ReCoVR: Recovery and Circularity of Valuable Resources

Context/current situation: Due to the growing world population, resources and raw materials will become increasingly scarce. Therefore, the Dutch government and industry have set the goal to become a circular economy in which all resources are reusable by 2050. To enable this transition, development of novel sustainable technologies that can recover valuable resources from industrial, agricultural and municipal wastewater streams, is essential. The development of materials and products in which mineral based raw materials or materials with high CO2 emissions (e.g. cement, fertilizer) are replaced by renewable resources is of great importance. Waste water contains high volumes of these valuable materials and the water sector increasingly initiates projects to use these water based resources. However, the knowledge and experience to apply these renewable resources is not yet available.

Kaumera is one of such newly developed materials and is therefore a relatively unknown resource. It is a biopolymer that is regained from slip formed in the Nereda process (waste water treatment). It is a multi-functional polymer that can be used as binder, glue, flame retardant, stimulant for plants and coating of slow release fertilizers. The chair of International Water Technology was asked to further investigate the applications of this newly developed biopolymer. In co-design with our partners we have identified the following focus- areas/targets: The development of the renewable biobased building material based (e.g. hemp or cork), recovered chalk and the newly regained resource Kaumera for applications in plaster. The key properties of plaster (e.g. drying time, durability, processability, strength, decorability etc.) as function of the mixtures composition need to be tested in order to develop a durable, economic, as well as eco based building material. Identification of main growth hormones related to plant growth. Development and validation of methods to identify these as well as further development of the hydroponic system in order to study Kaumera stimulated plant growth better.

So, is it possible to develop chalk-Kaumera biomass mixture that can be applied as a high quality facade plaster? Is it possible to measure the effects of Kaumera on plant growth (e.g. plant hormones) in a hydroponics set up?

Cluster: Water Technology 2

This project contributes to the following Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs):