Together with partners from five European countries, REMONDIS Aqua develops processes to recover valuable raw materials from sewage treatment plants.
Together with partners from the United Kingdom, France, Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Germany, REMONDIS Aqua Industrie GmbH & Co. KG participates in the joint research project WOW! (Wider business Opportunities for raw materials from Waste water), which is supported by the European Union. Sewage contains materials that contain carbon and could be used as a raw material for bio-based products. This potential is currently hardly used, which leads to the loss of valuable raw materials, to CO2 emissions and to consumption of natural resources. There are market opportunities for raw materials from sewage, however, these require a change in values in sewage treatment, with the treatment plant being viewed as a source of raw materials. In the WOW! project, value chains for three raw materials from sewage, with five products to be produced from them, are to be investigated: cellulose (biochar, bio-oil, acetic acid), lipids (biodiesel) and polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA – bioplastic). The recovery of the three raw materials from communal sewage is to be tested with pilot systems of different technology readiness levels (TRL).
REMONDIS calls the process of recovering raw materials from sewage Aquatic Mining. Many valuable substances in sewage are currently hardly used, which leads to those valuable raw materials being lost and to avoidable CO2 emissions. The development and optimisation of innovative recycling and upcycling technologies allows biochar, bio-oil and acetic acid to be made from recovered cellulose, and bioplastic to be created out of recycled polyhydroxyalkanoates. REMONDIS is particularly involved in the manufacture of biofuel from sewage sludge. In cooperation with the University of Luxembourg, a novel process is being tested, with the help of which lipids in sewage sludge can be recovered and processed into biofuel.
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