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A Dutch company is a major producer of specialty chemicals, supplying essential ingredients worldwide. Their production processes results in a variety of wastewater streams which often contain both salt and organic matter. The company is looking for improved methods to purify wastewater streams to decrease any impact on the environment and thereby closing the water loop in their factories. Cooperation with partners would be in the frame of a research or a technical cooperation agreement.
A Dutch multinational company is a leader in sustainability, and as such are looking for improved methods to purify their wastewater streams to decrease any impact on the environment. In their vision of truly circular chemistry, they would be able to reduce the organic matter content, reuse the water, and sell the salt as a valuable raw material, thereby closing the water loop in their factories.
The composition of the wastewater streams varies significantly. Many of them contain organic matter (expressed as chemical oxygen demand, or COD), much of which they can easily treat biologically. However, a major challenge is the presence of non-biologically degradable organic residues (expressed as hard chemical oxygen demand, or hard-COD), often in combination with high amounts of salt (typically potassium or sodium salts of chloride or sulphate). The company also have some sites where they want to reduce the amount of organically-bound nitrogen in the wastewater streams. Lastly, within their businesses the acceptance levels of COD in wastewater range widely (from 200ppm to 1ppm). The company is seeking to broaden their repertoire of wastewater treatment solutions to deal with these different streams more effectively.
The main challenge is the high amount of salt (ranging from 5 to 25%), which creates challenges for biological wastewater treatment. Moreover a significant part of the COD after biological treatment originates from residues from the microbes themselves (hard-COD). Having microbes that can better resist high salt concentrations and/or have a longer lifespan would make the process more effective and efficient.
For the organically-bound nitrogen waste (which is not always in combination with high salt concentrations), the wastewater is complex and batch wise production results in significant variations over time. These variations lead to challenges related to efficiency, toxicity, sludge resilience, and treatment plant design; thus far, these challenges have hampered the implementation of an effective biological treatment approach.
The following criteria should be considered:
• Cost-competitive at the right scale (treating 1 to 50t COD/day)
• Fit to the companiy's specialty chemicals technologies and markets
• Contribution to sustainability
• Impact of the idea in the short term (implementation in 5 years or less)
• Quality and maturity of the team
Cooperation with partners would be in the frame of a research or a technical cooperation agreement
This technology request is an innovation challenge and is published on an open innovation platform until March 10th 2018. If an organisation does express interest in cooperation with this firm before that date, it will be guided towards this open innovation platform on which one can get in touch via a chat function with the company. Mind that posts on this platform are not confidential.
Beside open discussions on the platform, sharing of confidential information will be made possible on demand. After that, the firm will select the SME's with whom they would like to cooperate in the development of a solution.
Once the challenge is closed, EOI's for this technology request will be treated in the traditional way.
Specifically, the company is looking for solutions in 4 specific areas:
• Techniques that can bring the bulk of COD down (from 5000ppm to 100ppm) at high salt concentrations
• Techniques that can remove low-level COD (from 100ppm to1ppm) at high salt concentrations
• Techniques to remove COD (from 5000ppm to 100ppm) as well as organic nitrogen from waste streams (from 500ppm to 25ppm) at both high and low salt concentrations
• Processes for converting soluble microbial products (i.e. residues) into easily degradable materials which can be broken down or removed from the waste
Solutions could involve the biology of microorganisms, chemical or technological methods, or even ways to better monitor and control the composition of our wastewater effluents in order to more effectively control the biological wastewater treatment feedstock.
The company is not looking for existing technologies like evaporation-based techniques, incineration, or the long-established chemical oxidation techniques, unless there is a proven step-change improvement from a cost and sustainability viewpoint.
The company is open to many stages of development, but focus is on implementation within 5 years or less.
Type of partners: SME’s and other innovators with a focus on the research & development of wastewater treatment and especially the reduction of hard chemical oxygen demand and organically-bound nitrogen.
Type of partner collaboration:
The Dutch multinational wants to work together as equal partners, under shared-IP conditions, this could be in the form of:
Technical cooperation agreement
Any other kind of agreement that suits the purpose
The challenge offers several support awards in the fields of entrepreneurship and/or chemistry