NWO funding for research on water in the circular economy: AquaConnect and ReCoVR

KWR will participate in two basic research programmes in the field of water and resource reuse. The two projects are part of the Perspective programme of the Dutch Research Council (NWO): AquaConnect and ReCoVR. NWO Perspective is aimed at the creation of economic opportunities within key enabling technologies.

AquaConnect works on solutions to enable the Netherlands and other delta regions to become self-sufficient in their freshwater provision. The goal is to demonstrate how self-sufficiency can be achieved in four specific areas: South Holland, greater Amsterdam region, Zeeland Flanders, and the high sandy ground regions.

Water reuse in drought periods

Programme leader professor Huub Rijnaarts, head of Environmental Technology at Wageningen University & Research, explains AquaConnect: ‘Water shortages in drought periods are disastrous. Our solution provides for a sufficient supply of good quality water.’ The reuse of wastewater and brackish groundwater, through the application of new water treatment technologies, plays a central role. Researchers are also working on advanced computer models aimed at linking water suppliers and users in ‘smart water grids’. A key element is the retention of water and its storage in the subsurface.  AquaConnect therefore links in with the knowledge and practical experiences from KWR’s applied research programmes, such as COASTAR, Lumbricus  and KLIMAP.

Recovery and Circularity of Valuable Resources

The ReCoVR (Recovery and Circularity of Valuable Resources) project is directed at new separation technologies for the recovery of valuable resources from process- and wastewater streams. Researchers are developing new materials and coatings for electrically-powered separation technologies that are more energy-efficient, cleaner and more specific than current separation methods.

Separation technologies

KWR researcher Kees Roest, who is also programme director at the Institute for Sustainable Process Technology (ISPT), explains: ‘On the basis of five objectives that are very relevant to the chemical and food industry, we are developing important electrified separation technologies that can be implemented in many more industrial processes. Renewable energy can power these separation processes. Moreover, the energy is delivered directly to the relevant sites, rather than to the whole medium, as in the case of traditional separation technologies. This will considerably reduce the CO2 emissions. In the ISPT’s Industrial Fluids Processing cluster, I will ensure that the ISPT takes the lead in the knowledge dissemination and outreach of the results to the network of the (industrial) partners involved in the programme.’

Water in the Circular Economy

ReCoVR draws, among others, on knowledge that KWR developed in different TKI and EU projects. Both projects connect with the Water in the Circular Economy (WiCE) research programme, that is shaped and conducted by KWR together the drinking water utilities and other partners in the water sector.

More information

Besides KWR, broad-based consortia of educational and knowledge institutions, businesses and governments and involved in the two projects: