The project

Life Zero Waste Water


The project proposes an innovative, profitable and positive energy balance WWTP solution for the integrated management of urban Wastewater (WW) and the Organic Fraction of Municipal Solid Waste (OFMSW) for populations of less than 50,000 equivalent inhabitants. The solution is based on sustainability, considering wastewater as a reusable resource and a source of energy and nutrients. A new paradigm arises in which WWTPs are considered as resource recovery plants and not disposal plants.

During the project the following technologies will be jointly implemented:

Anaerobic Membrane Bioreactor (AnMBR), where the WW and OFMSW will be treated together in an AnMBR, integrating anaerobic treatment and membrane ultrafiltration in a single step.
Partial nitrification reactor-Anammox (PN/AMX) Aqu-ELAN®, where the effluent, free of organic matter from the AnMBR bioreactor, will be treated to proceed with the elimination of nitrogen.
Nutrient extraction and recovery module.
Intelligent monitoring system for efficient water management during the process.




The main objective of the LIFE ZERO WASTE WATER project is to revolutionize conventional treatment processes by putting into practice, testing and evaluating the applicability of an innovative, cost efficient and positive energy balance WWTP solution for the integrated management of urban wastewater flows and the organic fraction of municipal solid waste (WW + OFMSW) in the specific context of small locations with less than 50,000 p. e.

The results will be disseminated to the proper stakeholders and robust business and replication strategies will be formulated to get a wide application after project lifetime in several scenarios.


It will be carried out by testing a set of innovative technologies in a demo plant and mixing the WW with the OFMSW at the head of this plant.

To sum up, through the development of the project it is mainly sought:

  1. Avoid the loss of water, energy and other resources in wastewater treatments, through the production of biogas, water recovery, waste reduction and nutrient recovery in populations of less than 50,000 p. e., where current solutions are not efficient.
  2. Promote a new process for the wastewater treatment that allows obtaining better quality water to be reused in non-sensitive areas and the recovery and recycling of nutrients such as phosphorus.
  3. Reduce the discharges of pollutants and/or emerging pathogens in the effluents of the wastewater treatment system through effective purification and monitoring of water control.
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Specific objectives


Awareness campaign at the municipal level

Set up of a strategy for the collection of Kitchen Food Waste (KFW) and Organic Fraction of Municipal Solid Waste (OFMSW) at municipal level: awareness campaign and engagement of citizens, KFW big producers (i.e. restaurants, hotels) and OFMSW managers in small towns.


Anaerobic membrane bioreactor

Development of an Anaerobic Membrane Bioreactor (AnMBR) departing from the demo plant developed in the project LIFE MEMORY, where WW and OFMSW streams will be jointly treated, integrating anaerobic treatment and membrane ultrafiltration in a single step.


Nutrient extraction and recovery

Development of a Nutrients Extraction & Recovery Module.


Monitoring system

Development of a Smart Water Monitoring and Control System for the efficient water management.


Management strategy for the collection of OFMSW

Design of a management strategy, considering regulatory barriers, for the collection of the KFW/OFMSW, onsite treatment (i.e. grinding) and disposal into the sewer system for the transport of the mixed waste stream (KFW/OFMSW + WW), or its mix at the head of the plant.


Partial nitrification reactor-Anammox AQU-ELAN®

Development of a Partial Nitritation-Anammox (PN/AMX) Reactor: the organic matter free stream from AnMBR will be treated to remove nitrogen in a PN-AMX Reactor that will be developed in the project.

Compact solution

Integration of the three modules

Integration of the AnMBR, PN/AMX and Nutrients Extraction&Recovery Modules in a compact solution with synergic results and minimum requirements in terms of energy and surface.




Expected results



Collection of 125 kg/day of OFMSW: 45 tons during the project.


Treatment capacity of 50 m3/day.


50 % reduction in biosolids compared to baseline. Up to 0.2 kg SS/kg COD removed.

Pathogen free water

95 % recovery of "pathogen free" water for fertigation or environmental purposes.

Purified water

Recovery of 5g P/m3. Obtaining purified water for agricultural purposes, and 0.2 kg of soil fertilizer/m3.


Production of 0.3 CH4 (biomethane)/m3 in AnMBR: 3 kWh/m3.

Energy balance

Positive energy balance 1.0 kWh/m3 between the energy produced in the AnMBR and that consumed by the WWTP.

Nitrous oxide

N2O emissions (nitrous oxide): 7.2 g N2O/kg N removed.

Environmental impact

It is calculated by combining the Conventional Activated Sludge (CAS) WWTP + Disinfection and OFMSW central collection and composting.



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