The WATER – MINING R&D and innovation project – “State-of-the-art intelligent water management systems: large-scale demonstrations for a circular economy and society”, has the main objective of developing energy-efficient innovative technologies for the treatment of urban and industrial wastewater , as well as for the desalination of sea water, promoting the production of materials with market value from the residues formed in the treatment and for the sustainable use of alternative water sources, i. The project will thus contribute to the implementation of the Water Framework Directive and to the creation of new business models based on Circular Economy in the Water sector.
The project has a global budget of 19.1 million euros, with Águas do Algarve S.A. having a budget of 110,625 EUR, co-participated in 70% by the H2020 program (77,437.50 EUR). It lasts for 4 years, running from 1 September 2020 to 31 August 2024, being coordinated by the Technical University of Delft (Netherlands) and with the participation of 38 European partners from the scientific – technological and business, public and from 12 countries.
It is one of the 5 projects funded by the European Union under the European innovation and research program H2020, in the topic CE-SC5-04-2019 – Building a water-smart economy and society, subtopics Symbiosis between industry and water utilities and Large Scale applications with multiple water users at various relevant scales.
The WATER – MINING project contemplates a series of innovative technologies to be implemented in six case studies from five European Union countries (Holland, Spain, Cyprus, Italy and Portugal).
Águas do Algarve, SA will participate in several actions of the project, highlighting the tests that will be carried out in a prototype unit in the Faro-Olhão WWTP, which will involve the extraction and production of extracellular polymeric substances (EPS), of the alginate type – KAUREMA GUMÒ – from the sewage sludge consisting of aerobic granules from the NEREDAÒ process. This product has several possible applications, and the objective of this prototype is to produce biofertilizer. Their properties suggest that they are bio-stimulants of plant growth, with high content of organic matter and nutrients and high moisture retention, which is particularly beneficial in countries with warmer climates. It is also expected that the product will be provided with a structure that allows the slow release of nutrients, thus preventing their leaching and maximizing their use by crops.
The Faro-Olhão case study aims to demonstrate the innovative technology that allows the reintroduction of “green products” in the market, resulting from the treatment of waste water at the WWTP.
In addition to the development of innovative technologies and respective tests, the project includes actions aimed at the business market, in which the various stakeholders will be identified, both at the political, regulatory, technical – scientific level and at the level of possible end users. . Circular Economy is a central theme of the project, aiming at creating business models with collaboration between producers / suppliers and end users.
The WATER-MINING project also aims to establish partnerships between stakeholders and define strategies and regulatory measures to stimulate the application of innovative technologies developed in the project, addressing the existing failures in terms of the market and governance.