The European Patent Office (EPO) has nominated the scientists Mark van Loosdrecht, Merle de Kreuk, Sef Heijnen (left to right on photo) of Delft University for the 2012 European Inventor Award (EIA) in the category research. They were nominated for their contribution to the development of the Nereda water technology.

The invention enables the purification of industrial and household waste water to be carried out much more efficiently and cheaply in a space four times as small. Which of the three nominated teams in the 'Research' category is to receive the prize will be revealed on 14 June in Copenhagen.

The EPO nominated fifteen scientists and entrepreneurs for five different categories. Covering the fields of medical technology and medicine, telecommunications, wastewater treatment, battery recycling, energy storage and environment, clothing, laser technology, railway manufacturing and construction.

It was already announced last month that Van Loosdrecht will receive the Lee Kuan Yew Water Prize 2012 during the Singapore International Water Week in July.
(read more: Professor Mark van Loosdrecht wins Singapore Lee Kuan Yew water prize 2012

Official commissioning
The first full scale Nereda plant for treatment of municipal waste water will be officially commissioned by his Royal Highness Crown Prince Willem-Alexander in Epe, the Netherlands on May 8.
(

Mark van Loosdrecht
Professor in Environmental Biotechnology Mark van Loosdrecht has spent more than twenty years working on improvements to the natural breakdown and reuse of waste materials. In addition to the Lee Kuan Yew Water Prize, he was also awarded an honorary doctorate last year by the leading technical university ETH Zurich for his 'outstanding achievements in environmental biotechnology and numerous practical applications of scientific knowledge in purification techniques, especially in the field of water purification.'

Merle de Kreuk
Merle de Kreuk has been involved since the outset and has played a key role in further developing the invention to create the internationally applied Nereda technology: "In 2000, I started my PhD research on aerobic granular sludge technology in the Biotechnology department at TU Delft. During my PhD and postdoc research, Nereda has grown in scale from a three-litre laboratory reactor to working plants like the one being opened in Epe on 8 May." In 2007, she was awarded the Simon Stevin Fellowship Prize by STW and she won the Jaap van der Graaf award in 2010.

Sef Heijnen
Full Professor Bioprocess Technology Sef Heijnen is co-founder of the Delft Kluyver Centre for Genomics of Industrial Fermentation, which researches the practical applications of (parts of) living organisms in industrial production processes. He has been awarded the Akzo Nobel Science Award and has recently been appointed member of the 'College of Fellows of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE)', a group committed to the research field of biomedical technology.

European Inventor Award
The European Inventor Award (EIA) is presented annually by the European Patent Office (EPO), in alliance with the European Commission. The award is presented in the country of the incumbent EU president, which this year is Denmark. The prize is intended for individuals and teams 'whose pioneering work provides answers to the challenges of our age and thereby contributes to progress and prosperity'.

See the original press release from the European Patent Office.

More information
Delft University of technology
Delft, the Netherlands
Ineke Boneschansker, Science Information Officer, +31 15 27 88499

Amersfoort, the Netherlands
Andreas Giesen, manager innovation & product development water, +31 33 468 24 97

European Patent Office
Munich, Germany
+49 89 2399 0