BluElephant – decentralised compact wastewater treatment system

To fulfill SDG6 (clean water and sanitation) and SDG11 (Sustainable Cities & Communities) there is worldwide a large challenge in treating municipal wastewater. A compact, robust and easy-to-maintain decentralized wastewater treatment system would offer a solution, where regular sewage treatment plants are missing, do not function sufficiently, or the erection of a long-distance sewage system is not economically viable or time-consuming. Typical markets are in developing countries, but the need for such compact, decentralised systems is also increasing in European and Dutch markets.

As result the BluElephant was developed as a total solution that can be easily integrated into both urban and rural areas in all kinds of countries. An additional advantage of the BluElephant is that it is a very visible if not have a striking appearance and can therefore contribute to more water awareness. The BluElephant concept combines an intelligent design, with high-end technology for serial production and proven techniques for treating wastewater with membrane filtration. With this system, pathogens (including Covid-19 residues) can be removed from wastewater at any location for groups of up to 200 people. The remaining effluent is suitable for irrigation (or e.g. hydroponics) to decrease hunger (SDG2), discharge to surface water, artificial infiltration and underground water storage.

The research group International Water Technology has been asked to test the prototype in relation to its process performance (biological wastewater treatment in combination with membrane filtration) and to develop the process control system which is of importance due to its stand-alone (sometimes) remote operation. The design and serial production, however, have also to be evaluated and optimized in order to reduce the cost price and increase the attractiveness for (also) the low-end world market. These and other business opportunities in the domestic, European and international market should be further explored in close cooperation with the project partners.