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  • Writer's pictureCellvation

Creating more value together in the water chain

On October 12th, the first installation for reusing cellulose from wastewater in the Netherlands was opened at the Leidsche Rijn sewage treatment plant in Utrecht. The collaborative partners, Hoogheemraadschap De Stichtse Rijnlanden and Cellvation, demonstrate the effectiveness of the circular economy!

A Win-Win-Win-Win-Win project

This is a unique project for De Stichtse Rijnlanden. Nanda van Zoelen, water board member, states, "Cellulose recovery saves us energy, reduces waste, lowers CO2 emissions, and creates a 'green' raw material. Additionally, there are fewer blockages at the treatment plant, which benefits the people who work there. This entire project is financially viable as well! It is a shining example of the circular economy in action. I am very proud of it."

The Leidsche Rijn treatment plant produces approximately 700 tons of cellulose annually, resulting in a yearly CO2 reduction of 1400 tons. The water board plans to implement this installation in all new sewage treatment projects.

Mr. Bakker, Deputy for Climate and Circular Society of the province of Utrecht, says, "This installation is part of a broader question: how can we make our usage and pollution work for us? Here, it's done by creating a raw material from toilet paper. This project contributes to closing the loop, and we are working hard in the province to achieve that. We must reduce the waste pile and become much more efficient with our raw materials. We want to further stimulate this transition, and examples like this help."

Creating more value together in the water chain

The reuse of cellulose at the Leidsche Rijn treatment plant is a fruitful collaboration between the government and the business sector. In Cellvation, the companies CirTec and Recell join forces to upcycle cellulose from wastewater into a new valuable raw material known as Recell. Reusing cellulose from sewage treatment plants and other waste streams conserves trees and space. Erik Pijlman, CEO of Cellvation, says, "With this innovative installation at De Stichtse Rijnlanden, we take a significant step toward realizing our circular economy. This reduces CO2 emissions and helps us combat climate change together."

KWS, a leader in road construction, plays a crucial role in the collaborative chain. KWS will use cellulose in asphalt, contributing to the circular chain.

Cellulose for riverbank protections?

This form of cellulose already has various markets. It is used in road and water construction, (bio)chemicals, and biobased building materials like facade cladding and traffic barriers. Together with Recell, the water board will investigate the possibility of creating riverbank protections from cellulose. Nanda van Zoelen says, "If successful, we will become consumers and users of our own raw materials. Circular in multiple ways."

Serious interest in this project

In the Netherlands, many water boards are engaged in technological developments to further purify wastewater and recover raw materials. There is interest from other water boards in the cellulose installation, as well as interest from abroad.

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