Waste Not
New Wastewater Mining Tech Isolates Biosolids for Use as Paper, Pulp, Plastic, Fuel

A Dutch wastewater treatment facility (WWTP) and paper mill are testing out a new sewage recycling system that reduces sludge formation by half, cuts operational costs by 30 percent, significantly increases treatment capacity and yields biosolids that can be used in a host of applications.

Developed in Israel, Applied CleanTech’s Sewage Recycling System (SRS) converts the bio-solids found in wastewater into Recyllose — a new sterilized product based on cellulose extracted from the wastewater, which is automatically packed into a reusable commodity and transported to paper, construction, plastic and energy industries.

Allow us to provide a visual aid:

Applied CleanTech process

According to the collaboration agreement, the SRS will be installed for a test period in early 2014 at Aa en Maas Water Board municipal WWTP at Aarle-Rixtel, followed by the industrial process water treatment at paper company Smurfit Kappa Roermond Papier. If the pilot proves successful, the organizations say they hope to expand throughout the Netherlands.

If implemented throughout all WWTPs in the Netherlands, the process could save millions of Euros in wastewater treatment, while providing significant environment benefits, the organizations say.

“The Dutch water industry is a worldwide leader in water treatment and water management,” said Job Rosenhart, Energy Advisor for Dutch Industry at Agentschap NL. “In a broader sense, this agreement is strategic as it launches a new era of cooperation between Israel and the Netherlands in water and energy. We view this cooperation as strategic due to the cultural compatibility and complimentary needs and abilities of both peoples, and hope it would be the one of many such successful ventures between our two nations.”

The initiative brought together a host of Dutch organizations, companies and governmental bodies: Agentschap NL, Smurfit Kappa Roermond Papier, Israel Innovations, Aa en Maas Water Board, KCPK (Center of Competence Paper and Board), Stowa (Organization of Applied Research in Water Management) and TNO (Applied Research Center).

“We are delighted to start our first project in the Netherlands and we hope that after a successful trial period, our sewage mining technology will be installed across the Netherlands ensuring a greener, power-efficient future for generations to come,” said Applied CleanTech CEO Dr. Refael Aharon.

In the same waste-to-resource vein, a growing number of dairy farms across North America are using methane digesters to convert their cows' "biosolids" into electricity, thanks to the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy, which aims to put digesters on 1,300 U.S. dairy farms by 2020.

In other wastewater treatment news, a new project by researchers at the University of Bath in the UK is taking the thousands of tons of waste seashells created by the edible seafood sector and using them to treat wastewater. The researchers claim the shells provide a cheaper and more environmentally friendly way of ‘polishing’ wastewater, which could remove unwanted substances such as hormones, pharmaceuticals or fertilizers.

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