Overview of the Project
NOVEDAR_Consolider project started in December 2007 with the aim of developing the Sewage Treatment Plant of the XXI Century. The three main challenges of the project are improving water and product recovery during wastewater treatment, minimising energy requirements and operational costs of full-scale plants and minimising sludge production.
The project is financed by the Ministry of Education and Science with 4.5 MM € for the period 2007-2011. From a total of 71 projects that applied to the Consolider Program in 2007, only 27 have been finally awarded. The main objective of this type of project consists of promoting the sharing of knowledge and technologies between different research groups in order to achieve scientific excellence in specific topics.
In NOVEDAR_Consolider the team is composed of 11 research groups, from 9 Spanish and 2 Dutch centres, with a particular expertise in complementary research areas regarding advanced wastewater and sludge treatment, odour control, monitoring and control of sewage treatment plants, ecotoxicology and economy.
The aim of the project consists of the definition of the structure of Sewage Treatment Plants (STP) based on the use of emerging technologies and the evaluation of operational strategies. A key point of the project is the flexibility of the conception of STP, which is going to be adapted to different scenarios, depending on its location (coastal or inland), size of the plant, destination of the final effluent, etc.. A multi-criteria analysis that incorporates technological, environmental, ecotoxicological and economical aspects will be applied when the Best Available Technologies Not Entailing Excessive Costs (BATNEEC) are selected.
The proposal is open to new paradigms and ideas that are arising at international level, including issues such as costs and energy minimisation, sludge production minimisation and management, the potential recovery of water for reuse and other valuable resources from wastewaters, etc. This would turn the STP into a plant conceived for the treatment and resource recovery from wastewater.
By means of this action, the NOVEDAR team tries to attain three general objectives:
i) The development, implementation and evaluation of advanced processes for the treatment of wastewater and sludge. Integrated models for all processes, including the required water quality in each scenario and considering the internal (related to the own STP) and external (considering also environmental costs) economical impacts, will be set up;
ii) Efficient technology transfer and training of highly specialised scientists and technical staff;
iii) A better integration in the European Research Area of the involved groups.
The proposal comprises five subprograms and a total of 12 working packages:
a) Integrated R+D Project;
b) Exchange of PhD students and researchers;
c) Training (particularly oriented to the better integration in the European Research Area);
d) Diffusion and Technology transfer (for a better dissemination of the results in academic and industrial environments); and e) General Coordination of the project.
The proposal is presented by a consortium of 9 Spanish and 2 Dutch groups, which are especially oriented to the areas of Wastewater treatment and post-treatment technologies; Sludge minimisation and treatment; Odour control, Modelling; Advanced Supervision and Control; Microbial Physiology and Ecology; Conception and design of innovative processes; Life Cycle Analysis; Environmental Risk Assessment; Ecotoxicology and Water Economy. Although each group has an expertise in his own working field, their integration in the NOVEDAR team will allow them to acquire wider perspectives, this representing a qualitative improvement, since it requires a multidisciplinary and intersectorial work between universities, companies and authorities.
The proposal is supported by a set of 29 companies, which represent a relevant fraction of the capacity in the wastewater treatment sector in Spain, and 14 water authorities with competences in water management. This integration will allow the creation of a platform for an efficient transference of results, as well as the consolidation of a fluid dialog between stakeholders for the reflection about new problems and restrictions to the solutions.
A detailed management plan has been established to assure a good coordination; to enhance exchange between the different groups; to promote the dissemination of the results; and to facilitate the integration into a European dimension.
Most of the funding requested goes to increasing the research capacity of the team by contracting pre- and post-doctoral researchers (under shared responsibilities between at least two groups) and technicians, but also to promoting the multi-disciplinary training of highly qualified scientists and technicians by means of summer schools, workshops, courses and exchanges.