Industrial water and wastewater

Research into wastewater, sewer systems and process water

KWR conducts research into the treatment of wastewater and the reuse of the water, resources and energy it contains. We also develop new concepts for wastewater treatment and sewer systems, and we share knowledge on the production of process water. Our central concern is the targeted water quality and a sustainable process management.

Reuse of water, resources and energy from wastewater

The treatment of domestic and industrial wastewater is important in order to comply with the discharge requirements. Moreover, we no longer consider waste and wastewater only as waste products that need to be treated and processed, but also as a source of sustainable energy, resources and clean water. This fits in with the societal transition to a circular economy. The reuse of water is in some areas a matter of immediate necessity, while in others it offers benefits, such as the expansion of production capacity without having to draw on extra (ground)water resources. The recovery and reuse of resources from wastewater, and of residuals from drinking water production processes, is also frequently worthwhile. Our experts develop value chains, for instance, for phosphorus, nitrogen and cellulose from domestic wastewater, for lime and iron pellets from drinking water production, and for metals and salts from industrial process water. We also study the recovery of energy: water often contains both thermal and chemical energy. Chemical energy can be recovered from wastewater and sludge through the anaerobic route. The thermal energy recovered from water can, for example, be used in aquifer thermal energy storage (ATES) systems. And the residual heat in sewage water (riothermie) and industry water can also be exploited.


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Jaarverslag Willy Verstraete

New concepts for sewer systems and wastewater treatment

Because we increasingly consider wastewater as a source of energy, resources and water, our experts work on the development of new concepts for wastewater treatment and sewer systems. Optimising the sewer system, by smart and rational collection system design and the modernisation and optimisation of wastewater treatment processes, leads to more effective treatment at a low(er) cost. Among our inspirations in this effort are the self-cleaning networks for drinking water distribution. We carry out laboratory tests and pilots, and make use of our modelling expertise and software to assess sustainability and costs.

Knowledge sharing on process water production

Through the Industry Network Group we provide a platform upon which industrial players, such as the (petro)chemical industry, food industry, and energy and utility providers, can establish and maintain contact with each other, and transfer and share knowledge. We organise meetings and offer workshops and courses in areas like demiwater, cooling water, membrane filtration applications for industry water, and UV technology for industrial applications. We also give targeted recommendations on specific issues.