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Bio-Solar Water Recycling: Demonstration wastewater treatment system dedicated to freshwater reuse and recycling. (BioSolWaRe-LIFE)
Start date: Jul 1, 2014, End date: Dec 31, 2018 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Background While Europe is considered to have adequate water resources, water scarcity and drought is an increasingly frequent and widespread phenomenon in the EU. According to recent estimates at least 11% of Europe's population and 17% of its territory had been affected by water scarcity by 2007. This puts the cost of droughts in Europe over the past 30 years at €100 billion. The European Commission expects further deterioration if the temperature continues to rise as a result of climate change. Moreover, water is a critical resource for domestic consumption and in the development of agriculture, industry and tourism. These activities are dependent on the sun and have a peak water demand during dry seasons. This means that non-renewable fossil fuel reserves are being used more and more often for the desalination of seawater or brackish groundwater. The financial cost of drinking water is related to treatments performed upstream and downstream of where the water is used. These treatments use chemical substances in significant quantities and need energy to pump, pressurise, inject and heat water for treating the sludge. Some processes such as the desalination of seawater or brackish water can consume 4-10 KWh per m³ of treated water – this is not a sustainable solution. Two EU Directives raise the issue of wastewater reuse: the Urban Wastewater Treatment Directive (91/271/EEC) and the Water Framework Directive (WFD) (2000/60/EC). Objectives The project aims at improving wastewater treatment in order to fight water scarcity and the degradation of water ecosystems. BioSolWaRe-LIFE will develop and test an innovative and more efficient wastewater treatment method based on an ecological process called bio-solar purification (BSP). This process uses biological and solar technologies to enable 80% water reuse and the recovery of greenhouse gas and organic wastes. BSP technology uses phytoplankton photosynthesis and photo-oxidation (oxidation caused by the action of light) in closed tubular systems to remove a wide range of dissolved compounds and hazardous bacteria from the wastewater. Expected results: The project expects to develop an operational pilot wastewater treatment plant that will: Allow fresh water savings through reuse and recycling; Process 50 m³ of wastewater per day; and Reduce energy requirements to 0.1 kWh/m³ (this is an energy saving of 95% compared to the reverse osmosis technique – currently the most common method for large-scale water treatment).The wide dissemination of this new procedure will allow smaller communities to comply with the water-related European regulations. Wastewater treatment plants based on this new scheme will target a market of communities and small towns from 10 to 10 000 inhabitants.

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