Skip to main content

Achieving wider uptake of water-smart solutions

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - WIDER UPTAKE (Achieving wider uptake of water-smart solutions)

Reporting period: 2020-05-01 to 2021-10-31

Resources from wastewater must be recovered and utilized to ensure access to clean water, enough food and good living conditions for all.

Despite an increasing focus on recycling, we recycle very little wastewater and the resources it contains. And the barriers are not mainly technological; several solutions have been developed to recover and utilize wastewater resources. Regulations and lack of business models are much bigger challenges.

The aim of WIDER UPTAKE is to explore how to make the best use of water resources, limit emissions and develop sustainable business models for a water-smart society. Researchers and water utilities in five countries demonstrate circular economic models for how wastewater resources can be utilised in a water-smart society. The demo cases in WIDER UPTAKE are:

• Using phosphorus and sludge from wastewater to produce fertilizers, soil products and biogas (Norway)
• Production of biocomposites for manufacturing materials with resources recovered from the entire water cycle (The Netherlands)
• Using purified wastewater for urban greening (Czech Republic)
• Use purified wastewater for irrigation in agriculture and make biochar from sludge. Biochar will replace wood as a source of energy in industry (Ghana)
• Using wastewater for irrigation in agriculture and extracting phosphorus and nitrogen for fertilizers (Italy)

Reducing water consumption and promoting reuse and recycling of water and other wastewater resources in sustainable business models, entails a paradigm shift. If the pilot projects succeed, this will entail lower emissions, more efficient use of resources and increased value creation through water-smart solutions to the mutual benefit of the water sector and various industries.

The overall objective is to facilitate industrial symbiosis by co-development of a roadmap towards wider uptake of water-smart solutions for wastewater reuse and resource recovery based on the principles of circular economy.
The progress is on schedule. All milestones in the reporting period have been achieved and all deliverables except the implementation of the P-recovery plant at Hias, have been completed.

The progress of the demonstration cases in Sicily has been according to schedule. More effort than foreseen and some deviations in implementation of the demonstration plants have been required in order to achieve the objectives due to unforeseen conditions, but deliverable D1.1 has been completed on schedule.

In Accra, establishment of required infrastructure for water treatment and supply required more time than planned. Also, some of the advanced quality analyses have not been performed since the analytical capacity did not exist in-country. Steps are being taken to carry out tests elsewhere. However, the progress is according to plans and deliverable D1.2 has been as scheduled.

In Norway activities are progressing according to plans, but there has been a 9-month delay for the struvite reactor at Hias. The installation is planned to take place in May 2022. The delay will not impact the further progress or achievement of the overall objective.

In in Prague the demonstration plant has been completed on the premises of the existing water line of the Central Wastewater Treatment Plant. Irrigation with different water qualities has started, and deliverable D1.4 has been completed according to plan.

In Amsterdam the work has been delayed due to need for additional raw material quality assessment. Actions have been taken to prevent any impact on the overall progress.

In WP2 the methodology for analysis of health and quality risks has been developed. A database for measured data from the different case studies is now ready to collect and analyse data for risk evaluation. WP2-deliverables have been completed according to plan.

WP3 has progressed as planned. A framework/methodology for the assessment and optimisation of circularity and efficiency of symbiotic solutions and case-specific tools to identify optimal symbiotic solutions have been developed and implemented. The work has contributed inputs to WP1 and WP5.

WP4 has progressed according to plan. A draft version of the tool has been tested in the demonstration cases. 40 stakeholder interviews have been carried out, and the results have been summarised. The tool has been further developed and revised before submission of the final version, deliverable D4.1. A detailed stakeholder mapping and action plans for facilitation of industrial symbiosis at each local research partner are in progress.

In WP5 all the research partners have been invited to discuss the assessment approach. A generic description of symbiotic circular economy solutions (SCES) will be used at the scoping workshops. Properties of the SCES that should be covered by the assessment have been identified and proposed criteria and indicators will be discussed further in the coming reporting period. The Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in fewer physical workshops, Teams meetings have been used instead.

Development of the Roadmap for wider uptake of water-smart solutions (Task 6.1) started in October 2021 and will build on the activities in WP1 and on the dialogue with the partners and stakeholders performed within WP4 and WP5. Task 6.2 Exploitation of results started right after the kick-off. A Virtual Learning and Sharing Centre for Water-Smart Solutions is planned and initial discussions with the beneficiaries have been performed. Two papers have been published, several papers are in preparation and a book is being prepared.

In WP7, Communities of Practice have been established at local-, project- and trans-project level. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, all major project meetings have been organized as digital events. Communication: Website, social media channels, basic project description are in place.
WIDER UPTAKE aims to go beyond stat of the art by key innovative actions. The state of play at Month-18 is:

• Pilot and full-scale plants to demonstrate the Wastewater Resource Recovery Facility (WRRF) concept implemented at UNIPA, SSGL, Marinero, Corleone and IVAR
• Conversion the WWTP at Hias to the new EBPR process with continuous MBBR is in progress
• Initial results on Ammonium adsorption, desorption and recovery by acid and alkaline treated zeolite submitted for publication
• Demonstration of irrigation of plant used in urban grey-green solutions with different water qualities in progress
• Rain garden boxes with 3D-printed internals are used in the demonstration plant
• Fertilizer production is previously established at IVAR Economical and sustainability aspects of using additional sludge from another treatment facility are being analysed
• Baseline study on irrigation and fuel needs completed and biochar production implemented at SSGL
• In progress, deliverable expected in Month-30
• Procedure for monitoring and control of health and quality risks has been developed, and a database for measured data and required information has been established
• The GOCIWA-tool (D4.1) for systematic, qualitative assessment of the conditions, drivers and barriers to circular economy based on water-smart solutions in different governance contexts
Irrigation boxes in the demonstration plant in Prague
Flowers in demonstration plant in Prague
Testing kiln for production of biochar in Accra