Project WOW! kicks off: waste water is valuable

VITO is proud partner of this project and will focus on the techno-economic feasibility of the new value chains


Waste water contains valuable substances that can be used as raw materials for biobased products. However, in North West Europe this potential is hardly exploited yet. This results in loss of valuable materials, and increased CO2-emmissions and use of natural resources. The Interreg North-West Europe project “Wider business Opportunities for raw materials from Waste water” (WOW!) aims to make the transition to a more circular approach by matching supply and demand of cellulose, lipids and PHA bioplastics from waste water. VITO is proud to be a part of this project.

Last week the WOW! consortium came together for the project kick off. Partners from the UK, France, Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg and the Netherlands gathered to meet each other and discuss about the content.

Valuable materials from waste water

There are market opportunities for raw materials from waste water, but for this the waste water treatment plants and the industry need alignment. This calls for a transition: waste water treatment plants need to switch from treating waste water to producing valuable materials. On the other hand, market parties need to regard waste water as a valuable source instead of ‘dirty unsafe water’. Last but not least, the policies should better fit this new circular practice. To realize these opportunities the consortium aims to develop value chains for three different raw materials from waste water: cellulose, PHA bioplastics and lipids.

The following activities will be part of the project:

  • Identify high potential value chains for raw materials from waste water.
  • Develop a Decision Support Tool that guides WWTPs in their transition towards a circular approach on waste water.
  • Build and run three WOW! pilots to optimize and implement innovative recovery and upcycling techniques.
  • Create bioproducts made out of waste water, such as bioplastics, biofuel and bio-char.
  • Create national policy action plans and an EU policy roadmap.

During this project VITO will focus on the techno-economic feasibility of the new value chains. The results are made available via an on-line dynamic calculation tool. The tool allows stakeholders to make a first-level economic assessment of the integration of the new concepts in their own waste water treatment plants.

We are looking forward to a fruitful collaboration!

WOW! is supported by the Interreg North-West Europe programme,

The consortium consists of:

  • Water authority Vallei en Veluwe
  • Wupperverbandsgesellschaft für integrale Wasserwirtschaft
  • Technische Universität Kaiserslautern
  • Université du Luxembourg
  • Natureplast
  • Avans Hogeschool
  • REMONDIS Aqua Industrie
  • VITO
  • Pulsed Heat
  • CirTec
  • Severn Trent Water


About Interreg NWE

A European Territorial Cooperation program with the ambition to make the North-West Europe area a key economic player and an attractive place to work and live, with high levels of innovation, sustainability and cohesion.


VITO, press release, 2018-06-04.


Avans University of Applied Sciences
Flemish Institute for Technological Research (VITO)
Technische Universität Kaiserslautern
Université du Luxembourg