Water treatment Sludge Europe

VIDEO: Tour the Kaumera plant that creates bio-gum from water

Tuesday, 28 July 2020

Recovering a resource from wastewater

Have you ever wondered how a valuable resource such as a bio-gum can be extracted from the wastewater treatment process?

Well, now you can find out by taking a virtual tour of the world’s first Kaumera Nereda Gum treatment plant in the Netherlands.

Dutch waterboard and project partner Waterschap Rijn en IJssel has produced a video that shows a step-by-step guide on how sustainable gum is produced.

The raw materials plant in Zutphen is the “first facility in the world” to produce the gum, according to the organisation. Below you can watch the video.

Multi-stakeholder collaboration

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.

Award-winning innovation

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."

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