EU funding for rural wastewater systems project
A research consortium which includes Scottish Water and environmental consultants Aqua Enviro has been awarded €7M in EU Horizon 2020 funding to develop novel modular sustainable rural wastewater treatment systems has been awarded.
The INNOQUA project aims to provide an innovative, modular and sustainable waste water treatment technology with near zero CO2 life-cycle emissions. The technology includes novel biological treatment and disinfection modules and is designed to provide safe and affordable sanitation with the flexibility for global application. These technologies resemble natural purification processes and are based on the purification capacity of earthworms (lumbricids), zooplankton and microalgae, and alternatively sunlight exposure.
Aqua Enviro and Scottish Water joined the INNOQUA consortium as part of the 4-year European research project of 20 partners that is being coordinated by Nobatek, a French Research and Technology Organisation. The two companies teamed up as the project directly addresses one of Scottish Water’s strategic objectives of ‘Sustainable Rural Communities’. Demonstration trials both within and outside of the EU are planned in the latter phases of the project, with Scottish Water hosting a demonstration unit.
Paul Lavender, Business Development Manager at Aqua Enviro, said: “It’s great that the EU has recognised the consortiums really innovative technologies and the impact these could have on meeting the challenges of decentralised wastewater treatment. Aqua Enviro are committed to driving innovation within the water industry, and this project will help us to meet this objective.”
A key step in the exploitation of any new technology in the water and wastewater sectors is design, installation and operation of prototype technologies under real conditions. In total, 11 demonstration sites will be used during the project in locations across the world, and each one will run for a year in order to simulate all climatic conditions.
Scottish Water will host a demonstration site in a small rural setting in the Scottish Highlands. This site will have a collective sanitation system installed aimed at demonstrating low cost, sustainable, biologically-based waste water treatment for small size housing units (20-30 people) in extreme weather conditions.
Roi Otero, Innovation Programme Manager for Scottish Water, said “Scottish Water has a high proportion of rural works and developing a sustainable approach to water use, treatment and sludge recycling is a challenge. This exciting project will play a key role for us in the development of innovative new solutions to make our rural communities more sustainable”.
Allan Mason, Sustainable Rural Communities Senior Project Manager for Scottish Water, added: “Nature has a solution for nearly everything and what it is capable of is truly outstanding. This project will help us better understand how we can utilise the natural world to improve our processes and develop new solutions that offer economic and environmental sustainability in rural Scotland.”
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