Resource Recovery Monitoring and Circular Economy Model in Wastewater

A special issue of Water (ISSN 2073-4441). This special issue belongs to the section "Wastewater Treatment and Reuse".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 May 2024 | Viewed by 4808

Special Issue Editors

Institute of Environmental Engineering, Kaunas University of Technology, Kaunas, Lithuania
Interests: chemical risk management; waste; water resources management; environmental impact; circular economy
Mineral and Energy Economy Research Institute, Polish Academy of Sciences, 31-261 Cracow, Poland
Interests: green deal strategies; circular economy; raw materials; water and wastewater; nutrients; roadmaps; policy recommendations; indicators; life cycle assessment (LCA); sustainable development goals
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Wastewater has long been viewed as waste that simply needs to be treated in order to be released into the environment as clean water. However, wastewater, similarly to solid waste, is a source of various secondary resources and therefore can and should become part of the circular economy.

This Special Issue is dedicated to discussing ways and opportunities for wastewater to "participate" in the circular economy. How many and what kind of resources, material and energetic, are recovered? What is the recovery potential? What solutions and technologies are already used in practice (i.e., do you have any case studies that could be analyzed and presented?), and what is still being developed and tested? Papers concerning how to monitor resource recovery from wastewater or sewage sludge, e.g., developing and applying indicators for CE in the water and wastewater sectors, are particularly of interest.

These topics deserve increased attention from researchers and practitioners. The legal framework is also evolving, and incentives for resource recovery are being created. Thus, papers on the mentioned topics are welcome to this Special Issue.

Prof. Dr. Jolita Kruopienė
Prof. Dr. Marzena Smol
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • circular economy
  • wastewater sector
  • indicators
  • resources from wastewater
  • resources from sewage sludge
  • resource recovery
  • monitoring framework
  • sustainability

