities and also end-users.
A separate working group will address cross-cutting issues. These issues include life cycle assessment (LCA), market exploration, public acceptation and consumer perception.
There will also be a Steering Group which will develop strategy and other activities. This group will also provide the chairs for the different WGs.
The ARREAU Steering Group and WGs will meet twice a year with intermediate digital communication.
ARREAU works within the philosophy of the European Technology Platform for Water (WssTP) and aims to cooperate to jointly achieve a better commercial and advanced position for the European water sector, whilst respecting the individual commercial interests of some of our near-market partners.