Project Update

WalNUT partners meet in Antwerp

Published on 12 Mar 2024

On the 6th and 7th of March 2024, the consortium got together for a new General Assembly, enriched by a visit to the Belgian pilot site.

The meeting was hosted by our partner AQUAFIN, marking the 30th month of implementation of our project. The main discussion points revolved around the status of operation within the different pilot sites, which are testing a range of innovative technologies for waste water treatment from different waste water facilities to recover key nutrients.

These nutrients will be used to produce BBFs (bio-based fertilisers) to be tested in field and pot trials, which will be run during the next months in France, Italy, Belgium, Spain and Hungary, using different crops. A new challenge for WalNUT, where agronomic performance of the new fertilisers will be assessed to measure their effectiveness compared to mineral fertilisers.

Other topics discussed during the meeting included Life-Cycle Assessment of the BBFs, policy implications at regional/national/EU level and the business models that will be designed around the WalNUT results to facilitate their future upscale and exploitation.

Finally, AQUAFIN escorted all the partners through its pilot site in Aartselaar (near Antwerp), where raw municipal waste water (1 m³/day) is treated by a 2-stage technology, combining high-rate activated sludge with ion-exchange to recover nitrogen, using zeolites as adsorption material. The second part of the technical visited included a guided tour at the wastewater treatment plant of Antwerp-South, one of the largest treatment facilities of urban wastewater in Flanders. During the tour, Aquafin highlighted that they convert biogas generated by sludge digestion into biomethane which they inject into the natural gas grid. A stripping/scrubbing pilot in operation at the digestate, producing ammonium sulphate was shown as well.

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