The funding comes from the government’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program, which issued a call for entrepreneurs to develop new solutions to help the Netherlands adapt to changes in climate and water.
In recent years, government regulations have become stricter regarding the quality of effluent discharged from wastewater treatment plants into rivers or the sea, and new restrictions have limited farmers in their use of surface water for irrigation. This regulatory environment makes wastewater reuse for agricultural purposes an attractive option for farmers, wastewater treatment plant operators, and companies providing wastewater reuse solutions.
Voltea received the €1.2 million grant after successfully completing a €50,000 feasibility study in 2010, reportedly showing that CapDI technology can desalinate wastewater more efficiently than other competing technologies such as reverse osmosis (RO). The feasibility study was carried out in collaboration with the Delft Blue Water project consortium (Delfuent, Evides, Veolia, Hoogheemraadschap Delfland).
As part of the upcoming project, Voltea will build a full scale treatment line, featuring CapDI technology, which will desalinate 5–10 m3/hr of effluent from the Harnaschpolder Wastewater Treatment Plant near Delft. The project’s goal is to produce desalinated water that can be reused for the irrigation of local greenhouses.
“Water re-use is a major trend in the water industry and this project will give Voltea the opportunity to demonstrate that our CapDI technology is one of the most efficient technologies for the desalination of brackish water,” said Voltea CEO, Michiel Lensink.
CapDI (Capacitive deionization) desalinates brackish water at a lower economic and environmental cost than any other available technology, according to the company. It is scalable, with numerous industrial and domestic applications, including softening of tap water, desalination of process water, brackish ground water, waste water and cooling towers.