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“From WWTP to biofactories” – how wastewater treatment is changing

Aqualia is Europe’s fourth largest private water company in terms of population served and ranks amongst the top ten worldwide. The company is constantly striving to develop and implement ecological and economically efficient technologies, processes and strategies to reduce the consumption of resources and energy. We spoke to Victor Monsalvo, Head of the Eco-efficiency Area in Aqualia’s Technology and Innovation Department to find out more about one of their latest projects, SCALIBUR.

Climate Change and Environment icon Climate Change and Environment
Industrial Technologies icon Industrial Technologies
Food and Natural Resources icon Food and Natural Resources

What is Aqualia’s motivation to be in the SCALIBUR project? Aqualia as a water utility wants to improve wastewater treatment by optimising process performance, mainly by energy and chemical savings. In addition, in line with the European Union and their initiatives of circular economy and resources recovery, Aqualia researches new mechanisms and treatment alternatives to obtain as much as added value bioproducts as possible from wastes. What is your role in the project? Aqualia is leading activities oriented to biochemical and bioelectrochemical conversions of the Urban Sewage Sludge into added-value resources such as bioenergy, bioplastics and alcohols. What do you hope to achieve? Our main objective is to develop sustainable processes to be applied in the wastewater facilities (WWTP) operated by Aqualia. Our challenge also includes their implementation in both new and existing WWTPs. Anaerobic digestion, widely implemented in WWTP around the world, is limited in the efficiency balance. In the SCALIBUR framework, new research will optimise the performance of innovative processes to fulfill foreseen new EU sanitation regulations and create new value chains (bioplastics, biochemicals, bioenergy). What is the main impact you hope SCALIBUR will have on future society? One of the most important challenges in society currently is to manage waste in a responsible way. SCALIBUR contributes to reduce adverse impact through new alternatives for biowaste transformation into added value bioproducts. All the information collected will help municipalities improve their waste management, and also create new business opportunities within the circular economy. In 10 or 15 years time how do you imagine waste management will have changed? Waste management change is already ongoing. The next years will be very exciting as we are going to see the implementation at real scale of the processes under development and transforming WWTP into biofactories. Find out more at and and make sure to watch our new video: From sewage sludge to biofertilisers, bioplastics and compounds – SCALIBUR bioconversion process ( All images: Aqualia


wastewater, sludge, WWTP, bioplastics, biochemicals

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