The EU is currently facing the challenge of recycling materials and water of high quality to become carbon neutral by decreasing its energy consumption and CO2 emissions. The current Water Framework Directive has strict regulations on a wide range of contaminants, and most treatments continuously increase the energy demand of the water cycle. Yet, the EU is committed to ambitious targets to reduce Greenhouse Gas emissions, including the legally binding 2015 Paris agreement. These conflicting interests have motivated REWATERGY, a partnership within the water-energy nexus. This integrated network, led by industry in partnership with world leading academic institutions, envisions the scientific and technological opportunities of such challenges with direct economic and social impacts to the EU. Three research objectives set the foundation of this ambitious programme:
- Enhance the energy recovery from wastewater streams inspired by the circular economy concept.
- Improve the energy efficiency of water disinfection and removal of contaminants of emerging concern.
- Increase the resilience of distributed household safe drinking water systems addressing potential health and safety challenges.
The programme is particularly designed to cultivate an entrepreneurial spirit by the collaborative design, development and manufacturing of new prototypes aligned with the three research objectives. This training concept will have a long term impact by providing a stream of highly trained innovative scientists and engineers able to communicate ideas and to develop creative solutions for the adoption of novel technologies in the market.