Increasing urbanisation is leading to a growing demand for water, materials and energy in the affected areas. In a circular economy, water, (raw) materials and energy are recovered and reused/recycled. The Allied Waters UPcycles Collab focuses on the recovery and (re)use of residuals generated in the urban watercycle. The recovered compounds are made available to the market for applications in various economic sectors.
The typical by-products of drinking water treatment are iron, lime and aluminium based sludges as well as lime pellets. The current annual output of these residuals in the Netherlands amounts to 200,000 tons (as is)while estimates for the European Union surpass 3 million tons(as-is) . For more than 20 years, the Dutch water companies have constantly endeavoured to upcycle their residuals for use in sustainable applications in various industrial, agricultural and environmental areas, such as:
- Lime pellets as an additive in glass, ceramic and carpet production, for soil improvement, as an inoculum for softening reactors (following resizing), and as an additive in animal feed
- Iron sludge for desulphurization of biogas, and the production of pellets for removal of arsenic, phosphate and several inorganic contaminants
Resource recovery and upcycling are also developing in the wastewater sector, and in manufacturing and agriculture. Upcycling involves a complicated process of matching the supply and demand of residuals on a continuous and sustainable basis. The key factors are marketing, an objective assessment of supply and demand, quality assurance, legislation/permits, logistics and costs.
The partners in the Allied Waters UPcycles Collab are AquaMinerals and KWR: a Collab that combines multi-year experience in organising the upcycling business, with a formidable record in research and innovation. The UPcycles Collab is ready to consult or license know-how regarding sustainability opportunities internationally.