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Conversion of urban bio-wastes into sustainable materials and products

Conversion of diluted mixed urban bio-wastes into sustainable materials and products in flexible purple photobiorefineries - DEEP PURPLE

This holistic research consortium is working to transform diluted urban bio-wastes, including mixed waste streams, organic fraction of municipal solid waste (OFMSW), wastewater (WW) and sewage sludge (SS), into feedstock for bio-industry to obtain sustainable bio-products.

This revolutionary concept will be implemented in a novel Single-Site Multi-Platform Concept (Biomass, Cellulose and Biogas) to replace current polluting destructive practices with new value added concepts. The beneficial use of bio-waste is obtained by an innovative combination of optimized recovery technologies and novel solutions: the Purple Phototrophic Bacteria (PPB) PhotoBiorefinery.

The use of PPB -the most versatile metabolism reported- ensures the adaption to fluctuating and diluted waste streams to support a stable profitable production chain. The first PPB PhotoBiorefinery in the EU (the biggest worldwide) will be validated in different environmental, economic, logistic, and social scenarios. The concept will be implemented by end-users from four municipalities, namely Madrid (ES), Toledo (ES), TÅ™inec (CZ) and Velká Polom (CZ) to transform bio-wastes (OFMSW: 422 t/y, mixed waste: 438,000 m3/y) into high-added value bioproducts: fine chemicals (bio-cosmetics), fertilizers, bio-packaging and self-repairing construction materials.

The market uptake of DEEP PURPLE is facilitated by optimal logistics of bio-wastes conversion (reduction of landfilled OFMSW: 60%, WWTP solids recovery: 71%), and bio-products quality to favor their commercialization (440 t/y). The integration of value chains is boosted by relevant stakeholders participation and innovative business models, minimizing waste and maximizing benefits (85mln Euro benefits, GHG emissions savings: 11,300 tCO2eq/y in 2025). Key communities (social engagement strategies) will participate in the new value creation, calibrating the returns of the project like social innovation promotion and creation of new opportunities along the urban value cycle.


Meet the Principal Investigator(s) for the project

Dr Evina Katsou - Academic / Research Career Dr Evina Katsou is Professor in Water & Environmental Engineering and Course Director of the Water Engineering MSc at Brunel University. Evina leads the Water & Environmental Engineering group with 20 researchers. Her research is focused on: (1) Sustainable resource recovery from wastewater and safe reuse; (2) Data analytics, knowledge discovery and process modelling; and (3) Circularity & sustainability measurement and assessment. Authored 98 journal publications (h-index: 27), 12 book chapters with over 100 presentations, invited talks and patent on biopolymers recovery. Evina leads the Transformation Tools group of the Cost Action on Circular Cities, co-leads the Circular Water VLT of Water Europe and co-leads the SMART-WATER group of the ICT4Water Cluster-EC. She is a member of the drafting team of the new ISO standards on Circular Economy (Measuring and Assessing Circularity – ISO5902). She leads 11 national and international projects including activities on carbon footprint accounting and carbon neutrality Within projects RESILEX Horizon Europe, SYMBIOREM Horizon Europe (WP leader), BORECER HORIZON Europe (WP leader), HYDROUSA H2020, SmartPlant H2020, DEEP-Purple (DSS development and circularity assessment), WATER-MINING (H2020; WP leader), BL2F (H2020; WP Leader), INTCATCH (H2020), iWAYS (SPIRE H2020), Triple Carbon Reduction – OFWAT, she is responsible of the WPs related with the development and application of tools/solutions for the sustainability assessment including carbon footprint quantification and minimization. Evina has also conducts wide range of consulting activities with contracts awarded from leading UK water industry partners, including Affinity Water, Arup, Sever Trent, BuroHappold Engineering, Anglian Water. Industrial Activities UKWIR Tender - Quantifying and reducing direct greenhouse gas emissions from wastewater treatment processes; Jacobs, Brunel, Cobalt Water; 2021-22 OFWAT WATER INNOVATION Competitions; Triple Carbon Reduction; Anglian Water; 2022-24 UKWIR Tender - What does a circular economy water industry look like? Jacobs, Brunel, Allied Waters; 2020-21 UKWIR Tender - Where is the greatest sustainable economic benefit for resource recovery in the water cycle? Jacobs, Brunel, Allied Waters; 2020-21 Determination of the most effective & low-cost solution for tackling the problem of galvanized iron corrosion in specific parts of the Affinity Water piping network, which is caused by the surface water imported from Grafham reservoir; October 2018 for a duration of 16 months, Value: £90,000 Feasibility study Aqualogic AI inspired Leak Detection and Analysis, 2019-2020 Value: £100,000 Towards Carbon neutral and Cost-efficient Sewage Treatment (CO2ST); Severn Trent, 2019-2021, Value: £150,000 Circular Shop Window, Anglian Water, March 2019 for a duration of 14 months, Value: £100,000 MBR design and start-up, Astana, Nazarbayev University, June 2019 for a duration of 6 months, Value: £20,000 Technical support for the chemical-physical-respirometric control & preliminary evaluation of an EGSB reactor for the treatment of wastewater from textile industry, 40,000 Euros, SIMEM SpA, 2014              Technical support for the evaluation & optimization of the wastewater treatment plant (technical & economic data) of the pharmaceutical company Fidia Farmaceutici SpA, Abano Terme (PD), 25,000 Euros 2013-2014. Monitoring of the current treatment processes & capacity of the municipal wastewater treatment plant of Maser Municipality (TV, Italy); examination & evaluation of the potential co-treatment of wastewater from the Municipality of Asolo (TV, Italy); feasibility study & technical aspects, Alto Trevigiano Servizi Srl, InnovEn srl, 15,000 Euros 2013-2014.  

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Partnering with confidence

Organisations interested in our research can partner with us with confidence backed by an external and independent benchmark: The Knowledge Exchange Framework. Read more.


Project last modified 21/07/2021