Helena Norlander and Therese Jephson from VA SYD.
REWAISE works to achieve a sustainable and carbon-free water cycle. Reducing freshwater consumption is one of its main objectives, which can be achieved by using wastewater and non-conventional water resources.
To this end, REWAISE has formulated a specific work package to define, design and validate innovative technological solutions for the beneficial use of non-conventional water sources, wastewater and solids streams to recover water, energy and nutrients.
This working package ensures that each technological solution reaches the appropriate TRL (Technology Readiness Level) to be implemented in REWAISE’s Nine Living Labs to analyse the technologies, test their performance and enable scale-ups.
We met with work package leaders Helena Norlander and Therese Jephson from the Sweden-based VA SYD to get a closer look at the work ahead for the next five years.
Hello, Helena Norlander and Therese Jephson! VA SYD has extensive experience in water resources management in Sweden and a very important role in this project. Could you please introduce yourselves and comment on VA SYD’s main contributions to REWAISE, including VA SYD’s main motivation for participating in the project?
Hi and thank you for asking! We, Therese Jephson and Helena Norlander, are VA SYD’s strategic and technical project manager for REWAISE.
VA SYD is a politically governed municipal association, formed by five municipalities (Burlöv, Eslöv, Lomma, Lund and Malmö). We serve half a million customers and are one of Sweden’s largest organisations working in water and sanitation. We treat, quality-assure and deliver drinking water, and we take great care of everything flushed into our drains to protect our seas and waterways with the support of three accredited laboratories for water and residual analysis. We collect household waste and food waste in Burlöv and Malmö.
In REWAISE, we work closely with our Swedish partners and most of the techniques to be developed and demonstrated depend on our valuable collaboration. For VA SYD, the REWAISE project is an essential step in creating the water-smart community. The unique Swedish challenge of the consortium is to build more resilient cities by including property owners and water users in the process to demonstrate various new concepts of water efficiency. Our mantra is: water is gold!
“The unique Swedish challenge of the consortium is to build more resilient cities by including property owners and water users in the process to demonstrate various new concepts of water efficiency. Our mantra is: water is gold!”Tapping into alternative water sources can help us reduce freshwater consumption. Which alternative water resources will REWAISE work with?
VA SYD and partners at the Living Lab Skåne will mainly demonstrate how to collect and clean rain and stormwater using storage volumes and membrane filtration by Lund University, to reuse water in private properties, close to the storage. Also, we will demonstrate a prototype for separate urine treatment designed by our linked partner SLU Uppsala, to produce a dry fertilizer.
In which Living Labs will these technologies be tested?
The Living Lab Skåne, within the Rewaise Continental hub, is situated in the southwestern Cities of Malmö and Lund in Sweden. In addition to collaboration with the city representatives, actions are implemented by VA SYD, Lund University, SLU-University of Agriculture, P Malmö-the parking garage company of Malmö municipality, the property owner in Malmö MKB, Sweden Water Research AB and Winning Innovation (WIN).
Energy recovery for the development of carbon neutral services is another activity in which REWAISE is involved. You will work on achieving a zero-carbon water cycle service and minimizing energy consumption in distribution, collection, and treatment of water.How do you plan to achieve that?
This important aspect needs to be addressed and included through life cycle analyses of the solutions. VA SYD are working on new methods on how to assess the potential for smaller carbon footprint and increased energy efficiency. An example is to transport and treat more concentrated waste streams and less volumes than today, and to avoid the energy needed for aeration in the biological step of wastewater treatment plants. In addition, we optimize the production and use of more biogas streams from waste.
The unique combination that VA SYD tests is pre-filtration and primary sludge hydrolysis, which paves the way for the Ideal Carbon Utilization (ICU). Separation of a large proportion of the carbon in pre-filtration increases carbon and energy efficient phosphorus and nitrogen separation. Residence time in a filter system is very short (approx. 5-20 min) in comparison with pre-sedimentation (several hours), and gives us potential to build compact treatment plants, requiring less area in our cities.
By controlling the proportion of primary sludge used for the production of biogas and a carbon source for wastewater treatment, an ideal carbon utilization and a more resource-efficient treatment can be achieved, which is vital interest both in Sweden and internationally.Regarding nutrient recovery from water and solids, what are the main activities to be addressed in your work package?
Ideal Carbon Utilisation (ICU) strategies will be analysed by VA SYD to optimize the use of organic matter at the wastewater treatment plant. We will also give examples of how rain and storm water, containing nutrients like phosphorus, nitrogen and organic matter can be used locally to sustain and develop green cities, instead of polluting waterways. We will find more answers on what water needs which treatment before it is reused or transported to the recipients. Another main activity is the development by our linked partner SLU Uppsala of a new dry and safe fertiliser based on urine separation/dehydration toilet units.
We will also give examples of how the use of rainwater and storm water, containing nutrients like phosphorus, nitrogen and organic matter can be used locally to sustain and develop green cities, instead of polluting waterways.
All the advances made in this work package will be used by other work packages. To what extent will you help other work packages and how will you interact with them?
As work package leaders responsible for technology development, VA SYD has an essential role to increase interaction and stimulate collaboration among the partnership. In the consortium, we already held two digital meetings with specific workshops, each one with over 50 participants. This is essential in directing the technology selection for subsequent implementation in the Living Labs, and we are committed to fostering this intense collaboration and enhance knowledge transfer between partners with a study visit in Sweden in the near future.
Which developments will be used by what entities to achieve significant impacts?
The initial technology developments and the selection of the most promising ones is a crucial step to engage many actors and stakeholders such as property owners, municipality decision-makers and city planners, to mention a few. In the Cities of Malmö and Lund, we will demonstrate these technical innovations and also new dynamics on how to cooperate and challenge the existing structures to achieve the water smart society that we all want. The consortium will then adopt these innovative solutions to generate new business approaches and governance models in all three climatic hubs in Rewaise, aligning with European policies on zero carbon footprint and the SDG (Sustainable Development Goals).