Two new projects about sustainable water technology

7 December 2018

Two new projects will start within the collaboration programme of NWO with Wetsus. These concern bacteria on the wall of water pipes and the extraction of polymers from wastewater.

Five proposals were submitted in this Sustainable Water Technology funding round. In 2015, NWO and Wetsus signed a collaboration agreement that provides for an annual funding round. Wetsus is a research institute for sustainable water technology that is located in Leeuwarden.

Preventing biofilm formation by developing new coatings on pipes materials for drinking water distribution systems
Prof. H.C. van der Mei, University Medical Center Groningen
Developing coatings in water distribution systems to prevent bacterial attachment and growth.

Drinking water companies ensure that the ground and surface water are purified and then transported by the water distribution system to consumers’ homes. During the transport through the distribution network, bacteria can attach to the wall of water pipes and grow into a biofilm, which eventually leads to a contamination of the mains water reaching the consumer. Drinking water companies currently still use materials for the distribution network that bacteria can easily attach to and grow on, such as polythene. We will develop coatings for these materials that prevent bacterial attachment and growth or at least strongly reduce this.

Flocculant recovery by mild fractionation techniques based on ionic liquids and aqueous two-phase systems
Dr. B. Schuur, University of Twente
With this project, we propose to study the recovery of extracellular polymer substances (EPS) from wastewater in mixed microbial cultures. These EPS can be used as flocculants, for example to enable recovery of highly diluted products, e.g. in biorefineries. Recovery of the EPS is essential and will be approached using ionic liquids (ILs) in/and stimuli responsive aqueous two-phase systems. With these stimuli-responsive systems, we can apply an external trigger after the extraction from the IL to induce phase separation and obtain our products in a very mild and sustainable approach, and recycle the solvent.

Source: NWO