Wetsus and TU Delft win international prize for innovative ViviMag technology
As part of the IWA World Water Congress & Exhibition in Copenhagen, Denmark, Wetsus and Technical University Delft won the silver award in the category “Breakthroughs in Research and Development”. Out of 203 entries from 52 countries, the technology for magnetically extracting the valuable element phosphorus from wastewater – ViviMag® – came out as one of the three winners.
Awarded biennially at the IWA World Water Congress & Exhibition, the Project Innovation Awards recognise and promote excellence and innovation in water management, research and technology. The 13th edition of the International Water Association’s (IWA) Project Innovation Awards programme featured six categories with three finalists each. Each category recognises a distinct aspect of water innovation, from breakthroughs in research to innovations in governance.
The ViviMag technology
ViviMag started with fundamental research by Wetsus and TU Delft that identified that vivianite is a key mineral in sewage treatment plants. The paramagnetic property of this mineral was then exploited to recover the vivianite from sewage sludge using magnetic separation equipment borrowed from the mining industry, thus creating a nice example of “urban mining”. With financial support of the European EIT Raw Materials program this approach was successfully piloted at the Breda sewage treatment plant of the Dutch water authority Brabantse Delta.
The ViviMag technology was developed by Wetsus and TU Delft, in cooperation with Kemira, STOWA, water authority Brabantse Delta, Vandcenter Syd, Aquaminerals, Aquacare and Waterschapsbedrijf Limburg. Recently also Royal HaskoningDHV joined the development.
“We are very thrilled to get this recognition for our development. Our society is facing a lot of environmental challenges in a very near future, and we really need to speed up innovation in the water sector. ViviMag® is a prime example of how basic scientific insights combined with a visionary collaboration with both private and public partners can lead to radical new solutions for our common future,” says ir. Leon Korving – Wetsus’ lead in the project. Prof. Mark van Loosdrecht (TU Delft) adds: “The project is a nice example of how curiosity driven research in an engineering environment can lead to innovative solutions for societal problems”.
Kemira is now the patent owner and takes the lead in the further upscaling of this approach. An important step is a second continuous pilot installation that is now running in Germany in partnership with Veolia. Further tests are planned in Denmark and The Netherlands. Plans for a first demonstration plant in The Netherlands are already being worked out.