The Water Technology research group at HZ University of Applied Sciences is participating in the Flanders-Netherlands Interreg project Clean Watercourses by O3G.
Sewage treatment plants (WWTPs) treat domestic and industrial wastewater that is then discharged to surface water as effluent. Although effluent quality has improved significantly in recent years, emerging organic micropollutants such as drug residues, pesticides and PFAS compounds are receiving increasing attention.
Through the Flanders-Netherlands Interreg project Clean Waterways by O3G, the project consortium wants to demonstrate that ozonation (O3) in combination with granular activated carbon (GAK) can be used at WWTPs as an innovative, effective and cost-efficient post-treatment technique that improves surface water quality in Flanders and the Netherlands.
The feasibility of these technologies for effluent post-treatment is determined through a techno-economic environmental analysis. The technical analysis focuses on the effectiveness and efficiency of the technology, the economic analysis on investments and operational costs, depending on the scale of scale, efficiency and environmental requirements employed. The environmental analysis is performed with a life cycle assessment (LCA).
Assessing purification technology
In particular, the researchers of the Water Technology Professorship will focus on researching the assessment of purification technology using LCA.This will be done in several steps:
- First, the scope of these analyses will be determined with the consortium, where its limits lie and what criteria will be included to achieve a good comparison.
- Next, the process is analyzed in its life cycle; from raw material, construction, use to demolition (and recycling) and the impact of the different steps is determined with the selected criteria.
- As a final step, sensitivity analysis is performed on the inputs and system parameters to provide a picture of the robustness and reliability of the analyses and the range of possible outcomes under changing conditions, including energy and material costs.These analyses require input around the technologies and materials used from (the suppliers of) De Dommel Water Board, Aquafin and PureBlue.
The LCA is performed in collaboration with an LCA expert from Wageningen University (external hire) using SimaPro software. The LCA provides insight into the life cycle of a technology and its environmental footprint and offers opportunities to reduce this impact.