The issues important for our water future are to integrate the concept of cyclic economy in the world of water supply and use. Clearly, the current water footprint is already 3 times that of the planet and by focusing on recovery and recycling, we should be able to come to a better sustainability in the water sector. Concomitantly, this approach should bring forward the potential to decrease the costs of maintaining and running the utilities.
IWA Resource Recovery Cluster aims to bring together R&D, water industry and materials users, and to promote economically and environmentally attractive approaches to resource recovery.
The strategic objectives of the resource recovery cluster are:
- To promote resource recovery from water and wastewater
- To network on innovations of resource recovery through conferences, meetings, working groups, publications
- To promote links with complementary organizations to find ways to build value chains
The core issues of the Resource Recovery Cluster are to innovate science, technology and business which promote the recovery of resources from the drinking and used water treatment facilities. Indeed, the current mindset is that various types of side products generated during the production of drinking water such as for instance CaCO3-rich sludge, iron sludge and humic acids can be upgraded to products usable for the glass industry, the flocculation and treatment of sludge and the production of crops. Similarly, for used water, one can think of recovering not only biogas, but also items such as alginates, paper, fibers, struvite, nitrogen and most of all the reclaimed water itself. The one key technology which will change the field is the upgrading of active nitrogen present in used water to a valuable component in the production of feed and food.
The priorities of the Cluster for 2019 are to organize the third IWA Conference on Resource Recovery from Water, 8-12 September in Venice, Italy (www.iwarr2019.org). Moreover the Cluster has selected the 2019 Award for Best Practices in Resource Recovery from Water. Various actions will be set up to activate the demand side for resources recovered from water. The latter will be done by trying to cooperate with various other sectors outside the domain of water as for instance the food and feed industry, the chemical industry and the solid waste industry, etc.
Led by Olaf van der Kolk (Chair, Director, AquaMinerals B.V.) and Prof. David Stuckey (Co-Chair, Emeritus Professor of Biochemical Engineering Department of Chemical Engineering, Imperial College London):
- Research and technological innovations: Leads: Lars Angenent and Aijie Wang
- Development of the market (demand) side: Leads: Olaf Van der Kolk and Ludwig Hermann
- Networking activities and dissemination: Leads: Korneel Rabaey and Hong Li
- Best practices, jointly working together with KWR.