BRUNEL presented the circularity assessment of DEEP PURPLE at the ecoSTP 2023

On June 28th, David Renfrew (Brunel University London) took the stage at the ecoSTP event in Girona, Spain, to present an insightful circularity assessment of our  DEEP PURPLE project. Titled “Utilising Sustainable Value Propositions to Understand the Value Creation of Circular Actions in Wastewater Systems,” this presentation sheds light on the remarkable work we have accomplished and stems from a manuscript recently submitted for publication, a collaborative effort between BRUNEL and Aqualia.

The water sector plays a crucial role in the transition towards a circular economy (CE) due to its impact on clean water supply and wastewater management. However, water utilities often struggle to incorporate high-level circular economy strategies into their business models to understand the value created by circular solutions. This hampers their ability to build business cases and convince stakeholders to invest in circular wastewater technology. To address this challenge, a methodology was developed by the authors, focusing on sustainable value creation as a holistic indicator for circular wastewater systems.

Explanation/Application: The methodology was applied to assess the circular actions of a novel photobioreactor (PBR) developed as part of the H2020 DEEP PURPLE project. The PBR, named ANPHORA®, was compared to a benchmark conventional extended aeration system for wastewater treatment in rural Spain. By aligning ANPHORA®’s strategic goals with sustainable value propositions, relevant indicators were selected to evaluate its performance. The methodology emphasized minimizing costs, waste, GHG emissions, and energy demand while maximizing economic value and energy recovery from the waste stream. The selection of indicators guided the assessment of ANPHORA®’s value creation potential.

Results: The results revealed significant improvements in the performance of the ANPHORA® PBR compared to conventional treatment methods. The technology showcased reduced grid electricity demand, direct emissions, material and energy consumption, resulting in a substantial decrease in carbon footprint. Moreover, the production and sale of biofertilizers generated additional revenue streams from sludge. The ANPHORA® technology demonstrated its effectiveness in achieving the defined value creation goals, delivering economic, environmental, and social benefits.

Decision Support: The presentation also highlighted how this methodology can be integrated into decision support systems, facilitating decision-making at multiple levels. By incorporating sustainability and circularity metrics, plant operators can optimize their processes to maximize value generation. This approach enables them to consider not only conventional operating parameters but also sustainability factors when making decisions, thereby supporting the scale-up of the ANPHORA® system.

The circularity assessment presented by BRUNEL at the ecoSTP showcased the value of the developed methodology in understanding circular value creation in wastewater systems. By aligning strategic goals with sustainable value propositions, the ANPHORA® PBR demonstrated its ability to generate economic, environmental, and social value. This holistic approach to assessment provides decision-makers with valuable insights, enabling them to optimize processes and maximize the benefits of circular wastewater technologies.