The water industry is embracing the circular economy by trialling the recovering of materials including; cellulose, nutrients and the biopolymer PHA - to make into products such as bioplastic and fertiliser.
SMART-Plants are being trialled in 9 countries including the UK, Netherlands, Spain, Italy, Greece and Israel, as is part of a 4 year project funded by the Horizon 2020 EU innovation fund. The collaboration comprises 9 countries and 25 organisations, including; Severn Trent Water, Brunel University and Cranfield University.
The new vision is in keeping with the circular economy, and looks to make the most of resources which will become more and more scarce, by filtering valuable resources at SMART water treatment plants.
Pete Vale, Technical Innovation Lead at Severn Trent comments; “The linear economic model where we ‘take, make and dispose’ of things is not sustainable – it relies on large quantities of cheap, easily accessible materials and energy,”
“In contrast, a circular economy is one that keeps resources in use for as long as possible, then recovers and regenerates products and materials at the end of each service life. In the water industry, we can play an important role in the emerging circular economy - we receive huge amounts of ‘waste’ water that is full of material that can be recovered and regenerated.”