Product of the category Not-Yet-To-Market becomes overall winner
The overall winner of this year’s Aquatech Innovation Award is the Kaumera Nereda Gum, a valuable resource that can be extracted from the wastewater treatment process. A biological raw material, the gum can retain as well as repel water, giving it great potential to be used in agriculture, as well as the paper and construction industries. As Royal HaskoningDHV describe on their website, Kaumera is a viable alternative to a variety of oil-based materials. The first large-scale Kaumera production unit has been officially opened (2 October 2019) in Zutphen, with the second production unit in Epe coming online in Spring 2020. The introduction of Kaumera offers a huge step forward for resource recovery and the circular water economy. Using Kaumera as a sustainable biopolymer decreases the amount of fossil resources and first-generation biomass required. In addition, Kaumera production decreases energy use and greenhouse gas emissions in the wastewater treatment process.
“This was by far the biggest innovative step from all of the entries received,” said jury chairman Professor Cees Buisman, Scientific Director of Wetsus, European centre of excellence for sustainable water technology. “It’s completely new and hasn’t been done before. In an urbanizing world, it’s going to have much impact to help enable a circular economy.”
The development of Kaumera is the result of a collaboration between multiple stakeholders: Royal HaskoningDHV, TU Delft, STOWA (Stichting Toegepast Onderzoek Waterbeheer), the Vallei en Veluwe Water Authority, the Rijn en IJssel Water Authority, Chaincraft and the Energy and Raw Materials Factory (EFGF).
Winners of the other categories
PROCESS CONTROL TECHNOLOGY & PROCESS AUTOMATION GoAigua’s IoT and Big Data platform, GoAigua
This entry is very relevant, with the Internet of Things (IoT) and Big Data currently in demand and digitization becoming a key driver for water utilities. The jury commented that the solution was not only "user-friendly" but also that the platform is unique because it can connect with many different platforms and systems.
WASTEWATER TREATMENT ABX, Aquafortus Technologies Limited
This technology is a novel solvent extraction solution that crystallizes out salts from brine while recovering the water for reuse. The jury remarked that brine treatment solutions are need around the world and that this solution is innovative due to the solvent dosing, as well as being sustainable with 90 per cent claimed less energy use.
WATER SUPPLY (DRINKING WATER, CLEAN WATER, INCLUDING POINT OF USE): MPC Nanobubble, LG Sonic algae control
MPC is the first nanobubble system that increases oxygen levels in lakes based on real-time data on a movable pontoon. The jury was impressed by the simplicity and low energy requirements of the nanobubble application, calling it a “very elegant solution”. The combination with solar energy means the impact of this innovation is high, the jury remarked.
SPECIAL MENTION: Sewtree, ATB WATER GmbH
Sewtree is a natural purification and buffering system for stormwater run-off that provides safe wastewater treatment in urban areas/large cities. By using plants to transport, filter and purify water, the system is “attractive and innovative”, the jury commented. They added that Sewtree has the potential to create high impact by making water treatment visible, offering social relevance and community value.
Jury members of the Innovation Award 2019
Prof.dr.ir. C.J.N. Buisman (Wetsus) – Chairman of the Jury
Ir.C.A. Uijterlinde (Stowa)
Ir.P. Kamp (retired – formerly PWN Technologies)
W.F. Volmer BSc (Nmi Certin BV)
Prof. M. Kennedy, PhD (IHE Delft, Institute for Water Technology)
J.S. Vrouwenvelder (King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST))
Prof.dr.ir. A.J.H. Janssen (Shell)
Drs. H.J. Gastkemper (Stichting RIONED)