The academic biography of emeritus professor Gatze Lettinga 'My Anaerobic Sustainability Story' is now available. It is the second, revised and extended version of Lettinga's story of how he invented the Upflow anaerobic sludge blanket (UASB) technology for the treatment of waste water at Wageningen University, the Netherlands.

The booklet provides a survey and evaluation of the development of high-rate Anaerobic Wastewater Treatment (AnWT) and its supplementary resource recovery directed post-treatment systems.

dws-lettinga-book-uasb-scheme-350pxRevolutionary concept
Lettinga's revolutionary treatment concept enables industrial-used water to be purified cost-effectively and produces renewable energy, fertilizers and soil conditioners.

Professor Lettinga choose not to patent this invention so that his water treatment technology can be universally available.

As a result, his technology has been widely adopted in industrial as well as municipal use. Today, the technology is in use in almost 3,000 reactors, representing about 80% of all anaerobic used water treatment systems in the world.

Professor Lettinga pioneered the widespread use of anaerobic technology, which uses micro-organisms in an oxygen-free environment to purify used water. Although anaerobic technology has been around for over 100 years, his invention proved that it could be operated as an energy-efficient, cost-effective and self-sustaining process.

Lettinga received various awards for his work, including the Prize for Environmental Achievement in 2007, and the Singapore Lee Kuan Yew Water Prize in 2009.

dws-lettinga-book-cover-250pxEvaluation of professional career
In his book Lettinga writes: "For me it is still rather mysterious why and how I found myself at the inception of several of these innovative developments, but apparently the time was ripe, as we received timely enormous stimulants and support from the Dutch Government, from the spontaneous interest of visionary environmental engineers of the CSM sugar beet company, from Paques BV, and many others which were soon to follow."

Lettinga continues: "Everything has its roots, and we should cherish roots and do whatever is needed to prevent uprooting, because it is extremely risky for our society, and becoming even more so in these modern times of uncontrolled exponential developments. As such, the writing of this evaluation report of my professional career was important for me, but also because it enables me to retreat somewhat from a number of my statements and some judgments I made in these years - it is not too late.

"Society is in a transition towards something better, as we are being forced into dismissing the ugly and retaining the good. In any case, it is both challenging and inspiring to speculate about "The Why and How of Sustainability". You’ll find my attempt in the last chapter of the booklet."

The first edition of this booklet has been presented at the 13th World Congress on Anaerobic Digestion in Santiago De Compostela, Spain in June 2013.

The book costs 24.50 euro (excl. shipping costs) and copies can be ordered by e-mail: info@leaf-wageningen.nl

More information
LeAF Foundation
Wageningen, the Netherlands
+31 317 484208