This is what the NEREUS network is working on within the ECOVAL project. Ecoval Sudoe is developing a method for the extraction of high added value molecules, Volatile Fatty Acids (VFAs), from processed sludge. The aim of the NEREUS project is to test a process for the extraction and purification of VFAs from sludge sent to them by the coordinator CETAQUA. This process must be economically viable and meet market specifications. In addition to this double constraint, there are legal barriers related to the recovery of bio-waste and sludge from wastewater treatment plants. This is why the Ecoval Sudoe project tries to go beyond what is established.
Extracting, sanitising, filtering and concentrating
NEREUS has developed a dynamic nanofiltration pilot plant with three major advantages: it extracts the molecules of interest from organic sludge, ensures their sanitisation and filters at low energy costs. After this first filtration stage, concentration processes are applied to achieve the desired objective.
After the postponement in January, the event “From wastewater treatment plants to biofactories: the potential of water in the circular economy“, organised by Cetaqua and FEUGA in the framework of the innovation projects Ecoval Sudoe and WALNUT, is back. It will take place on 7 April in both on-site and online formats.
This meeting aims to explore the concept of biofactories and present the technical advances of both projects. In addition, the social, legal, and market barriers for the valorisation of high added value products for agriculture and industry, such as sludge or biofertilisers obtained from waste flows from urban water treatment plants, will be discussed.
Here you can consult the full programme of the event, which runs from 10:00 to 17:00, with presentations and round tables to reflect on the essential value of water in the transition to a circular economy. The blocks in which the day is divided are:
Block I: past, present and future of biofactories.
Block II: legislative/transfer barriers to the implementation of biofactories.
Block III: end-users of biofactory by-products.
Final block: round table.
After a morning of debate and participation, there will be a break for lunch and at 15:30 there will be a visit to the Ourense biofactory, where you can learn about the different water treatment processes.
The event will also be broadcast on Zoom with English translation. The capacity of both the on-site and virtual event is limited, and registration will close when the maximum number of participants is reached. Don’t miss out, register here!
World Water Day is held on 22nd March. In 2022, the spotlight is on groundwater: those that feed, apart from rivers and springs, wells and pumps. Life would not be possible without it. Most arid areas of the planet depend on this resource entirely, which supplies a large proportion of the water we use for consumption, sanitation, food production and industrial processes
Almost all fresh water in liquid form in the world is groundwater. In much of the globe, these reserves are being overexploited and we run the risk of weakening this resource. Moreover, as climate change worsens, groundwater is becoming increasingly critical, making it more necessary than ever to manage it sustainably, as well as reuse and give a second life to the other water sources that we have. The UN has just published its annual report on the state of water to mark the occasion of this day, and you can check it out here.
ECOVAL joins this celebration, which aims to raise awareness about the global water crisis and the need to seek measures to address it so that we can achieve Sustainable Development Goal No. 6: Clean water and sanitation for all by 2030. To get closer to that forecast, we cannot forget about wastewater and its management.
1 million, 300 thousand tonnes of sludge not reused
Urban wastewater treatment processes generate large amounts of sludge. In Galicia alone, over 150 thousand tonnes of this sludge are generated each year, which would fill the inside of the Santiago de Compostela Cathedral every year. If we were to talk about the figure in the Sudoe space, it would rise to 1 million, 300 thousand tonnes.
This sludge has traditionally been seen as waste, but in the Ecoval Sudoe project we demonstrate the technical feasibility of its transformation into high value-added products such as Volatile Fatty Acids, which are transformed into adhesives, lubricants or paints in the chemical and petrochemical industry or fertilisers. A profound transformation in the management of the water cycle based on the circular economy and sustainability. The Ourense Biofactory thus allows us to go beyond the traditional concept of water purification to transform sludge into new valuable resources and guarantee a second life for it. You can learn more about the function of ECOVAL in wastewater recovery, which allows the cycle of this key resource to be extended for life, in the following video:
To follow the conversation about World Water Day 2022 online, you can use the hashtag #WorldWaterDay or check out the UN account dedicated to it.
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