2019 has been one of our busiest years yet for the Nereda® team at Royal HaskoningDHV. With more than 25 years of research and over 10 years of full-scale application, Nereda® is the proven aerobic granular sludge technology providing superior treated water at a very small footprint, up to half the energy consumption and with no chemicals. We’ve come a long way since we signed the contract for the first full-scale Nereda plant in 2005 at Vika in Ede in The Netherlands, and as we reach the end of the year, we now have 74 Nereda plants in operation or under construction. Our Nereda technology is making an impact across the globe.
Our 74 plants will provide high quality wastewater treatment for a population equivalent well in excess of 10 million across 18 countries worldwide. Here are just a few of our other highlights from the last 12 months.
We started the year exhibiting with our French licensee, Sources SA at the Carrefour Des Gestions Locales De L’Eau. The show was attended by over 12,000 visitors and we also had the opportunity to present to the attendees on the economical and aesthetic qualities of granular sludge technology.
With 10 plants in the UK now in service, we were pleased to ensure that the Nereda® Plant at Kendal Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) achieved regulatory compliance in February ahead of its official compliance date. It was initially commissioned in October 2018 and was operational and already achieving exceptional performance prior to United Utilities’ March 2019 compliance date. Kendal WWTP was the first Nereda installation commissioned by United Utilities to go live.
Award wins represent a huge achievement for our clients, licensees, partners and ourselves. Therefore, we were delighted that the Nereda® WWTP at Faro-Olhao in the Algarve in Portugal was recognised at WEX Global 2019 at the start of March. The plant won the ‘Innovation in Infrastructure’ category and was the first plant for utilities consortium Acciona Agua/Oliveiras in the country.
April started on a positive note, with the official transfer of the Hong Kong Shatin Demonstration Plant to the end user DSD, and the start of our first Gold Operational support package.
Our award success continued in April, when we won the coveted title ‘Wastewater Project of the Year’ at Global Water Awards 2019, held in the Natural History Museum, London. The submission featured our Nereda® plant at Utrecht, which is the largest wastewater treatment plant in Utrecht, Netherlands, and was budgeted at €120m. The plant brings improved wastewater treatment to approximately 430,000 customers.
Speaking following the award announcement, Rene Noppeney, Global Director Water Products & Innovation, Royal HaskoningDHV commented: “We are absolutely delighted to have won ‘Wastewater Project of the Year’. Our Nereda technology is an established game-changer for sustainable wastewater technology and offers the perfect solution for countries facing growing urbanisation and improved environmental protection.”
By May, Severn Trent Water’s first Nereda® plant at Walsall Wood went live ahead of its official compliance deadline of Summer 2019. The UK water company selected Nereda technology in order to meet the stringent new standards for phosphorus and ammonia levels in wastewater. The company needed to find a solution that would deliver the necessary environmental benefits at the same time as being cost effective in terms of capital expenditure and whole life costs.
Congratulations went out to researcher Yuemei Lin from Delft University of Technology this summer, when she won the Zilveren Zandloper (Silver Hourglass) Innovation Award 2019 at the Dutch Biotechnology Congress. The award was presented for her contribution to the research and development of Kaumera Nereda® Gum. Kaumera is a new bio-based resource, which is extracted from aerobic granular sludge originated from the Nereda wastewater treatment process. The Zilveren Zandlopers are awarded every two years to innovative biotechnological projects in the field of innovation and education.
At the IWA Biofilm Conference in Edinburgh, internationally leading academics and practitioners gathered for a dedicated workshop on Granular Sludge, where we presented how far the technology has evolved. Scottish Water, one of our key end users, presented its very positive experience in working with Nereda technology and our team.
The European Wastewater Management (EWWM) conference took place in July in the UK. Running over two days (16-17 July 2019), the conference is Europe’s leading wastewater conference sharing operational experience and practical solutions. The conference featured a packed agenda of presentations from industry leaders and a presentation highlighting Nereda® technology formed part of the programme. The conference provided a great platform to discuss and showcase our technology.
Over the summer we toured a number of UK wastewater plants where Nereda® technology has already been successfully deployed, to film it in action. Despite the occasionally unseasonal weather, we got some great footage, which really illustrates our game-changing technology.
The Water Environment Federation’s Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC) 2019 took place in September in Chicago, Illinois USA. Nereda® licensee, Aqua Aerobic Systems exhibited at the event and showcased Nereda technology. A number of Nereda representatives joined the team at its stand. This year’s WEFTEC also marked a special occasion for Aqua Aerobic Systems as the company celebrated its 50th anniversary. Another licensee, EPS also celebrated its milestone 50th year in 2019. Rene Noppeney added: “All our Nereda community is very important to us and we are proud to be working with some amazing and experienced licensees.”
October was a milestone month for us. Working with partners, we launched a new raw material from wastewater: Kaumera Nereda® gum. This sustainable biopolymer is a valuable resource and a viable alternative to a variety of oil-based materials. The first large-scale Kaumera production unit has now been officially opened (2 October 2019) in Zutphen, with the second production unit in Epe coming online in Spring 2020.
Rene Noppeney explains: “Kaumera is an exceedingly versatile raw material with the potential to be used in a host of applications, that will help to secure the future through minimizing waste and promoting waste reuse.”
We signed two new preferred suppliers – leading worldwide supplier of automation systems Festo and German-based AERZEN. The company is renowned for delivering reliable, high-performing and energy-efficient blowers and screw compressors worldwide.
We also held our third ‘Nereda Community Days’ event, where we brought our licensees from all over the world together to learn from each other’s experiences, celebrate our achievements and plan for the future. Hosted by licensee BRK in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, the community days also saw the successful launch of the Nereda Awards.
Following its launch earlier in the year, Kaumera Nereda® gum, a new bio-based resource, which is extracted from the aerobic granular sludge originating from the Nereda wastewater treatment process, was nominated at the Aquatech Innovation Awards in the ‘Innovation – not yet to market’ category – and not only won that category, but won the overall prize – making it the one to watch!
Meanwhile in Asia, the progress and benefits of Nereda technology in Asia-Pacific was presented at the IWA ASPIRE and the Malaysian International Water Convention. From a start in 2016, Nereda technology has already moved into eight Asia-Pacific countries.
With the new year just around the corner, the countdown has started to some exciting announcements for 2020. We are also looking forward to reaching our next Nereda® technology milestone and celebrating successes with partners and licensees along the way.
Happy Holidays and a prosperous New Year!