Project WOW! kicks off: Sewage is valuable

Sewage contains valuable substances that can be used as raw materials for biobased products. However, in North West Europe this potential is hardly exploited yet. This results in loss of valuable materials, and increased CO2-emmissions and use of natural resources. The Interreg North-West Europe project “Wider business Opportunities for raw materials from Waste water ” (WOW!) aims to make the transition to a more circular approach by matching supply and demand of cellulose, lipids and PHA bioplastics from waste water. CirTec is proud to be a part of this project.

On May 23 and 24, the WOW! consortium came together for the project kick off. Partners from the UK, France, Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg and the Netherlands gathered to meet each other and discuss about the content.

Valuable materials from Sewage
There are market opportunities for raw materials from sewage, but for this the sewage treatment plants and the industry need alignment. This calls for a transition: sewage treatment plants need to switch from treating waste water to producing valuable materials. On the other hand, market parties need to regard sewage as a valuable source instead of ‘dirty unsafe water’. Last but not least, the policies should better fit this new circular practice. To realize these opportunities the consortium aims to develop value chains for three different raw materials from sewage: cellulose, PHA bioplastics and lipids.

The following activities will be part of the project:

  • Identify high potential value chains for raw materials from sewage.
  • Develop a Decision Support Tool that guides WWTPs in their transition towards a circular approach on sewage.
  • Build and run three WOW! pilots to optimize and implement innovative recovery and upcycling techniques.
  • Create bioproducts made out of sewage, such as bioplastics, biofuel and bio-char.
  • Create national policy action plans and an EU policy roadmap.

The focus for CirTec within this project is two-sided. Together with Water authority Vallei and Veluwe and Pulsed Heat, we will focus on extracting cellulosic screenings from sewage water and upgrading the celluloses in activated biochar, oil and fatty acids. Next to that, CirTec will have a important role in the legal and policy perspectives, working towards acceptance of materials recovered from sewage.

WOW! is supported by the Interreg North-West Europe program,

The consortium consists of:

  • Water authority Vallei en Veluwe
  • Wupperverbandsgesellschaft für integrale Wasserwirtschaft
  • Technische Universität Kaiserlautern
  • Université du Luxembourg
  • Natureplast
  • Avans Hogeschool
  • REMONDIS Aqua Industrie
  • VITO
  • Pulsed Heat
  • CirTec
  • Severn Trent Water

What is Interreg NWE?
A European Territorial Cooperation program with the ambition to make the North-West Europe area a key economic player and an attractive place to work and live, with high levels of innovation, sustainability and cohesion.