Biobased chemicals for water treatment

Wastewater treatment

Agriculture, horticulture and industry use large amounts of freshwater. Under the influence of climate change, freshwater is rapidly becoming scarcer. Wageningen Food & Biobased Research develops technologies that enable companies to use their wastewater in a circular manner and to prevent valuable nutrients such as phosphate, nitrate and cellulose for being lost. Next to this, harmful substances are removed from the water safely and efficiently.

Towards circular use of water and nutrients

To comply with water quality standards and to prevent surface water from being polluted, companies must purify their water from anthropogenic and biologically poorly degradable, persistent substances. Conventional water purification plants break down as many substances as possible from wastewater into CO2, nitrogen and phosphorus, after which the water is discharged into the surface water. Companies, however, prefer to re-use this wastewater, certainly now that the freshwater supply is coming under increasing pressure due to water stress, caused by drought and salinization. Wageningen Food & Biobased Research helps companies with research & development on technology to purify wastewater, to use it in a circular way and to recover valuable nutrients. This yields cost savings, sustainability gains and efficiency benefits.

Leading in physical-chemical separation and purification

Wageningen Food and Biobased Research has an extended portfolio of conventional and novel, selective, efficient and mild separation and purification technologies. This includes disinfection technologies, often membrane-based, from lab-scale to demo-scale. Examples are processes like ultrafiltration, nanofiltration, reverse osmosis, membrane distillation, osmotic distillation, forward osmosis and selective electrodialysis. Chromatography, adsorption and extraction are also areas of expertise in which we have built up significant expertise. We use oxidation techniques to safely and efficiently break down organic substances in wastewater and innovative separation techniques to remove hard-to-degrade and inorganic substances from the water. In addition, we work with partners on bio-based purifying solutions in water treatment plants, by replacing synthetic flocculants by nature-based polymers.

Project examples

In the Safe and save water project we investigate the applicability of various disinfection methods and means for the disinfection of irrigation and process water. We also map out the options for reusing water. The outcome of the project helps growers and processors to determine which method contributes best to safe and economical water use in their situation.

In the EU project FERTINNOWA we have contributed by mapping the state of the art and demonstrating chances on technological water treatment for for fertigation of horticultural plants. This includes methods for recovering nutrients from wastewater.

More information

Are you looking for safe, sustainable and cost-efficient solutions for wastewater treatment? Together with you we are happy to map out possible solutions for your company.