The main objectives of 4KET4Reuse project are the validation of four Key Enabling Technologies (KETs) for the elimination of emerging contaminants (CEs) in treatment plant effluents and their promotion in the SUDOE space market, breaking the barriers between the research and the water sector, and promoting job creation. The three participating regions and the technologies they provide are:
- Andalusia (ES61), with modified clay filtration systems (nanomaterials) and bioelectrogenic systems.
- Languedoc-Roussillon (FR81), with a system based on photocatalysis.
- Lisbon (PT17), with a system based on the electrokinetic process.
Next, a SWOT analysis is presented within the framework of the 4KET4Reuse project.
- The implementation and operating costs associated with KETs designed to eliminate CEs are high, although they are in the range of other advanced wastewater regeneration systems.
- The KETs under study were tested on different scales; TRL (laboratory and / or pilot) in different research centers and on a different methodology. To date, none of it has been tested on an industrial scale and / or under actual operating conditions.
- Capitalization of previous R&D&I actions: the proposed KETs were developed under various European and / or national / regional funding research projects: *
* Bioelectrogenic wetlands: INNPACTO projects of the Spanish National R & D & I Plan (AQUAELECTRA, SMARTWETLAND) and H2020 (iMETland). Its development led to the creation of a spin-off (METFILTER, participant beneficiary) and a European patent (Wastewater treatment method, International Publication No. WO 2014/140387 A1).
* Filtration using modified clays (nanomaterials): National R & D & I Plan of Spain (reference: CTM2013-42306-R). Spanish patent WO2014ES7056320140709.
* Photocatalysis: The development of UV-C / persulfate technology provided an international patent (Reactor for use in decontamination of fluids and method of use, Ref. US 2014/0346124 A1- EP No. 12794391.8).
* Electrokinetic process: project financed by the National Public Agency for Science, Technology and Innovation (PTDC / ECM / 111860/2009) and H2020 (FP7-PEOPLE-2010-IRSES-269289-ELECTROACROSS).
- The KETs promoted have a high potential for internationalization in the rest of the SUDOE space and beyond its borders.
- Regional clusters comprise the triple helix structure, fostering communication and transfer of results between knowledge generators, the private sector and management.
- High Consortium Cohesion: Some participating partners have collaborated and / or are currently collaborating in joint R&D&I action. In the case of CSIC-IRNAS and CENTA, in the Andaluz region, or CSIC-IRNAS and IRD, in a project at European level (ENPI-Med).
- European regulations on waste water treatment and re-use of reclaimed water are diffuse as regard the elimination of CEs, although the Water Framework Directive (DMA, EC / 2000/60) lays down the need to control this type of substances and Directive EC / 2008/105 lists a total of 33 substances to be controlled in watercourses.
- However, most standards or practical guides on water reuse in the SUDOE space do not specify the CEs that should be eliminated or the maximum emission concentrations. This implies that the search for highly efficient systems to eliminate this type of contaminants is currently low.
- One of the obstacles to achieving public acceptance of reclaimed water projects is the perception of the risks it poses to human health.
- The severe economic crisis in some of the participating regions (eg Andalusia, with an unemployment rate of 36%) has led to an increase in the competitiveness of companies, particularly SMEs, which are a factor in the differentiation of R&D&I in relation to its competitors. This private investment in R&D&I was fostered by national and regional governments through the launching of specific programs such as the ICO Innovación Fondo Tecnológico 2013-2015 (Spain) or Portugal 2020 Incentive Program and the Qualified Entrepreneurship and Creative (Portugal).
- The participating regions include in their RIS3 aspects related to water management, with special emphasis on the treatment and reuse of wastewater.
- The scarcity of water resources in the participating regions triggers the search for new sources of resources. These initiatives are supported by national and regional governments.