Competition 25th anniversary of AquaMinerals

Who has the best idea for the recovery, processing and application of materials from water treatment?

On the occasion of the 25th anniversary of AquaMinerals

For whom:                         Students
When:                                 Submission by 15 May 2020
Prize:                                   € 5,000 for the further elaboration of the idea + substantive support from AquaMinerals.

About AquaMinerals
AquaMinerals is the partnership of the drinking water companies and the Dutch Water Authorities that gives a second life to the residuals generated by wastewater and drinking water treatment processes. Think for example of the disposal and upgrading of waste materials and sludge as raw materials.

Drinking water companies produce residuals like:

  • Aquafer, iron pellets and ferrous sand;
  • Lime pellets;
  • Lime sludge;
  • Sand-free calcite pellets (Dutch Calcite);
  • Carbon sludge;
  • Aluminium sludge;
  • Humic acids/fulvic acids.

Water Authorities produce recovered raw materials like:

  • Nutrients: struvite (magnesium ammonium phosphate) and nitrogen (for example, urea);
  • Cellulose: cellulose-rich raw screenings, or dried and reprocessed (Recell®) screenings from finescreens;
  • Kaumera®: multi-property biopolymer reprocessed from compact sludge granules;
  • Phario PHBV ®: bio-based and degradable polyhydroxyalkanoate polymer;
  • Biomass: grass clippings (for example, roadside grass);
  • Technical fatty acids from sewage sludge;
  • Reusable water/effluent separated by membrane filtration;
  • Sewage sludge and dedging spoil;
  • Screening materials from WWTPs.

For a description of today’s chains we refer you to our Inspiration Booklet.

The sectors face challenges with regard to:

  • The reduction of extraction and reprocessing costs of residuals and waste materials.
  • The application of the materials in markets, replacing non-bio-based or non-circular primary raw materials, thereby having a positive impact on the CO2 footprint and circular economy ambitions of the sector.
  • The scalability of business (technical, logistics, sufficient supply and sales, etc.), and the associated investments in demonstration plants.

The competition
We challenge you to come up with ideas that will ultimately lead to the high-value, sustainable and circular application of materials generated by water treatment. This can involve a single, specific material and/or application, but also for instance a combination of materials or a business concept.

When submitting your idea, you will in any event give attention to:

  • The idea’s technical aspects.
  • The financial impact.
  • The consequences for sustainability and circularity.

Your ideas can be submitted in the format of your choice: written text, as presentations or for instance as visuals.

The procedure
The deadline for the submission of your ideas is 15 May 2020.

EAn expert team will assess the submissions, based primarily on the criteria of their (1) feasibility, (2) financial impact and (3) sustainability impact. The authors of the best submissions will be invited to pitch their ideas on the occasion of AquaMinerals’ 25th anniversary, on 2 July 2020. Those in attendance – expected to be 100-200 people – will then choose the winner, who will win a cash amount of € 5,000 for the further elaboration of the idea + substantive support from AquaMinerals.


Petra de Rooij