In March the first consignment of Kaumera was delivered to Chaincraft - Koppert Biological Systems will process 20,000 litres for use as a bio-stimulant for agriculture.
As a biological raw material, the recovered gum can be used in other applications, including coating material for slow-release fertilisers, binding agent to help pelletise powder-like materials as struvite, a fire retardant and curing agent for concrete.
Multiple stakeholders are involved in the development of Kaumera, including: enginering consultancy Royal HaskoningDHV, TU Delft, STOWA (Stichting Toegepast Onderzoek Waterbeheer), the Vallei en Veluwe
Water Authority, the Rijn en IJssel Water Authority, Chaincraft and the Energy and Raw Materials Factory (EFGF).
Elsewhere in the Netherlands, water utility Vitens developed two applications for lime recovered from water treatment: agriculture and the feed industry.
The bio-based Kaumera resource is extracted from aerobic granular sludge, generated from the Nereda wastewater treatment process.
Royal HaskoningDHV said there are now 70 Nereda installations globally and there is the potential to incorporate a Kaumera extraction unit at each site.
It’s estimated that a medium-sized wastewater treatment plant can produce up to 2000 tons of Kaumera each year.
The process was the overall winner of the Aquatech Innovation Award in November 2019.
Jury chairman Professor Cees Buisman, Scientific Director of Wetsus, previously said usually these type of resource innovations “you need several tonnes of material to get clients using it – it's a chicken and egg scenario”.
He said: “In this case, there is a company who is taking the risk of building a plant and another taking the risk of selling the material. Together that accelerates the speed of scale-up and adoption."