AIWW2019: Kaumera Nereda gum wins Aquatech Innovation Award
A biobased gum extracted from wastewater is the overall winner of this year’s Aquatech Innovation Award. This production of the valuable Kaumera Nereda gum showcases that water technology has a role to play in achieving a circular economy.
The prize was handed out during the opening ceremony of the Amsterdam International Water Week on 4 November. The AIWW is held in Amsterdam from 4 till 8 November.
The Kaumera gum can be extracted from the sludge of the Nereda wastewater treatment process. The first production facility for this gum was officially opened earlier this year in Zutphen, the Netherlands. Depending on the way it is produced, the gum can have the ability to absorb as well as to repel water. This gives it great potential to be used in agriculture, as well as the paper and construction industries.
‘This was by far the biggest innovative step from all of the entries received’, said jury chairman Professor Cees Buisman, Scientific Director of Wetsus, European centre of excellence for sustainable water technology. ‘It’s completely new and hasn’t been done before. In an urbanizing world, it's going to have much impact to help enable a circular economy.’
In response to receiving the award, René Noppeney, Global Director of Water Technology Products & Innovation at Royal HaskoningDHV reacted on behalf of the winning team and said to be genuinely thrilled.
‘This award is a testament to the huge positive impact Kaumera will have on the circular economy. It is an exceedingly versatile raw material with the potential to be used in a host of applications from agriculture and the building sector, through to textile and paper industries.’
The development of Kaumera is the result of a collaboration between multiple stakeholders: Royal HaskoningDHV, Delft University of Technology, applied water research institute STOWA, Regional Water Authority Vallei en Veluwe, Regional Water Authority Rijn en IJssel, biotechnology firm Chaincraft and the initiative Energy and Resources Factory (EFGF).
The other winners of the Aquatech Innovation Awards 2019 are:
Category process control & process automation
• GoAigua’s IoT and Big Data platform, GoAigua
This entry is very relevant, with the Internet of Things (IoT) and Big Data currently in demand and digitization becoming a key driver for water utilities. The jury commented that the solution was not only "user-friendly" but also that the platform is unique because it can connect with many different platforms and systems.
Category wastewater treatment
• ABX, Aquafortus Technologies
This technology is a novel solvent extraction solution that crystallizes out salts from brine while recovering the water for reuse. The jury remarked that brine treatment solutions are needed around the world and that this solution is innovative due to the solvent dosing, as well as being sustainable with 90 per cent claimed less energy use.
Category water supply
• MPC Nanobubble, LG Sonic
MPC is the first nanobubble system that increases oxygen levels in lakes based on real-time data on a movable pontoon. The jury was impressed by the simplicity and low energy requirements of the nanobubble application, calling it a “very elegant solution”. The combination with solar energy means the impact of this innovation is high, the jury remarked.
Category special mention
• Sewtree, ATB Water
Sewtree is a natural purification and buffering system for stormwater run-off that provides safe wastewater treatment in urban areas/large cities. By using plants to transport, filter and purify water, the system is “attractive and innovative”, the jury commented. They added that Sewtree has the potential to create high impact by making water treatment visible, offering social relevance and community value.