Project budget7 007 864 €
ERDF amount3 394 737 €
The NEREUS project will tackle the common 2SEAS area challenges by boosting further the development of green economy and transforming wastewater into a valuable source of water, resources (eg cellulose, nutrients), and energy that could be reused.
More specifically, due to climate change, water scarcity is increasingly problematic resulting in a growing need to reuse wastewater. Finite nutrients such as phosphorus are crucial for agriculture and currently not recovered from wastewater. As a result, these resources cannot be reused in a meaningful manner (e.g. as fertilizer). Wastewater also contains energy / heat that could be used as a sustainable source of energy in order to reduce CO2 emissions. Although there is a growing conviction that future arrangements for the treatment of wastewater should be based on the principles of a circular economy, and although the technology is available, decision makers are still hesitant to make use of them due to the lack of practical evidence.
The overall objective of the NEREUS project is to increase the reuse of resources, water and energy from wastewater by boosting the adoption of technologies that recover resources, water and energy from wastewater in urban areas. A demonstration framework and an institutional framework will be developed to increase the adoption and acceptance of resource recovering technologies. The major change the project will make is to show and to convince cities, regions, waterboards and citizens the benefit of implementing resource recovering solutions to reuse wastewater. The urban context shows residents directly what these technologies can do. This can accelerate the adoption of these resource recovering techniques and can contribute to a 'circular economy'.
- 1 joint feasibility study (based on pilot specific/local feasibility studies) providing detailed and site specific information with respect to the installation of resource recovering technologies
- 9 decentralized wastewater plants to recover energy, resources (f.i nutrients) , and water in 5 different locations.
- 3 test/monitoring reports (resources, water, energy) to measure and optimise the performance of the installed resource recovering technologies
- A strategy to provide decision makers involved in the selection process of WWT information about opportunities to implement resource recovering technology
- A decision support tool (DST) providing policy recommendations and specific information on suitable technologies
- A strategy to create acceptance of the community.
Cross border approach
- Need for demonstration sites
Because decision makers are hesitant to invest in resource recovering technologies for the treatment of wastewater in all four MS, the number of demonstration sites is limited. In this project, five demonstration sites from all over the 2 Seas region become connected.
- Sharing expertise
To benefit from the expertise present in the four Member States (MS) in this project, the knowledge partners will together contribute to the optimization and monitoring of all five demonstration sites in all MS. Also Staff exchange between UK and NL knowledge partners is envisioned.
- Cross border community building on implementation
As a result of the cross-border demonstrations, a cross-border community of decision makers will be created. Compared to academic community on sanitation, local stakeholders that implement new wastewater technology are currently less involved in international networks to share experiences.
Since the end of 2017, the NEREUS partners have been working on the establishment of wastewater as a valuable source of water, nutrients and energy. They have initiated demos for relevant technologies and are using the information obtained in these demos to feed and develop strategies and tools to support implementation.
In 2019, a lot of progress was reported on the demo cases. Some reached their goals, while many others are reaching the final stages before being fully operational at steady state.
PP5 has spent the past year looking for a way to optimize sludge treatment, by modifying their installation on the one hand and mixing in different types and ratios of lime on the other hand. Experiments have been finalized and a new procedure has been implemented, resulting in dried sludge that is eligible for and made available to reuse on local farmlands. In December, the NEREUS partners as well as press and students were invited to discover the new installation.
After the closure of Uit Je Eigen Stad in Rotterdam earlier this year, the PP8 pilot is now fully operational at its new location in Delft. The processes for using cellulose as a C-source have been finalized and plans for large-scale implementation (outside the scope of the NEREUS project) are already being forged, while the remaining processes in this pilot are close to optimization.
In Ghent, construction works on the first phase of Nieuwe Dokken were finished and the vacuum system for the toilets was installed in the Melopee municipal building. While the pilot was planned to be operational in November, an unforeseen water leak caused damages to the school building and set the planning back a few months. Only when the school is operational, due in March 2020, will there be enough wastewater to start the installation. Earlier in the year, however, students from Ghent University already successfully implemented the technology in The Mobble, a project realized for the Solar Decathlon competition in Hungary.
During 2019, PP3 initiated a new small-scale demo at an employee’s house that has already received some attention from the press.
In the UK, finally, PP7 has finished its lab trials on nutrient recovery and is working on its final report. As an extension of their demo, however, they’ve also used the past project year to lay the foundations for a new series of lab trials, focused on water reuse. A lab has been built at Brighton University and will be operational in the spring of 2020.