Circular Water

Water Treatment for Circularity

Many sectors have adopted circularity in their policies, such as the food industry, agriculture, horticulture and water boards. Water treatment can play a key role in achieving these ambitions, for example by reusing water, using alternative water sources and recovering organic compounds and nutrients from wastewater. Wageningen Food & Biobased Research helps industries to close water cycles and recover valuable compounds from wastewater by developing smart solutions for water treatment and desalination.

Preventing water scarcity through reuse

One of the consequences of climate change is scarcity of freshwater. Agriculture and horticulture are already struggling with this. Companies in these sectors have a strong need for alternative water sources and want to close water cycles. Industrial sectors also notice that less freshwater is available. That is why the industry focuses strongly on the reuse of water. This offers opportunities to save costs, but also poses risks related to water quality and process continuation. There is a strong need for efficient water treatment and water purification technology, such as desalination, disinfection and removal of unfavorable substances.

Recovery of valuable compounds from wastewater

Wageningen Food & Biobased Research helps companies close their water cycles and nutrient cycles. Our technologies focus on removal of salts, toxic compounds and organic substances, as well as disinfection to combat pathogens. Working closely with our Wageningen University colleagues and other institutes enables us to translate conceptual knowledge and new insights of water treatment into effective, sustainable and cost-efficient solutions for companies. We are world leaders in areas such as membrane technology, chromatography and electro-membrane separations. Wageningen Food & Biobased Research also helps companies to recover valuable compounds from wastewater, including internal water streams in fermentation plants and biorefineries. Our technology focuses on:

  • recovery of phosphate, e.g. by magnetic adsorption and desorption;
  • recovery of nitrogen, e.g. by electrochemical processes;
  • recovery of other substances, e.g. organic compounds, using membrane processes, electrochemical processes, (bio)conversion and more.

Successful results

By disinfecting irrigation water and washing water with ozone, UV and membrane filtration, fresh vegetable crops can be sustainably and safely irrigated, washed and cut. This is done in the Safe and Save Water project.

We have demonstrated in various projects that horticultural companies can close the water cycle by, for example, applying electrodialysis, membrane separation and disinfection technology. Examples are the Effluent fit4food and Ion-selective electrodialysis projects.

We have contributed to the EU E4water projectEconomically and ecologically efficient water management in the European chemical industry, with research on the reuse of cooling tower blow-down water. Membrane distillation and electrodialysis technology were part of this evaluation.

We have developed new, advanced oxidation processes (AOP) for the removal of micropollutants. In this process the oxidants, such as peroxide, are made in-situ and it is no longer necessary to transport chemicals. Examples of processes are Peroxite and GreenOxidants.

We have developed a process to produce volatile acids from activated sludge.

Make it circular

Turning water flows into a circular system can help save cost, ensures fresh water availability and supports the continuity of your processes whilst combating climate change. Wageningen Food & Biobased Research has extensive expertise in closing water cycles and safely recovering substances from waste and process water. Contact us for details.