Unique featuresKaumera Nereda Gum is a biological raw material with a number of unique properties. It can retain water, but also repel it. This offers various possibilities for its use in agriculture and horticulture, the paper industry and the construction sector. For example, the condition of soil can be improved when Kaumera is added, enabling fertilisers to be retained for longer. The water-repellent properties of Kaumera can also be applied in coatings for concrete floors, for example, which results in them hardening better and lasting longer.
Contribution to the circular economyFollowing the decision by the Board, the construction of the Kaumera plant can be started. “This is important and valuable,” says chair of the Water Authority Tanja Klip-Martin, “Kaumera is a raw material which we will use to make a major contribution to the national government's objective of a fully circular economy in our country by 2050. Together with our partners, we are fully committed to the research, production and application of Kaumera”.
Nereda technologyThe raw material is extracted from the sewage sludge released by Nereda’s purification technology. In 2012, the Vallei en Veluwe Water Authority was the first in the world to start using this technology in Epe. Biomass in the Nereda technology develops as fast settling aerobic granular sludge. As a result, the footprint required is much smaller. Also, much less energy is needed to purify the sewage water. This innovative and natural way of treating wastewater is today being used in more and more facilities around the world.
Two factories in The Netherlands
Together with partners, the Vallei en Veluwe Water Authority and the Rhine en IJssel Water Authority will set up two factories within a year. In the autumn of 2019, a factory will open in Zutphen that will extract Kaumera from residual water from the dairy industry. The plant in Epe will be operational by the spring of 2020 and will extract Kaumera from municipal sewage water.
The recovery of raw materials from wastewater is widely supported within the water sector. For various raw materials (including phosphate and cellulose, but also Kaumera), water authorities work together in so-called frontrunner groups. For Kaumera, in addition to the Rhine en Ijssel, and the Valley en Veluwe, the water authorities of Noorderzijlvest, Vechtstromen, Waterbedrijf Limburg and Hoogheemraadschap de Stichtse Rijnlanden are also involved.
The development of the raw material Kaumera is the result of a collaboration between 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). All parties are contributing their knowledge and expertise to recover, process and market the new raw material. In this way, water authorities, the scientific community and the business community are working together to create a sustainable, circular economy.
The project is made possible by financial contributions from the European Union (LIFE), the Ministry of Economic Affairs (DEI) and the Province of Gelderland.
The Vallei en Veluwe Water Authority provides safe dikes, clean and sufficient surface water and purified wastewater in the area between the IJssel, Lower Rhine, Utrechtse Heuvelrug and Randmeren. Cooperation and innovation are essential to our work.