REcovery and REcycling of nutrients TURNing wasteWATER into added-value products for a circular economy in agriculture
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.