WOW! - Wider business Opportunities for raw materials from Wastewater


Project Summary

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, increased CO2-emmissions and less use of natural resources. The Interreg North-West Europe project WOW! - Wider business Opportunities for raw materials from Waste water (sewage) - aims to make the transition to a more circular approach by matching supply and demand of cellulose, lipids and PHA bioplastics from sewage. The international consortium consists of partners from the UK, France, Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg and the Netherlands.

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 sewage 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 sewage treatment plants 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.


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Project Partners

Lead partner

Organisation Address Email Website
Regional Water Authority Vallei en Veluwe 10 Steenbokstraat
Apeldoorn
7324 AX
Netherlands
wow@vallei-veluwe.nl www.vallei-veluwe.nl
Name Contact Name Email Country
Wupperverbandsgesellschaft für integrale Wasserwirtschaft mbH Gerd Kolisch kol@wupperverband.de Germany
University of Kaiserslautern Heidrun Steinmetz heidrun.steinmetz@bauing.uni-kl.de Germany
University of Luxembourg Joachim Hansen Joachim.hansen@uni.lu Luxembourg
VLARIO Wendy Francken wendy.francken@vlario.be Belgium
Natureplast Guillaume lebouteiller g.lebouteiller@natureplast.eu France
Avans University of Applies Sciences Jappe de Best Jh.debest@avans.nl Netherlands
REMONDIS Aqua Industry Patrick Herr patrick.herr@remondis.de Germany
Flemish Institute for Technological Research Ruben Guisson Ruben.guisson@vito.be Belgium
Pulsed Heat BV Rinus van Praag Rinus.vanpraag@pulsedheat.com Netherlands
Severn Trent Water Ltd. Paul Knuckle Paul.knuckle@severntrent.co.uk United Kingdom
CirTec B.V. Coos Wessels c.wessels@cirtec.nl Netherlands
Trinity College Dublin Laurence Gill Laurence.Gill@tcd.ie
LAB University of Applied Sciences Kirsti Cura kirsti.cura@lab.fi

Events


EU Green Week - Lipids from wastewater for biodiesel production

, Online

Lipids in influent wastewater are usually defined as a problem, causing operational issues for Sewage Treatment Plant (STP) operator. The pilot plant in Audun-le-Tiche – operated within the WOW!-project by University of Luxembourg in cooperation with SIVOM de l`Alzette and REMONDIS Aqua - is focusing on the targeted recovery of lipids present in sewage water, which can be further refined to biodiesel.
Read More

EU Green Week - Creating bio oil and bio char from sewage

, Online

The Influent of an STP consist of more that 60% of toilet paper (cellulose). By drying, pelletizing and pyrolysis we convert this into valuable products: bio-oil, acids, syngas and biochar. The biochar can be turned into activated carbon which will be used in the STP to remove pharmaceuticals. During this webinar we tell you all about the process and results of our cellulose pilot in Ede (Netherlands). We also give you an online tour at the cellulose pilot.
Read More

Business opportunities for raw materials from sewage

, Leuven, Belgium

The Interreg WOW! project is one of the initiators of an EU wide transition in which raw materials from sewage are reused as valuable bio-based products. We will subtract PHA to make bioplastics, extract and multiply lipids to make biofuel and use cellulose to make biochar. Do you want to know more about the technologies? Or do you see possibilities to help us with the business uptake? Please feel welcome to join us this afternoon!
Read More


News


WOW! maximizes impact with Interreg NWE capitalisation call

Posted on

WOW!’s application for the Interreg North-West Europe call for capitalisation has been approved! The WOW! project is running now for 3 years. The challenge WOW! addresses is to create a transition in the urban water cycle. From a linear approach which ends up as sewage, up to a circular approach in which raw materials from sewage are recycled for biobased products. With the capitalisation call WOW! gets the opportunity to develop more various tools and activities to maximise the impact of project results, which is good news for the circular economy. Read More

National policy action plans

Posted on

Sewage contains valuable substances that can be used as raw materials for biobased products. WOW! has shown that recovery of raw materials from sewage is technically possible and that there is a potential market opportunity for these raw materials. However, to date this potential has hardly been exploited to its full potential in Europe resulting in loss of valuable materials, CO2-emmissions and less efficient use of natural resources. Read More

EU Green Week - WOW! events

Posted on

WOW! organized several online events during the EU Green Week 2021. We are pleased to see that there is lots of interest for the recovery of valuable materials from sewage. We hope you got inspired by our webinars. Did you miss one of the events? You can watch the webinars on youtube or/and download the presentations. Read More

Report: critical success factors for valorisation routes

Posted on

Partners within the WOW! team wrote a report that describes critical success factors for the recovery of raw materials from sewage and bringing these resources to the market based on lessons learned in EU subsidy projects. Why have some recovery techniques been successfully implemented while others are still in the pilot phase or did not succeed? Information was gathered via literature, an online questionnaire and interviews. Read More

Oil from sewage - the first installation in the Netherlands!

