BIOTREAT brings together six research institutions and four SMEs to develop much-needed water treatment biotechnologies for removing pesticides, pharmaceuticals and other organic micropollutants from contaminated drinking water resources. These biotechnologies will be developed into prototype biofilter systems ready for subsequent commercialisation. The biofilters will contain non-pathogenic pollutant-degrading bacteria, with the bacteria being immobilised on specific carriers to ensure their prolonged survival and sustained degradative activity. Through beyond state-of-the-art research, BIOTREAT will ensure that these novel water treatment biotechnologies are highly transparent, reliable and predictable. Two complementary biotreatment strategies will be followed, one based on metabolic processes whereby the bacteria completely mineralise specific micropollutants and the other based on cometabolic degradation utilising the ability of methane- and ammonium-oxidising bacteria to unspecifically degrade a range of micropollutants for which specific degraders are not yet available. The biofilter systems will be carefully validated through cost-benefit analysis and environmental life cycle assessment. A road map will be drawn up for post-project exploitation, including individual SME business plans. Effective dissemination of the BIOTREAT results will be ensured by close collaboration with an End-user Board comprised of representatives from waterworks, water authorities, industry, etc. In addition to bringing considerable advances to water treatment biotechnology, the main outcome of BIOTREAT will thus be prototype biofilter systems (metabolic and cometabolic) ready for commercialisation in a number of highly relevant water treatment scenarios, including existing sand filters at waterworks, mobile biofilters placed close to groundwater abstraction wells, sand barriers between surface waters and abstraction wells, and protective barriers in aquifers.
Fields of science
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