ChemistryNL has just alooted 5.2M€ so called PPC-bonus (‘PPS-toeslag’) to 15 of their partners to excite new public private partnerships. ChemistryNL redirects the bonus –gained with private investments in public private research and innovation- to the partners, and incentivises them to use this money as kickstarter for new projects that contribute to the missions that were defined, or to invest in key-enabling (chemical) technologies.
One of the projects that was launched is, is the project of Mark van Loosdrecht /TU Delft:
From waste to raw material: Kaumera
This project is part of a national development programme to produce polymers from wastewater. This is a collaboration between various parties. In the past, these parties have developed a new wastewater treatment plant that is marketed under the name Nereda. This technology is currently being installed worldwide. In this biological treatment plant, bacteria grow in granules instead of flocs. This granular growth allows far-reaching process intensification, providing a strong reduction in energy consumption of the water treatment. The granules are formed by a gel-forming polymer called Kaumera. This polymer can be extracted from the sludge produced during the treatment of wastewater; roughly 30% of the sludge consists of Kaumera. Exploratory research at the university has shown that new materials with unique properties can be developed on the basis of this polymer. An important example is the production of a material that, in terms of functionality, resembles fibre-reinforced polyester but is not flammable. It retains its strength up to around 180 ᴼC , is water-base, and fully biobased. Other materials that can be formed are Nacre (similar to the material of the shell of crabs and shrimps) or mother of pearl. This project focuses on insight and understanding of the Kaumera polymer in order to improve and to make the reprocessing of the sewage sludge more efficient, and to stimulate the development of new materials and their application.
Check also the NOS news item about his research.
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