What does it mean for the water sector to embrace the circular economy ethos? As nations become more aware of unsustainable resource abstraction and increasing waste volumes, there is now a greater focus on creating a circular economy where waste is not discarded, but instead reused. While concepts such as water reuse and biogas production are well-known, the impacts of rising costs and climate challenges are transforming these processes from a desirable addition to a critical means of ensuring efficiency. The need for creative approaches to the challenges faced by the water sector is essential now more than ever before.
Implementing a circular economy can unlock a host of opportunities for utilities and industrial end-users alike to secure the future of water management. From direct potable reuse to resource recovery from waste streams, a multitude of both well-established and game-changing technologies are ensuring that process innovation is a top priority. Intriguing resources under the spotlight include nutrients, fuels such as biochar or syngas from thermal sludge treatment processes, biopolymers, salts and microbial fuel cells. Underpinning these developments in treatment technologies and products is the need to ensure that circular practices are economically viable, offering opportunities to reduce energy consumption, provide alternative revenue streams and minimise disposal costs.
This new series of Global Water Intelligence content for Aquatech will explore reuse in its broadest sense to spotlight the technologies, processes and people that are driving circularity forward across the water sector.