Posted on 31 May 2016
Three gigantic blue inflatable water molecules hanging over the Netherlands water pavilion symbolize the Dutch contribution to the issue of circular economy at the world’s largest environmental technology trade fair IFAT in Munchen, Germany. It is a joint initiative of Five Spices and the Netherlands Water Partnership (NWP).
IFAT showcases the latest technologies for water re-use and recovery of reusable materials from water.
The German trade fair opened its huge exhibition floor on 30 May. This fiftieth edition of IFAT will last till 3 June. It is again expected to attract over 120,000 visitors from all of the world.
On world tour
The decorative H2O molecules over the Netherlands water pavilion are inflatable and easy to transport. IFAT is there first appearance and they will tour the world later this year.
They will again be used to decorate the Dutch pavilion at three other global water business events, being Singapore Water Week (Singapore), Weftec (USA) and IWA World congress & exhibition (Australia).
Wwtp-effluent as fresh water sources
“There is no need for an energy consuming desalination plant to combat water scarcity, if you have the clean effluent from a waste water treatment plant at hand”, commented Andreas Giesen, director innovations & product development at consultancy firm Royal HaskoningDHV. His firm is one of the exhibitors at the Dutch pavilion.
“New water re-use schemes can give meaning to a circular economy. Especially if such schemes use less energy and chemicals as well”, he said.
Giesen has long been involved in the development of new water treatment technologies in the Netherlands. He noticed that many ‘circular economy’ technologies have been around for many years. “Take for instance the recovery of struvite from urine. The technologies to recover this fertiliser have been developed many years ago, but are only now emerging because the supply chains are getting organised too. Struvite is no longer seen as by-product from waste water treatment, but as a product with a commercial value for suppliers of fertilizers.”
According to Giesen the water sector is slowly learning to recover materials from waste water according to specifications that allow specialised suppliers to sell the recovered materials.
Struvite recovery received one of the GreenTec 2016 Awards that were handed out the day before the start of IFAT. German waste firm Remondis received the GreenTec award in the category Recycling and recovery for its Tetraphos technology to recover phosphate from fly ashes.
|Andreas Giesen shows the alginate granule that is produced from waste water.|
High value materials
Giesen sees struvite recovery as the low hanging fruit as in his opinion it is fairly easy to produce it and get it to the fertilizer market. “The hard jobs are yet ahead of us. The challenge is to develop new water technologies that not only delivers clean water but also recovers high value materials. This is only possible with the involvement of the whole supply chain that is needed to bring the materials to the market.”
As an example he mentioned the recovery of alginate from waste water. His company Royal HaskoningDHV is developing a technology to be able to recover this material from the sludge of its Nereda waste water treatment plants.
“It is a careful process of defining the specifications that we can meet on the one hand, but at the same time produce a product with the highest potential commercial value”, he added.
Another technology Royal HaskoningDHV is promoting at IFAT is the recovery of nutrients from cow manure. “We developed our Code recovery technology a few years ago and we successfully piloted it. It is only now, with the growing interest in the circular economy, that we see the interest in the market is really picking up.”
Stay tuned as news items on this website will keep you posted on the Dutch contribution to the IFAT 2016.
Netherlands Water Partnership
The Hague, the Netherlands
+31 70 304 37 00
Leeuwarden, the Netherlands
+31 58 284 90 44
Zoetermeer, the Netherlands
+31 88 400 85 45