A German environmental biotech SME is looking for industrial partners, which are interested in further developing and marketing a technology for the photocatalytic elimination of pesticides, herbicides and fungicides. The aim is to increase the water quality in areas of viticulture and contribute to fulfilling the goals of the EU Water Framework Directive.
A project proposal shall be submitted on the next cut-off in February 2021.
The German SME was founded in the year 2015 with its core competencies in nanomaterials, environmental technology and eco-toxicological tests. It has taken part as an associated industrial partner in an INTERREG project over three years (2017 – 2020) with seven co-funding and three associated partners.
The aim of this project was to increase the water quality in areas of viticulture of the “Trinational Metropolitan Region Oberrhein”, and contributing to fulfill the goals of the European water framework directive (EU-WRRL).
In viticulture or other agricultural regions plant protection products (PPPs) are used to protect yield from local pest. Thus, the cleaning of agricultural machines but also runoff events in the field lead to ecotoxicological relevant PPP concentrations in surface water bodies. This significantly lowers the surface water quality in the entire region, threatening aquatic ecosystems and consequently contradicting main objectives of the EU-WRRL. Currently applied methods to reduce such PPP concentrations are ecologically and economically inefficient.
In order to reduce the concentration of organic PPP in the water, a photocatalytic method has been established. The principle of this method is the generation of reactive oxygen species (radicals), which react with the organic pesticides and thus destroy them.
A process has been developed, which is able to eliminate PPP contamination already at its place of origin, increasing the water quality and contributing to fulfill the EU-WRRL goals.
A mobile and functional reactor for demonstration in lab-scale has been designed, which is energy self-sufficient by means of photovoltaic-battery-coupling. It is able to remove PPP in washing- and wastewater. It possesses an automated system for wastewater circulation and treatment with interfaces for the reactor core (photocatalyst and UV light source). The recirculating-system, which also possesses potential upstream filters, is capable to hold and treat approx. 40 L of wastewater.
In the current state of the art a fully automated degradation process for pesticides is not yet available, since a feedback control system for low concentrations is a challenge. Thus, a PPP-online-monitoring tool shall be implemented in the novel system.
Aim of the new project:
Led by the SME, the technology transfer consortium is looking for industrial partners, at least one SME, which is interested in further developing the lab-scaled reactor and in building a functional prototype that is ready for entering on the European market. This can be realized by applying for European funding (EUROSTARS).
Private financing would be a second option, in the way that the industrial partner sponsors and jointly further develops the system, mainly with regards to piloting and subsequently commercializing the technology.
The planned activities include, but are not limited to different steps for setting the prototype ready for the market:
i) Realizing technical adaptations after a practice-oriented testing phase as part of the technology transfer. It aims to increase the system efficiency to a maximum by adapting to and testing it with real wastewater (e.g. PPP- concentrations, -mixtures, inorganic contaminants, presence of natural organic matter).
ii) Piloting and up scaling the system, while considering outcomes of i), but also wastewater treatment volumes of >200 L.
iii) Establishing a fully automatized treatment process. This can be realized by e.g. considering the development and implementation of a PPP-monitoring strategy or technical tool enabling to continuously screen for the water quality.
iv) Realizing a joint market introduction by implementing marketing strategies that allow for a European use of the technology.
The deadline of the next EUROSTARS call is 4th February 2021. The deadline for expressions of interest is 31th January 2021.
- Type of partner sought: The potential partner should be technically and financially capable to upscale and design a marketable prototype of a reactor for continuous degradation of PPP in washing-and waste water. Scientific expertise in viticulture, pesticides and ecotoxicology would be also welcome.
- Specific area of activity of the partner: Potential partners could be small- or large-scale plant manufacturer with special knowledge and preferably longtime experience on wastewater treatment as well as advanced oxidation processing.
The finalized product can result in a manufacturing agreement for the partners. In the case a patent application is considered, a licensing opportunity should be provided.
The project leader is also interested in a subsequent joint venture.
Especially when focusing its innovative, sustainable character the introduced technology provides multiple advantages in different respects:
1) It is energy self-sufficient by using a photovoltaic-battery-coupling to run the entire system.
2) The process is material saving by using a catalyst as core of the treatment process. The catalyst does not consume itself and has shown to overcome only a minor material loss over time when being in use. The latter is based on a newly developed and applied catalyst fixation on the surface of the support media.
3) The innovation provides a solution for removing organic plant protection products (PPPs) from wastewaters. Therefore, its commercialization and subsequent use will significantly add to important goals of the EU water framework directive by directly contributing to an increased surface water quality.
Thus, the finalized technology will offer a sustainable and economical solution for organic PPP- decontamination by companies or other organisations working on wastewater treatment.
Proposal under development - A technical evaluation model is currently in use.
Evaluation scheme: online, two stage https://www.eurekanetwork.org/open-calls/eurostars-feb2021
Coordinator required: No