A known eccentric on the global water circuit, that is how the trade magazine Water & Wastewater International describes the winner of this Top 25 of Global water leaders: Dutch consultant René Noppeney of Royal HaskoningDHV. The top 3 has a second Dutchman. Mark van Loosdrecht of Delft University of Technology received this year a third place.

René Noppeney is a newcomer on the list, Mark van Loosdrecht held a second place last year.

Water & Wastewater International published it´s Top 25 Global water leaders for the third year in a row on 18 January. According to the magazine it lists the best of the best, global thought leaders in the water and waste water industries.

dws-wwi-top25-rhdhv-ifat-350px  René Noppeney (left) at IFAT 2016 exhibition during the Nereda network lunch. Here seen with managing director Greg Johnston at Aquatec Maxcon, who represents Nereda in Australia.

Leader of Nereda team
In the case of Dutch consultant René Noppeney the magazine praises his high visibility as leader of the Nereda waste water technology team that developed 37 plants in a very short period of time, half already in operation and the remaining in design or construction phases.

In a reaction on the occasion of his election, René Noppeney tells he is overwhelmed. “It is awesome”, he reacts in an interview with chief editor Tom Freyberg. “To be shortlisted, that in itself was a great recognition. But to then get the news that our Nereda team has actually won”.

Activated sludge 2.0
Noppeney feels his election as a recognition for what he calls ‘Activated sludge 2.0’ for treatment of waste water. “The thing that separates it from activated sludge 1.0”, he explains in the interview, “is that we are able to let these bacteria, which are in the flocs of activated sludge, grow in granules without adding any media or additives or chemicals.

Small footprint
“We train them so to speak to grow in granules”, Noppeney continues. “ That has two big advantages. One is the settling capability of the sludge that increases enormously. Hence we can build smaller - up to four times as small in physical footprint - as an conventional activated sludge installation.”

“The other advantage is that within those granules, they organise themselves in a way that we can achieve full nutrient removal within a single reactor tank. So, smaller in footprint and half the energy cost, without chemicals with full nutrient removal."

dws-wwi-top25-loosdrecht-350pxThe third place is for Dutch professor Mark van Loosdrecht, praised for his creation of the Anammox-bacteria for the removal of nitrogen from waste water and contributing to the fundamental research on the special granule that is used in the Nereda wastewater technology.

Esteemed professional
In the interview Noppeney also mentions the relation between his Nereda-team and the number 3 in the Top 25, Dutch professor Mark van Loosdrecht. “The technology was first developed at Delft University of technology by professor Mark Van Loosdrecht, also in the Top 25 and highly esteemed professional.

“Mark has been a great ambassador for us. We brought the technique from a laboratory to full scale in the Netherlands in co-creation with the research institute of the Dutch Water Authorities, a private-public partnership. After that, we acquired the right to distribute the technology worldwide”.

Strategic partnerships
According to Noppeney it has been a conscious decision for Royal HaskoningDHV to not want to do this alone but to strive for strategic partnerships. “This notion of strategic partnerships is key to being successful at the moment. Globally, the networking environment is much more powerful in terms of creativity and speed than we can develop and roll out on our own. We made a conscious decision to create partnerships and that’s starting to pay off.”

The full Top 25 and the interview with the winner is published on the website of Water & Wastewater International.

Read also on this website
Nereda plant in Rio de Janeiro ready to treat Olympic waste water, 21 June 2016
Professor Mark van Loosdrecht No. 2 in top 25 leaders international water industry, 29 January 2016
Royal HaskoningDHV increases market access for its Nereda technology in Spain, Portugal and South Africa, 2 December 2015
Interview with winner of the Singapore Lee Kuan Yew water prize 2012: professor Mark van Loosdrecht, 28 June 2012

More information
Royal HaskoningDHV
Amersfoort, the Netherlands
+31 88 348 20 00

Delft University of Technology
Department of Biotechnology
Delft, the Netherlands
+31 15 27 81618