Taking into account the current global water scarcity and the expensive operation and maintenance cost of wastewater treatment, INCOVER concept has been designed to move wastewater treatment from being primarily a sanitation technology towards a bio-product recovery industry and a recycled water supplier. A wastewater specific Decision Support System methodology will be tailored to the INCOVER technologies and provide data and selection criteria for a holistic wastewater management approach.
Three added-value plants treating wastewater from three case-studies (municipalities, farms and food and beverage industries) will be implemented, assessed and optimised concurrently. INCOVER plants will be implemented at demonstration scale in order to achieve Technology Readiness Level(TRL) of 7-8 to ensure straightforward up scaling to 100,000 population equivalents (PE). INCOVER added-value plants will generate benefits from wastewater offering three recovery solutions: 1) Chemical recovery (bio-plastic and organic acids) via algae/bacteria and yeast biotechnology; 2) Near-zero-energy plant providing upgraded bio-methane via pre-treatment and anaerobic co-digestion systems; 3) Bio-production and reclaimed water via adsorption, biotechnology based on wetlands systems and hydrothermal carbonisation. To improve added-value production efficiency, INCOVER solutions will include monitoring and control via optical sensing and soft-sensors.
INCOVER solutions will reduce at least a 50% overall operation and maintenance cost of wastewater treatment through the use of wastewater as a source for energy demand and added-value production to follow UE circular economy strategy. In addition, strategies to facilitate the market uptake of INCOVER innovations will be carried out in order to close the gap between demonstration and end-users.
An estimated turnover of 188 million€ for INCOVER lead-users is expected after the initial exploitation strategy of 5 years implementing 27 INCOVER solutions.