Proyect name: A holistic approach to resource recovery from wastewater (HOLIWATER).

The development of innovative technologies for resource recovery from wastewater and sludge is essential in a scenario of raw material depletion. Energy, clean water, nutrients, and chemicals can be extracted from wastewater. Besides the adequate technological developments, a new holistic and multidisciplinary perspective is needed to implement this strategy into Wastewater Treatment Plants (WWTPs) in terms of environmental and economic sustainability and social acceptance.

Aim: to promote the development and implementation of innovative technologies for the sustainable recovery of resources from wastewater and sludge components. A multi-disciplinary approach will be followed, from a plant-wide and holistic perspective. This integrative conception is possible within a network of highly experienced researchers in different disciplines, willing to promote close collaborations and knowledge-exchange.

Consortium of main researchers: As network of research, each partner will develop their own activities, while HOLIWATER will increase the value and visibility of results. The work plan includes scientific activities to discuss new project ideas (workshops and symposiums on disruptive topics), as well as other more technologically oriented to consolidate and up-scale the more mature processes. Training activities are planned for the scientific sector (international summer schools) and professional from industry (technical courses). The dissemination of results includes joint publications and a final conference for the industrial sector, promoting opportunities for technology transfer. Special attention will be paid to the dissemination to society of the progress achieved in the research areas of the network.

  • Anuska Mosquera: is part of BioGroup, at University of Santiago de Compostela. Her expertise is on production of biopolymers; co-Anaerobic digestion of sewage sludge to enhance energy production; Selective production of volatile fatty acids; LCA.
  • Raúl Muñoz Torre: is part of EnvTech at University Valladolid. His expertise is on Microalgae-based WWT, odour treatment, biogas valorization.
  • José Mario Díaz:  is part of TBR at University of Oviedo. His expertise is on Hydrolysis, separation and characterization of products, fermentation, preparation of biomaterials.
  • Alberto Bouzas: is part of CALAGUA at University of Valencia. His expertise is on Anaerobic technology; nutrients recovery through precipitation (struvite), membrane contactors (ammonium sulphate) and electrodialysis; process control.
  • Teresa Alvariño: is part of CETAQUA. Her expertise is on resource recovery from urban and industrial wastewaters/sludges (volatile fatty acids, ammonium salts, phosphate-based fertilizers).
  • Juan Antonio Baeza: is part of GENOCOV, at University Autònoma de Barcelona. His expertise is on Phosphorus, Sulphur, PHA and VFA recovery; Biomethanation; Energy producer WWTPs; Bioelectrochemical systems; Modelling and process control; DSS.
  • Isabel Oller: is part of TSA at CIEMAT-PSA. Her expertise is on Technologies (based or not on solar energy) for WWT and reuse and recovery of added value substances. Elimination of microcontaminants, pathogens and antibiotic resistant genes/ bacteria. Análisis de riesgos.
  • Jesús González López: is part of Microbiología at University of Granada. His expertise is on molecular and bioinformatic techniques for analysis of microbial communities in urban and industrial WWT systems. Design of new molecular markers to analyze the dynamics of the key microbial populations.
  • Mira Petrovic: is part of Water Quality  at ICRA. Her expertise is on advanced analytical methodologies for studying occurrence, fate and behaviour of emerging contaminants in water treatment and for reuse purposes.
  • Sandra Pérez: is part of ONHEALTH at CSIC. Her expertise is on quality of the treated wastewater and reused water.
  • José Manuel Sabucedo: is part of COSOYPA at University of Santiago de Compostela. His expertise is on social perception and acceptance of recovered water and resources.
  • Eduardo Ayesa: is part of Agua y Residuos, at CEIT – BRTA. His expertise is on mathematical modelling and simulation of WWT processes; plant-wide modelling; process control; Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD); P recovery.
  • Francesc Hernández: is part of Economía del Agua at University of Valencia. His expertise is on efficiency analysis; Optimization models for WWT; Monetary valuation of environmental and social benefits in water reuse projects; Business plans.
  • Manuel Poch: is part of LEQUIA at University of Girona. His expertise is on advanced oxidation and adsorption; membranes; bioelectrochemical systems; carbon dioxide conversion; environmental decision support systems; socio-natural systems; nutrient recovery.

The approach: 

Resources can be recovered from the sludge and water lines, as well as from gaseous streams. Such technologies have to be implemented in wastewater treatment plants, where the interactions among unit processes have to be well understood. In addition, once the technological effectiveness and the environmental and economic sustainability of new treatment schemes have been confirmed, the success of its implementation strongly depends on social acceptance. This implies increasing complexity to wastewater treatment innovation.

Impact: The exchange of know-how and methodologies within the consortium will allow avoiding duplicities, accelerating the progress of research activities and analyzing jointly complementary technologies. Impact of the network will be maximized by dissemination activities to the scientific sector planned by joint publications and congress communications, and to industry through technical reviews and leaflets. Water innovation will be promoted by maintaining close contacts with the main stakeholders.


LOGOS AEI, Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación.

Actuación RED2022-134350-T financiada por MCIN/AEI /10.13039/501100011033