“WWTP of the future by changing them from being energy consumer to resource recovery sites”
LIFE NECOVERY is a research project co-founded by the European Community, through the LIFE+ Environmental Policy & Governance programme. The project was launched in July 2013 and is completed in December 2017. The project was coordinated by Cetaqua Water Technology Center and implemented in partnership with Avecom.
LIFE NECOVERY project dealed with the issues of changing the current concept of WWTPs from being energy consumers to resource recovery sites. This is the new concept of WWTP of the future which consists in extracting resources (energy, nutrients) from wastewater.
Currently, the flowsheets implemented in WWTPs are mainly based on energy-consuming pollution removal and they are not adapted to a future water treatment fit. In fact, it is estimated that in Western Europe, only 20-35% of consumed energy in WTTPs can be recovered by means of the anaerobic digestion. Regarding the nutrients, most of the WWTPs are mainly focused in removing them than in recovering. Thus a thorough flowsheet re-design is required to focus on resources recovery and within stringent surface requirements.
In this context, LIFE NECOVERY project aimed to demonstrate, by means of a prototype, the feasibility of an innovative WWTP flowsheet based on an pre-concentration step at the inlet of the WWTP and focused on the recovery of energy and nutrients forfertilizer use. An assessment of the impact of this cradle to cradle approach on the overall WWTP process, compared to the conventional flowsheetof WWTPs, was carried out. The performances of both flowsheets were assessed based on technical, economic and environmental criteria, using a life cycle approach.
It is expected that the final project’s result will contribute to the implementation, updating and development of European Union environmental policy because of its direct link with WWTP of the future by changing them from being energy consumer to resource recovery sites. The innovative technological scheme proposed in this project could also contribute to the achievement of Water Framework Directive (WFD) goals.