These days Europe may seem more divided than it has been for a very long time. Tensions on the eastern borders, pressure in the south and the UK deciding to leave the European Union covers it in a nutshell. I have a dream that our Nereda wastewater treatment technology can have a unifying effect on these challenges.

View from water waste facility of landscape | Royal HaskoningDHV

Although I realize that politics and microbiology cannot be readily compared, these events do remind me of the biomass in a conventional wastewater treatment plant. There too, the flocculent activated sludge has little cohesion, moves slowly without a real sense of direction and with limited activity. In biological wastewater treatment we have been able to solve this problem by transforming this flocculent sludge into granules. Cooperation between the Delft Technical University, STOWA (Stichting Toegepast Onderzoek Waterbeheer) and Royal HaskoningDHV resulted in the development of the Nereda® Aerobic Granular Sludge technology. It has everything flocculent sludge does not; it’s cohesive, it knows where to go and it’s much more active. Moreover, the cohesive Nereda® properties extend beyond the biological realm into the geopolitical arena. 

Would this new technology also be capable of reuniting the whole of Europe and beyond? Dispersing from The Netherlands, successful operation of Nereda technology is indeed confirmed in the north, south, east and west with plants in Australia, Brazil, Ireland, Poland, Portugal, Hong Kong, South Africa and even the ever neutral Switzerland. At the same time we have Scandinavia, India, USA all just awakening, while there is even a friendly knock on the door from our German neighbours. Our recent first Nereda Community Days held in South Africa showed that representatives of our Nereda® licensees could come together in a brotherhood of man. To show that these are not just words, but real (and not alternative) facts, do visit our website with information for each of these plants. 

However, the biggest achievement in geopolitical perspective is the British conversion. Proud as the pioneer of modern wastewater technology, there seemed an intrinsic resistance to make the next step. However, due to the work of the early adopters, such as United Utilities and Thames Water, Nereda® has landed on British soil. With the first plant (Highworth) ready for start-up and the second under design (Kendal) an unquenchable thirst for Nereda® is released. 

It seems that the unity of the world is under threat from its incessant search for self-destruction but I have a dream that we could learn lessons from the cohesive powers of the smallest of us all….bugs….! Visit our website to see if you can share in it (#Nereda). 

Chen Jun

5 Feb 2017
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