Magnetic recovery of vivianite from wastewater – ViviMag® wins award

Wetsus and TU Delft won a silver award at the prestigious Project Innovation Awards ceremony of the International Water Association (IWA). The award was granted in the ‘Breakthroughs in Research and Development’ category, and was recently presented at the IWA World Water Congress & Exhibition in Copenhagen, Denmark. Of the 203 submissions from 52 countries, the technology for the magnetic recovery of vivianite from wastewater – ViviMag® – was one of the category’s three finalists and won the silver award.  

The ViviMag® technology was developed by Wetsus and TU Delft, in collaboration with Kemira, STOWA, the Brabantse Delta Water Authority, Vandcenter Syd, AquaMinerals, Aquacare and the Limburg Water Authority Company. Recently, Royal Haskoning DHV also became involved in the technology’s development.  AquaMinerals participates in this consortium with the aim of developing new chains for vivianite, so that both the phosphate and the iron can be reused.

ViviMag® began with basic research conducted by Wetsus and TU Delft, which demonstrated that vivianite is an important mineral in wastewater treatment plants. Vivianite’s paramagnetic properties were then exploited to recover it from sewage sludge, employing magnetic separation equipment borrowed from the mining industry. The result: a beautiful example of ‘urban mining’.

Kemira holds the patent and will lead the further upscaling for the recovery of vivianite. A key step in this effort is a second continuous pilot installation, which is now being run in Germany in partnership with Veolia. Further tests are planned in Denmark and the Netherlands. Plans for a first demonstration plant in the Netherlands have already been elaborated.