Designing value chains for carbon based elements from wastewater

 WP 1 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.

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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.

First, data for typical sewage characteristics in the different countries are summarised in NWE. As a basis for later calculations, the population connected to the waste water treatment plants (WWTPs) in each country was then determined. Then the very limited existing value chains on other marketable wastewater-products were analysed. These include power (biogas), heat (both on the WWTP and in the sewer system), phosphorus, nitrogen, extrapolymeric substances and cellulose. Afterwards the target substances in WOW! are discussed in more detail. The production from non sewage resources is described as well as the state of research for the recovery of the substances from sewage.

This report concludes with an initial estimation of which quantities of the five CBEs can be produced in the future at WWTPs in NWE. In the following market potential study, these figures will be investigated in detail and will be compared with the demand for PHA, biodiesel, bio-oil, biochar and acetic acid from the North-West European Market.


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