Water, an essential resource!
access to ‘Clean Water and Sanitation’ is defined by the United Nations as Sustainable Development Goal. Water and access to water of a certain quality is also essential for many of the other SDG’s to be successful. In November 2017 over 15.000 scientist have identified water as one of the main threats to a sustainable human development. Since the 1960’s, fresh water availability went down to 8000m³ in 1992 from 13000 m³ and even further down to < 6000 m³ per person in 2017 (Ripple et al, Bioscience, 2017). This is mainly due to a rise in population but also due to a change in living standards. Moreover, the decline in clean freshwater availability has a major impact on eco-system services, forest and agriculture productivity etc.
Next to water use by the public, industrial water use can account for 25% of total production cost and up to 57% of the total freshwater consumption. Therefore, it is not surprising that in the next few decades, the European Innovation Partnership Water will be focusing on water and the resources it contains as one of its main R&D domains.
It is in this framework that, CAPTURE researchers aim to develop new, robust and disruptive technologies to efficiently make the most use of every drop of Water.
Smart water (re-)use in selected domains
The water pipeline within CAPTURE aims to ensure a close collaboration between all stakeholders of the water cycle to create a close symbiosis enabling smart water (re-)use and the recovery of essential resources from various water flows. The water pipeline aims to enhance this symbiosis in seven research domains:
- Water fit-for-use
- Wastewater treatment of the future
- Nutrient Recovery
- Metal recovery
- Energy and organics from water
- Identification of useful resource streams
- Advanced modelling & design for efficient pilot development
The water pipeline is currently running in the form of the ‘Resource Recovery Technology’ business platform (www.r2t.ugent.be), where 15 companies and 8 professors closely cooperate on these seven domains. Cooperation is aimed at long term projects/trajectories to develop new, disruptive water technologies for the future. These high risk projects are funded through regional (UGent, Flemish, Belgian) or European funding programs. Next to that several projects receive funding through bi-lateral funding from companies.