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

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12 pages, 16830 KiB  
Article
Impact of Nano–Sized Polyethylene Terephthalate on Microalgal–Bacterial Granular Sludge in Non–Aerated Wastewater Treatment
Water 2023, 15(22), 3914; https://doi.org/10.3390/w15223914 - 09 Nov 2023
Viewed by 743
Abstract
The widely used plastics in our daily lives have resulted in ubiquitous microplastics and nanoplastics in wastewater, such as polyethylene terephthalate (PET). As an emerging green process for wastewater treatment and resource recovery, microalgal–bacterial granular sludge (MBGS) aligns with the concept of the [...] Read more.
The widely used plastics in our daily lives have resulted in ubiquitous microplastics and nanoplastics in wastewater, such as polyethylene terephthalate (PET). As an emerging green process for wastewater treatment and resource recovery, microalgal–bacterial granular sludge (MBGS) aligns with the concept of the circular economy. However, it is unclear whether the tiny PET can affect the MBGS process. Thus, this study investigated the impact of nano–sized PET (nPET) on the MBGS process. The results showed that 10 to 30 mg/L nPET had no obvious impact on pollutant removal as compared with the control group. However, the performance of the MBGS with the addition of 50 mg/L nPET became worse after 15 days. Scanning electron microscopy revealed that the MBGS adsorbed nPET by generating extracellular polymeric substances. Further microbial analyses showed that the algal abundance in prokaryotes slowly declined with increasing concentrations of nPET, while the reduced energy storage and electron transfer in eukaryotes might lead to an inferior performance at 50 mg/L nPET. Overall, the MBGS was demonstrated to exhibit good adaptability to nPET–containing wastewater, which showed the potential to be applied for the treatment of municipal wastewater containing nanoplastics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Resource Recovery Monitoring and Circular Economy Model in Wastewater)
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20 pages, 7502 KiB  
Article
Design and Long-Term Performance of a Pilot Wastewater Heat Recovery System in a Commercial Kitchen in the Tourism Sector
Water 2023, 15(20), 3646; https://doi.org/10.3390/w15203646 - 18 Oct 2023
Viewed by 951
Abstract
This paper assesses the performance of waste heat recovery from commercial kitchen wastewater in practice. A pilot study of heat recovery from the kitchen at Penrhyn Castle, a tourist attraction in North Wales (UK), is outlined. The pilot heat recovery site was designed [...] Read more.
This paper assesses the performance of waste heat recovery from commercial kitchen wastewater in practice. A pilot study of heat recovery from the kitchen at Penrhyn Castle, a tourist attraction in North Wales (UK), is outlined. The pilot heat recovery site was designed and installed, comprising a heat exchanger, recirculation pumps, buffer tank and an extensive temperature/flow monitoring system for performance monitoring of the waste heat recovery system. Continuous monitoring was conducted for a period of 8 months, covering the 2022 tourist season. The recovered heat from the kitchen wastewater preheats the incoming cold freshwater supply and consequently reduces the amount of energy consumed for subsequent water heating. Retrofitting the pilot heat recovery system to the kitchen drains resulted in a heat saving of 240 kWh per month on average, a reduction of 928.8 kg CO2e per year, and a payback period for the investment costs of approximately two years, depending on the cost of energy supply. The presented results illustrate the potential of this form of renewable heat in reducing the carbon footprint of water heating activities in buildings and the hospitality sector. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Resource Recovery Monitoring and Circular Economy Model in Wastewater)
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19 pages, 3273 KiB  
Article
Survey on Lombardy Region Wastewater Effluents and Application of Biochar from Biological Sewage Sludge for Wastewater Treatment
Water 2023, 15(20), 3636; https://doi.org/10.3390/w15203636 - 17 Oct 2023
Viewed by 777
Abstract
Due to decreasing rainfall, drought is an environmental problem becoming even more alarming every year. The direct reuse of treated wastewater (WW), in compliance with current legislation, can be one of the applicable solutions to deal with water scarcity. In this study, an [...] Read more.
Due to decreasing rainfall, drought is an environmental problem becoming even more alarming every year. The direct reuse of treated wastewater (WW), in compliance with current legislation, can be one of the applicable solutions to deal with water scarcity. In this study, an analysis of wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) (>400 population equivalent) in the Lombardy region (Northern Italy) was performed to identify the most critical parameters in their effluents (total and ammonia nitrogen, and phosphorous). Biochar filters, as final adsorption means for WWTP effluents, could improve water quality for direct reuse. Biochar from biological sewage sludge produced by an urban WWTP (130,000 population equivalent) was prepared via pyrolysis (350–650–950 °C) and chemical activation with KOH. In each preparation step, the material was analyzed to follow the physicochemical transformations. The removal efficiency of COD, N-NH4+, N-NO3-, and P from real WW was studied using batch adsorption tests. Pyrolysis at 650 °C + KOH activation guaranteed higher yields for N-NH4+ (32%), P (44%), and N-NO3 (66%) with a contact time in the batch test of 6 h for N-NH4+ and P, and 3 h for N-NO3. Up to 50% COD removal was achieved in 6 h with 950 °C pyrolyzed + KOH-activated biochar. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Resource Recovery Monitoring and Circular Economy Model in Wastewater)
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10 pages, 1180 KiB  
Article
Ammonium Recovery from Synthetic Wastewaters by Using Zeolitic Mixtures: A Desorption Batch-Study
Water 2023, 15(19), 3479; https://doi.org/10.3390/w15193479 - 03 Oct 2023
Viewed by 893
Abstract
Resource recovery from wastewater is very important in view of a circular economy approach in the water field. Among the different technologies applied to realize circular economy, an attractive option is the use of nutrient-enriched media that can be utilized as slow-release fertilizers. [...] Read more.
Resource recovery from wastewater is very important in view of a circular economy approach in the water field. Among the different technologies applied to realize circular economy, an attractive option is the use of nutrient-enriched media that can be utilized as slow-release fertilizers. Zeolites have been re-discovered for their key role in ammonium (NH4+) adsorption from treated wastewater. Although many studies have been carried out to assess the ability of zeolites to adsorb NH4+, only few papers concerning NH4+ desorption from zeolites are available in the literature. Therefore, this study investigated NH4+ desorption from mineralogically different zeolites, before (ZNS and ZNC) and after (ZSS and ZSC) their treatment with sodium chloride. The zeolites differed in mordenite content. The amount of the desorbed NH4+ varied from 78 to 84% of the total NH4+ adsorbed. In particular, the NaCl-treated materials showed the largest desorption (27.6 ± 0.2 mg L−1, and 27.9 ± 0.7 mg L−1, ZSS, and ZSC, respectively) as compared to the untreated zeolites (22.9 ± 0.3 mg L−1, and 24.2 ± 0.3 mg L−1, ZNS, and ZNC, respectively) because of the different affinity of the cations for the zeolite surface. A monomodal pseudo-first-order model best approximated the desorption kinetics, suggesting only one mechanism of NH4+ desorption from zeolites. Such a mechanism is based on the ion exchange between dissolved Na+ and adsorbed NH4+. The desorption kinetics also showed that NH4+ desorbed slower from the NaCl-treated zeolites than the untreated ones. This effect was explained by the different affinity of Na+ and NH4+ for the zeolite surfaces as due to the diverse sizes of the Na+ and NH4+ hydration spheres. By revealing the effect of zeolite mineralogy and surface treatments in the desorption of NH4+, this study can suggest new and effective synthetic strategies for the achievement of cheap new materials to be applied in environmental remediation within a circular economy perspective. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Resource Recovery Monitoring and Circular Economy Model in Wastewater)
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30 pages, 2691 KiB  
Review
Urban Wastewater Mining for Circular Resource Recovery: Approaches and Technology Analysis
Water 2023, 15(22), 3967; https://doi.org/10.3390/w15223967 - 15 Nov 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 961
Abstract
Urban areas comprise less than 1% of the Earth’s land surface, yet they host more than half the global population and are responsible for the majority of global energy use and related CO2 emissions. Urbanization is increasing the speed and local intensity [...] Read more.
Urban areas comprise less than 1% of the Earth’s land surface, yet they host more than half the global population and are responsible for the majority of global energy use and related CO2 emissions. Urbanization is increasing the speed and local intensity of water cycle exploitation, with a large number of cities suffering from water shortage problems globally. Wastewater (used water) contains considerable amounts of embedded energy and recoverable materials. Studies and applications have demonstrated that recovering or re-capturing water, energy, and materials from wastewater is a viable endeavor, with several notable examples worldwide. Reclaiming all these resources through more widespread application of effective technological approaches could be feasible and potentially profitable, although challenging from several points of view. This paper reviews the possibilities and technical opportunities applicable to the mining of resources within the urban water cycle and discusses emerging technologies and issues pertaining to resource recovery and reuse applications. The present and future sustainability of approaches is also discussed. Since sewage management issues are not “one size fits all”, local conditions must be carefully considered when designing optimal local resource recovery solutions, which are influenced not just by technology but also by multiple economic, geographical, and social factors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Resource Recovery Monitoring and Circular Economy Model in Wastewater)
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