“Business as usual”

Waterboards are the oldest, still functioning, democratic organizations in the Netherlands with a history of over 750 years. However, also within the waterboards a transformation is visible  which results in a new élan; cutting costs while taking care of the environment. A real People-Planet-Profit approach. Recently, this resulted in a new concept on waste water treatment plants (WWTP’s); the so-called “energy factories”. The essence of this concept is reduction of energy consumption while at the same time maximizing energy production. Within the waterboard Vallei en Veluwe are working on two energy factories. One in Apeldoorn and one in Amersfoort. INNERS plays a role in the energy factory of Amersfoort. In order to maximize energy production we used different strategies. The strategy we have implemented within the INNERS context is the construction of a DEMON reactor. In September 2012 this reactor was realized.

In the reactor annamox bacteria are used for nitrogen removal. This saves energy, Carbon (and also boosts biogas production) and increases the nitrogen removal capacity of the WWTP. The first results are promising. Last March, a cold month in the Netherlands, we were able to produce effluent with an N. total of 8 mg/l, while under comparable conditions we couldn’t get below N. total 12 mg/l. This means that on average more than 150 kg Nitrogen per day extra is removed. The reduction of energy consumption was also achieved by a heat scan of the WWTP. There are different streams of hot water within the WWTP. The scan gave us insight in the different quantities and possibilities for cascading of heat and therewith reducing energy consumption.

All in all, the search for cost reduction, while protecting the environment is a very stimulating and creative process which has now become “business as usual”.

I would like to invite the University of Bradford to write the next blog.

Arjan Budding, Waterschap Vallei en Veluwe