About this Research Topic
The rise in industrialization and consumption have made the current market economy highly dependent on a variety of material resources, most of which have limited reserves. Many of these elements end up in liquid effluents and are not easily removed by conventional treatment methods applied in municipal wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs), since wastewater can come from diverse sources: residential, commercial, agriculture, and industry. Therefore, specialized technologies are required for their separation and/or elimination from the wastewater flux, in order to prevent the toxic effects caused by their discharge into the environment.
New, more cost-effective and efficient water treatment methods must be developed, in addition to the recovery and reuse of resources that come from limited reserves. Both processes are complementary, thus it is natural to combine the two.
For economic reasons, to avoid water scarcity, and to minimize environmental impacts, researchers are combining the need to remove these pollutants from wastewater and to create alternative resource reserves by focusing on separation methodologies that enable the recovery of rare elements and compounds in a purified or usable state. Similarly, less rare materials can be utilized to produce energy or other alternative added value applications, such as soil fertilizers. Techniques that have been employed for this purpose include biological reactors, adsorption, precipitation, ultra and nanofiltration, and electric methods. Thus, the plant design can be repurposed for the valorisation of the wastewater as a rich material. This objective is closely connected with the current approach of circular resource economy, i.e. cradle-to-cradle. Resource recovery can also improve the cost performance of wastewater treatment. Examples of materials that can be recovered with economic and environmental benefit include rare metals, nitrogen and phosphorus macronutrients, biomass and biogas, and organic compounds such as volatile fatty acids or bioplastics.
This Research Topic welcomes publications (both original research and review papers) in the following topics:
• Innovative exploratory technologies for resource recovery from wastewater
• Optimization and technical improvement of current resource recovery techniques
• Application of methodologies in different scenarios and matrices, in view of demonstrating practical feasibility
• Evaluation of lab, pilot or commercial scale resource recovery systems
• Use of assessment tools such as energy flow analysis, cost-benefit analysis, or life-cycle analysis for technology performance and comparison
• Improvements in efficiency and cost of current technologies
The focus of the manuscripts may be a specific pollutant, material or technique, or the assessment of a complete wastewater treatment plant, including several material flows.
Keywords: energy, resource recovery, circular economy, wastewater, valorisation
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.