Water2REturn proposes a full-scale demonstration process for integrated nutrients recovery from wastewater from the slaughterhouse industry using biochemical and physical technologies and a positive balance in energy footprint. The project will not only produce a nitrates and phosphate concentrate available for use as organic fertiliser in agriculture, but its novelty rests on the use of an innovative fermentative process designed for sludge valorisation which results in a hydrolysed sludge (with a multiplied Biomethane Potential) and biostimultants products, with low development costs and high added value in plant nutrition and agriculture.
This process is complemented by proven technologies such as biological aeration systems, membrane technologies, anaerobic processes for bio-methane production and algal technologies, all combined in a zero-waste-emission and an integrated monitoring control tool that will improve the quality of data on nutrient flows. The project will close the loop by demonstrating the benefits associated with nutrients recycling through the implementation of different business models for each final product. This will be done with a systemic and replicable approach that considers economic, governance and social acceptance aspects through the whole chain of water and targets essentially two market demands: 1) Demand for more efficient and sustainable production methods in the meat industry; and 2) Demand for new recycled products as a nutrient source for agriculture.
As a summary, Water2REturn project adopts a Circular Economy approach where nutrients present in wastewaters from the meat industry can be recycled and injected back into the agricultural system as new raw materials. The project foster synergies between the food and sustainable agriculture industries and propose innovative business models for the resulting products that will open new market opportunities for the European industries and SMEs in two key economic sectors.
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Demonstrator implementation at real scale – Development of a demonstrative application for slaughterhouse wastewater treatment and large-scale nutrient recovery in a real case study, the slaughterhouse “Matadero del Sur” in Salteras (Spain).
Fertilisers and biostimulants manufacturing – Manufacturing of organic-source fertilisers and biostimulants in production lines built up within Water2Return project timeframe. They will be manufactured in Spain and tested in Slovenia, Romania, Lithuania and Spain.
Reduction of the environmental adverse effects of nutrient emissions and wastewater discharge – Nutrients recovery rates of 90-95% (N and P) and reduction of wastewater discharged to the environment by 90%, thus decreasing water bodies pollution and other related environmental problems. Moreover, the treated water obtained can be further used, reducing operational costs of the slaughterhouse.
Reduction of landfilled waste – Reduction of waste diverted to landfills by 80%. After removing the organic elements from the slaughterhouse wastewater, the remaining inorganic fraction (less than 20% of the wastewater composition) will by the only residual element taken to landfill
Energy self-sufficiency of slaughterhouses wastewater treatment plants – Biogas upgrading and valorisation will allow achieving self-sufficiency rates and saving of up to 25% in the slaughterhouse, with the consequence reduction of CO2 and greenhouse gas emissions.
Promotion of a wide and fast market uptake of Water2Return processes and products – Targeted business plans will be implemented with the aim of creating new business opportunities and green jobs around nutrient recovery and recycling technologies, especially for SMEs in the EU. The acceptance of the final commercial outcomes by final users will be enhance3d through capacity building and awareness raising.