HypoWave – New Pathways Towards Wastewater Re-Use in Agriculture

The research project HypoWave addresses the need for a more sustainable handling of the resource water combined with reuse of nutrients in wastewater. To this end, municipal wastewater is treated in such a way that it is available for the use within the hydroponic system. In a hydroponic system plants are cultivated in a nutrient solution and without soil. The aim is to define synergies between urban water management and agriculture, in order to use water in a more efficient way and at the same time produce agricultural products that are safe for human consumption.

Research Approach

The research association will as a first step establish a pilot plant near Wolfsburg which will make it possible to re-use municipal wastewater in agriculture. There, water treatment will be linked to an operating hydroponic system. Occuring technical processes are to be investigated as well as the plant’s economic efficiency and the quality of produced products. ISOE will determine the actors involved, it will analyze the institutional and legal framework conditions and will develop models for a successful cooperation between urban water management and agriculture.

In a second step, acquired knowledge gained during the pilot period – will be examined in case studies in the Hessian Ried, in other European countries, in the border region between Belgium and Germany and in Évora (Portugal). With the help of a supplementary impact assessment performed by ISOE, possible types of application and use are to be determined. 

Additionally, ISOE signs responsible for the quality of the interdisciplinary work within the joint research project. Therefore, ISOE inter alia regularly holds stakeholder dialogues thus enabling a discussion on research results with actors from practice. ISOE will also head the research association’s knowledge transfer to the interested public.

Background

Climate change, urbanization, and contamination of conventional water resources will in the decades to come locally lead to increasing competition for the use of the scarce resource water. For agricultural irrigation, treated wastewater can contribute to an increased supply of water provided that an ecologic and economic operation of the technical plants is ensured. Challenges arise when varying water qualities are to be provided according to the product in question, the quality control, and the consumers’ acceptance of products.

Project Partners

  • Technical University Carolo-Wilhelmina of Braunschweig, Institute of Sanitary and Environmental Engineering (head of project)
  • Fraunhofer Institute for Interfacial Engineering and Biotechnology (IGB)
  • University of Hohenheim, Institute for tropical agricultural sciences
  • Julius Kühn-Institut (JKI) Federal Research Institute for Cultivated Plants, Institute for Epidemiology and Pathogen Diagnostics 
  • Wastewater Association Braunschweig (AVB)
  • WEB – Wolfsburger Entwässerungsbetriebe
  • ACS-Umwelttechnik GmbH & Co. KG
  • aquadrat ingenieure (a2i)
  • aquatectura
  • aquatune – Dr. Gebhardt & Co. GmbH
  • BIOTEC Biologische Naturverpackungen GmbH und Co. KG
  • Xylem Services GmbH

Associated partners

  • Griesheim council for town planning and the environment
  • Three-country-park Euregio, Maas-Rhein
  • Universidade de Évora, Instituto de Ciências Agrárias e Ambientais Mediterrânicas, Portugal

Funding

The joint project „HypoWave – The use of hydroponic systems for resource efficient water reuse in agriculture” is financed by the Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF) as part of the funding initiative “WavE – Future Proof Technologies and Concepts for Increasing Water Availability through Water Reuse and Desalination (WavE)”.

Publications

Bliedung, Alexa/Thomas Dockhorn/Björn Ebert/Jörn Germer/Marius Mohr/Engelbert Schramm/Martina Winker (2019): HypoWave - Ressourceneffiziente Nutzung von gereinigtem Abwasser in hydroponischen Systemen. Zentralblatt für Geologie und Paläontologie Teil 1, 95-104

Ebert, Björn/Thomas Dockhorn/Gudrun Peters/Engelbert Schramm/Bernhard Teiser/Martina Winker (2019): Operator models for the reuse of municipal wastewater in hydroponic systems: Potentials and options for Central and Mediterranean Europe. Book of Abstracts. 12th IWA International Conference on Water Reclamation and Reuse, Berlin, 16-20 June 2019, 725-730

Ebert, Björn/Engelbert Schramm/Martina Winker (2019): Reusing Wastewater in Agriculture. A Challenge of socio-technical Innovations.Leverage Points 2019.Conference handbook and programme. Leverage Points 2019 - International conference on sustainability research and transformationLüneburg, Germany, 6-8 February, 34

Fischer, Michaela/Engelbert Schramm/Martina Winker (2019): How business models can help to introduce nutrient recycling in hydroponic greenhouses. Watersolutions (2), 58-65

Mohr, Marius/Miriam Koch/Engelbert Schramm/Björn Ebert/Jörn Germer/Grit Bürgow (2019): Nutzung des Ablaufs einer Teichkläranlage zum Anbau von Gemüse im hydroponischen System im Landkreis Gifhorn. Zentralblatt für Geologie und Paläontologie Teil 1, 131-138

Schramm, Engelbert/Uwe Beythien/Thomas Dockhorn/Björn Ebert/Michaela Fischer/Marius Mohr/Arne Wieland/Martina Winker/Martin Zimmermann (2019): Wasserwiederverwendung zur landwirtschaftlichen Nutzung in hydroponischen Systemen: Anforderungen an die Qualitätssicherung. Zentralblatt für Geologie und Paläontologie Teil 1, 73-82

Schramm, Engelbert/Thomas Dockhorn/Björn Ebert/Martina Winker (2018): Wasserwiederverwendung im Gemeinschaftsrecht/Water reuse in European Communities law. Kritische Hinweise zur geplanten EU-Verordnung/Critical comments on the planned EU regulation. ISOE-Diskussionspapiere, 43. Frankfurt am Main: ISOE - Institut für sozial-ökologische Forschung

Mohr, Marius/Björn Ebert/Engelbert Schramm/Jörn Germer/Grit Bürgow (2018): Nutzung des Ablaufs eines Klärteichs zur Gemüseproduktion im Landkreis Grifhorn. Stuttgart: Fraunhofer IGB

Fischer, Michaela/Marc Beckett/Grit Bürgow/Björn Ebert (2018): Modulares Wasser- und Nährstoffrecycling zur Schnittblumenproduktion in der Gemeinde Raeren, Belgien. Stuttgart: Fraunhofer IGB

Drewes, Jörg E./Dennis Becker/Christina Jungfer/Kerstin Krömer/Marius Mohr/Andreas Nahrstedt/Engelbert Schramm/Martina Winker/Martin Zimmermann (2018): Mindestanforderungen an eine Wasserwiederverwendung: Hinweise aus Sicht der WavE-Forschungsprojekte des Bundesministeriums für Bildung und Forschung (BMBF). gwf-Wasser/Abwasser 159 (12), 50-59

Duration

2016/09 – 2019/08