Final market system maps - assessments of barriers to WATERMINING technologies and how to clear these: Deliverable 9.6

Wytze van der gaast, Malte Renze

Onderzoeksoutput: Working paperAcademic


The WATERMINING project aims to bring solutions to improve the circularity of water treatment and the resulting by-products of these processes. Achieving a deep understanding of the barriers potentially hindering the development of circular water solutions is crucial to design policies that enable the deployment of these techniques. To do this, the WATERMINING project organizes Communities of Practice (CoPs), where stakeholders from the WATERMINING case study projects analysed these market barriers and proposal (policy) measures to clear these.
CoPs in the case studies of Lampedusa in Italy and Almería in Spain focused on sea water desalination. The case studies of Faro-Olhão in Portugal, Larnaca in Cyprus and La Llagosta in Spain have been discussed by CoP stakeholders in terms of barriers in circular urban wastewater treatment. The CoP in the Netherlands focused on circular industrial waste water treatment at the Westlake plant at Rotterdam. The barriers defined by the stakeholders in the CoPs were discussed by the WATERMINING partners at the consortium meeting in Palermo (Italy, September 2022), and presented at the WATERMINING Market and Policy workshop in Brussels (Belgium, February 2023).
Addressing the three above-mentioned categories of circular water solutions, common barriers identified across all WATERMINING’s case studies are the following. First, stakeholders report a lack of incentives to implement circular solutions, as mainstream linear practices are generally cheaper.
This could be addressed by de-encouraging linear techniques by making the disposal of their byproducts (such as brine) more expensive. Another solution could be to provide added value to circular solutions through the monetization of their additional products and services. Subsidies can support in lowering production costs or prices of materials recovered from sea- and wastewater treatment to level the playing field with conventionaly derived material.
Another commonly mentioned barrier is the difficulty to introduce products obtained from circular water treatment in the market, both because of a lack of public acceptance and legal constraints stemming from products being regarded as waste. Information campaigns and the revision of current regulatory frameworks to allow these products entering the market would expand the revenue sources from these techniques and improve the circularity of the system. Standardising the circular water treatment technologies in the market could support this, whereby best available techniques reference documents of the EU (BREFs) could be an effective instrument, especially when tapping into an ongoing BREF writing or updating process.
Across the case studies and replication studies it has been mentioned that current legislation in case study countries exclude ‘watermined’ products from food and/or other applications. Criteria for endof-waste status of ‘watermined’ products, which would determine whether a product, such as Kaumera which is produced from urban wastewater treatment, is eligible as a fertiliser in agriculture, are usually determined at the level of the EU, but Member States could interpret these more stringently (Member State-level criteria cannot be weaker than the EU-level ones). In this respect it has been recommended to enhance knowledge exchange across Member States, e.g., by creating an
EU-based unit (or competencies within an existing unit) to promote cooperation among EU Member States and regional authorities concerning the production, sale and use of products recovered from wastewater treatment.
Another common perception stakeholders report is the widespread conservatism in the water sector. Water treatment actors traditionally have a focus on purifying water and supplying this to the market. Generating products from waste streams is often something that market actors are less familiar with. Among other solutions, the ‘Dutch model’ has been recommended as a way to create national centres for the development of knowledge and technology for water management, which would serve as an R&D accelerator.
Originele taal-2English
Aantal pagina's41
StatusPublished - 28 feb. 2023


  • waterwinning
  • technologieën


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