Posted on

At the beginning of 2021, the first pyrolysis plant in the Netherlands will be opened in Ede, which orders usable raw materials from sewage water. Namely the cellulose pilot of the WOW! project. In the installation that Pulsed Heat has built together with Waterschap Vallei en Veluwe and Cirtec, the cellulose in sewage water is upgraded to oil, acid fraction, gas and coal. Pulsed Heat is responsible for upgrading the residual flows, they are happy to tell you more about their role in the WOW! project. Read More

Decision Support Tool - testing

Posted on

The decision support tool (DST) developed as part of the Interreg WOW! project by Avans Hogeschool (NL) has been tested by Severn Trent Water (UK). This tool has been designed to provide water industry employees with an easy to use screening tool to assess the viability of carbon-based material recovery options (PHA, lipids and cellulose) at sewage treatment plants. The first testing period got us some nice results! Read More

The North Sea Commission recognizes the potential of recovered resources from sewage

Posted on

On the 6th of November Coos Wessels from CirTec, partner in the WOW! project, presented the WOW! project to the North Sea Commission (NSC). The NSC is one of the six geographical commissions of the Conference of Peripheral Maritime Regions (CPMR) and a cooperation platform for regions around the North Sea. Their mission is to strengthen partnerships between regional authorities which face the challenges and opportunities presented by the North Sea. In line with the NSC work on protection of the sea from marine litter and harmful substances, the Annual Business Meeting on 6 November 2020 adopted a resolution on circular economy and the reuse of resources from sewage. Read More


WOW! - results of the project 

Market potential biobased products from sewage - factsheets

The partners within the WOW! team excecuted a market potential study. The objective is to identify viable value chains for 5 carbon based products (CBE) from sewage water: PHA-bioplastic, biodiesel, bio-oil, biochar, and acetic acid. In Figure 1-1 a simplified scheme of the recovery of the 5 CBEs is shown. The full report is finished and can be downloaded! We also created a summarizing factsheet for each product which you can find here:

Factsheet: PHA Bioplastics
Factsheet: Activated Biochar
Factsheet: Bio-oil
Factsheet: Biodiesel
Factsheet: Acetic Acid 

Market potential study 

Market potential biobased products from sewage - report

The partners within the WOW! team excecuted a market potential study. The objective is to identify viable value chains for 5 carbon based products (CBE) from sewage water: PHA-bioplastic, biodiesel, bio-oil, biochar, and acetic acid. In Figure 1-1 a simplified scheme of the recovery of the 5 CBEs is shown. The full report is finished and can be downloaded!

Market potential report 

Designing value chains for carbon based elements from wastewater - state of the art report

The objective of work package 1 in the WOW! project is to identify viable value chains for 5 carbon based products from sewage: PHA-bioplastic, biodiesel, bio-oil, biochar, and acetic acid. This state of the art report is a result of the work package that focusses on the market potential of carbon based elements (CBEs) from sewage. This report contains analyses on the state of the art of current supply and market uptake of materials from sewage in North West Europe (NWE). Analyses comprise an overview on past (best practices) and current attempts to reuse CBEs.

> State of the art report 

National policy action plans

Based on the information gathered in the report Critical success factors for valorization routes, two important drivers can be distinguished that determine whether resource recovery from sewage becomes a success in the EU: - Acceptance of raw materials from sewage - Policies related to use of products from sewage The drivers and critical success factors are elaborated further in the National Policy Action Plans which you can download below:

Luxembourg: 

Action plan Luxembourg 

Netherlands:

Action plan Netherlands

Germany: 

Action plan Germany 

Flanders:

Action plan Flanders

United Kingdom: 

Action plan United Kingdom

Critical success factors for valorisation routes - report

Partners within the WOW! team wrote a report that describes critical success factors for the recovery of raw materials from sewage and bringing these resources to the market based on lessons learned in EU subsidy projects. Why have some recovery techniques been successfully implemented while others are still in the pilot phase or did not succeed? Information was gathered via literature, an online questionnaire and interviews.

> Report: critical success factors for valorisation routes - report 

State of the Art report on legislation

The WOW! team finished the State of Art report on legislation in Europe and the partner countries of the Interreg NW Europe project: Germany, UK, Luxembourg, Belgium, France and The Netherlands. The objective of this report was to describe the main juridical and policy context for bringing raw materials from wastewater to the market, including national differences.

> State of the art report 

Video Cellulose/PHA/Lipids pilot

General WOW! video

PHA pilot

Cellulose pilot

Lipids pilot

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