NEST also supports the development of promising solutions to curb water consumption and make use of various substances found in wastewater. In WaterHub, Eawag tests systems that use water and wastewater in as efficient and versatile a way as possible. An economic use of water is globally just as important as the sustainable utilization of energy resources. NEST enables the potential of water management to be studied in individual buildings and at district level.
WaterHub research topics
We are about to install and operate a new urine treatment reactor in the NEST with the final goal to support commercialisation of urine-derived fertiliser. The reactor setup is based on the existing VUNA Complete Nutrient Recovery Pilot in Forum Chriesbach Dübendorf, but it will be extended with additional modules. In addition, we will use a computer model, combined with the results from the pilot plant, to optimise the overall urine treatment process with respect to energy consumption, financial costs, maintenance, and process stability.
Treatment and reuse of greywater has the potential to reduce fresh water consumption by at least 50% if treated water quality is sufficient not only for toilet flushing but also for washing, cleaning, and irrigation. Greywater is a reliable local source of water in an urban setting. In the WaterHub, we will implement a novel greywater treatment process: gravity driven membrane filtration combined with biological/chemical post-treatment. This advanced treatment is combined with online monitoring of water quality in the future greywater distribution system.
Poor or nonexistent management and treatment of faecal sludge is a global problem. Inefficient dewatering of faecal sludge is currently the greatest obstacle for developing and implementing efficient treatment systems. In this project, we develop fundamental knowledge on faecal sludge dewatering, and use this knowledge to investigate how to improve and develop treatment that incorporates resource recovery. Outcomes will include recommendations for dewatering to produce optimal resource recovery end-products, including fuel, heat, and electricity.