Water Sector

TKI takes sustainable flocculant agent from desk study to practice

The green light for the HerCauWer TKI project was given in 2017 by a positive outcome of a life-cycle analysis for the production of flocculant from the iron sludge generated in drinking water production. The project has now been successfully completed, having answered the question of the effectiveness of the flocculant and how it performs in practice. ‘The results are positive and we’ve learned what we need to look out for,’ says René Bouwman from Feralco. ‘An important step towards upscaling, and a confirmation that the sustainable product offers a value added compared to the commercial flocculant.’

Ferrous sludge is formed during the drinking water production process. This so-called ‘aquafer’ is for the most part marketed for use in fermentation, but because this market is driven primarily by subsidies – and can therefore be quite erratic – an alternative was being sought. By treating the iron sludge with acid, a flocculant agent is created that is capable of removing particles and phosphates from the water. It would be great if this flocculant, which is generated from a drinking water utility residual stream, were to be reusable in the water treatment.