Koppert Biological Systems has signed an agreement with Royal HaskoningDHV and ChainCraft to use Kaumera as a biostimulant. Kaumera is a new, biological raw material extracted from wastewater using a sustainable purification technique.
In creating value from wastewater, the three parties are taking an important step towards the circular economy.
“Wastewater is available worldwide and much of it still contains valuable components – making it a perpetual source of raw materials. In the 'Nereda' process, granules are formed and the wastewater can be treated faster, better and more sustainably," says René Noppeney, global director water technology products at Royal HaskoningDHV.
The sludge granules formed as part of the Nereda purification process contain a new biobased raw material: Kaumera. This natural biopolymer can be used for various applications, including as a biostimulant for agriculture and horticulture. An additional advantage of the recovery of Kaumera is that it reduces the amount of sludge remaining. “This can be a reduction of up to 30 percent, which results in significant savings for the water authorities processing the sludge,” says Noppeney.
The research and development for the extraction of Kaumera from wastewater takes place within the National Kaumera Development Program (NKOP). The program is a collaboration between the Dutch Water Authorties Vallei en Veluwe and Rijn en IJssel, the Dutch Foundation for Applied Water Management Research STOWA, Royal HaskoningDHV and the Delft University of Technology.
Biotechnology company ChainCraft is also affiliated with the program, investigating different applications of Kaumera and bringing them to market. “We saw a lot of potential for the use of Kaumera as a more sustainable ingredient for the agri sector. With Koppert’s commitment to sustainable solutions for the sector they were the ideal partner for us” says Niels van Stralen, director of ChainCraft.
Koppert has been trialing Kaumera for two years. Harald Mikkelsen, research initiator at the company, is involved in the project. “Kaumera appears to be a good and sustainable replacement for the seaweed we use as raw materials in a number of our products. In addition, Kaumera contributes to a good release of the agri-products which stimulates growth and soil life. In short: Kaumera definitely has added value.”
Currently, this raw material is only produced in the Netherlands, “but our ambition is to recover Kaumera from wastewater worldwide,” says van Stralen. “There are now Nereda wastewater treatment plants in more than 20 countries.”