Water Hub

NEST also contributes to the further development of promising solutions for reducing water consumption and using various substances in wastewater: In the Water Hub, Eawag tests systems that make the most efficient and versatile use of water and wastewater.
The economical use of water is just as important worldwide as the sustainable use of energy resources. NEST makes it possible to investigate the potential of water management both in individual buildings and at neighbourhood level.


Water Hub research topics

Using, not flushing: nutrients in urine

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.

New approach on greywater: treatment and use

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 Water Hub, 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.

Wastewater as an energy source: producing energy from faecal matter

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.