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, Finland, Ireland 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



News


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

Techno-Economic Assessment: from cellulose to biobased product

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Sewage contains about 25-30% of the particulate fraction in the form of cellulose fibers. The source of these fibers is mainly toilet paper due to its increased consumption. Utilizing these valuable materials could reduce the use of natural resources and subsequent carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and hence, realizing a circular economy. In the WOW project, a techno-economic assessment of the use of these cellulose fibers for bio-based products is performed at a pilot scale. Read More

New developments in the field of PHA

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Sewage water and sludge are raw materials for the production of PHA: biodegradable biopolymers made by bacteria. These polyhydroxyalkanoates can offer an interesting alternative to fossil plastics. The number of research projects in this field is therefore increasing. Reason for the Biobased Economy Lecturers Platform to organize the webinar "Recent results in PHA development" at the end of November. Read More

Turning sewage water into bioplastics

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Sewage and industrial wastewater often contain many valuable substances that can be used as raw materials for biobased products. However, this potential is currently not or hardly used, resulting in loss of valuable materials. The INTERREG NWE project WOW! looks into the possibilities to create sustainable value chains from sewage water using these valuable substances. One of the value chains under investigation is the production of PHA (polyhydroxyalkanoates), a fully biodegradable bioplastic. Read More

Cooperation Wetsus and Avans

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Avans and Wetsus have signed an agreement to cooperate in their activities on production of bioplastic from wastewater. In the Wetsus bioplastics from water research theme, fundamental research is performed in collaboration with Delft University of Technology on the production of PHA bioplastic from waste water. This research serves as a basis for the intended further upscaling of this technology by five Dutch water authorities, STOWA, HVC and Paques. Avans also performs research on the production and extraction of PHA bioplastic in the framework of the Interreg North-West Europe project WOW! and their Centre of Expertise Biobased Economy (CoE BBE). The agreement now makes it possible to share information and resources and in this way expand the knowledge for this promising development. Read More

State of the Art report on legislation

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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. Read More

PHA article published!

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Researchers from Avans University of Applied Siences: Michiel Michels, Guilherme de Souza Reis, Gabriela Fajardo, Ischa Lamot and Jappe de Best recently worked on an article about PHA from sewage water. This within the framework of the Interreg Nort-West Europe project WOW !. The article "Optimization of green extraction and purification of PHA produced by mixed microbial cultures from sludge" has been published in the journal "Water" . 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 (English)
Action plan Luxembourg (Luxembourgish) 
Action plan Luxembourg (French)
Action plan Luxembourg (Portuguese) 
Action plan Luxembourg (German) 

Netherlands:

Action plan Netherlands (English)
Action plan Netherlands (Dutch) 

Germany: 

Action plan Germany  (English) 
Action plan Germany (German) 

Flanders:

Action plan Flanders (English)
Action plan Flanders (Dutch)

United Kingdom: 

Action plan United Kingdom (English) 

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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